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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mitra Speaks for His Friends

I didn't yet post a post on the recent Tehelka sting (Still am working on it and it'll be up soon). Though it wasn't an expose, it wasn't also a story to be disposed off. Everyone on both sides of the debate cannot refuse to agree with the facts (maybe a tad exaggerated). But there are many who try to see an hidden agenda in the whatever anyone else does. I was reading Chandan Mitra's piece in Outlook on the Tehelka sting and felt that the the editor of The Pioneer was just reflecting the opinions of those stung.

Mitra calls it a 'failed sting.' Failed because that the contents revealed as a result of that are no longer shocking and Narendra Modi was not directly implicated. But the findings, irrespective of the desired 'results,' needed to be released in the public arena.

He also questions the timing. My observation is that whatever time the sting might have been aired, detractors would always look for one or the other timing stick to beat their argument drum with. It is the easiest thing to do.

'Politically motivated' - it might have been (you never know) but if it is the truth (or even close to it), the movation is of secondary importance. And what motivates The Pioneer and the man behind the newspaper is no secret.

I don't feel like providing any more counter arguments to that piece as to an intelligent reader the truths would be quite obvious. But what surprises me is the quality of the column, something that I didn't expect from someone of Chandan Mitra's stature and calibre. Hope he didn't get it ghostwritten and forgot to edit the draft.

Ideologies and beliefs stand would exist and different people have different views, but how these views are expressed is very important. It is necessary to engross the reader and potentially raise doubts in the minds of an otherwise non-believing reader. The piece, unfortunately only expouses ideology, nothing more.

I'm not the only one who doesn't totally approve of Mitra's arguments. Mahesh Peri the publisher of Outlook writes,

The response that the sting has evoked from some among us is both shameful and dangerous. And when it comes from leaders - the so-called intellectuals and especially editors who are supposed to mould public opinion - it is despicable. I have read Chandan Mitra and I am constrained to say that I am happy not to have ever known or met him. I think I am freer than him because I can see, hear and process everything that is said on camera not through the prism of my own magazine, organisation or people.

And the fall of sting operations in India goes much before the Delhi schoolteacher episode. Shakti Kapoor. Remember?

On a different note, but still sticking to Outlook. A few lines from Delhi Diary by Bhaichand Patel:
I had stopped being a Marxist when I became financially comfortable.

Instead of telling a story straight, he (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) likes to show off the skills he learnt at film school.
Quite true.