Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Media and responsibility

Loss at Eden Garden

It is not right to build up any series as grudge series or revenge series. That is what some TV channels did about the Test series against England in India. India had lost 0-4 to England in England in 2011. There was talk of India winning 4-0 against England in India. Gautam Gambhir had said let them come to India.

The series began with Indian victory in Ahmedabad Test. India won by nine wickets but Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not happy about the pitch. He wanted a rank turner. At Wankhede Stadium he got that but lost the Test by 10 wickets. He wanted a rank turner at Eden Garden too despite losing Bombay Test. BCCI was ready to oblige him. Prabir Mukherjee, the curator at Eden Garden, did not oblige. He said the demand for rank turner was illegal, immoral and illogical. He wanted to go on leave. Jagmohan Dalmiya prevailed upon him to continue and Prabir Mukherjee prepared the pitch which gave equal chance to fast bowlers, spin bowlers and batsmen.

Dhoni won the toss third time consecutively and elected to bat. India put on 316. Virender Sehwag’s run out was unnecessary. England batted. Cheteshwar Pujara, fielding at first slip, dropped Alastair Cook when he was on 17. Cheteshwar Pujara usually fields at forward short leg and Virender Sehwag fields at first slip. Alastair Cook was dropped again on 155 by Ishant Sharma off his own bowling. Alastair Cook was run out on 190 at non-strikers end. It was a freak dismissal. He lifted the bat to avoid blocking Virat Kohli’s throw and the ball hit the stumps. It was Alastair Cook’s first run out in Tests.

On the fourth day in the first session England were all out on 523. Monty Panesar was not happy at lbw decision. India batted. Alastair Cook dropped Virender Sehwag. India went to lunch on 86/0.

After lunch Virender Sehwag was out first ball on 49. Cheteshwar Pujara’s run out was unnecessary. Wickets fell in succession. India were 122/6. Ravichandran Ashwin had two lives. Matt Prior missed a stumping chance and dropped him, both times off Monty Panesar. Second time India were 161/8. It could have been 161/9. It was 197/9 and Ishant Sharma was out. India ended the day 239/9.

On 9/12/2012, the fifth day, India were all out on 247. Ashwin remained 91 not out. England had to score 41 runs to win. It seems they were in a hurry. They lost three quick wickets for eight runs. After that Ian Bell and Nick Compton scored runs and England won by seven wickets.

The selectors dropped Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan for Nagpur Test. Harbhajan Singh had played only in Bombay Test. Yuvraj Singh scored 127 runs in three Tests, more than Sachin Tendulkar (110) and Dhoni (92). Ashwin has not done well as a bowler. He continues in the team for his batting.

India can at best win the next Test and draw the series. TV channels should take a balanced view and should not be jingoistic.

Times versus Zee

Naveen Jindal’s press conference exposing Zee Group has pitted Times Group against Zee Group. Zee editors Sudhir Chaudhar and Samir Ahluwalia said Times Group engages in paid news. Front page reports in Economic Times are paid for. Reports in Bombay Times and Delhi Times are paid for. Madhur Bhandarkar paid for his interview. Medianet belongs to Times Group. Medianet people approached Aamir Khan when 3 Idiots was about to be released and promised him four stars rating.

Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, the company that owns Times Group, has decided to send a legal notice to Zee Group for defamation. It is interesting to see one media house against another in court. If there is no out of court settlement Zee Group will have to call Madhur Bhandarkar and Aamir Khan as witnesses. It will be embarrassing for Madhur Bhandarkar to say he paid for his interview and for Aamir Khan to say he paid for rating. Paying for rating is useless. Most people do not care about film reviews by critics and how many stars are assigned. They depend on what others say. There are people who attend first day first show. For them rating is immaterial. Ratings may make the producers and directors feel good and boost their egos.

Producers, directors, actors, and actresses of films about to be released appear on news channels. Do they pay for the appearances?

Samir Ahluwalia said “At least we’re doing a proper, transparent deal with you, not running a paid front page story.” Extortion by blackmail is not a transparent deal.

Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri

Many people believe India’s Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died of poisoning on 11/1/1966 and not of heart attack as officially mentioned. They think T. N. Kaul, then India’s ambassador to USSR, poisoned Lal Bahadur Shastri so that Indira Gandhi can become prime minister.

On 2/10/2012 Karan Razdan raised to topic about Shastri’s death in The Last Word on CNN-IBN. Inder Malhotra, Kuldip Nayar and Anil Shastri were panelists. Kuldip Nayar mentioned reasons for suspicion. Questions were raised in Lok Sabha. T. N. Kaul phoned up to Kuldip Nayar and asked him to deny there was poisoning. Shastri’s thermos went missing. There was a commission to inquire about the death. Shastri’s doctor died in an accident the day before he was to depose before the commission. Shastri’s personal assistant died a similar death. The implication is that they were murdered.

Inder Malhotra in his column Rear View in The Indian Express dt. 17/9/2012 has written that in 1965, relations between Shastri and Indira Gandhi became strained almost to the point of breaking. She had upstaged him during language riots by going to Madras. She had said “Do you think this government can survive if I resign today. I am telling you it won’t. Yes, I have jumped over the prime minister’s head and I would do it again whenever the need arises.” On 31/12/1965 Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari came to Indira Gandhi’s house to say he has resigned in sheer disgust. Indira Gandhi said “I will be the next to be thrown out. It is not a cabinet worth staying in.”

Shastri was cremated. If he had been buried, his body could have been exhumed and tested for poisoning. T. N. Kaul and Indira Gandhi are dead. It is 46 years since the death. It is difficult to find out about poisoning but not impossible. People in Tashkent or Moscow can shed light on the case. There are detectives who deal with cold cases who can find out some clues and solve the case.

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