Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Next Target

It is often seen that a professional group or an institution is targeted by the government. Years on the line, the governments are forced to have cold wars with the professions in question. In whatever way, the govt. endevours to curb the wings of the profession and in retaliation, the professionals come back with some popular measures and obtain the sympathy of the common man, and thereby humiliate the govt. in power. In the course of time, the government makes the politicians of either side, be in the ruling or in the opposition, understand that the profession itself is guilty, and is the enemy of the politicians and not the government alone. Getting together, the government acts with an iron hand, and demolishes the spines of the profession in question, and coerces them to go into wilderness. Sooner, the rebellion withers away and the people forget them that they once made the government stumble to the knee. In effect, the profession was subjugated to by the lawmakers by punishing them, and sending them to near extinction. After some time, the said profession forgets whether they were ever part of any kind of rebellion. This had been practiced during the British Raj, and is being formulated by any modern day government.

During the 70-80s, it was visibly observed that the officials serving in the Central and State Governments were basically anti-establishment. The succeeding governments, esp. the one led by Congress party, pushed the babus into troubles first by marauding them, by breaking their agitations and putting them behind the bars during the emergency, then appeased them by offering regular pay commission packets which enhanced their salaries to a respectable one. However, it was seen, the people sitting inside the North Block, South Block and other Bhavans did not cherish the government line. They do not vote enmasse, but they have a voice. They are middle class, they are educated and able to persuade a feeling of distrust and hatred amongst the people who vote. The succeeding governments noted that, and during the economic liberalization period, the government decided to cut short the wings of the babus. It was then pronounced that half of the posts in the Central Government would be curtailed gradually. There was no immediate sacking, but the posts once vacant would not be replenished. Though some departments were closed down, but the skulking officials were never sent home. There was no scope of rebellion, and hence, no one could protest. It was a policy which was tantamount to be a punishment meted out to the officials serving in the Central and State Governments.

The anti-reservation agitation has always been the aspiration of the middle class people of India, which they felt that the power never paid heed to their feelings. The people at large feel that the reservation to a section of society was only to secure votes and insure power. An endless appeasement to others made them jittery. It was also observed that no political parties dared to venture against the reservation class. In order to garner more, the parties in power, extended the benefits to some more. In this game of ascertaining the power, whoever opposes the reservation policy, had to face invariably the wrath of the mighty government.

However, the medical students all over India, took the bull by the horns. They opposed the government policy of reservation, vehemently. They took the protest to the streets. Other students from different streams lined up behind them. They challenged the legislatures. No political parties were seen meddling around them. Sensing that all the political parties were up against the wall, the Government motivated themselves to let loose the power against the students by thrashing them on the streets by the brute police force, resulted into injuring many. Without wasting time, a bill was presented in the Parliament to provide reservation to the OBCs in the higher educational institutions. Later though, the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court, the agitation of the medical students took a back seat. Getting the support of all the political parties, the government bounced back to maraud the medical students. P. Venugopal, the effervescent Director of AIIMS, became the first casualty. He was sent to forced retirement by making a law in the Parliament, for the sake of punishing one man. It takes around five and a half to study MBBS and roughly twelve years for getting ahead with the subject. Now, the government has increased the course period for MBBS by one year, and plans that it would take them nearly eighteen years to button up the whole medical course. The government has curved down the agitation, and the agitated are sulking and cast down.

Looking at the atrocities made by the governments in the past to the institutions that had caused troubles to the politicians, it is clearly presumed that the next target to face the agony and wrath of the government will clearly be the mediamen. Until the last century, the media were relatively subdued, as they were less professional in their approach. They had their freedom, but upto a limit, and they most often toed the line segment of the government. They never used the name of a person, party or community when it was involved in groping any scandal. The period of economic liberalization has indeed intensified the vigour of media who are keen to outperform. It is in this period only when we saw the judiciary take on the politicians to do the justice, the corrupt political leaders and the government departments were taken to task, the police, the magistrates and senior bureaucrats seemed worried and pulled their socks up. These were all the handicrafts of the Media esp. the electronic one. Apart from this, it finds out the elevation in the poverty, the lawlessness in the country, and most importantly it tries to listen to the bereaved. Of late, people at large find out in the media a friend, a trustworthy one, which they didn’t see in the behaviour of the government over the years.

In effect, the government seems gasping. They have been pacifying the media all the time, but by now it has taken the shape of a Frankenstein. It is difficult to undersize them. It is true that the politicians take benefits from the media whenever it suits them, but for some time now, most of them feel humiliated by the media's intrusiveness. Sooner or later, the politicians will get united and look down its nose at the media and will definitely snap its neck. A law will come in order to quieten them. No doubt the media is mighty, and have the universal support. But not as mighty and cunning as any government, when force matters. A hard battle is in the offing. Will the media be able to stand erect against the government when the force is applied or will they too kneel down to hibernation?


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