Seizing the Moment
- Spot-fixing: Chandila was in touch with four sets of bookies, says Delhi Police
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives, to hold talks with PM on boundary, water issues
- IPL 2013: Delhi Daredevils crash to defeat, finish last
- Jaganmohan's wife attacks CBI, accuses it of working at Congress behest
- Blast accused death: UP govt seeks CBI probe, FIR against 42 persons
Indeed, that is where the big story lies. As Amit Choudhuri pointed out on Times Now (they spelled his name Amit Chaudhary, north Indian style), "It is disturbing that intolerance is being created where none exists." An unpredictable general election is in the offing, in which identity politics, both communal and casteist, will be a decisive force. Parties in power are taking out insurance by promoting a culture of complaint, in the hope that vote banks will coalesce.
The politicians aren't the only people playing safe. The Jaipur police waited patiently to seize the footage in which Ashis Nandy had cracked a black joke which did not go down very well with the dalit political leadership. The timbre of the blackness was much deepened in the echo chamber of TV news, with the same footage ricocheting from channel to channel. The same footage that the police waited eternally to seize was always out there in the ether and on the Internet. You could not possibly switch on the telly without encountering it. You could not elude it by switching channels, unless you fled to Pogo or Disney. It had the viewer well seized.
The Indian police never ask for, request, demand or take. They always 'seize'. The archaism, suggesting peremptory, imperious force, is a reminder that historically, security was a service provided by thugs and robber barons sanctified by crowns and sceptres. Despite a history of having their way, the police waited for the festival organisers to give them the authorised version of the Nandy tape, suggesting that they wanted to go slow until they knew which way to jump.
Until the election, through the length and breadth of the country, controversies will be industriously manufactured for television out of hurt sentiments. Time to switch off.
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held
- Rajasthan Royals to file FIR against tainted trio
- If found guilty, BCCI to ask ICC to erase Sreesanth records
- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
- PM takes tough line on incursion issue
- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in ‘friendly fire’