Walking on coals
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It's not easy being Lok Sabha TV. Or Rajya Sabha TV. In a very, very good year, they may broadcast parliamentary proceedings for up to 90-100 days. In a very, very bad year (2010 and 2012) with the constant disruptions, they may end up with half that number. So what are they supposed to broadcast instead?
These are channels run by Lok Sabha and the government. They are supposed to relay parliamentary proceedings in both Houses into people's homes. They are supposed to showcase how our parliamentary democracy of 1.2 billion people conducts the affairs of the people. Since Parliament opened on August 8, what we've witnessed is grown men and women, predominantly dressed in white, flapping up and down like agitated seagulls. Then Parliament adjourns for the day and MPs fly out of the door.
Had Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV been private channels, they'd have done what the private channels do in similar circumstance: invite the parliamentarians to a studio shoot-out. But they are run on public funds, they are supposed to celebrate parliamentary democracy, not burn holes into it, so what can they do? Well, what they do is telecast discussions, with or without our honourable representatives, on worthy topics like child labour, contract labour or documentaries on the genius of India like Jagadish Chandra Bose (Monday). What else to do?
"Yeh kya ho raha hai? Yeh kyon ho raha hai?" demanded Zee News on Monday. Couldn't agree more. "Kya retirement ka time aa gaya?" Maybe, seeing that he's walking on coals, Manmohan Singh should retire hurt. Except that the questions were not for him but for the one and only Sachin with a T. "Kya Sachin ko sanyas lena chahiye? Kya Sachin soch rahe hain sanyas ke baare mein? Kya sochna chahiye?" asked ABP after the Rajya Sabha MP had been clean bowled on the third successive occasion. The answers to those questions depend on whom you ask. For instance, ask the BJP if the PM should retire, and they reply, "Yes". Ask the Congress and they say, "No". So. There's only one way to settle the matter about Tendulkar: ask the little master himself. To which Zee News had a supplementary question: "If you are a big shot (they used the word 'mahaan'), can you decide when you will retire?"
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