In the last two days, Vikram Gokhale not only hit the headlines but was trending on Twitter because some media channels misquoted him stating that he endorses what Kangana Ranaut has said. The story began with a local Marathi news channel and then a news agency like ANI circulated the threads on Twitter. Within no time, his statements went viral. As we all know, these days media houses need more sensation for the TRP than views and news.
I don’t know why but I felt like knowing the accurate side of it, so I called Vikram Gokhale and spoke to him at length. He was aghast with manipulated reports. First of all, he never said independence was British alms to us, he just extended his opinion when the media asked him to comment on the current controversy of Kananga Ranaut. Point to be noted, it’s the media that initiated with their question to him about Kananga, otherwise, he might not have even spoken about it. He said, the fighters who wanted to snatch the freedom from the British were hanged and the bigwigs at that time did not attempt to save them. Many people were just mute spectators when freedom fighters were hanged (during the British raj). These mute spectators included many senior leaders. He wanted to say, independence to India should not be credited to few but at large those who laid their lives should also be valued.
His speech was more on protecting Hindus in India, at the same time he said those elements who are dividing the nation should be handled with an iron hand. He further said, all those Dalits, Sikhs and Muslims who has a love for this land are mine, but those who are trying to divide my nation are anti-nationals. People failed to understand Quran and Dalits failed to understand Dr Ambedkar because the real side was never displayed to him. Many national heroes like Lal Bahadur Shastri are made to be forgotten. He further criticized film personalities for their fanatics’. But his only emphasis was protecting India from all those playing divisive politics.
Most of you who have watched that video where Gokhale could be seen explaining his point, that was edited by the media to suit it to their advantage. There is no responsibility, no accountability and no professionalism from them. Most of the media houses are directly or indirectly associated with different political parties. Viewers can clearly understand if they observe the news, debates and talk shows (with reference to their topics) are influenced by hidden political agendas. And not to forget social media, one should not forget that it is free from any censorship or Information and Broadcasting regulations of the land. Often video proof turns out to be no proof of anything at all.
Meanwhile, several politicians reacted with outrage at Gokhale’s real freedom’ remark. Youth Congress workers protested against the same. Shiv Sean’s leaders criticized the actor for his so-called controversial remarks and translated it as a desperate attempt to get Padma Shri like Kangana. If you carefully listen to what he said, you will realize without siding anyone Gokhale specifically mentioned that every political party, including BJP, tries to derive a benefit from controversies. Replying to a query on the alleged communal violence in Tripura and its echo in Amravati and other cities in Maharashtra where incidents of stone-pelting had taken place, he said communal riots are a result of vote bank politics. Every political party plays that (vote bank politics). Speaking on the political scenario in Maharashtra, Gokhale said former allies Shiv Sena and BJP should come together again for the betterment of the country. Looking at the present scenario every Maharashtrian wish for the same. It is his personal thought. But translating it as favouring or opposing some political party is certainly not good reporting.
He just expressed that Shiv Sena and BJP should try to win the people’s confidence, and no political parties should deceive people because people can punish them. Isn’t this a common view of responsible voters and citizens of Maharashtra? politicians are responsible for the present condition of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and Air India. Thousands of employees of the MSRTC have been on a strike demanding a merger of the cash-strapped undertaking with the Maharashtra government. It was his concern for the people of Maharashtra, like any other Marathi manoos.
But all the news channels were busy making headlines. There was no depth in their reporting. The quality of news reporting was shameful, it is beyond embarrassing. They are misguiding the gullible population by sensationalism. Such exaggeration is nothing but brainwashing the general public and filling them with hatred for religion or entities. Indian media likes demonizing without showing the complete story. This is what Vikar Gokhle said, I don’t follow any ideology or politician but don’t take people for granted. The people who are creating dissection in the name of “Unity in Diversity” are dangerous for India’s unity.
But the irony is that in India TV anchors have become bigger than the news itself. They do not report news/facts, they are busy publishing propaganda. No media channel showed what he exactly said, but just picked a few lines to create controversy. The actual news or facts are lost when such TV anchors report. There are lots of areas in India where these media houses could provide credible reports like an increase in the number of deaths due to young heart attacks because of lifestyle stress, unemployment in the state, undue blabbering by ministers targeting one particular officer, corruption by the ruling alliance. I do not find any such reports although India has more than 500 media houses. It’s a big cause of concern. I think it’s high time now to make these media houses accountable for what they are reporting.
These days the media is agenda-driven. In such a trend, people like Gokhle get trapped for no reason. Misrepresentation is also called marketing. All propaganda is designed to mislead with a bit of truth in a pool of falsehoods. It is not at all called the fourth pillar of democracy nowadays because many of the media channels are running propaganda against or in favour of ruling and opposition political parties. Sometimes the channels will show you the news without approving it by the name of sources. Indians don’t use much mind what these channels are doing, they just want time to pass while eating food or getting rest on the sofa or bed. Because most of them still trust it as the fourth pillar, without realizing that it is also crumbling like the remaining pillars under the weight of dishonesty. The irony is that the common man in India has no means to independently verify the fact check of a news report. The 24×7 news media channels on TV make it more convincing to believe. Social media is an alternative but its credibility is more susceptible. You have no legal recourse, however, in the case of a misquote or “out of context” remark — although that’s damn hard to prove/demonstrate.