Thursday, April 11, 2013

Of Katju and his tales

According to an ancient tale, many centuries ago, there was a knight who would till the farms, count the cattle, predict the weather and would do all sorts of thing without doing what he was required to do; protect the damsel.  

Today , we are not sure about whether such Knight did exist or not. However, Markandey Katju is there.

Katju or Justice Katju as he is more commonly referred to, became the chairman of the Press Council of India in October 2011 and ever since his tales of valour have reached everyone. His benevolent deeds have affected all, except journalists.

His heroics are too big for someone like me to describe but I will give it a try. Katju declared that 90 per cent of India is fool. But, he left it to the enlightened mind of the rest 10 per cent to decide whether they are a part of the 90 per cent or not. He sought clemency for Sanjay Dutt as he could not get bank loan. He once famously announced that agitations like that of Anna Hazare lack ‘scientific Idea’. One of his less reported heroics can be read here.

Last but not the least he stated that a journalist should have a minimum qualification to become a journalist and as I write, there is a panel that is working to decide the contours of such qualification.

Journalism is good old days was driven by common sense which gave the ability to decide what is news, why it is news and how it is news. And however deep the regret, even now there is no degree that can evaluate common sense.

According to Katju , the level of excellence in journalism has fallen because of ‘bright’ people staying away from the profession leading to the  ‘ mediocre’ having a field day.

Katju however ignores the reasons behind why is journalism seen as the last abode of the fallen warriors? Why not the battle field of Athena and Hermes?

A popular adage say that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Now, I am told that even monkeys have graduated to bananas.   

Katju, if he was aware of the ground realities, would realize that the ‘bright’ people stay away from journalism because the salary in this profession is not at par with what they might receive in other profession. A law graduate who is interested in journalism won’t think twice while deciding whether he should join Amarchand Mangaldas where his initial salary would be close to Rs.90,000 per month or join any news agency or a newspaper where he will not even get Rs.20,000.

The answer to this paying of peanuts was Majithia wage board or at-least this was what many journalists hoped. 

The implementation of the recommendation of the  Majithia wage board for journalist is pending since ages. However, since the ‘Maaliks’ are not in favour of increasing the wages of the journalists, the recommendation have become a dead horse, which is not even being flogged now.

The government too has chosen its side by agreeing with the rich ‘Maaliks’ rather than the poor employee.

Has Katju ever spoken on this? What has stopped him from writing a letter, which is one of his many strong points, to one and sundry seeking the implementation of the Majithia wage board? Maybe the fact that it doesn't have the glamour quotient that would attract headlines discouraged him from meddling in this affair between the 'Maaliks', the government and the journalist.  

Someone should tell him that the panel that has been setup should also dwell on what ails journalism more? Lack of intellect or lack of enough money to attract and sustain an intellect mind.

Journalists in this country seldom forget and rarely forgive. ( Just saying)


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