Hot Head

Delhi choking on a political crisis?

Earlier this month, my family doctor sent me a curt message: “Air has become hazardous. Do not go for a walk in the park. Work from home.” I checked out the air quality index of Delhi and it was at 900 with very high particulate matter or PM. The air was murderous and there was no one, climate change deniers included, who was rubbishing these figures.

Déjà vu

NDTV’s promoter, Prannoy Roy, did not conceal his gratification at the solidarity expressed by media persons and several superannuated editors at the Press Club in New Delhi after his premises were raided. Most of the speakers reminisced about the dark days when Indira Gandhi declared an internal emergency and smothered the press. In the reckoning of these worthies, the country was sliding inexorably towards similar media darkness and it was a matter of time before some kind of emergency – in the name of terrorism – is imposed once again.

Bad times

It really cannot get more bizarre. The day US President Donald Trump ordered his bombers to drop the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB) on the impoverished district of Nangarhar in Afghanistan to smoke out the Islamic State (IS), there was perceptible glee amongst many of those who have no qualms in recommending firing of machine guns at Kashmiri stone pelters.

Swept under the Carpet

On January 11 this year, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy dismissed the public interest litigation by Common Cause that demanded the constitution of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to look into what is now known as ‘Birla-Sahara papers’. These papers contain an assorted set of spreadsheets, emails, diaries and notebooks that provide detailed accounts of the payments made to people holding public offices. This is perhaps the first case in which allegations of kickbacks have been made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Reporting in a post-truth world

Ever since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, those aligned with his ideology have been openly derisive of journalists they say oppose the BJP. All kinds of invectives have been hurled at journalists, including the coinage of “presstitutes”. Journalists’ credibility was damaged methodically by alleging lack of objectivity in their writing.