Wikileaks or “Cablegate”: Thoughts in perspective

The latest Wikileaks or CableGate  revelations have left very few parts of the globe untouched.

The sheer volume of the dispatches leaked (made by American diplomats and members of their diplomatic corps) makes comment inevitable and at the same time nigh impossible.

The media storm raised here in India is about how the US has heaped scorn on India’s preparedness for launching a quick assault on Pakistan. The code-named “Cold Start” policy is a non-starter according to the (ugly) American.

I do not wish to comment on what India’s response should be.

What I would like to suggest is that we should be rational ,reasoned and measured in our approach to the stories that have surfaced and will surface over the next few days. If Wikileaks believe that their only motive was transparency, then they have to be disabused of that notion. This attempt of theirs smacks of bravado, fool-hardiness and an attempt to prove their credibility by discrediting their opponents. Yes, for some reason, America-bashing appears to be their favourite pastime. Not that it hasn’t been so everywhere else, but then that’s the kind of knee-jerk reaction Big Brother evokes.

India should not be unaware of this; whether we like it or not, we are a regional Big Brother to our South Asian neighbours. A lovable, cuddly one we would like to believe but to be truthful, there is no such thing in international politics.

Wikileaks  can be useful to provoke thought , more significantly thought translated into action. But everything should be taken with a pinch of salt!

We should be aware that cables by their nature are reactionary and informal. They are not reports air-brushed and put before one’s superiors after thorough analysis and fact-checking. They are spur-of-the-moment, coloured,shaped and hued by personalities, quirks and proximity  to significant events and persons. It is easy to be overwhelmed by calamity or catastrophe, even personal ones. No person is immune to being human.Would you like your private opinions and thoughts broadcast to members of the general public? How do you think that will make you appear?

Would you rather have the Americans and others (including India) rely on satellites and technology alone for intelligence gathering?

“A diplomat is a person who lies abroad for his country”. This statement makes no mention of lying to one’s nation, does it?

My life is my message.

Mahatma Gandhi


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The Censoring of “Big Boss”: Rakhi Sawant, nobody’s sister!

Censorship in Indian television broadcasting is back and how!

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has decided to unveil its Puritan ways.

Big Boss IV of Colors fame has been relegated to the 11 pm to 5 am slot.

It seems Rakhi Sawant’s “vulgar language” on her show “Rakhi Ka Insaaf”  too has dissuaded the powers-that-be from considering her as a nice sister who will knot ‘rakhis’ on their heavy hands.

I haven’t actually caught any episodes of either reality shows (not that I had earlier!). Last night’s “Bossy” affair had giant muscle-bound Khali playing bully-boy but wonder of wonders, the bullied weren’t intimidated! In the background, the ‘bleep, bleep’ of censored language conveyed the heated state of the participants.

Throw in a few strangers with giant egos in an artificial pressure-cooker environment ,forced participation and deliberate aggravation ;the producers believed that it would provide mass entertainment.

Come on! Give me and our much-maligned audiences a break! Once the novelty wore out, the participants were soon exposed to be the 15-minutes-of-fame seeking mini-celebrities they were.

Do we really wish to ape the West  in everything we do? Not all American shows translate well and Big Boss—based on Big Brother— is one of them.

The shifting of Big Boss to the wee hours of the night is probably the best thing to happen to Indian television in recent times. Do we really wish to suffer through foul language—bleeped out as it may be— and non-acting on prime time? I think not! Give me fiction any time! Need I harp on this?

You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.

Mahatma Gandhi


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