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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014
Possibly the strongest relationship on earth
Renuka Narayanan, Hindustan Times
October 27, 2013
First Published: 01:26 IST(27/10/2013)
Last Updated: 01:28 IST(27/10/2013)

According to a news report this week, there are as many as seven TV serials on air or under process based on works of Indian fiction. Some of these stories were written a hundred years ago but their content, with a few creative updates, is found to be both relevant and interesting today.

The impact of a good strong story is also upheld as the reason why religious texts became and remain influential across the world.

It's interesting though that whereas many earlier works of fiction were apparently the outcome of writerly imagination, a number of novels today, including some famous ones, are based on news reports, on the work of journalists. Differently from the popular practice of olden days, fact is noticeably rewired as fiction and wins advances, awards and accolades.

Yet, there is that palpable feeling that the profession of journalism is not always given its due by academics, administrators and those with professional degrees, as though their jobs are more foundational to the race.

Is it not correct however that many tenets and rules of the law spring from religion, which itself springs from story - call it journalism or fiction, according to your view - from the fact that 'once upon a time' somebody or the other said "It happened this way…"?

Communities, societies and nations, the quotidian lives of millions and the politics of any number of countries are based on and governed by what those long-ago journalists, writers, editors, compilers, translators and pamphleteers put out in their time into the public domain.

Almost all other professions are the mop-up operations thereafter or related to lifestyle purveyance. As we speak, profound myths of far-reaching consequence are being constructed and de-constructed through story - and yet sections of society, in manner quite like the 'Smug Marrieds' of Bridget Jones's diary, tend to curl their lip at 'media' while doing everything they can to validate their causes or affirm/defend themselves through it.

Nobody with a speck of sense will deny the need to sift the 'good' and the 'bad' from the plain irresponsible in media coverage - certainly not the reporter coming in to file from winkling information out of or about the generally unaccountable (despite RTI) and the often unbearable (neta/celebrity).

But, "A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself," as American writer Arthur Miller (1915-2005) said, which resounds with the clinical truth that the bond between teller and hearer is what entire societies are built on and operate by.


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