Articulate, suave and not afraid to speak her mind, author and columnist, Shobhaa De, clearly hogged the limelight at Model United Nations, a conference at Strawberry Public School, Sector 26, on Sunday.
Talking about media trials, and journalists fighting over their authority on viewers, De responded to a variety of questions on issues that concerns the country. On how to draw a line between righteousness and self-righteousness from a writer’s ambit, De said, “Well, who is self-righteous is something even ‘the nation wants to know’.”
She added, “Their (journalists) job is to comment and report in an objective manner, not to decide who should go to jail or not. Merely screaming on a bunch of people in studio does not make you an authority on any issue.”
Commenting on ‘yellow journalism’, she said, “In a democracy, it could be red, green, blue or pink or anything other colour of journalism. If you don’t like it…don’t read. You could always settle for the black and white.”
She also lauded the social media for democratising everything, though she added “truth is the victim here.”
‘DIVERSITY BIGGEST STRENGTH, WEAKNESS’
Maintaining her earlier stance on tolerance and intolerance, she said “we’ve always been an intolerant nation, and continue to be so”.
“But, to say that we are living in the most intolerant times is just a catch phrase. What is rising is awareness than intolerance. So let’s say we are more aware than intolerant.”
Asking the audience, especially young students, she urged them to bring about neutrality over anything else in building global policies. “Diversity is our biggest strength — and the weakness too.”
‘UDTA PUNJAB’ MEANT TO OPEN PUNJAB’S EYES
Answering a question on actor Salman Khan-starrer movie Sultan’s revenue bypassing that of the movie ‘Udta Punjab’, she said the success of a film can’t be determined from its revenue. Taking a jibe at Salman, she said, “He must be a blessed person, a superstar, who gets away with many acts…”
She added ‘Udta Punjab’ was meant to open Punjab’s eyes than silencing the state.
“In Punjab, it is being reported, one person each of 67% families has lost his/her life due to drugs. So, it’s is important to see how many people are affected due to the film,” added De.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT PRESENT GENERATION
She said that her generation’s effort towards building a better future fell short, but she has “a sense of tremendous optimism” in the present one, regardless of challenges it might have to face. “Showing a high level of engagement with young minds to propel them forward is a requisite for building a better world.”
Choosing to speak on the elite, and the ‘pseudo liberal’, as she put it in her inimitable style, she said being born into a wealthy family merely means that one has good fortune to escape the indignities that have befallen the underprivileged.
The writer finished by saying that “one should use the power we have been gifted with to provide the downtrodden with a better future”.
Also present on the occasion was Dr IC Pathak, former president of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. Dr Pathak gave away prizes to the delegates.