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History takes a beating on news channels

Jaswant singh’s claim is that Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for India’s partition. Plenty of TV viewers may have never read a history book in their lives; they may even take what Singh is saying seriously, writes Poonam Saxena.

tv Updated: Aug 28, 2009 22:45 IST
Poonam Saxena

The BJP has spread like a rash over all the news channels. First we had Jaswant Singh lecturing the country on each and every channel (where did he get his accent from? Couldn’t be Barmer for sure). His claim is that Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for India’s Partition.

It’s difficult to take such absurd and historically inaccurate claims seriously. Why on earth can’t news channels get a proper historian to interview him?

On the other hand, who would want to listen to Singh’s bizarre interpretation of history, specially if it’s delivered in a voice that sounds like a foghorn?

I am reminded of what a man (who shall go unnamed) in charge of insidious propaganda once said — if you repeat a lie often enough, people start believing it’s the truth.

Plenty of TV viewers may have never read a history book in their lives; they may even take what Singh is saying seriously. Can a real historian please set the record straight on TV?

After Jaswant Singh, it was the turn of Brajesh Mishra. He may not have an accent, but he certainly has a propensity to talk through clenched teeth.

Since he too, like Jaswant Singh, was busy giving interviews on every single channel, I was mystified as to why CNN-IBN chose to flash ‘Exclusive!’ when their interview was on.

On NDTV 24X7, Mishraji was lit so eerily that every time he gesticulated, giant shadows flitted all over his face. The end result was not very encouraging.

Now, even as I write this, an RSS press conference is being telecast on all channels. Thankfully, no one is flashing the word ‘Exclusive’ on their screens. (By the way, why do so many of these RSS-BJP-wallahs have a thing about walrus moustaches?)

I saw the final episode of India’s Got Talent (Colors) and enjoyed most of the acts. But clearly, though there were quite a few strong contenders (I liked the hip hop dancers from Mumbai very much), the Prince Dance Troupe was the best and deserved to win.

This is one show where the judges actually brought some value add to the programme, whether it was Shekhar Kapur’s emotional breakdowns, Kirron Kher’s earthy, flamboyant manner or Sonali Bendre’s more delicately delivered but firm comments.

Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao (Sony) is also inching towards the end. The show is in its last week and the contestants seem determined to fight with each other all the way to the finishing line.

Half the conversations are beeped out so you have no idea what anyone is saying to anyone else, except that they’re all very angry/hurt with each other. The late night uncut version has even more beeps (if that were possible!); and several extended shots of bikini-clad bathing beauties.

Talking of bikini-clad beauties, I saw possibly the most boring programme I have seen in a long, long time — the Miss Universe contest (Star World). Maybe male viewers loved it (for the question-answer session, what else?) but somehow I doubt it. Mostly because even the most ardent males would tire of seeing nothing else but women with identical bodies and plastic smiles walk up and down the ramp for hours.

And finally. Just like the BJP has spread all over the channels like a rash, suddenly Salman Khan is also everywhere, giving long interviews and talking at length about Shah Rukh Khan.

Why doesn’t Salman stick to talking about Salman?