Well much like this good friend of mine whoz post lies beneath this one; its been guilt thats engulfed me for long--since the day i got an unusual and most unexpected invite to join this extraordinary and unique experience of 'community blogging'. Somehow had been procrastinating...but thankfully for myself and may not be so much for the others, found my calling today! It was driven by a few factors---of course Chitra having beaten me to writing her first blog is perhaps just one of them :-) Just happened to see this amazing movie 'Page 3' and it stirred up a thought process on something that i have been passionate about- Journalism. It made me think about the state of the press that we had in Pilani and whether at all it qualified to be called one.
May be there are members of the Pilani press on the blogspot here as well for whom i might be stirring a hornet's nest---but then, what the hell, isnt journalism all about freedom of expression? What i noticed in this blog is there are so many BITSians who actually are good with words, who have thought processes that lead to a sensible and impressive construction of sentences and there on...yet, how many of us bothered to ever contribute to the editions of an EPC or an HPC or CF for that matter? And then the inevitable always happens! The show must go on and hence a group of self appointed saviors of the language(from whichever linguistic community they might come!) hegemonize the goings-on and thereby make the group a closeted and dogmatic one. It then becomes a chain reaction where the 'masses' stay away because they feel its the exclusive rights of a priveleged few and the latter strengthen their hold citing the case of inevitability!
Its sad that most of the publications that were brought out were much like the Page 3 stories that this movie spoke about...they mainly covered which celebrities came to Pilani and sang, danced, jumped, hopped or skipped, measured the hemlines and their lengths of the LSR guests in BOSM, the uninhibited activities during OASIS(paparazzi press after all!), Valentine day messages and so on. Hindi press started coming out with these semester-publications where poetry of Mahadevi Varma and the like would be covered---not for once bothering to consider the fact that a majority of the 'target segment' would hardly know if Smt Varma was a poetess or their neighbour's grand aunt's neice's daughter-in-law! And a lot of Student money--(these came under the Union's purview after all) went into all this--so we couldnt even say, we care a damn about what trash our erudite friends publish.
The movie for example speaks about the need for co-existence--of serious journalism and Page 3 snippets. Thats anyday what a sensible press would do. How often did our press speak or probe into problems of Admissions and their skewed nature--though these were hot topics across dining tables in messes or late night laccha sessions in hostels? How many times did they give us insights into career prospects or tips on higher studies or resources we could tap for the same? How often did they give the Administration constructive feedback for improvement? Was the problem posed by monoculturization in Pilani ever discussed threadbare---not to my knowledge atleast. Isnt the press supposed to be the 'voice of the students'?Isnt it supposed to probe problems and issues, suggest remedies for the same----at the same time also carry interviews of Euphoria or an Aman Ayan ali bangash who might have come to campus and swept folks off their feet! The CF ofcourse did keep going through positive changes some years-depending on who the editor was and how sensible and sensitive he or she was; but the monthly/bi-monthly issues were still trash that used to get littered outside mess dustbins after dinner time!! The one time i remember the English press having done some really serious and truly commendable journalism was when they actually confronted the administration in the brutal way stray dogs used to be caught and killed on campus...it was a sight that would move the hardest of hearts; and you possibly cant cuddle up in a razai when a dog outside is howling for help, even as the blacksmiths employed to catch it, pulled it along the road like some aborginal hunt! Full marks and commendation to EPC on this one--something that shook the authorities and made them stop this barbaric practice. Now thatz what i call the power of the pen...The chief warden and the rest might be powerful souls, but a collective public opinion is something even they cant withstand and the onus of breeding and nurturing such opinions stems from the press....which was sadly conspicuous by its absence(atleast in the 6 long years i spent in the desert!)
All said and done, we all have our fair share of blame as i said for not having stepped in enough or participated with as much zeal as we could and should have, despite having the ability to...or people like me who tried tried tried, failed and decided to give up cos of other preoccupations. I just hope someone somehwere--especially the current batch of students who man the press in Pilani manages to read this post, continue not to hate me, take it as constructive criticism for their own improvement ( not reacting violently like some Cf editors chose to at times when criticized for a shoddy job!).
Well, too bad a topic i guess for a debut post... may be reminscing and glorifying the past and taking a trip down nostagia lane would have been a saner and politically more correct option...but just thought that was getting too very cliched and straight-jacket..when u get out of a place, all one can do is eulogize and feel that it was milk and honey that flowed there!!
As some wise man had said- I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody!!