Friday, October 22, 2010

Media Triumphs

Image from Google Archive
It was yet another day at School for me, when I had reached as usual on-time, carrying a huge bundle of books on my back and a small lunch box with water bottle in my hand. Tonnes of stuffs to a small mind and grams of food for a big stomach - controversy begins! But, wasn't too long it was proved not a usual normal day and we were Let-Off from School (hurray!!). All the way long back Home, I could only see burning tyres, shuttered down shops, taken off-the-road vehicles, police men replacing general public creating an absolute social nervousness around. I walk in the midst of these, gulping sips of water from the bottle to reach safe; on 6th December 1992.

Kar Sevaks had done a lot more than what they were expected to do in Ayodhya, they had demolished Babri Masjid. It was estimated that there were about 1,50,000 people in the 'purely' political rally that day and their 'courageous' act in Ayodhya had resulted in successful riots across the Country killing many innocent people (of both Communities) along with significant damage to public and private properties all over. It was 'said', that the organizing Leaders at place were unable to stop Kar Sevakas from performing their 'Seva'.

'I trusted them'; was all what the then Prime Minister of India P. V. Narasimha Rao had to say! Nothing much could be done by the Supreme Court, although it had assured that the disputed structure wouldn't be harmed and announced for a peaceful movement. Ten days later, on 16th December 1992, The Liberhan Commission of Inquiry was set up by the Government of India to investigate the 'act of destroying Babri Masjid'. This one-man Commission was to submit its report within three months, but it managed to embark itself as the longest running commission in the Indian history, which was granted extension 48 times before it submitted the report on 30th June 2009 following a delay of 17 years.

On 30th September 2010, it was a tough call for the Lucknow bench of Allahabad Court to deliver its verdict on the Ram Temple-Babri Masjid Title Suit. With a strong 6th Dec 1992 background, every precaution was taken to maintain law and order in the Country. Some State Governments declared the Schools and Colleges to remain closed and Special Forces were deployed in place to take the situation under control. Lucknow bench of Allahabad Court was declared no-access zone while it delivered the verdict and the High Court of Allahabad website graphed the highest visitor traffic in anticipation of the verdict.

When the verdict was actually pronounced, the pressure of the communal blood didn't record the expected hike. Though tight security and precautionary measures seemed to be the key factors, there were a lot more reasons behind. To me, the important role 'Media' had to play in this situation was as crucial as any other security steps taken by the Government; because with all the advanced Technologies in Communication, it is now possible to see Live pictures and updates from across the world right at the convenience of our fingertip.

It wasn't so easy a task for the Media covering this issue. Having picked the pulse of the people from their experiences in the past, NEWS Agencies of all forms acted aptly matured enough and did everything to educate the public of the issue and verdict. The way they sank deep in to the extent of basic English Grammar, to mention and impress upon the point that 'words used may convey different meaning given the context of the verdict' impressed me a lot. They did their possible best not to misinterpret the verdict, not to analyze the issue in a way that might hurt the sentiments of any Community and also played a key role in taking the situation of law and order under control.

If we can consider the way public and communal parties have reacted calm to the verdict on Ram Temple-Babri Masjid Title Suit as the victory of Judicature under the Constitution of India and intern consider it the success of Democracy at its best; I personally feel a majority of this credit is to be owed to the Media alone.


  1. @Prashanth

    Nice post...

    I would recommend you to read the following:
    It's Siddharth Vardarajan's (journalist at The Hindu) blog post on the Ayodhya verdict

  2. Thanks Deepa :o)

    I did read the post your referred. Appropriate analysis with lots of debate in the comment section. Overall, very interesting read. Thanks for the referral.

  3. @Prashanth

    Yeah...the comments are many and diverse. It's interesting to read people's responses : )

  4. True Deepa. If everyone thought the same way, life on earth would have been much more miserable :o)

  5. @Prashanth
    Ha ha!
    Very true.
    Cheers to that thought : )

  6. Hi Prashanth,

    Just a thought. I believe behaviour of media in this case was not by choice but due to restrictions imposed by government. Believe government had given some clear instructions to media. Even mobile operators were instructed to ban mass messaging service.

    "MATTER HUNGER" media would not have thought of behaving so sensibly!!!

  7. Sudhir, you are absolutely right :o)

    I also heard that the Government had banned any sort of Live Panel Discussion on this issue; which, most of the News Channels couldn't keep away from. But still, it was very impressive the way 'media' handled it all.


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