Patna, (Bihar Times):Do you want to know why Lalu Yadav––along with spouse Rabri Devi––managed to survive for 15 years. One of the reasons is that he got a very critical, if not hostile, Press. And do you also want to know why Nitish Kumar had to face so strong people’s anger against his own bureaucrats in all the places where he went during the first-leg (January 19-24, 2009) of his Vikas Yatra (Development March). The answer is that he got too friendly Press. And if Nitish Kumar, really wants to strengthen democracy and fight corruption, which he and many of his friends now confess is the greatest problem, he must keep the friendly journalists away from him. They are his biggest enemies and would let him down.
The media hype in the first half of Rajiv Gandhi’s five-year rule in the mid-1980s led to his downfall. The Bofors issue cancelled out whatever good image the media created in the first three years of his rule, in which he certainly took some good steps. It is the propaganda machinery of 2004, which ensured the defeat of the NDA in 2004. The whole Feel Good and Shining India backfired. Yet a set of politicians have not learnt the lesson that the media is a double-edged weapon. Friendship with it is really dangerous.
The media has projected such an image of Bihar in the last three years that Nitish Kumar could never realize that there is so much corruption in bureaucracy and Panchayati Raj institutions, the two pillars on which he rely so much. The Press was busy painting the rosy picture of development and not allowing any negative news or even discussion to appear on the plea that it would tarnish the image of the state and the present government. When the truth is that the media is the watch-dog of democracy and journalists are paid for being unbiased in their assessment.
The bureaucracy is not going to give any feedback on the feeling of the common mass. Nor does the intelligence machinery objectively inform the government about its fault. It is the media, which is supposed to play the role of mirror, and show whatever is happening, good or bad. And if it is not doing so it is doing the greatest disservice to the government in power.
Today what is happening. Some months back a premier national daily, quoting a survey, gave an eight-column first page coverage to the news-item that the state has registered 16 per cent growth rate in the last financial year. However, when several senior economists and an article on two websites questioned this fantastic figure of so much growth when the state witnessed 24 per cent fall in the farm production that same year the newspaper did not have even the courage to publish the clarification.
A senior journalist of another premier national daily never gets tired of writing adjectives like beaming, smiling, jovial, confident etc before writing the name of the chief minister. He, like many scribes accompanying the chief minister, not only conveniently ignored the news on the lathi-charge during the Janata Darbar in West Champaran on January 20, he went on to write that so many people had turned out in support of Nitish Kumar. The truth is that there was nothing like support or oppose; the people were there with their problems. These are the people who are going to harm Nitish and not allowing the reality to appear.
Even during the 2007 and 2008 floods the Press first tried to underplay the news. It was more than a week later that the last year’s flood could get national coverage. This delay cost the state dearly and the initial days help from national and international agencies could not come. The highest casualty took place in those early few days.
Everyone knows that corruption in Bihar has increased manifold. That is simply because the funds from both the Centre and state have increased. Unlike in the past the Centre has pumped huge amount of money and has launched many schemes in the last four years––from National Rural Health Mission to National Rural Employement Guarantee Scheme to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Total Sanitation. At the grass-root level the mukhiyas have become the withdrawing authority and there is rampant loot all over the state. Dozens of mukhiyas were killed in the first-phase of the appointment of para-teachers, yet an overwhelming number of mediapersons chose to look the other way round.
In such a situation when the chief minister hits the road he is bound to be taken aback by the fury of the people against his own bureaucrats. At one place even the carcade of the state mining minister, Ram Chandra Sahni, who was following the chief minister, was attacked in East Champaran. Six jawans of the SAP were injured.
Thus notwithstanding the noble intention of the chief minister, who often takes criticism in a good spirit the whole exercise got diluted by few media person.
However, through his Vikas Yatra the chief minister is at least learning how much Vikas (development) the pockets of his bureaucrats and the mukhiyas have made. When on the New Year’s eve Nitish announced that he would be embarking on the Vikas Yatra he might have never realized that this exercise would go a long way to provide the opposition an opportunity to make corruption an election issue and that too so close to the parliamentary election.
* (The author is a Patna-based freelance journalist.)
Well what difference actually Nitish Kumar has made can be gauged from the fact that you don't see CM's relatives junket occupying all the plum positions in government that we have gotten so used to during Laloo. Rabri devi with all due respect is not fit enough to be peon of secretariat but thanks to neptism we have had her as CM. Her level of boorishness and ignorance gonce again ot underlined with the language she has been using during election campaign. Does anybody even know who are Nitish Kumar's relatives? Answer is resounding no.
If you really want to see change go to Bihar change is obvious everywhere. My brtoher works in parliament house. Story their doing the round is Laloo, Paaswan quipped , "Nitish Itana kama kar diya hai ki ham akele lareneg to garda chhoda dega." Very fact that you see sworn enemy embracing each other to fight against Nitish tells you all about Nitish Kumar's work. Forget media management, people are smarter than any of us give them credit for. Nitish is getitng high billing because he is an honest hard-working man and result is visible on the ground.
Few word of caution for those who go on why cornucopia has not been brought to Bihar. Please try to understand rut of 60 years can;t be wished away swiftly withtin few years. destrustion is easy construction takes time. Give nitish time. Please for heaven's sake stop raising bogeys of secularism communalilsm. That bogey hasa done enough damage to India in general and Bihar in particular. There is no communal agenda in development and BJP is much committed to development as JD(u).
Those who bled Bihar dry suddenly have started talking about development btu anyone who has lilved in biahr during Laloo years where if you car got snatched then u had to visit Cm house to recover it would tell you we are living today in relative heaven if you compare to the Laloo and Congress raj.
So thank heavens for what if you have got and strgthen Nitish Kumar's hands.
During Laloo Yadav's regime, especially during the end, media was as critical to Laloo as possible. As soon as Nitish Kumar took over, everything was projected orderly by the media.
Administration consist of bureaucrats as well, not just politicians. Question is - is it conceivable to have so sudden turnaround of the administration? Laloo Yadav's exemplary record as railway minister and dramatic turnaround should not leave anyone in doubt. I haven't heard from anyone how so incompetent Laloo, as chief minister, turned out to be so competent as railway minister?
There is something terribly wrong with the media.
You article is another piece of poor journalism from Bihari Journalists.
Let me remind you that Mr Lalu has a chalisa written on him which is a testimony of his friendly media.
And his victories in elections in Bihar raises the basic question on foundations of democracy...that should polls be the right medium to elect governments in a state which has high literacy and where caste/religion comes before development of the state which electing governments.
I am yet to come acroos a single editorial/oped on this topic from Bihari journalists
Just to refresh your memories...
Lalu won because of MY (Muslim Yadav combination) votes.
Media and other machineries never existed in his 15 years of rule
I have seen many articles wherein jornalists were kidnapped/beaten up when they went for reporting on corrupt criminals who happen to be our elected representatives ( eg A little less knowm magazine The Week and the journalist was Mr Paras Nath)
Today people of the state expect journalists to raise their standard and write articles with true spirit and above their personal caste/creeed/religion/class politics
Know the facts and figures correctly before drawing your own fancy conclusions
And if you know them and still you are writing such articles then my humble appeal to you is that rise above your corrupt thought process to gain respect on similar lines as elite work class you represent
Saroor Ahmad's article is full of wisdom and would do a lot of good to those it is aimed at, should they be prepared to listen to the sage counsel.power is a heady brew and it is not unusual for people to lose control of their better sense and judgement under its influence.the wholesom advice given by the poet Abdur Rahim Khankhana 'that it is worth a world of trouble to keep your critic close by your side .It purifies your conduct without the help of soap and water' holds good for all time.Goswami Tulsidas another revered poet of the indian tradition has warned the king to beware of sweet talking secretary ,doctor and guru. Their flattery is bound to ruin your kingdom , body and dharma. the media has a very important role to play in any democratic society, as the social conscience of their age they have to present the truth as it is, without embellishment, without a care as to how would it affect the various interest groups.in a semi feudal,largely illiterate society they have the job of an educator to inform people ,to initiate a constructive debate , to create a socially useful climate of opinion.they also have to play an adversarial role where the opposition is too weak , corrupt or collusive.no one can deny that the government is keen to perform . no one doubts either the intention or the sincerity of the government ot deliver . but the buraucracy long used to rent seeking and flase reporting has to be kept on a very tight leash .it is here that a fair but unsparing media becomes a useful ally.Had they been doing their job properly the results would have been far more dramatic.
By eschewing flattery they would only help the cause of the government , the people and be true to their own profession.
I am agree with Mr Ahmed. But media must realise that they too have responsibility to People of Bihar, Therefore correct reporting is essential. At present there is rush amongst media, especilly electronic media ,is to sensitise the information for TRP of the channel.
There is likely to be a gap in the beauracrats' informations and the ground realities ,as they are only reading the files and letters in closed rooms. Therefore media becomes an important source of feedback for the leaders. Corruption in panchayat and taluka level will be rampant as the process of development has started after a long delayed period and funding has also improved. Corruption is like wetting the both banks of a river or channel where water is flowing. It rather indicates that process of development has stared.
Need of the time is flow of the correct information to the leader and checking the process where there are loopholes leading to corruption for keeping it at check.
I am agreeing with Mr. Soroor Ahmed’s point of view on media role. What Vikas Yatra is being launched by Shri Nitish Kumar is appreciated, but it would be better if Shri Nitish Jee would name it Vikas Assessment Yatra. Being an NRI from the state of Bihar, we are much hopeful to see my state developed like other states under the leadership of Shri Nitish Jee. Unfortunately, I have been seeing most of our politicians are not interested in development works. The funds of MLAs and MPs are only used as gift to their loyalists. I had experienced since my childhood the repair works of road around my locality is not done honestly. Every year funds are looted by so-called contractors and Block Officers. A new form of corruption has increased since 2001 in form of monopoly of Mukhyas, as most of them are illiterate but have right to appoint teachers on the basis of bribes. A number of Murkh teachers can bee seen everywhere in Bihar School. I don’t know how we can achieve the progress in this situation.
As far as media’s role is concerned, it should bring to the people reality of those people’s grievances to the government and what they are continuously facing problems due to dishonest beurocrates and should inform politicians of their negative and positives functions. If media plays a role in awakening the people towards their responsibilities for checking corruptions, then we will be in position of eliminating corruptions from the state.
However Mr. Nitish Kumar Yatra is good steps towards making people feel there is not gap between government and public.
I pray to Allah for development and prosperity of our state and Country.
Md. Imdad Alam
Riyadh - KSA
Referring to Soroor Ahmed's article, I am not surprised to read the details given by him. Had Bihar Administration from my career launch time (i.e. 1990 onwards) sincere, honest and trustworthy, I was working in my home state only instead of being in Muscat, Oman. This is a mere example. The amount of corruption is right from low level (Peon to Bureacrat), as personally observed by me when I was required Attestation of my certificate from an IAS officer. When I insisted that please attest my certificate based on original proof, he categorically told me that "WHETHER HE IS MY FATHER'S SERVANT". I politely replied, Sir you are not my father's servant, but servant of Govt. of Bihar. He got very upset with my answer, but immediately attested the requirement documents, in order to avoid further embarassment. This is real scenario in Bihar and Jharkhand till date.
While I appreciate Nitish Babu's effort and he knows development is not an overnight game, rather it is a process which takes its own time if properly and sincerely implemented. Unless we Biharis unite and fight corruption, all-round development cannot be achieved in line with Haryana and other developed state.
Further, I am happy to see Nitish Babu on Vikas Yatra. To my knowledge, Nitish Babu just wanted to know a first hand experience on grass-root level and he succeeded. I do not remember Shri Laloo Yadav and his sucessor Shmt. Rabri Devi never gone to any villages or far flung area to see the people and their condition. At least, with limited resources Nitish Babu is trying hard to change the image of Bihar.
Kindly note Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has now confirmed that Bihar is no longer a BIMARU state, as development and investment starting coming to the State.
At last but not the least, the corruption can be eliminated only by the people and hence, government will do.
MOHAMMAD YASAR IMRAN