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ABHIJIT AND RAVISH

The award of the Nobel Prize for Economics to Abhijit Banerjee makes me happy that another India-born has bagged it. Beyond that there is no elation, although it’s amongst the highest honour bestowed on an individual, worldwide.

I am personally no admirer of people who trade their Indian passports for another country’s. You don’t change your mom for nickels. For people who say it is practical, I say, “so be it.” Grandmaster Anand, who has lived most of his adult life in Spain, has always played chess under the Indian flag. That’s why it never thrills me that Hargobind Khorana, S Chandrasekar, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan., won the prizes. I have no quarrels with their decision to migrate and acquired American citizenship.

But what hurts is how divided is our polity in the last few years. Piyush Goyal is a cerebral man despite his Einstein-discovered-gravity theory. He said the people of India have already rejected Banerjee. Proof: the Congress, which championed NYAY, ideated by the laureate, was routed in the election. Phew! To make left-handed compliments does not behove a man of his standing.

The right wing troll’s IT cells immediately went on overdrive on How to Get a Nobel. It indicated that the mantra is give up your passport, divorce your Indian wife, marry a foreigner, do anti-India propaganda (read not pay obeisance to Modi) and write on poverty. What puerile stuff! And this is the world’s highest award, in standing for over 100 years, with a rigorous selection process and not a Philip Kotler prize.

Look at the media’s priorities. When the economy is sinking it is focused on celebrating Howdy Modi, a funded event with a crowd of 50,000 NRIs who sold their Indian passports, now preaching patriotism and who will never return to India unless kicked out by Trump. And while the economy totters media debates are not on policies but on how Modi cleaned the beach.

To the point: we have lost our spine

Go a few months back and we saw something remarkably more shameful. India’s amazing news anchor, Ravish Kumar, the only one with what the Americans would call ‘balls,’ wins the Ramon Magsaysay Award, widely regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize. Instead of felicitating one amongst their fraternity for winning, almost all channels blacked out the news with the solitary exception of NDTV to which he belongs. The government, which has the time to tweet on every sundry event, could not pull the effort to felicitate the award-winning journalist. No paper bothered to cover it in detail.

To those who say I appear negative I should point out they were no less; in fact they were personally abusive of the Dr Singh government. I then naively thought that they were genuinely interested in India and hence were ventilating their anger. It is now that one realises that they were ventilating their anger not on the state of affairs, but on their inabi-lity to win. Remember, while Ravish spoke eloquently against the UPA in the 2009-14 era, men like Ravi Shankar Prasad used to itch to be at his show. In the 1970s the Indian Express stood as the vanguard of freedom. In the 1980s Gurumurthy and Shourie stood tall. Today Shourie is dubbed anti-national and Gurumurthy is a part of the problem.

Elsewhere Arvind Kejriwal gets invited to address a global mayoral meet. And sheer spite makes the government stop his opportunity to globally showcase what he has done in Delhi. Of course, the world doesn’t wait for morons. Kejriwal spoke courtesy video conferencing. Is this the healthy democracy, the sabka saath, sabka vikas? We only stumble from one slogan to another.

The media is moving in a direction of sycophancy where there is not even a kid to say that the Emperor has no clothes. The sad part of it is that this is not the India that I was either born or grew up in.

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