By Kamlesh Tripathi
A majority of party spokes persons still don’t believe in this age old, but popular Hindi song– “Yeh jo public hai, woh sab janti hai.”
Most, party spokes persons, who appear in prime time TV debates in various reputed channels need to realise. That the Indian viewer has matured far beyond than what, they can even think of. And, heart to heart they hate this growing wisdom of the Indian public. As it makes their job even more difficult. Which is quite apparent while you watch these prime time debates.
For today’s matured TV viewer can clearly make out when the party spokesperson is lying or trying to defend the indefensible by blindly following the party whip. And, that he or she has walked in, with the solemn pledge- to defend the party at all costs. Where, one can glaringly make out on the screen, whenever they try to abide by those intermittent instructions that keep trickling into their mobiles in staccato bursts. Basis, the intensity of the debate and who is weighing more. Through those frequent text messages or Whats-App, when each time their eyes dip below, to read those crisp instructions.
The debates on TV have become more issue based than mere political pragmatism. Generally, trying to open each other’s ‘dhoti’ to score a brownie point just to stay ahead. As this is what competition teaches you, and politics is no different, even when it has strange bedfellows. And for the political rhetoric, that surfaces on TV screens blatantly, from the studios. It should be considered as mere gap fillers, something like a comma or even a full stop. Often the panel comprises of spokes persons from BJP, Congress, AAP, SP, BSP, Akali- Dal, Janata Dal, Janata Dal United, TMC, NC, PDP, NCP, CPI, CPM, AIDMK and the DMK, to name a few. They jostle to capture sound bites. The competition is mostly between political parties on one end. And journalists, lawyers, individuals- in-question or any other luminary from any other field on the other end. All of them trying to score a point, over the other.
Most spokes persons are, boastfully well-to-do, apparently affluent, refreshingly articulate, and from the front ranks of political India. Who, while performing in these vibrant debates, quite often amalgamate a concoction of lies just to defend their party, come what may. But cannot hide the disconnect between their pumping hearts, mindful minds, guilty eyes and tethering tongues. And at times even their wavering hands and fingers, while confronting the camera. For, in a heated and not ready to give-in debate when the tongue tells a lie your eyes naturally look down, is when the heart sags, the throat chokes, the mind beeps and the hands and fingers balance between the heart and the mind. In all of this I guess the conscience is left behind, quite intentionally at a place where you can’t readily find. This irritates the viewers which the party should realise. In fact the party would gain more by accepting its mistakes if any, than by stupidly arguing about it as it is only human to err. One must not forget you have a new generation viewership now.
So, then why is it that no spokesperson can ever accept his party’s mistake openly on a TV debate? Perhaps, because, you require guts to do that. But then one must realise, by accepting mistakes you raise the bar of integrity. Recently, a new phenomenon has come alive. That is, to block co-panelists in debates from talking, by talking over them. I have seen this happening quite often in recent times. The latest was when I saw the other day in Timesnow. When Arnab Goswami was debating the AAP debacle. The official party spokesperson of AAP, Preeti Menon was not allowing her own party M.P. to speak. Preeti Menon must be thinking. She is doing a great job for her party, by not letting her own party MP speak, just because he was critical of his own party. But in such cases the viewpoint of the viewers is quite different. She looked and sounded quite shallow and frivolous while doing so. As truth crosses all human boundaries. For make no mistake you can’t scuttle the truth by merely talking over it or by blocking it on a TV debate. Because, a truth is a truth is a truth. Much closer to the viewer’s heart than one can even imagine.