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February 25, 2012

तुम कहाँ हो तापसी!


[25-07-2013 को दैनिक जागरण, राष्ट्रीय संस्करण के स्थायी स्तम्भ 'फिर से' में प्रकाशित]

कहाँ हो आज तुम, तापसी मलिक? जहाँ भी हो, काश आज तुम देख पातीं उन मुखौटों के पीछे छुपा असली चेहरा जो तुम्हारे मृत शरीर को अपने अश्वमेध का घोड़ा बना सत्ता तक पंहुचे थे. फिर तुम्हे समझ आता कि मैली-कुचैली सी सूती साड़ी पहन तुम्हारा अपना होने का नाटक करने वाली उस मक्कार औरत का सच क्या है. यह भी कि उसकी सफ़ेद साड़ी के आँचल का लाल रंग रंगरेजों की मेहनत से नहीं बल्कि तुम्हारे खून से आता है.

काश, आज तुम यहाँ होती. फिर शायद बता पाती तुम उसे कि हमारे जैसे पितृसत्तात्मक समाजों में बलात्कार छिपाने की परम्परा रही है और किसी औरत को, किसी भी औरत को, बलात्कार के खिलाफ़ कानूनी लड़ाई शुरू करने में बलात्कार की पीड़ा से उबरने से भी ज्यादा ताकत और ज्यादा संबल की जरूरत होती है. पूछ पाती फिर तुम उससे कि पुलिसिया जांच के पहले ही इस ‘आरोप’ को उसकी सरकार को ‘अस्थिर करने की साजिश’ बताती हुई उस मुख्यमंत्री को क्या तुम याद आयी थीं? यह भी कि उसके बयान के चौबीस घंटे के भीतर ही पुलिस द्वारा पीड़िता के बयान को सच मान लेने पर उसे कोई शर्म आई भी थी या नहीं.

काश आज तुम यहाँ होतीं. फिर शायद यह पूछना आसान हो जाता कि सामूहिक बलात्कार की पीड़ा से अभी उबर भी नही पायी एक औरत के लिए ऐसे चारित्रिक लांक्षन का हमारे जैसे समाजों में क्या मतलब होता है. यह भी कि ‘क़ानून के शासन’ वाले एक ‘लोकतांत्रिक’ देश में आरोप तय करने का अधिकार पुलिस से छीन कर मुख्यमंत्रियों को कब से दे दिया गया है? शायद यह भी, कि राज्य की सरगना ही इस आरोप को झूठा बता रही हो तो हम निष्पक्ष जांच की, दोषियों को सजा की उम्मीद कैसे करें? तापसी, काश आज यहाँ तुम होतीं. फिर पूछ पाते हम सब उस मक्कार से कि आरोपी अगर उसके अपने हों, उसकी अपनी पार्टी के हों तो औरतें झूठी कैसे हो जातीं है और बलात्कार राजनीतिक साजिशों में कैसे बदल जाते हैं.

पर तापसी, उनसे कुछ मत पूछना जिन्होंने अपने लाल झंडे उस मक्कार के पांवों में कालीन की तरह बिछा दिए थे. वे, जो आसमान धरती पर उतार लाये थे तुम्हारे ऊपर हुए अत्याचार के खिलाफ़ और फिर बिहार चले गए थे. काश आज तुम होतीं, तब शायद देख पाती कि बिहार में उन्होंने तुम्हारे बलात्कारियों और हत्यारों के साथ ही ‘सीट-शेयरिंग’ की थी. फिर जनता को गठबंधन(अलायंस) और सीट-शेयरिंग का फर्क समझाते समझाते वह अपनी सारी सीटें गँवा बैठे थे. अब तो वे और आगे निकल आये हैं तापसी, और भी आगे. अब उन्हें अपने लाल झंडे विश्व हिन्दू परिषद के, आरएसएस के लोगों से भरे अन्ना के मंच के नीचे लहराना क्रान्ति की दिशा में बढ़ा कदम लगता है. उन्होंने अब तक कुछ नहीं बोला है इस मामले पर, उन दिनों से अलग जब वह सिर्फ पश्चिम बंगाल पर ही बोला करते थे.

अब उनसे क्या पूछोगी तापसी, जिनकी इस मसले पर चुप्पी एक मुकम्मिल बयान है. .

उनसे भी कुछ मत पूछना तापसी, जो पितृसत्ता की झंडाबरदार उस मक्कार औरत को पश्चिम बंगाल का मुख्यमंत्री बना देखना चाहते थे. उन्होंने तो कीमतें चुकानी शुरू भी कर दी हैं.. सिर्फ अपने जीदार कामरेडों की फर्जी मुठभेड़ों में ह्त्या नहीं, बल्कि हत्या के बाद उनके मृत शरीरों के साथ की गयी बर्बरता और अपमान के रूप में भी.. उनके साथ तो हमारी सहानुभूति बनती है, बावजूद उस अराजकता के जिसको वह इन्कलाब का रास्ता मान बैठे हैं.

अब तो जो भी सवाल बनते हैं इस मुल्क से बनते हैं. जैसे कि यह कि इस तरह के गैरजिम्मेदार बयान देकर भी ये हुक्मरान कैसे बच निकलते हैं? ‘क़ानून का शासन’ वाले दुनिया के किसी और देश में, किसी और जम्हूरियत में, इस तरह के बयानों को न केवल जांच को प्रभावित करने वाला माना जाता बल्कि आरोपी अपराधियों को फायदा पंहुचाते इन बयानों का आपराधिक संज्ञान लेकर दोषियों पर कार्यवाही भी की जाती. पर फिर लोकतंत्र होने और लोकतंत्र का दावा करने में फर्क तो होते ही हैं.

बहुत निर्मम लगेगा शायद यह सुनने में तापसी, पर फिर ऐसे लोकतंत्र में जीना शायद मर जाने से भी बदतर है. आखिर को हुक्मरानों में सिर्फ वह मक्कार औरत ही नहीं, छत्तीसगढ़ वाला वह निर्मम पुलिसिया भी तो है जो सोनी सूरी को धीरे धीरे जिबह करता है और वह राज्य सरकार भी जो उस पुलिसिये के शौर्य के लिए उसे सम्मानित करती है. होने को तो वह सुप्रीम कोर्ट भी है जो निर्मम टार्चर का जवाब मांगते हुए भी उस पुलिसिये को एक महीने का समय देती है.

पर फिर, काश आज तुम होतीं तापसी. सिर्फ जिन्दा भर रह जाने की जद्दोजहद में लगे हम तमाम लोग शायद तब इस मुल्क से ही कुछ कठिन सवाल पूछ पाते.

February 23, 2012

Porngate: From pleasing Gods to reinventing porn, BJP's unique contribution to democratic writ!

From my column Obviously Opaque in the UTS VOICE
, Feb16-29 2012 ]

How does one feel when people, ministers and legislators in this case, are caught watching porn inside assembly, that too when a session is in progress? How does one react to the fact that the phenomenon comes to be known as ‘porngate’ in the popular culture, right from news channels to the envied lands of twittereti?

Proud, I am sure, would be the answer for the ones belonging to the army of Lord Rama aka Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The party might actually be planning, albeit secretly, to honour them for the achievement, giving a hoot to the lesser mortals who can choose to feel whatever, from being disgusted to being amused.

After all, it has lagged behind those with far more unflattering claims on Indian history despite its near miraculous capacity of inventing one when there was none. Just think of this, the same party which could produce a temple out of a mosque, a terrorist out of a citizen and a cow more human than Dalits out of nowhere, did not have a gate worth its salt all this while. Shame, it did not have a gate in a country where everyone else had quite a few!

In fact, the obsessions with erecting a gate has been so deeply entrenched in the Indian psyche that one would find a gate even where there would be no roads leading to it. The ancients had their own, few of which have survived to our times. The obsession reached its zenith during the Moghul era. Suddenly, Hindustan, as India was known in those days, started having gates erected by them everywhere. Every Hindustani city worth its salt got a handful of these Darwajas, as gates were called then. Agra had a number of them, Delhi even more.

Better even, the gate culture was quite reciprocal. So if Delhi had a Lahore darwaja, Lahore returned the favour by having a Delhi darwaja. Similar was the case with Ajmer.The party with a difference must have been ashamed of itself for not having one Darwaja, or a gate, of its own when even Moghuls have! That too when it claimed to be the sole caretaker of Hindus, and asserting that its Hindus differed from those who lived in the Hindustan ruled by the Moghuls!

Then came the British and bingo, they too were caught by the bug. All that changed was the name. Darawajas, now known as Gates, sprang up in Bombay (sorry folks, would definitely have called it Mumbai if that goon was not thrusting the new name down our throats), Delhi and many other cities, big and small. Urban India of the times, however small it was, so hugely dominated by these gates that one could not avoid engaging with them, whether they segregated the colonial from the native or served as picnic spots for the nascent middle classes as was the case with Gateway of India in Bombay or India gate in Delhi. They were the entry points to the idea of India, ironically, even for the terrorists who ransacked Bombay almost a century later. I am not sure, though, if they would have had any time to stop and marvel both at the history and grandiose these gates incorporated within themselves.

Now, the party with a difference had always had an interesting relationship with the colonials. It was always at ease with them whether while abusing them along the idea of national shame or hobnobbing with them right from the days of Savarkar to Atal Bihari Vajpayee. They collaborated with them, gave evidences against the nationalists fighting them, turned approvers and yet, could talk of their ‘nationalist’ credentials. In fact, when they came to the power through an alliance called National Democratic Alliance (NDA), they created a new ministry named as Ministry for Disinvestment whose primary task was selling Indian resources out to the companies based in foreign shores. Now I understand the source of only unease they had against them, that unlike the British they had no gates of their own.

Faced with a dogged resistance offered by the nationalists (not one of which came from the ranks and files of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or the fountainhead from which BJP and its ilk emanate from), the British had to leave. They could not take their ‘gates’ with them though.

So the gates remained where they were. The situation made Indian National Congress (INC) the party that led, largely, the anti-colonial movement, very uncomfortable. It had to deal with the gates, the relics of the colonial era day in and day out. Yet, demolishing them was not much of an option for the gates also served as reminders of the sacrifices the newly independent nation had made to achieve freedom.(Also, the art of demolition, as a political tool, was later to be specialized by the BJP and its cohorts).

The Congress, therefore, chose the second best option available. It went on a spree of erecting gates and started calling them Dwars (the Sanskrit word for the gates). Further, they took the obsession to unimaginable levels. The Gates have started, now, encroaching into the countryside. Almost all Indian towns, big and small, urban and mofussil were flooded with gates bearing the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Pt Nehru and almost all other members of the dynasty, the political dynasty I mean. A few of them, like many other things named after the scions of the line, flummox logic out of our ordinary brains.

Just for an example, what contribution did late Sanjay Gandhi make to Indian polity or social life for deserving gates after gates, roads after roads and institutions after institutions getting named after him? He was instrumental in getting internal emergency imposed, the only rupture in otherwise functional, if deficient, democratic life of the country. But then, hardly anyone in his senses would consider that as a contribution!

Or maybe one can, for some people really believe that but for the terrible experiences of emergency, India could very well have gone Pakistan’s way of democracy and not dictatorship an aberration in the political life of the nation. Similar was the case with many others making one wonder if being the Prime Minister was a contribution in itself! Then came adorable Manmohan Singh and the debate was finally put to rest for the earlier ones used to make decisions and speak even if occasionally, proof enough for the fact that they did make contributions!

BJP tried but had none of that. Like their history, they had no gates of their own. In a situation like this the only way to redemption passed through a Gate, one that would not be corrupted by either the plurality or democratic ideals that define the aspirations of our people. They found one, finally, even if it was little unflatteringly named as Porngate! Have your India Gates, we have a Porngate of our own seemed to be the message that betrayed the grins BJP leadership found hard to conceal.

Only thing that the BJP leaders could have found as disturbing, though, was the source of the desperation of its legislators that made them watch it in the assembly hall and not administering it in streets on some hapless victims. They have had all the expertise, ranging from getting rigorous training in RSS Shakhas to put the training to use in Gujarat. They have had a dry run in Karnataka as well when an offshoot of theirs’ called Sri Ram Sene attacked pub-going women for corrupting Indian culture.

They were at fault then, but only in as much as that they had forgotten to tell the women beforehand that they could have come to the assembly and enjoy the same ‘privileges’ as these legislators! Also, the women seemed to have been enjoying drinks that were not compatible with the ethos of Indian culture unlike, apparently, the porn-deeply-entrenched-in-and-sensitive-to Indian culture these legislators were watching. Instead of getting commended for their loyalty to Indian culture they were, unfortunately, bombarded with pink panties getting sent to their homes under the umbrella of a pink chaddhi (panties) campaign! What shame!

The desperation might have seeped into the psyche of the legislators from another root as well. Those who know RSS closely know how it works and, in the process, torture its members. Just think of the plight of those in khaki knickers compelled to sit on the mats in front of ageing, balding and pot-bellied leaders in khaki knickers sitting on chairs.

Every single time one on the chair shifts, crosses his legs or even shift positions, the ones on the mat are subjected to ugliest kind of views, writing about which may not be unparliamentary but will certainly be disgusting. Those who have been subjected to such cruelty their entire adult lives, even if out of their own volition, would definitely be psychologically vulnerable to the lures of porn. You send pink panties to such desperate, sexually frustrated people and then find fault with them watching porn.

Instead of finding fault, therefore, with them one should empathize with them for surviving, or at least successfully concealing, the urge for this long. One could as well commend them, for when they did fall they chose to do it in the assembly and thus saving their homes from getting corrupted. The fault, in fact, lays with the media who violated their privacy and flashed their ‘private act’ on the television all over the country, so unbecoming of media ethics. Those responsible must immediately be booked with charges dealing with invasion of privacy, maybe even under the clauses of the official secret act, and be punished for at least demoralising further the privileges of the house.

Meanwhile, the legislators should be publicly facilitated for inventing culturally-acceptable pornography and thus saving our youth from falling prey to the West, Middle East (read in religious terms) and where not. Also, Shri Ram Sene can change its name to Shri Porn Sene, and establish outlets selling their brand of porn to the ‘needy’.Till then, let the BJP bask in the newfound glory of having its own gate.

February 03, 2012

On the Elephant Trail: Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh like none other


[From my column OBVIOUSLY OPAQUE in UTS VOICE,01-15 February, 2012]

Elephants are strange creatures. Stranger is their uncanny ability to subvert the common sense and make their presence felt. Think of them, jet black in colour, being considered as auspicious in a culture whose obsession with fairness is almost pathological. Think of them achieving the feat in a culture where anyone a shade darker than ‘pinkish white’ is taken to be ‘dark’.

The auspiciousness attributed to them is baffling to say the least. No worships are complete in most of the Hindu temples without them. No marriage ceremonies are worth their salt, if they have not been graced with the august presence of the elephants. Think of this again; in a superstitious culture where people avoid anything black even coming close to the sacred fire elephants often become the first hosts greeting the bridegroom’s procession! Interestingly, the respect they command is not confined to the relational and private realms of religion. The elephants find a place of pride even in the secular ceremonies. Watch the Republic Day parade if you have any doubts about the same. One of the biggest news about Republic Day parades of the recent past was the banning of elephants from participating for the fear of them going berserk.

They seem to have a particular penchant for entering people’s dream as well and bestowing them, and at times the whole community, with good fortunes. The legends recount how one of them, albeit white in colour, entered the dreams of a queen named Maya and bestowed her with an offspring after decades of yearning for a child of her own. Interestingly, while the ‘whiteness’ of the elephant of the myth stood in reverence to the Brahminical traditions and its grips on social life of the times, the blessed offspring did not. He ended up as, perhaps, the first and definitely the foremost rebel the subcontinent has ever produced. He shook the very foundations of the age-old scaffolds of caste that maintained the hierarchical system of graded inequalities, as Babasaheb Ambedkar was to term it millenniums later. That was the beginning of a dream, a dream of freedom, of emancipation, of equality. The dream, I concede, is yet not fulfilled but then having a dream is the first step towards turning it into reality, isn’t it?

Need I tell the name of that rebel, Gautam Buddha? Marvel at the capacities of elephants now and see how effortlessly they have entered the collective imagination of emancipation by associating themselves with the fable of his birth. Smart creatures they are!

The elephants are at it again. More than two millenniums later, they are entering, nay trespassing, into peoples’ dream. Amusingly, all the people they have chosen for doing so are big people known by a so desired abbreviation that has come to define post-colonial Indian nation. They are gracing only those who are VIPs, Very important Persons for the uninitiated, a category that is defined, again, by monosyllables followed by signs that denote the levels of security and aloofness these VIPs demand from the same people they claim to represent. So they are entering the dreams of people who enjoy Z plus, or Y or similar sounding security cordons and are forced to interact with the people only once in five years, willingly or unwillingly I am not certain about.

The elephants have changed a bit this time though. They do not remain as benevolent as they were earlier. They are not bestowing the dreamers with good fortune but instead are scaring life out of them. They seem to have ganged up in support of that woman all other VIPs seem to hate so much. She is alleged to be corrupt (as if others are not!), power hungry (as if others are not!) inefficient (as if others are not!), dictatorial and autocratic (as if others are not) and what not (as if others are not!). They have reasons, quite convincing ones, for the allegations. Just that the woman and her party are real late entrants to the scene.

She came riding on the elephant with her mentor and promised the Dalits a life with dignity. Actually she, or even her mentor, was not the first one to offer a life dignity to Dalits, the people condemned to live on the margins of the society since times immemorial. Many other people have fought and even sacrificed their lives for the same. Right from Buddha to Ambedkar, the list is endless. The list is not confined to charismatic and legendary leaders either! The story is the same on the ground, with countless people engaged in small battles of survival and dignity against the system that is inherently feudal and casteist.

The struggles have won glorious victories as well. The dignity promised to the Dalits and other marginalised people by the woman was not a dole but a right guaranteed by the constitution of the nation. The constitution has abolished untouchability and has assured them a life free from oppression. It has promised them protection against atrocities as well as equal access to the education, public sphere and everything that came with it. It has promised to make citizens out of people dehumanised by the use of sheer brute force. It has promised to restore their claim on the nation.

Nothing of this turned into reality for a long while. The promise remained buried in the book with the powers that may spurning them at will. Interestingly, almost all of the provinces that make Union of India were ruled by the same party whose crown prince has been promising to turn the tables and turn the ruined and dilapidated states going to polls into developed ones without even bothering to answer how the decay set in the first place. He is known for his sojourns into the villages tucked into nondescript lands and dining and staying in the houses of the Dalits without ever explaining how they continue to be Dalits despite sixty years of Indian independence.

The Yuvraj, or the crown prince, is particularly unhappy with the elephant. He has been thundering in rallies after rallies warning the people against the elephant in Lucknow that eats all that is sent from Delhi for the poor. The people listen to him and silently wonder about the fact that less than two decades ago, there was no elephant sitting in Lucknow and yet, there was someone who used to eat eighty six paisa out of every one rupee that was sent from Delhi! Clearly, the problem lies not with the elephant but something else, something that is far more entrenched in the system!

Similar are the woes of the party that has fashioned itself as the army of the Gods, the Hindu ones I mean. They too have a particular disliking for the woman and her elephant despite the long history of their association with her. They are angrier for their association was not merely political but had entered the private domain of familial relations. The woman with the elephant used to tie Rakhi, or the symbolic thread denoting the love of brother and sister, to several important leaders belonging to the saffron concern. And then, having come of age on her own she dumped them unceremoniously.

They could have taken that a bit easily had she stopped at that. But no, she went further and stole all the steam out of the engine that run their train of social engineering. She made her elephant unlearn all its earlier anger against the so called upper castes and converted it into Ganesh, the Hindu deity with the right to be worshipped first! Tell me, who would vote for Lord Rama and his temple when Lord Ganesha was on the side of the woman with the elephant?

The elephant, now, was not out in the street to trample its enemies; it has sobered down and was taking of fraternity and goodwill. The goodwill it focussed on was a calculated one targeting the Brahmins who have been out of power since long. The elephant had sensed into the long running animosity between the Brahmins and the Rajputs, the castes which have been engaged in a turf war of supremacy since god knows when, that is if he exists! Seeing that another master politico has built a formidable alliance of the Rajputs, Muslims and the other backward castes that left the Brahmins out into the cold, the elephant started wooing them. Rest, as they say, is history!

The elephant understood the fabric of the society like none else did. It realised pretty soon that the real issues that mattered in the elections were not about development, corruption or other such things. It understood that it can afford to be corrupt and ruthless as all its predecessors were, and going by the signs of times, will always be. It knew that all those people it has thrown off its back will be lapped up by those who were abusing them till the other day. It knew that all the allegations of corruption against it, which most probably are true, would not mean a thing as soon as any Babulal Kushwahas will be welcomed into rival camps. It might not have known, though, that the rival camps will go to the extent of calling themselves ‘sewage plants’ that clean up everything.

Neither did the elephant knew that even the Election Commission will come to its rescue by ordering all its statues, built on public land and by public money, to be covered up for it is the symbol of the ruling party in the province while leaving out all the hand pumps, lotus, cycles and the palms. The elephant had wronged many a people over last five years in the same way its predecessors did, by erecting statues and parks while ignoring real development. But then, even others have flooded the province with the statues of the chosen ones! They too were built on public land using public money and yet had escaped any orders of getting covered up!

The elephant could now act as the victim and so it is doing. It knows that in a culture where people are dehumanised, the first and foremost struggle centers around the question of dignity, of reclaiming human honour and nothing else. And it knows that the blame of dehumainsation rests not with it but the enemies. It knows that every single statue of its covered with a polythene bag will remind people all the historic wrongs committed on them. It will remind them of the structures, and people at the helm of those structures, that stole all their clothes and will end up helping the elephant. It will remind them of all other statues that stand. It will bring all the people who had strayed away back to the elephant’s fold.

The elephant is covered, long live the elephant that is even more visible now. Till then, let’s hope for a day when the question of dignity would finally be resolved so that real issues could come center stage!

February 02, 2012

आवारा ख़याल उर्फ एक दिन का मीडियानामा

इक ज़माने बाद आज हम थे, टीवी था और दिन भर को हासिल खलिहरई थी. खलिहरई बोले तो शहर इलाहाबाद का ईजाद किया हुआ वह लफ्ज़ जिसका दुनिया की किसी जुबान में तर्जुमा करना हिमालय पर येती ढूँढने जैसा मुश्किल काम है तो जिसे समझना इतना आसान जितना कि शहर इलाहाबाद की सड़कों/गलियों/कछारों में की गई लनतरानियाँ. अब लनतरानियों का मतलब हमसे न पूछियेगा, बस इतना समझ लीजिए कि खांटी इलाहाबादी, यानी कि हनुमान को भी लिटा देने पर बलि बलि जाने वाले बाशिंदों, के लिए लनतरानी वह शगल है जिसके सामने वह बौधिवृक्ष के नीचे बैठ ज्ञान पाने या सेब के पेड़ के नीचे बैठ गुरुत्वाकर्षण के सिद्धांत को ढूंढ निकालने जैसे कामों को ठेंगे पर रखा जा सकता है.

खैर, बात का लब्बोलुआब यह कि आज माबदौलत ने तय किया कि दिन भर कुछ ना करेंगे बस टीवी देखेंगे. बावजूद इसके कि हम ना कोई तीक्ष्ण मीडिया विश्लेषक हैं ना हमको टीवी के समाजशास्त्र, या राजनीतिक अर्थशास्त्र या किसी और शास्त्र या विज्ञान की विवेचना करने में कोई खास दिलचस्पी कभी रही है. हमने तो टीवी बस इसलिए चला दिया था कि हमारा कोई काम करने का दिल था नहीं और टीवी देखने को हमने कभी काम समझा नहीं. पर लीजिए जनाब. टीवी चलाने के पहले आधे घंटे में ही समझ आ गया कि यह तो बहुत बड़ा काम ठहरा. अरसे पहले कहीं कोई लेख पढ़ा था जिसके शीर्षक को हिन्दी में तब्दील करें तो बनेगा कि 'चैनल हजार और देखने को कुछ नहीं', आज वह लेख समझ भी आ गया. बस यह और कि उस लेख की प्रस्थापना में एक संशोधन पेश करना जरूरी बनता है. संशोधन यह कि देखने को भले कुछ नहीं हो, करने को बहुत कुछ है जैसे घड़ी घड़ी चैनल बदलना.

इसी जगह अगला संशोधन भी पेश है, कि इक जमाने बाद आज हम थे, टीवी था, खलिहरई थी और हांथो में रिमोट था. अब इस रिमोट को आप कोई हल्की चीज ना समझ लीजियेगा. मेरे और टीवी के बीच इसकी भूमिका वही थी जो भक्त और भगवान के बीच पुजारी की होती है. मुक्ति का रास्ता था यह रिमोट, स्वर्ग की सीधी सीढ़ी था यह रिमोट, नरक से बचने को टीवी और दर्शक के बीच की हॉटलाइन था यह रिमोट. समझ न रहें हो तो एकता कपूर के सीरियलों की बहुओं, देवरों साँसों और पतियों के बीच फंसे एक दर्शक की मनोस्तिथि से गुजरने की कोशिश करिये, हो सकता है कि मुझे आपका रिमोट कल आपके (अगर मुझसे उलट आप आस्तिक हैं तो) आपके पूजाघर में दिखाई दे और आप मुझे उसकी प्राणप्रतिष्ठा के लिए कोई पंडित ढूँढते हुए मिलें.

तो बस, अब हम थे टीवी था, खलिहरई थी और हांथो में रिमोट था. सिनेमा, लाइफस्टाइल, टेलीमार्केटिंग से भागकर न्यूज़ चैनल्स उर्फ इलेक्ट्रानिक मीडिया में शरण की संभावनाएं ढूंढ रहा एक दिमाग था. पर फिर लीजिए जनाब! यहाँ भी कामेडी सर्कस था, सास-बहुएं और साजिशें थीं. भारत-आस्ट्रेलिया क्रिकेट महायुद्ध था, धोनी के रिप्लेसमेंट में भारत देश की सभी समस्याओं का हल ढूंढते ऐंकर थे, चिल्लाते ज्यादा समझाते कम विश्लेषक थे और हद यह कि तमाम रूपों में मौजूद तमाम अर्नब गोस्वामी थे (खुदा खैर करे).

अब इसके बाद भी कुछ बचा हो तो कल के तमाम न्यूज चैनलों में मौजूद ये खबरें(?) थीं, विश्लेषण(??) थे. और उन्हें देख मन में उमड़-घुमड़ रहे आवारा ख़याल थे.

आज तक-- खास अन्ना हजारे के लिए की गयी फिल्म 'गली गली में चोर है' से वीना मालिक(याद है ना) का आइटम सांग 'एडिट' कर बाहर निकाल दिया गया था. (भाई, पूरे देश को 'मजा देने' की ख्वाहिश में आप एक आइटम सोंग डालते हैं और फिर अन्ना हजारे को उस 'मजे' से महरूम कर देते हैं. यह भी भ्रष्टाचार है, या शायद नहीं है क्योंकि अन्ना हजारे और उनके एनजीओ ने साल 2010 में 'पाकिस्तानी' कलाकारों की मौजूदगी वाले सीरियल्स/रियालिटी शोज़ के खिलाफ शिवसेना(भारत का सबसे धर्मनिरपेक्ष दल) के साथ प्रदर्शन किया था.

स्टार न्यूज़ कौन है फलक का गुनाहगार? दिल्ली सरकार की मंत्री किरण वालिया, सामजिक/जेंडर अधिकार कार्यकर्ता रंजना पाढ़ी और कुछ अन्य विशेषज्ञों के साथ आधे घंटे की वार्ता के बाद ऐंकर को बिलकुल ठीक समझ आ गया कि इस बच्ची के साथ हुए अत्याचार के मसले में गुनाहगार समाज है(बावजूद इस सच के पूरी वार्ता में किसी विशेषज्ञ को 'पितृसत्ता' शब्द याद नहीं आया). जैसे कि दहेज/सती/भंवरी/शाहबानो/मेहर/तलाक़/पर्दा/घूंघट/मथुरा जैसे मामले कभी हुए ही न हों. जैसे यह 'ब्रेकिंग न्यूज' हो जो स्टार न्यूज़ ने आज के आज 'ब्रेक' की हो. हद यह कि बच्ची और उसको अस्पताल लाने वाली बच्ची के लिए संवेदना जताते हुए भी ऐंकर साहिबा का अंदाज 'गौर से पहचान लीजिए ये चेहरा मार्का सनसनी'टाइप ही था.

इंडिया न्यूज़(इस चैनल का जिक्र करने के लिए माफी चाहता हूँ पर क्या करूँ कि इसका भी 'रजिस्ट्रेशन' न्यूज़ वाली 'कैटेगरी' में ही है, मनोरंजन/फिल्म/ज्ञान आदि में नहीं)- महिलाओं के लिए अब दिल्ली मेट्रो भी सुरक्षित नहीं. 'छेड़छाड़' (जीजा-साली या देवर-भाभी मार्का) को लेकर स्टेशन पर हुई जमके मारपीट. (यौन हमला, यौन हिंसा, जेंडर अत्याचार जैसे शब्द अगली सदी में प्रयोग करेंगें, अभी तो बस सामान्य चुहलबाजी दर्शाने वाला शब्द छेड़छाड़ ही ठीक है, क्या हुआ कि एक पूरा स्टेशन इस 'छेड़छाड़' की भेंट चढ़ गया.)

एनडीटीवी इंडिया- शराब बैरन पोंटी चड्ढा के ठिकानों पर छापे. नोएडा के उनके माल से मिली एक तिजोरी से बरामद हुए 125 करोड़ रूपये. मायावती के करीबी हैं चड्ढा. छापों के पीछे राजनीति की रणनीति की गुंजाइश. (जैसे कि इनकम टैक्स विभाग ने गलती कि उत्तर प्रदेश चुनावों के दौरान छापा मारकर. जैसे कि उत्तर प्रदेश के हर ठेके पर शराब की हर बोतल पर अधिकतम मूल्य(MRP) से 10 रुपये से 100 रुपये तक ज्यादा लिया जाना ठीक हो. जैसे कि कांग्रेस सरकार की गलती इन छापों में हुई देरी न होकर इनका समय हो. जैसे कि भूख से हजारों लोगों के रोज मर जाने वाले देश में 125 करोड़ एक तिजोरी में मिलना सामान्य सी बात हो. जैसे कि जानते न हों कि उद्योगपति किसी पार्टी/नेता के सगे नहीं होते, जैसे कि जानते ही न हों कि यही चड्ढा साहब पिछली सरकार के समय मुलायम सिंह यादव के बहुत करीबी थे.)

खबरें और भी थीं जैसे कि बाघ और बाघिन के बीच में आ गया है कोई और, जैसे कामेडी सर्कस में आज बनी कॉफी, कैसे बनी कॉफी, किसने बनायी कॉफी जैसी. इन गंभीर खबरों के बीच जयपुर में सलमान-शेम के बाद कोलकाता में तस्लीमा लज्जा जैसी 'अगंभीर' खबरों का फुटनोटिया अंदाज में जिक्र था.

हाँ, अब हम थे, टीवी था, रिमोट था पर न खलिहरई बची थी न लनतरानियाँ करने की ख्वाहिशें. बस यह ख़याल था कि खबरें ऐसी हों तो काटजू साहब के नाम का 'काट' वाला हिस्सा आम जनता को प्यारा लग ही सकता है.