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  Opinion   Oped  07 Jan 2017  The Nation gets its voice back

The Nation gets its voice back

Irreverent, provocative, opinionated... Shobhaa De has been challenging status quo for four decades... and is at her best when she punctures inflated egoes. Readers can send feedback to
Published : Jan 7, 2017, 7:05 am IST
Updated : Jan 7, 2017, 7:18 am IST

The Nation will do its homework thoroughly before slamming someone who knows better.

The Nation will not cow down before authority and indulge in double-speak.
 The Nation will not cow down before authority and indulge in double-speak.

The nation is a strange creature. It is emphatically saying it does not want to know what happened to its chief spokesperson. In fact, the nation really doesn’t give a damn. The nation is frankly most relieved! No more noise! And since the Nation has recently reclaimed its identity and voice, it is keen to address the highly opinionated, argumentative citizens of India directly.

After conducting an extensive survey, this is what citizens expect from the Nation: Remember the rules of a good address — it must be short. It must be relevant. It must be polite. And above all, it must be credible. Your time begins now. Shusssh everyone! No interruptions. No interjections. No bullying. We have had enough of that. And we are enjoying much needed quiet at 9 pm.

Over to you, Nation...
Mitroooooonnnn... main aap sab ka Nation bol raha hoon. Let me start by assuring all of you that you can sleep well tonight — and every night. Because, take it from me, we are not going to war with Pakistan tomorrow morning. Not even day after tomorrow. And the next surgical strike will not be flogged on prime time news, like it’s a Sylvester Stallone war film trailer. Henceforth, you will not find those poor, retired generals from our neighbouring country, coming on the show night after night to be abused and verbally whipped. No more bristling moustaches and injured voices ruining dinner. No more apoplectic fits and hyper-outrage, either.

Of course, the Nation will remain fiercely nationalistic — that’s the Nation’s job. But citizens with a different point of view will not be mocked, berated, shouted down and abused.

There won’t be slanging/screaming matches, either. And guests will be treated like guests, with respect and patience. Meaning, they will be allowed to open their mouths. Some of them can also foot their feet in.

The Nation will be far more judicious while forming a debating panel by inviting guests with known credentials in place of drunk, out-of-job, C-grade actors holding forth on anything and everything. That also holds for vacuous wannabes spouting bilge about high-profile personalities they have perhaps, spotted at an airport, but claim to be friends with.

The Nation will not demand the resignations of Cabinet ministers within 24 hours, nor insist on dismissing governors/chief ministers/cricket captains from the studio itself.

The Nation will not keep repeating the same old lines and falsely claiming “exclusives” when at least 50 other channels are airing the same footage at exactly the same time. The Nation will be professional, fair and transparent and insist on full disclosure at all times.

The Nation shall refrain from floating wildly imaginative stories and passing them off as journalistic coups. Cross-checking of facts will be mandatory.

The Nation will not speak in many tongues and confuse viewers. It will not hound someone without proof. And it will not praise someone without reason.

The Nation will definitely not preach or pontificate. Nor take the high moral ground and humiliate those not in agreement with a particular theory.

The Nation will not bark at, gesticulate, intimidate and threaten those who can’t hit back. It’s not all that tough to conduct a civil discourse... specially if you have been to the right school and college where basic good manners are taught.

The Nation promises not to sensationalise crime stories featuring famous people and passing judgments before the trial begins.

The Nation will refrain from waving sheaves of papers at the camera while bellowing, “Here’s the proof!” when nobody can read what’s printed on those papers — are they from the neighbourhood raddiwalla?

When all logical arguments fail, the Nation will call in genuine experts to explain a crisis and not go on and on repeating silly lines like, “Where was your conscience that night?”

The Nation will do its homework thoroughly before slamming someone who knows better. The Nation will not cow down before authority and indulge in double-speak.

Above all, the Nation will respect viewers — credit them with intelligence, knowledge and basic decency. Talking down to anybody is a sign of low self-esteem, not superior brains.

The Nation will determinedly stay away from solving murders, scams, scandals on camera, and within a single hour, tempting though such an option definitely is. Cracking conspiracies and exposing evil empires is best left to professionals.

The Nation will stay steadfastly true to the inspiring idea of India... without trivialising the issue in a juvenile, propagandist way.

Finally, the Nation wants to bid goodbye to noise masquerading as news — the gloves are off... and so are the ear plugs.

The Nation has found its independent voice again. And citizens can’t thank the Nation enough for restoring sanity to the airwaves. The topic is trending... hold on to your seats while the Nation takes off after being forcibly grounded for years.

Phew! The Nation is safe! Now... only God can save the Republic.

Tags: sylvester stallone, cabinet ministers