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Why I wouldn’t ever wanna be a journalist!

June 15, 2015

For the simple reason: I wouldn’t wanna sell my soul for a few annas. And a name. Its not that I have not had freelance offers. Here and from abroad. I can hope to see my words in print media if I wish to. I have said a big ‘no’ – not only because I know my limitations, also because I have some mixed feelings about making money from writing from my heart. Besides, to me this is pastime nothing more. An escape. Family comes first. And if I have to get back to work someday, it shall be proper banking or other such concerns, never this line.

Yes, believe me mediocrity sells! But I have not posted my kitchen recipes anywhere either.

I have no good words to say about our politicians. Naturally. I expect scum and I reserve my respects for a very few for obvious reasons.

Whether doctors or engineers or lawyers, some do indulge in malpractice as we know to make a quick buck. Doctors ask for unwanted tests, engineers compromise quality standards and lawyers defend criminals. Not all of them barring a few. By and large, these are revered tribes.

Even the blue-collar workers sometimes may be wanting in many respects – with least commitment, ingratitude, etc.

Most shocking of all the prejudices/sins I guess is that which is committed by the so-called journalists or media persons. You only have to scroll down to catch these scribes red-handed playing their double games:

For instance I was spooked when it was reported in a section how ‘Sanskrit’ came to India fromt the west and how the Hindu population is increasing in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in recent years. World knows the truth. While the immigrant workforce comprising hindus could have increased in Saudi, it cannot come to represent actual increase in our population in the arab state. How misleading such a headline could be. News Scoops and screeching bylines to halt readers in track and sensationalize fabricated sophisticated lies, pedaling them routinely to further whose cause?

Pseudo-secularism is the scourge of Indian media today. ‘Paid Media’ is fashion.

I wondered what must be prompting some journos to cross the lines of ethics and push for ‘untruths’ to be tabled as facts & figures: it can only be for the benefit of being published by foreign press and for being given the free pass to attend literary fests overseas, what else. Such a shame.

Some friends abroad have been suggesting to me to write for a few publishing houses there on local desi social issues but now I am doubly certain, why I should not do that. This is one profession you have to compromise on your ethics and what all you believe in, which I cannot oblige. I don’t want to keep reading non-fictions and recycle someone else’s ideas as mine. Plagiarism is well known in the print world.

Many of us remain unaware of our own potential. I have read my friends’ kids works – advanced for their age. You never realize how capable the young are of such a quality output. For their age they have read more & better books, heard a variety of music & watched a spectrum of pictures and are familiar with the art scene. They are tech-savvy the way you & I can never ever be. They are into trends,  sports, hobbies. adventure anything you might name – including dabbling in political, business & philosophical & ideological thinking. They are the future, we belong in the past already.The young are like a breather in an otherwise boring world of jingoistic journalism. Their perspective is fresh. Most of all they do not have ‘agenda’ on anything – they are ‘free’ thinkers and writers. But none of them is into journalistic pursuits. Literary field is not something their heart is after. Makes me happy to realize what a balanced generation India is producing these days. Call themselves ‘agnostic’ over ‘atheist. And they are opting for the tougher life: going for masters & Phds and a challenging careers ahead. May be this is what makes them the unselfish writers. Working professionals who are journalists invariably are acutely self-conscious of their personality which is their greatest handicap. After a point, their ego seems to dwarf them sadly.

I strongly believe in that, those with scientific background can make ethical journalists than those who have nontechnical backgrounds. A scientific temperament in a writer helps. Political Science & Sociology for instance and even Economics can make you sound vague and justify untenable ideas. Because these are not STEM sciences – rather a gist of presumptions & assumptions. The former (of the STEM discipline) can ascertain and seek facts which comes to them by logic while the latter are used to gross appropriations without convictions. The louder these guys argue, they think they are delivering better.

In the media you can see those who shame life saving professionals, hardworking entrepreneurs etc are our regular journalist-sleuths who lecture on scruples or the lack of it, never having to sweat it out in the sun for 30 minutes of any of their working days. Mudslinging is so easy! You can get away because the profession of journalism offers you the immunity. Forget it, this is payback time.

A software professional, a doctor, a judge, an engineer, a clerk, a teacher and yes even a housewife can hope to become a writer. Can a full-time writer become any of these? World is brimming with a wide range of writers – of every cadre, every genre you can ever imagine. What gives the journos the idea that they are a species.

I have also seen the calibre of those like Sujatha, the Tamil novelist, engineer by profession, who transcended various stages of his writing career, embarking with social themes, carving a niche with his science fictions in the literary world and then finally scripting for Tamil pictures that were box-office super-hits. All this happened in the ’80s for your information. His growth and transformation was stunning. The way he evolved is the way all aspiring journos must grow – if you ask me. All along, he never forgot his social responsibility. He was a careful, considerate writer. By the way ‘Sujatha’ happens to be his pen name – that of his wife’s. His name is Rangarajan. Ultimate respect a man can show a woman/his partner.

In journalism, once you take sides – left or right, you have compromised your ethos permanently. Neutrality is next to impossible with journalists. Which is why these guys lack the honour & dignity associated with other professionals. None of the rest need to go or act against their conscience but journos do not bat their eyelids twice before thinking about compromising their values.

Amateur bloggers like me are not writing anything for money. We are not into character assassination. We don’t malign anyone’s life or personality. We are not growing at the expense of others’ dignity, stamping on their self-respect. I would hate to do that to anyone.

I am not looking for a publisher, I am recording what my heart tells me here in a private space. Every now & then I apologize because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s sentiments even inadvertently. 

How many of the so-called hi-profile journos would be open to a dissection of their own lives by the media or third parties.

Unless we are willing to offer ourselves and our personal lives to postmortem by others, in my humble opinion, we have no moral rights to criticize others. Personal attacks are of the worst nature. It is true public figures can be discussed in open fora still there must be a limit of decency – an unwritten code we all have to adhere to.

If everything is free for all, then we need no laws to abide by in a civilized society. We can all play our games.

Best selling authors are different. Any fiction writer is exempt. They are weaving fantasies not making a life out of others’ miseries and misfortunes.

Not everyone wants to be you – media guys. You must know whatever you write you are baring your soul only for currency notes. I don’t have to do that. That sets me free. Don’t over-estimate yourselves and stay humble. We are all getting old and familiarly boring too quick – gennext is taking over already.

Kindness is a language the deaf can hear, the blind can see – Mark Twain.

I shall not let anyone walk over my mind with their dirty feet – Mahatma Gandhi.

Licence to write does not mean licence to misrepresent, licence to get highhanded.

Once upon a time the world had some gentle writers. Gentlemen columnists. There was D Anjaneyalu (DA) – ‘Know your English’ column writer for ‘The Hindu’ near my area in my growing-up years. Still remember him.  He was not into politics but he was known for his politeness in the neighbourhood. Long after he is gone, even now when I rarely pass through his old house, I remember the decent soul. I thought I should mention this. A generation grew up looking forward to read him up every week so avidly – now we have fond memories only. Teaching English, correcting our language without disrespecting or making fun of anyone.

And who can be a better example than Cho Ramaswamy. He published the poltiical Tamil fortnightly ‘Tuqlaq’ and I have watched his tamil stage plays as a kid. He has also acted in good no. of old Tamil pictures. A renowned satirist known for his double-meaning sarcasms long before it became fashionable, he reigned supreme in ’60s and ’70s and ’80s but now maintains a low profile. A kingmaker. His intelligent speak has won grudging admirers throughout Tamil diaspora in entire world. Yet I have not heard him offend anyone personally. Even to his worst adversaries, he retains respect and never touches their dignity. This is why I respect him most.

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