Last week my maid asked why all the "madam log were not eating properly, or sleeping properly, why they were all only staring at the TV all day and all night?"
I try to explain, but she didn't understand why this attack was so upsetting. "Is some one close to you over there?"
I tell her what happened, and how many died at VT, the Policemen killed, and their jeep driven away by shooting terrorists, her eyes grow wide. "You saw it all on TV! Same time it happened (LIVE) ... All night! .... (laughing nervously) but didn't they shoot at the TV people, weren't they scared!?"
"I guess our TV people are brave ... you also must watch the News, not just serials ..."
"We only get Doordarshan didi, they showed us the complete funeral ceremony of Police walla bara sahab, on TV yesterday ... only that, and earlier the News at fixed hours, after it has all happened."
She does not even know the name of the ATS Chief, how brave he was, how he died, what it means ... Doordarshan is doing a great job!
And I realise how we have been taking the media so much for granted! I want to know what's happening, the uncensored truth and preferably as soon as possible.
I remember the night I had switched on the TV after an Earth Quake. It was a frightening experience to be vigorously shaken awake, and seeing it mentioned on CNN IBN had been reassuring.
I am thankful our brave and free media is out there, I am happy Barkha Dutt, Arnav Goswami, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vikram Chandra, Shireen Bhan ... and the rest of them were there, even if sometimes they did ask very insensitive questions. They let us see our Politicians for what they truly are - maybe sometimes, tinged with their own biases. But I am glad they are there, unafraid and free.
The Politicians HATE the media when it doesn't help them get votes. Like now.
They do not believe in, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your RIGHT to say it."
But I am very proud of our Fourth Pillar of Democracy.
Edited to add: It is very easy for DD to become the voice of the ruling government. DD can never be free media.