Television or Voyeur?
Ranjitha   It has been a fairly good time for women all round the world. Being the 100th International Woman’s Day, this March 8th witnessed the celebration of womanhood in various forms. True to their nature, women are seen scaling greater heights not only in their chosen fields but also in those they are pushed into. Be that domestic or professional, they ascend with élan.

In Kollywood’s entertainment business, new age women directors like Priya, Nandini, Madhumitha are trailblazing leaving behind a new “Sunset Boulevard” while the likes of Nanditha Das up North, never fail to impress their audience, be it with their flamboyance or with their sheer creative sweat. Farah Khan is mothering her triplets with as consummate ease as she calls “start/camera/action” at the sets. And what more, in Hollywood, Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman director to bag an Oscar for the Best Director for “Hurt Locker”.

Women politicians, regardless of the party they belong to

are partying hard on their victory in passing of bill towards 33% reservation in parliament for the fairer and the stronger sex. This is the national political scenario!

And now, this piece of writing is not about singing Hosannas of women empowerment and triumphs but to point at an appalling and condemnable act of the media especially visuals on an actor called Ranjitha for her alleged association with a Godman. She has been systematically stripped and ripped apart while the doyens of modesty were trying to expose the samiyar. Her personal dignity is completely shattered. Everyone who had access to any form of media became an adept voyeur viewing the video, quenching their carnal thirst. The private television channels went berserk showing the same footage incessantly. ‘This part of the program was sponsored by” was the only link missing (or did they have that too?) and shamefully there were also active promos.

What is nebulous in this issue is - who ever gave the right to these self proclaimed sentinels and guardians of societal values to pass a moral dogma on women? Even if Ranjitha were to be involved in any kind of activity, it is she, and singularly so, that decides what she wants to do with her life for the simple fact that it is her life, and no one else’s. Simply put, she is not answerable to any one except herself. If she is in a committed relationship, perhaps this is an issue of concern to her partner (on an extended level). In such a premise, the acts of television channels are unpardonable and beyond the realms of decency.

In our country when there is a censor board for films, certain type of check point for television programs becomes mandatory (especially under such circumstances) as well as this has the lethal potency to slither into our drawing rooms to the many vulnerable minds. At an age of information explosion, the world of internet has also brought in some kind of expurgation in the recent release of a music video involving Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Of course its efficacy is still debatable but a step forward indeed.

Be it an earthquake or an act of terrorism or as lame an act as a morning stroll by a celebrity, the event attracts the television channels which go into a feverish frenzy attempting to cover it competing with the others in the race for the maddening TRPs. At the end of the day, TRPs rule. As a powerful medium which can make a massive impact on society (both ways), is there not a social responsibility up their sleeve, but never dropped when demanded? Let us introspect!

Global warming which appeared to be several light years away has actually knocked at our doors and there are very many real and pertinent issues that seriously threaten the every day existence of mankind that needs the attention and intervention of powerful media. Unfortunately, their creative energy appears to be squandered in filming the bedroom antics of (in) famous people.

There is a huge responsibility in every one of us to leave behind a better place for our next generations. Let us in the least, try to put the right baby foot forward, towards the reachable, as also follow the ‘live and let live’ maxim for the betterment of one and all. Let us direct our ‘Chi’ flow positively!

Long live freedom of expression!

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