Ranjona Banerji: Why I love Arnab Goswami. Really!

27 Jul,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


Kudos must be given to Times Now for its drive to expose the little acts of callousness in India. These are problems which are so commonplace that they are overlooked, not just by the media but by the general public as well, perhaps even by NGOs. The death of a five-day-old baby girl in a Jalandhar hospital because her parents could not pay Rs 200 for a life-support system made it to Arnab Goswami’s News Hour. Just as a reference point, the story is on page 11 of the Mumbai edition of The Times of India – and made it there only because of television.


Goswami dignified the death of the girl by cross-examining the doctors – and rejecting all their excuses. He and his guests discussed the callousness of the system, a Supreme Court ruling that bans taking money for life-support from poor people and asked whether the baby would have been treated differently if it was a boy.


Goswami is right when he says that it is these little problems which have to be solved if our society is to be sensitised.


TV continued with its campaign against crimes against women as all channels highlighted the plight of a woman in Kolkata who struggled to file a rape complaint even though she was bleeding profusely and a girl in Bangalore thrown off a train by molesters.




Even TV has realised that the Anna Hazare movement has run out of steam and merrily had discussions on it. I would venture to offer “Team Anna” some advice: if it took up the issues of the “little people” it might find greater resonance than its current policy of going after big sharks. In our everyday lives, it is the callous hospital staff, the indifferent police constable who hurt as the most. Let Team Anna follow the path that Goswami has forged for them.


Sudden thought: Can you imagine what would happen if Arnab Goswami and Aamir Khan joined forces? Wow!




Of course, one’s love for television cannot go too far. The discussions on the Assam problem have been largely unsatisfying except perhaps for Karan Thapar’s Last Word on CNNIBN, if only because his guests did not have hysterics and screaming fits. It makes a life a little easier if you can understand what everyone is saying. The Jerry Springer version of TV gets tedious after some time.




The completely pointless discussions on Narendra Modi’s “hang me if I’m guilty” interview to Urdu weekly Nai Duniya were the other ear-sore. Modi, who likes to be in the news, manages to provoke some TV air time and create the same amount of sound and fury. The same guests every time on every channel on opposite ends of the political drama saying the same things as last time have become a yawn. The highlight on Thursday was apparently Teesta Setalwad walking out of the discussion on Times Now and walking back. This is hearsay evidence because I never saw it but was informed by people who did and by Twitter.




Chaos in the social media universe on Thursday incidentally as GTalk and then Twitter collapsed. How on earth did we manage before Twitter everyone asked when it came back. Indeed.




The “Greatest Show on Earth” begins. More on that next week. Happy viewing.


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