Anil Thakraney: 1984’s real tragedy

05 Nov,2012

By Anil Thakraney


I was too young in 1984 to fully comprehend the injustice that happened in this country after PM Indira Gandhi was gunned down. I have just two distinct memories. One, that Mrs Gandhi died on the eve of my birthday, thus sending my party plans for a toss (unforgivable, I say!). I sat at home and sulked all day. Two, that good ol’ DD took its sweet time to announce Mrs G’s death. The puppet channel was obviously waiting for a nod from the Congress netas.


The massive anti-Sikh riots that followed will always be the biggest blot on this nation’s history. Makes our heads hang in shame. The bigger tragedy, of course, is that the criminals were not prosecuted, in fact, they weren’t even caught. Just like the Gujarat riots of 2002, it’s hard to believe that the State had no direct role to play in the carnage. And DD did in 1984 what it does best: Be the mouthpiece of the government.


It’s appalling to watch so many Sikhs demanding justice even 28 years later! Long after many of the family members of the victims, and the culprits, are dead and gone. What can be more embarrassing for a nation? Which then brings me to the point: The saddest thing about 1984 is that there was no private news channel at the time. Because of which, unlike in the case of the Gujarat riots, most of the rioting wasn’t caught on film. And this helped the goons escape very easily.


Many of us have issues with the way our news channels go about their business, and I regularly pick holes in their modus operandi. Sure, a lot of improvement needs to be made in their functioning. But 1984 is a poignant reminder of the very important role they play in this fractured nation. I am quite certain that had there been private television at the time, a number of the Sikh killers would be behind bars today, even if the government of the day had come to their aid.


Just for the memories and the wrongs of 1984, just this one time, I am happy to overlook all their foibles. Am glad that our often hysterical, rabble-rousing and judgmental news channels are busy in this nation. The aam janata badly needs them. Perhaps they are their only hope for justice.




PS: Air New Zealand has taken in-flight entertainment to a new level. They’ve totally sexed up the boring air safety announcement video. And it’s a smart promotional move by the makers of the upcoming flick, The Hobbit, which is all about elves, gnomes and dwarfs. Good one! Over to our very thakela Air India.


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