Ranjona Banerji: Chai-biskoot Patrakars?!

25 Sep,2020

By Ranjona Banerji

 

For years, journalists of a certain type were known as the derogatory “jholawallahs”. That is, they were probably leftie, did not own the cars of the time, as in Ambassadors and Fiats, were paid peanuts and carried around cloth shoulder bags. When I was in college in Calcutta in the early 1980s, this jhola was a style symbol. In the larger world of journalism, being a spineless brainless corporate stooge who took dictation from the owner instead of being a journalist had not yet acquired social acceptance or massive fame back then.

And in India then and India now, being offered tea and biscuits, or “chai-biskoot” was and is a social convention and a sign of courtesy and hospitality. Let us not forget that Narendra Modi pushed his spurious origins as a “chaiwallah”, a tea seller, a child labourer, to reach his dizzying heights as Prime Minister of India.

Is it then fair that a TV person from Republic TV, an integral part of Modi’s enormous media fan club, should dismiss journalists covering the same insane media circus as him, “chai-biskoot patrakars”? In fact, this is a supreme insult to Modi the way I see it. Although to be honest I have not read any Bal Narendra comics on the “biskoot” part of his fictional life. This is mainly because I was so caught up in the other part of his fictional life where he grappled with crocodiles as a toddler. And from whom he learnt that fine art of weeping fake tears when anyone gets destroyed or dies thanks to his third-rate policies.

But to get back to tea and biscuits. And aside from the huge insult that Republic TV has handed out to their greatest idol. What sort of a “patrakar” ie journalist would Republic TV prefer? “Journalists” like them? Most of whom do not practice any known form of journalism, even when you have raked through our insalubrious history of the ambulance-chasing gutter press? If you like anything fancier than chai and biskoot, like first flush Darjeeling and shortbread or god forbid, wine and cheese (sorry, sorry forgive me for mentioning those) you will be condemned as a Khan Market Liberal. This is a category of human which is set below cockroaches in the world of Modi Toady Media Pretenders.

But here’s a very big dilemma for Republic TV employees. If you are against evil leftie commie pinko cloth bag carriers. If you are against journalists who drink tea and biscuits to get through their long working days in the heat and dust of India. If you are against better paid journalists who eat cheese and drink wine at Khan Market. If you are against better off journalists who prefer coffee and croissants at places outside the national capital region (yes, these places do exist). If you are against everyone that is presumably not you, what are you?

It is evident to anyone who watches your channel that you are not patrakars or journalists or reporters. It is also evident that your channel employs no editors of any known description. The scum you put out is very obviously unfiltered. Your boss forgot what little he understood of journalism long before he quit Times Now and started Republic TV.

As you brew concoctions of human blood and misery and present it as “journalism” on Republic TV, an enormous sense of nostalgia has hit me for a life of tea and biscuits. At heart I’m still a jholawallah though. Time to renew that pledge.

As for the disdain directed at Prime Minister Modi for this tea barb, expect a good spanking on your botties soon! Vengeance is mine, said the lord, remember???

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She writes on MxMIndia every Tuesday and Thursday. Her views here are personal. She can be reached at @ranjona

 

 

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