मुंशी प्रेमचंद की पहली विदर्भ यात्रा

मैं और मुंशी प्रेमचंद जेट एयरवेज़ की फ्लाइट में सवार दिल्ली से नागपुर जा रहे थे । विदर्भ की राजधानी नागपुर । बहुत मुश्किल से प्रेमचंद को लमही से निकाला था । इसके लिए पहली बार अमर सिंह से पैरवी की ताकि बनारस एयरपोर्ट पर सहारा का विमान प्रेमचंद का इंतज़ार करे । सैंत्रो कार में बैठे प्रेमचंद गुस्साते रहे । मुझे लमही में रहने दो । कहां ले जा रहे हो । मुझे अब किसी किसान से नहीं मिलना है । मुंशी जी आप नहीं मिलेंगे तो कौन मिलेगा- मैं कहता रहता और गाड़ी तेजी से भगा रहा था । तभी विदर्भ से सुप्रिया शर्मा और योगेश पवार का एसएमएस आता है । इज़ मुंशी कमिंग टू विदर्भा ? मेरा छोटा सा जवाब- या...फाइनली । सहारा का विमान दिल्ली उतरता है । और मुंशी प्रेमचंद और मैं विदर्भ के लिए उड़ जाते हैं ।

जहाज़ में मुंशी प्रेमचंद को विंडो सीट पर बैठा कर मैं उन्हें नीचे देखने के लिए कहता हूं । देखिये तो मुंशी जी किसान नहीं दिखते हैं । जाने कैसे आपको हर वक्त किसान दिखता रहा । देखिये जहाज़ के नीचे ऊंची इमारतें और मॉल उड़ रहे हैं । किसान नहीं दिखता है । मेरे कहते ही प्रेमचंद भड़क गए । मैंने कहा था न कि मैं अब किसानों को नहीं देखना चाहता । एक तुम हो और एक हंस निकाल निकाल कर मुझे बार बार घसीटने वाले राजेंद्र यादव । मैं जहाज़ से कूद जाऊंगा । मैंने कहा सारी सर । सुप्रिया और योगेश से मिलना ही होगा । उनसे मिलकर आपका गुस्सा भी शांत होगा और अहसास भी । वे एनडीटीवी के अंग्रेजी चैनल के बेहतरीन संवाददाता हैं । उनके साथ कुछ बड़े घर की बेटियां हैं । जिनके बाप किसान होने के स्वाभिमान के कारण अपना ही गला घोंट गए । और वो अपना स्वाभिमान मुंबई के देहबाज़ार में बेच रही हैं । मुंशी जी आपकी वजह से । और आप मुझे लानत देते हैं । किसने दिया किसानों को झूठा स्वाभिमान । क्यों लिखा आपने किसान कर्ज में पैदा होता है और कर्ज में मरता है । मुंशी जी मेरे बटुए में दस क्रेडिट कार्ड है । तगादे वाले फोन करते हैं तो सुप्रीम कोर्ट का फरमान सुना देता हूं । कि तुम वसूली के लिए मुझसे ज़बरदस्ती नहीं कर सकते । उपोभक्ता अधिकार है मेरा । मैंने तो आत्महत्या नहीं की । दुनिया जानती है । विमान का टिकट भी क्रेडिट कार्ड से लिया है । तो स्वाभिमान के नाम पर दोनों मर जाएं । कूद जाएं विमान से । ये मरजाद क्या होता मुंशी जी ? किसानों का मरजाद ? आपको विदर्भ जाना होगा । यू हैव टू गेट इन देअर । सुप्रिया इज़ वेटिंग विद गर्ल्स ।

नागपुर एयरपोर्ट । संजय तिवारी, सुप्रिया शर्मा और योगेश पवार । वेलकम मुंशी जी । हमने आपके बारे में बहुत सुना है । तभी सुप्रिया कहती है- सर आई हैव रेड यू । प्रेमचंद अपनी टोपी संभालते हैं और सुप्रिया से कहते हैं- क्यों द लास ऑफ इनहेरिटेंस नहीं पढ़ा तुमने । किरण कितना अच्छा लिखती है । योगेश कहता है वो मेरी फेवरेट है । मगर हम सीधे गांव जाना चाहते हैं । कुछ बड़े घर की बेटियां इंतज़ार कर रही हैं ।

योगेश रोने लगते है । सर ये सच्ची कहानी है । जिन किसानों ने आत्महत्या की है उनकी बेटियां जिस्मफरोशी के लिए मजबूर हैं । किसानों का परिवार टूट गया है । प्रेमचंद खेत की मेड़ पर बैठ कर रोने लगते हैं । कहने लगते हैं - भारत का किसान तो बुज़दिल हो गया है । वो तुम्हारी तरह क्यों नहीं है रवीश । कर्ज़ लेकर बेशर्मी से नहीं देने की हठ करने वाला । मुंशी जी, प्रधानमंत्री ने जो पैकेज दिया है उससे भी इन बेचारों का कोई फायदा नहीं । आपको पता है न प्रधानमंत्री जवाहर नहीं हैं । मनमोहन हैं । इंदिरा की बहू सोनिया जवाहर की उन चिट्ठियों को पढ़ने में व्यस्त है जो जेल में रहते हुए इंदिरा के लिए लिखीं थीं । किरण देसाई से लेकर अमिताव घोष कोई किसानों पर नहीं लिखता । राजेंद्र यादव और नामवर को कोई बुकर पुरस्कार नहीं देता । उनकी रचनाएं, जिनकी प्रेरणा का स्त्रोत आप भी है, साहित्य को कुंद कर रही हैं । जैसे आपकी रचनाओं ने किसानों को कुंद कर दिया है । तभी योगेश कहते हैं- प्रेमचंद जी मुंबई की मंडियों में बड़े घर की बेटियों को बिकने से आप बचा लीजिए । हमारी ख़बर पर भी सरकार का असर नहीं होता । पी साईनाथ की ख़बरों पर भी कोई असर नहीं । साईनाथ तो विदर्भ के किसानों के पीछे पागल हो गए हैं । सुप्रिया धीरे से कहती हैं- मुंशी जी इस बार कुछ नया लिख दीजिए ताकि आपको बुकर मिल जाए और किसानों को रास्ता । मगर इस बार किसानों को नियतिवाद में मत फंसाना । मत लिखना कि किसान कर्ज में जीता है और कर्ज में मरता है । लिखना कि कई बड़े उद्दोगपति सार्वजनिक बैंको का पचास हज़ार करोड़ लेकर भाग गए । सबको पता है । किसी ने आत्महत्या नहीं की । फिर तुम क्यों आत्महत्या करते हो । ये लिखना मुंशी जी । पूरी दिल्ली और मुंबई लोग लोन पर जी रहे हैं । मर नहीं रहे । लोन उनका स्वाभिमान है । कर्ज़ शब्द का इस्तमाल भी बंद हो गया है । कहते कहते सुप्रीया चिल्ला उठती हैं- कहती है सर उन बेटियों की कसम जिनका चेहरा हमने मौज़ैक कर के विटनेस में दिखाया था । वो आपसे बात नहीं करना चाहती हैं । मैं सिर्फ आपको उनकी देह दिखाना चाहती हूं । मन नहीं । वो लमही आकर आपसे बातें करना चाहती हैं । बहुत समझाया इनको । कहती हैं हम जब बड़े घर की बेटियां ही नहीं रहीं तो मुंशी जी से क्या बात करें । हमारे पास चौखट नहीं है । हम मुंशी जी की चौखट पर माथा पटकेंगी । हम और योगेश इन्हें लेकर भटक रहे हैं । मुंशी जी आप कुछ नया लिखना । यू कैन नॉट राइट देम ऑफ । यू हैव टू स्टार्ट राइटिंग अगैन ऑन फार्मर्स ।

तभी संजय तिवारी कान में कहते हैं । रवीश मुंशी जी को दुबारा मत लाइयेगा । कोई किसान उनको सुनना नहीं चाहता है । किसान इनसे नाराज़ हैं । एक ख़बर मुंबई से आ रही है । मुख्यमंत्री देशमुख ने दक्षिण की साध्वी अम्मा को बुलाया है । लगता है किसान कहानी नहीं बनना चाहते । वो या तो मरना चाहते हैं या पुलिस की डंडे के ज़ोर पर अम्मा को सुनना चाहते हैं । इन जैसे आउटडेटेड लेखक को मत लाइयेगा ।
(हाल ही में योगेश पवार और सुप्रिया शर्मा ने एनडीटीवी के अंग्रेजी चैनल के विटनेस के लिए विदर्भ पर एक विस्तृत रिपोर्ट की है । रिपोर्ट देख कर खूब रोने का मन किया । तभी पड़ोसी का कुत्ता मर गया और हम उसकी प्रोशेसन में चले गए । बाहर देखा कि पूरे शहर में सड़क छाप कुत्तों के मारे जाने के खिलाफ आंदोलन चल रहा था । मैं भी अपनी इस नई संवेदना के साथ हो लिया । कुछ घंटे बाद घर लौटा तो कुत्ते और किसान की मौत के ग़म में यह कहानी निकल गई- रवीश कुमार)

20 comments:

avinash said...

रवीश, आप सचमुच बड़ी संवेदना के धनी हैं। और इतना ही नहीं, बड़ी बात ये कि आप झूठे नहीं हैं। जैसा कि किसानों और ग़रीबी पर रोते हुए बात करने वाले दूसरे पत्रकार, जो नौकरी का तकाजा कह कर आमिर खान के जन्‍म दिन को ज्‍यादा महत्‍वपूर्ण मानते हैं। और प्‍लीज़, अपने इस हृदयविदारक कल्‍पनाशील विवरण को कहानी कह कर इसकी गरिमा कम मत कीजिए। ये लेखनी का सर्वर उदाहरण है। सचमुच शायद प्रेमचंद होते, तो इसी किस्‍म की विक्षिप्‍तता में बातें करते।

avinash said...

मेरी ऊपर की टिप्‍पणी के आख़ि‍री से दूसरे वाक्‍य में सर्वर की जगह सर्वश्रेष्‍ठ पढ़ें।

Pramod Singh said...

कहीं ईश्‍वररुपी सत्‍ता हो तो वह आपके माथे और आपके की-बोर्ड से ऐसा ही पागलपन करवाता रहे. जुग-जुग जियो, लाल.

Raag said...

आपने तो हमें भाव विभोर कर दिया बन्धु। रोने का मन तो अब कर रहा है।

अभय तिवारी said...

एक आप और एक प्रमोद सिंह.. जीने मत दीजियेगा आप लोग..मार्मिक सवालों पर इस तरह का दारुण लेखन...ब्लॉग पर लिखने की छोटी छोटी खुशियों के संसार पर क्यों जब तब लात मारते रहते हैं आप लोग?

bhupen said...

यदि प्रेमचंद होते तो ऐसा होता, यदि प्रेमचंद होते तो वैसा होता. शायद मोहन राकेश के नाटक आषाड़ का एक दिन की तरह मल्लिका की आशंका सही निकलती.

somen said...

Hasyaspad. Vidambana. Aur kya kahoon? tv ke liye sab kuch mahaj ek acchi kahani hai. suicide... bus ganit hai. kitne mare ? dekha maine us karyakaram ko.Shayad witness ko ek aur award mil jaye. baki chaneelon par to bus gart jami hai. Jo thode bahut zinda hai we bhi mukhote pehne.jessica lal par mombatti jalana,rashtrapati ke paas logon ke sms campaign ko le jana aur pata nahi kya kya...bada romantic lagta hai. Kheti-badi-kisano me woh romanticism kahan ? Munshiji ko koi trp aur viewership bhi samjha de!! khabar...woh to bus shahroon me hota hai. shayad main kuch zyada hi cynical hoon!!

sanjay said...

Karz ki peete the hum..aur kahte the ki haan..Rang laayegi humaari faankaa masti ek din..Ghalib ki tarah sochne waalaa 'salaried'samaaj ek taraf.. Aur udhar Munshiji jo leekh gaye, ki kissaan karz mein paidaa hotaa hai aur ussimein mar jaataa hai..Aur idhar Ravishji ka yeh Blog.. Hum aisemein jub lambi saans chhodte hain, uss pal bhi Vidarbhamein koi kisaan apne manko zahar lenekeliye taiyyar kar rahaa hotaa hai.. Khud ko maar daalnaa aasaan bhi nahin.
Jiski agle kayee saalonki fasalein buaayee se pahle hi geervi hon aur jiskaa man ab aur marmarke jeene ko taiyyar nahin..usse Munshiji kaise samjhaayenge?
Ravishji ke peedaabhare shabd AIDS se bhi ghatak -Infectious hain.Unke iss blog ko naa padhein to hi achchaa.

rajesh said...

Namdew dhasal ne likha hai ki yadi sahitya me samaj ko badlane ki shakti hoti to gobar ( godan ke Hori ka beta) aaj satta ke shirsh par hota. sahitya likhne walekuch aur hai samaj chalane wale kuch aur. tathakathit 'kisan-putra' rajniti me gandh macha rahe hai aur pandit matadin (godan) un kisan putro ka gungan kar rahe hai.

Pramod Singh said...

क्‍या महाराज, आप तो यात्रा में जाने के बाद वहिंये अटक गए। क्‍या हुआ, विदर्भ में किसानों ने घेर लिया कि प्रेमचंद जी बीमार पड गए? अभिसारिता छोडिये, रिपोर्टिंग आगे बढाईये।

ravish kumar said...

राकेश जी
ठीक कहा आपने । साहित्य से समाज बनता तो गोबर मुख्यमंत्री होता । संजय जी की टिप्पणी भी बात को आगे बढ़ाती है । मगर वो ब्लाग पढ़ने से मना क्यों कर रहे हैं । कहीं वो प्रेमचंद के साथ जो सुलूक मैने किया है वहीं मेरे साथ तो नहीं करना चाहते ? प्रमोद जी आप ही कुछ कीजिए इनका । मैं प्रेमचंद नहीं होना चाहता । वर्ना लमही में मूर्ति लगेगी और माला मुलायम अमर पहनाएंगे। राहुल गांधी अभी रोड शो कर रहे हैं । वो तो आएंगे भी नहीं । रवीश

Pramod Singh said...

नहीं, आप बन ही जाइये प्रेमचंद। बहुतों की साध पूरी होगी। आपकी मूर्ति पर माला चढाकर कमसकम आपको चुप तो करा देंगे। हो सकता है मूर्ति की नाप के लिए अमर, मुलायम के बांके सिपाही आपके आजू-बाजू टहल भी रहे हों।

ओम said...

पहली बार पढ़ने के बाद मन बैठ गया था। समझ में नहीं आ रहा था क्या किया जाए। अभी थोड़ा युवा हूं हर बात पर दिमाग़ कुछ रास्ता निकालने की ज़िद पकड़ कर बैठ जाता है। पता नहीं क्या-क्या और कब तक होता रहेगा?

आज दोबारा पढ़ते समय आपकी रचनात्मकता पर भी नज़र पड़ी। बहुत प्रभावी लिखा आपने।

नोट- हो सके तो ठीक कर लीजिएगा किरण देसाई की किताब का नाम \'द इनहेरिटेंस ऑफ़ लॉस\' है।

Anil Dubey said...

woh report humne bhi dekhi.Mother india film ki yaad aa gayi.55 saal purani film.hunhhhh..... hum aaj bhi wahi hain.Kuchh bhi to nahi badla.bidarbh jaane ka mouka nahi mila.lekin bundelkhand ho ke aaya.wahan bhi wahi haal hai kisanon ka.Sukha,Tubewell aur karz ke chhakaarghinni mein phansa kisan.aatm hatya karne ko majbur kisaan.bank ke log tractor utha le gaye .sahukaar 4 rifle dhariyon ke saath aakr ghar par maa bahin karta hai.kya kare kisaan.kuchh nahi sujhta to aatmhatya hi ek rasta dikhta hai.aur us aatmhatya ka majak udati hai sarkari sahayata.7 rupaya ka check.naam likha hai ghurhu ram(chamar).haan aap vishvas kijiye uska ye naam nahi hai lekin sarakri babu us par alag se CHAMAR likhna nahi bhulte.aaj premchand ho ya dhumil kuchh nahi kar sakte.sarkar se ummid mat kariye ki aapki story pe action legi.aisi to roj hi story chalti rahti hai.....
Ravish bhaiya man khinn ho jata hai.aap to likh ke bhadas nikal deta hain.hum bhi soch rahe hain yahi tarika achha hai....kitni saari baten hai likhne aur kahne ke liye...lekin kya hoga isse..EK SAWAL AAPSE PUCHHNA HAI....AAP ITNE DIN SE YE SAB KAR RAHE HAIN ...MUJHE BATAYEN KUCHH FARK PADTA HAI?

somen said...

Ravishji,ye mail kisi dost ke zariye mila hai. Comment ke liye nahi aapke liye bhej raha hoon. orkut pe bhi dekha aapka email id nahi tha. so yahan post kar raha hoon. chunki apne ispe likha tha isliye yaad aaya.

Vidharbha farmers suicides

Channel covers up bogus story

NAGPUR-16TH MAY 2007

For more than a month now, Vidharbha Jan Andolan Samiti has appealed to NDTV to retract from the fraudulent story it carried on "Witness" claiming that that the widows of those farmers committing suicide were becoming prostitutes and falling into the hands of "sex trafficking networks." In between, we even received calls from NDTV's Mumbai office which suggested they were looking into our complaint. We were told by their Western India Burau chief that he would be coming down to Nagpur to inquire into the matter. And we were happy as we felt our complaint was being taken seriously.

But finally, nothing happened, nobody came to meet us. Even if they are trying to evade or bury the issue, the problem has not gone away. In fact, the women were subjected to worse humiliation because NDTV story was used by Shiv Sena in their campaign in Nagpur rural Lok Sabha byelection.

Udhav Thackeray used a CD version of the story at a press conference in Nagpur with many journalists present. It is worth asking: who gave him the CD? He was very happy with it since the NDTV reporter had planted a sentence saying those approaching the prostitute were "Congress workers." People protested even at the press meet, but damage was done and once again the women were mercilessly identified in public. The story itself identifies them. In one case, it zooms in on the photograph of one of the dead husbands and shows his name and village "Vishwanathrao Mankar, Kharda Village," Amravati. Imagine her humiliation now. As for "Rekha" the first case study interviewed, she is neither farmer nor a widow but a professional sex worker in Amravati.

Since NDTV management remains silent, our activist are asking: is NDTV is also supporting such stories to increase its TRP. This is humiliating to us who know the dedication of Roy family in ethical values in journalism. We are also deeply disappointed, since VJAS has helped NDTV to do many of its stories fom Vidharbha, right from the first reported farm suicide of Ramdas Amberwar in 1998 when we escorted the then NDTV reporter to Amberwar's home. We do not regret that since the channel did number of good stories then and later. Therefore, we even cooperated with then any number of times later also.

We are protesting this one story which is by a reporter notorious wherever he has worked in the past. One who had to leave three earlier jobs in disgrace for very similar reasons to our protest. But this person is being protected. Is this because the channel wants to do more of these fake sensationalised stories for its TRP? Or because a few people are desperate to win awards by telling 'unique and exclusive' stories at the expense of poor widows and their reputations even if it causes them more misery and shame? We attach below a note on the 'Witness' episode. People may read it see the programme and judge for themselves.

"WITNESS" SHAMES AND HUMILIATES VIDHRBHA FARM WIDOWS

"Rekha" the first "farmer's widow" shown in the story is neither a farmer nor a widow but a professional sex worker in Amravati. Even in the story, she does not say she is a farmer's widow. Only the reporter does. Her real identity is well known to people in Amravati. This is a central fraud of this story.

Ø Before the start of the 'story,' itself , several different pictures are shown of both grieving widows in Vidharbha and sex workers in Kamatipura. The two are unrelated, but a connection is made by showing the latter in Kamatipura while talking of "a new widow" everyday in Vidharbha and the "chilling reality" of the "daughters of suicide country." It is as if the women shown in Mumbai are from Vidharbha though they are not.

Ø Throughout the story, several women sex workers are saying they are from Satara, Latur, Solapur. None of these places is in Vidharbha. Most basic errors exist. Solapur is shown on the map as being in "Marathwada." It is not there. It is in Western Maharashtra.

Ø Right at the beginning, even as the "horrifying journey" is being announced and grieving women are shown - -- the photograph of a man who has committed suicide is shown, thereby identifying the family and the widow. At least one or two women in that shot are identified already (and these are pictures of Vidharbha farm widows).

Ø The story is not about poor women forced into sex work. It singles out the widows of farmers who have committed suicide becoming prostitutes. Some 5,000 women are vilified without any evidence. Even if one or two instances are there, (and in this story they are untrue) how can you generalise across this group? As it is, these are women in misery and pain. The story, also shown in Hindi, has made the pain double.

Ø The first interview is with "Rekha, a prostitute." Rekha does not anywhere say she is the widow of a farmer who has committed suicide. There is no quote from her on the subject. The reporter says it for her. In the car with the reporter is "Razia, an anti-trafficking activist." By saying this person is an 'expert' there is an attempt to give credibility to the report. But nowhere this 'expert' gives even a single quote on farmers' widows, though she is described as a 'local' activist" who must therefore have a better knowledge. The one comment on prostitution attributed to her comes from the reporter, not from her. It is in his voice. Same pattern is followed right through the show. The sensational comments are always from the reporter, not from the women he speaks to.

Ø Later, another woman is interviewed. Her face is shielded, so is the face of her husband's photograph. But then the camera zooms in on the name of the man and his village very clearly on the base of the photograph. With NDTV allowing the man's name "Vishwanathrao Mankar of Kharda village" to appear on screen, the woman's disguise is destroyed. What will her life be now in the village?

Ø Even worse, the two women named "Neerja" and Sulekha, do not say that they are doing sex work. The reporter says it for them. He commends one for her courage to which she says she has little choice. Then, the reporter says: "Neerja says she will sell her body so that her daughter and Sulekha's daughter never have to." Nowhere in the interview does Neerja say this. If she did, why not use her own words. Why should these words come from the mouth of the reporter? After all, the story quotes her on other things, why not this one?

Ø Three or four times, the words "forced to sell their bodies" for survival are used by the reporter and the anchor, never by the women. When "Reshma" is described - by the reporter - as "selling her body" condoms are flashed on the screen. Is this investigation or titillation?

Ø "Rekha" is shown negotiating with clients on the highway, while a hidden camera records this. The story declares the three men on the scooter to be "Congress workers" without evidence. It also shows one of the men trying to paw her. In NDTV's online version of story this becomes they "try to tear her clothes off." Actually, she is not even afraid of them and tackles them confidently The "tearing off" of her clothes is so fake. She does not even attempt to run from them but stands her ground.

Ø Rekha is a sex worker, not a farmer and is not a widow. Another woman interviewed says she has been in the trade for just one month. Women who are so new to the profession do not tell even their families what they are doing. But "Reshma" has no hesitation at all in confiding this to the reporter. The story implies Vidharbha is emerging a hub of the flesh trade in Maharashtra. There is no shred of evidence to make this claim.

Ø In Gujarat: Seema is the "daughter of a cotton farmer from Vidharbha." But she never says so on screen. Only that her father was a farmer. The Vidharbha link is claimed by the reporter.

Ø Then the reporter claims to have tracked down "Seema's pimp" Hamid bhai Mansoori and talks to him near the Mumbai airport with "a secret camera." The "pimp" immediately "tells us" that his agents pick up girls "especially from Vidharbha and send them to Mumbai and Vadodara. " But on screen you hear nothing of this.

Ø Nowhere this man says in the story that he is Seema's pimp or that he is a pimp at all. Only the reporter says it . Secondly, if he is really her pimp, then, thanks to NDTV, he knows how he has been traced. He will brutally thrash, if not kill Seema. Again, another girl "Sonia" is shown later on as working for Hamid bhai in a "seedy Chembur Hotel." The reporter seems to be posing as a client, which means the recording might have been a sting. Again, the girls are in serious danger if they really work for Hamid Mansoori. He will brutalise them for exposing him. How could this have been allowed? It places them in great danger. But again, the claims are those of the reporter. Neither Seema nor the other girls speak of Mansoori as their pimp, nor does the story actually show him saying he is one.

Ø 'Sonia' is claimed to have an agricultural background. Once again, she does not speak of such background. The reporter does. And what is this agricultural background of this woman from Satara in Western Maharashtra? Her father was "sacked from a pesticide company." She does not say it. The reporter does, to make a connection with "agrarian crisis." With other sex workers in the show, too, words are put into their mouths that they do not say.

Ø By the time the programme looks at Mumbai and Marathwada, it does not even pretend that the sex workers shown are "widows" of farmers who have committed suicide. Even the reporter makes no claim. The story is about flesh trade and titillation. "Chaya and Mangala" are introduced as daughters of bankrupt farmers. It is the reporter who says that not them.

Ø In the last part of the Marathwada story, a quote is falsely attributed to 'Shantibai, "the oldest prostitute in Latur" in Marathwada. The reporter says she is angry that because, young women are coming into her area and her own business is suffering. Firstly, what way is this connected with the agrarian crisis Is it not just a sex and titillation story?

Ø In fact what she does say in Marathi is that the father of these girls was in debt and these poor girls are paying the price for it. It is a sympathetic statement towards the girls. But the reporter falsifies it as an abuse from a jealous rival. Conveniently, rest of what she says is inaudible. This is also a pattern throughout this 'story.' Only some statements become inaudible.

All this is done in the name of 'agrarian crisis,' and causes nothing but damage to the real issues. The story just uses that for showing sex and titillation. Huge damage has been done to the real issues, especially to the poor farmers widows struggling so bravely for their families. Will NDTV do justice to the thousands of widows who have been maligned and humiliated this way?

VIDARBHA JANANDOLAN SAMITI said...

Lokmat editor slams NDTV story

on Vidharbha widows



Lokmat daily, one of the country's top ten newspapers with a readership of millions, has devastatingly criticised NDTV's bogus story (in 'Witness') on the widows of Vidharbha's farmers' suicides. The mass circulation Marathi daily has come out in strong defence of the struggling widows and their reputation which was savaged by an NDTV story that maligned them as prostitutes. The scathing piece in Lokmat carries the byline of the newspaper's editor, the highly-respected journalist Vivek Girdhari. Below: his article

Who is doing the 'business?'



This profession too follows rules and ethics. Television channels may not agree. In the recently concluded DSK discussions in Pune, representatives of the TV channels strongly claimed that they are aware of social responsibilities. That is why they avoid airing programmes that would endanger law and order situation. But this is a business, not charity. Therefore they have to show what the viewers want. Amidst the competition for TRP ratings, TV channels ought to be market-driven and technology-oriented. But should we equate market-driven as market-savvy? And should the social responsibility be only restricted to law and order issues?



A serious and fairly dignified channel like NDTV recently aired a bogus story as a sensational scoop. The widows of farmers who committed suicide in Vidarbha are taking to prostitution, the story claimed. The widows are falling prey to the sex mafias. They show a so-called widow called Rekha on the screen. Actually, she isn't either a wife of a farmer, nor has her husband committed suicide. She's in fact a commercial sex worker. And the entire Amravati town knows that.



Yet, ironically, clinging on to Rekha's drooping apparel, NDTV cooked up this story of farmers' helpless widows taking to prostitution. While doing so, they tactfully tried establishing a connection between the decked up commercial sex workers in Mumbai's Kamatipura area and mourning widows of the debt-driven Vidarbha farmers, who are no more. What's the link between the two?



The story shows many prostitutes who tell you that they have come from Satara, Latur and Solapur. None of these is actually a Vidarbha town. But the market-driven journalism does not stop here. It goes beyond. Showing the inconsolable widows and the photographs of the farmers who have committed suicide, the reporter says in the narration that these widows are taking to prostitution. Even Rekha, interviewed in the beginning of the story, never claims even once that she is a farm widow. The reporter claims it for her in the narration!



We also get to see the reactions of two other women – Neerja and Sulekha. They never say in their interview that they are into prostitution. Again, the reporter says this for them. The reporter shows another woman named Reshma and says, "they are forced to sell their bodies." What follows on the screen thereafter is a collage of condoms. What sort of investigative journalism is this?



The story tells us that a prostitute named Seema is a daughter of cotton farmer. Seema herself doesn't say it anywhere. The news channel then claims that it had even unearthed her 'adda' (meeting point). The reporter converses with her near Mumbai airport on a spy camera and tells the viewers that her agent "brings the girls especially from Vidarbha and sends them to Mumbai and Vadodara."



Basically, this one's is a rabidly fake and cooked up story. But NDTV showed it as a hundred per cent true story "only on this channel." What could be the long-term social fallout of this story? By defaming the widows, who are trying to resurrect their lives, suffering unending hardships and penury, how much TRP ratings must this news channel have clocked? Vidarbha has seen thousands of farmers commit suicide in few years. Their widows and children are resolutely fighting a battle for life. What has NDTV gained by maligning them?



Television has a remote control. But there is no remote control to reign in the journalists who run such blatantly irresponsible and untrue stories. The advent of technology should actually serve to reinforce the foundations of journalism and increase its maturity. Here, journalism and business are losing their tenets.



A segment on Latur in this story is extremely serious. They show a very old CSW named Shantibai. Her grouse: "My business is being affected because young girls are coming into it." What has this got to do with the Vidarbha farm widows, who are trying to live with dignity after the death of their husbands?



Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti lodged a complaint with NDTV. He got an assurance for an inquiry. Nothing has been done yet. A news channel sold this blatantly false news item as its market-driven business. So tell us, who's actually in the business?



Vivek Girdhari

vivekgirdhari@hotmail.com

अजित said...

नए ढंग से बात रखी आपने रवीश। बधाई कुबूल कीजिए। प्रेमचंद को पात्र बनाते हुए जोखिम ये भी था कि लाइन से ज़रा भी हटते तो किन्हीं बेनामियों को आपके खिलाफ नारे लगाने का मौका मिल जाता।

Discuss said...

Hi sir,
I have been following you on TV for years now. You have been one of the most commited journalists in India. Out of your shows i did like the programme on ORKUT and recently the on the boxing hub Bhiwandi. The way you covered Bihar flood was great.
You are really a person with good sentiments towards the farmers. I am from Nagpur, so I can understand this very well. You have rightly put the nail on the head of the leaders and diplomats who visit our land once in a year or so and then get vanish declaring packages and schemes. I would like to thank you for understanding our sentiments.

Rajeev said...

.......Ravish bhai! aapne sach much hame sochne pe majboor ker diya! mai pahli baar apko padh rha hun...lekin prashanshak ban gaya hoon!

------Apka Rajeev

अनूप शुक्ल said...

संवेदनशील पोस्ट!