Wednesday, July 25, 2007


NEWS - That is one thing I look forward to watch on television after a day crammed with study and lectures. The true essence of News is to keep us posted on the day's events & its analysis (preferably without a bias... Utopian expectations!!). It is a primary source of information which helps us to keep abreast with current socio-politico-economical situations & to set up a thought-provoking analysis on problems faced on a micro or a macro level. This objective is accomplished only if there is a certain standard set for broadcasting news. According to me, the standard of news of a city, state or a country greatly reverberates the thought-standard of its citizens. Hence quality of news is of vital importance.

But nowadays, I am surprised & equally disappointed by twisted concepts in the world of news broadcasts (here I mean news on TV). For example, the concept of "BREAKING NEWS" is a concept used by news agencies to broadcast news of high priority, or of critical importance that supersedes all other news at that moment. It is urgent, important and needs highlighting. Having said that, it goes without saying that a certain discretion - intellectual & in some cases political - is applied to the news feed before broadcasting it as "Breaking News". This I feel should be the generic parameters of classifying news as "Breaking".

Coming to my point of disappointment, the crux of my disappointment lies in the fact that the basic identity of "Breaking News" is carelessly flaunted & tainted - that’s what I observe as a viewer. This I am pinpointing to some Indian News Channels which I believe, lack the intellectual capacity for classifying news. Let me cite one of the numerous examples supporting my observation.

I suppose the 'chartbuster' "BREAKING NEWS" of year 2006 for news channels was the rescue of a toddler "Prince" from a pit in Haryana. All the news channels were beaming each & every development in the rescue operation as "Breaking News", thus creating a mass euphoria and a hype of such a magnitude that it projected an image that for 2 days, all other news was seemingly unimportant or inferior than this 'significant' event. People sat glued to their TV sets following each and every stage of operation. The news made an overnight hero out of Prince & sure enough made a self-mockery of Indian news channels. As an Indian, I felt ashamed of the fact that it was a Black Day for Indian news agencies & that the standards of "Breaking News" was at its abyss.

Numerous such examples can be cited & still observed if you switch on your TV sets even at this moment. Try India TV, the ace among these "Breaking news"-mongers. This channel can 'create' "Breaking News" till eternity! They even have separate slots for such news - A Breaking News which is preplanned! (should I laugh or should I cry?). They certainly deserve a sarcastic applause.

In my opinion, "Breaking News" in context of Indian news channels is at a stage of serious identity crisis, wherein it is being seriously mistaken as an instrument to gain TRPs & to make insignificant news marketable. Indian media is still in a nascent stage & has a long way to go before it can (hope so...) mature! Till then let me check out CNN or BBC for some 'REAL' "Breaking News"!

-*-*- End of bulletin -*-*-

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Greatest Invention

This happened when I was in 1st year of engineering. After the day's lectures, I used to sit in the library and study from reference books. This way I got introduced to some of my seniors who used to be regulars there. I especially sought company of a senior named Rahul who was then in the final year. I used to spend about half an hour after finishing my studies, discussing many things with him. This guy had an unquenching thirst for knowledge and was quite an insightful thinker. In our friendly discussions, we touched upon numerous topics including books, movies, education, company policies and much more. I gained much knowledge from our talks and used to look forward to our library-table talks.

During one such chit-chat, Rahul asked me a question, "Mihir, what do you think is the greatest invention made by mankind?" Simple, as it sounded, I was very much baffled by this question. I had never thought about anything like this. Nevertheless I asked him for some time to think. Now my mind was searching for possibilities. 'Internet' I thought, but then I was skeptical whether it was the greatest of all. Electricity, fire, wheel ... all made their way to my mind, but deep down I knew these weren't the greatest of all. There was something that was much more supreme than these inventions. After thinking for about 10-15 minutes, I finally gave up. Then I asked Rahul to tell me what the answer was. The answer he gave silenced all my thoughts and there wasn't any need of further clarification. His answer was, "Language is the greatest invention ever made by man". "How true!", I thought. My mind went back to the Stone Age and the Early Man. Language was one of the earliest and most basic of the inventions which endowed him with the characteristics of a social animal. Man would have never ever intellectually evolved, had 'language' been never invented. His interactions with other humans would have never been possible. The great deal of knowledge now available to man would have been impossible to acquire. The concept of civilizations and their literary treasures and manuscripts would have never existed. The development of language was pivotal in building up the pillars of civilizations on which today's world has been erected. All the landmark events like Renaissance, Industrial Revolution, etc would be unheard of. And the world wouldn't be the one we see it now.

One more peculiar thing about Language is that it has a global presence, in each and every home, unlike other inventions - which aren't omnipresent. From a tribal in the jungles of Africa to the sophisticated businessman in his plush office, language has a presence in each one's lives. Hence the key to man's development and progress through past, present and the future is one great invention - Language!

That day when I packed off for the day, I had a happy feeling in my heart. Being a student of telecommunications, in future I may contribute in my own small way towards furthering the cause of communication among people through the medium of mankind's greatest invention - Language!!