Sunday January 21, 2018
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1100 dead due to heatwave: Is the Indian media concerned?

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By Nishtha

With the extensive reportage of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal government’s completion of 100 days in Delhi or Modi sarkar’s one year report card, the mainstream media especially the English news channels have failed to report about the heatwave that has killed more than 1100 people across the country.

The media outlets are simply busy drawing comparison between Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, neglecting the hundreds of lives claimed by the heatwave.

The deaths were reported merely through tickers or short videos on news channels and the news remained unreported on the front page of leading newspapers as well.

Apart from Kejriwal and Modi, another politician J. Jayalalithaa, who was sworn in as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for the fifth time, dominated the news. The entire ceremony of her taking the office as the chief minister was telecasted on not only regional channels but on popular news channels as well.

Probably going with the flow of capturing popular news, The Economic Times, Hindustan Times and Indian Express carried a propaganda advertisement on the front page for J.Jayalalithaa on Tuesday.

In our country newspapers are still regarded as one of the trusted news sources. While the gradual shift towards online news is inevitable, people still prefer reading the newspapers. Featuring such an advertisement is not only unethical but it speaks volumes about the editorial policies and political inclination of the leading dailies.

It seems like the media does not serve the public anymore. With industrialists and political parties investing in media conglomerates, stories affecting the common man including the heat wave will continue to take a backseat.

We often engage in conversations about western influences and claim that our country’s identity is being destroyed by it. The bitter truth is that while the Indian media chose sides in the Kejriwal-Modi ‘battle’, the global media served as a watchdog for the heat wave story. International news agencies and media outlets followed up this news with #heatwave and #India on Twitter on Tuesday. After the global media reportage, the Indian media took up this issue on social media on Wednesday morning.

Hyderabad is the worst affected area in the country with maximum deaths. Other affected areas include Telangana, West Bengal, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi among others.

“As of now, we don’t predict any respite from the extreme heat wave for the next few days,” BP Yadav, spokesperson for India Meteorological Department told AFP, adding that the department had issued warning to states where temperatures were forecasted to go above 45 degree Celsius in the next few days.

Since the heatwave news has received international attention, it will be interesting to see if the Indian media continues to report consistently on this issue or they go back to reporting on the lines of ‘propaganda’, ‘mega rallies’ and ‘political gossip’.

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Cho Ramaswamy: The Man Who Wore Many Hats

Cho Ramaswamy won several accolades and awards during his career as an entertainer and as a journalist.

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Cho Ramaswamy was undoubtedly one of the most prominent indian Personalities. Twitter
Cho Ramaswamy was undoubtedly one of the most prominent Indian Personalities. Twitter

By Ruchika Verma

  • Cho Ramaswamy was a multi-talented man who ventured into acting, directing, journalism and politics
  • He was very close to late CM of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa for whom he acted as a philosopher and guide
  • Cho Ramaswamy was very vocal about his criticism of politicians and unethical practices

Srinivasa Iyer or Cho Ramaswamy was an Indian film actor, director, magazine editor, political satirist, and a lawyer. He was born on 5th October 1934 and was one of the most prominent Tamil personalities in India.

Cho Ramaswamy's magazine Tughlak has a huge fan following. Twitter
Cho Ramaswamy’s magazine Tughlak has a huge fan following. Twitter

He was the man of many talents who passed away at the age of 82 on 7th December 2016. Cho Ramaswamy the founder and editor of the Tamil magazine Thuglak, was also a recipient of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award, for his contributions in Literature and Education.

Cho Ramaswamy undoubtedly was one of the most prominent personalities in the southern Indian politics. Here are few things about his life which you may not have known before:

How his career started 

Cho Ramaswamy was first and foremost a lawyer by profession, being born in a family of lawyers. He later branched into theatre, films and finally into journalism and politics.

Cho Ramaswamy won Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the field of Literature and Education. Facebook
Cho Ramaswamy won Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the field of Literature and Education. Facebook

He got into the theatre while he was still practising law. His work as a satirist was very much appreciated. His most famous drama is  ‘Muhammad bin Tughluq,’ it was so brilliant that it became a classic.

He ventured into journalism and founded his own magazine Tughlak, which was mainly focused on the local social and political issues. It was widely and highly appreciated for its satirical and honest views on the politicians and politics. He was fearless in his criticism of the governments.

He later got into politics and was a member of Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005. He openly went against Jayalalithaa, when she was at her most powerful, even though she was very close to him. He even predicted Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister, long before BJP even declared him as a candidate. He was a true visionary in all senses.

Cho Ramaswamy and Jayalalithaa 

Cho Ramaswamy and Jayalalithaa were one pair of friends whose relationship went beyond friendship to a plane where not all can reach. Jayalalithaa debuted as a child actress with the YG Parthasarathy drama troupe where Cho Ramaswamy was already a star. They worked together in 19 films.

Cho Ramaswamy was Jayalalithaa’s greatest friend but also her most vocal critic. It was the only who was consulted in the matters of Jayalalithaa’s political career by herself and by the star-politician MGR. He acted as her friend, philosopher and guide in films as well as in politics.

The late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa was extremely close to Cho Ramaswamy. Twitter
The late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa was extremely close to Cho Ramaswamy. Twitter

You may also like: Iron Lady of India: Jayalalithaa was an inspiration for Women

It is being said many times that the late Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa once told Ramaswamy that he has to live till she is alive. Interestingly, Cho Ramaswamy died barely 36 hours after Jayalalithaa died. According to doctors who were treating him, before he was put on the ventilator, he watched the live coverage of Jayalalithaa’s body lying in state at Rajaji Hall, Chennai.

There is only one instance of discord between the two, during 1996-2001, where he became a staunch critic of Jayalalithaa because of her unethical ways as a Chief Minister. However, as she mended her ways, he warmed up to her again.

Cho Ramaswamy not only influenced Jayalalithaa’s professional life as an actress and politician, but also her personal life. She considered him her and guide and consulted him before all major decisions.

Ramaswamy and his achievements 

Cho Ramaswamy won several accolades and awards during his career as an entertainer and as a journalist. Apart from being awarded a Padma Bhushan, he also won B.D. Goenka award for excellence in journalism.

Cho Ramaswamy was also famous for his closeness with various prominent politicians, including Narendra Modi. Twitter
Cho Ramaswamy was also famous for his closeness with various prominent politicians, including Narendra Modi. Twitter

His achievements were not only limited to awards. His achievements went beyond that. His association with prominent political leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, L.K. Advani, Chandra Shekhar, G.K. Moopanar, Jayalalithaa and Narendra Modi, and his role in influencing some of their decisions are noteworthy.

Also Read: Need more Satire and Humour to build bridges between Communities and Societies, says PM Narendra Modi

His achievements as a playwright and actor are also noteworthy. Many of his plays went onto becoming national hits. And he received critical acclaim for his acting as well as his stints as a director.

Perhaps, one of his biggest achievement was the fact that he took many roles throughout his life and ended up successful in all of them. He was indeed the man who wore many hats, and managed to balance them all equally well.