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It is just as well that the BBC has decided to expand its shortwave radio service in Kashmir to beat the communications blackout. This is not the first time the BBC has played this role – and for good reason. Because the supine, mainstream media in L.K. Advanis words crawls when it is asked to bend.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had touched on the reasons for this spinelessness in his very first speech in Parliament in May, 2014. Although he did not mention the media, he traced the general obsequiousness to 1,200 years of “ghulami” or subjugation. Moghuls cannot be blamed for warts on the media’s face because in their period there was no media to speak of. Yes, one great editor of a paper called Urdu Akhbar, was tied to a cannon by the British and blown to smithereens for his critical writings. The Editor, Molvi Mohammad Baqar was the son of the greatest stylist in Urdu literature, Mohammad Hussain Azad.
The media, as we know it today, was a gift of the British. The imperial DNA is indelibly embedded in this media, both electronic and print, which dominates the Indian mindscape.
Mark Twain had put his finger on the nerve. “There are only two forces that carry light to all corners of the globe – the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here.”
It is this western “ghulami”, which tempers our nationalism. To wear the badge of nationalism, the formula is simple: heap hatred on Pakistan and work assiduously to have your progeny parked permanently in the US.
The other day The Indian Express devoted its entire front page to an advertisement about itself. The heading was: “Is Your Opinion Yours?”
“Your opinion should belong to you.”
The ad signs off:
“The Indian Express.
For the Indian Intelligent.”
The ad is loaded with irony. One full inside page of the newspaper, at least three to five times a week, is a straight lift from The Economist including its main editorial. Why Xi Jinping is slipping, how Putin’s end is round the corner, why Maduro must quit Venezuela, how the Jewish museum in Berlin reflects the Muslim-Palestinian perspective and so on. This is in addition to countless other news items from French, British and American news agencies.
How then do you explain the July 28, 2019 page one of the Indian Express asking a young lady, stepping out into the world, “Is your opinion yours?” It is a little impertinent of the newspaper to pose the question when its own opinions on foreign affairs are The Economist’s, and sundry western agencies. Most newspapers are guilty on that count.
The Economist is a great magazine but it represents interests of the right-wing western establishment. By having this publication saturate our media space, we expose our ruling class to a point of view which is not ours, unless we have avowedly surrendered our independence to our previous masters.
What the BBC is proposing now is to expand its short wave radio to beat the blackout in what is now “undisputedly” India. Here is yet another irony. The BBC has always had credibility in a state where a balanced, fearless Indian media would have gone miles to win hearts and minds.
When the senior Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq, the present Mirwaiz’s father, was assassinated in 1990, I accompanied BBC’s Satish Jacob, to cover the Mirwaiz’s funeral at the Idgah. Why did Mark Tully the Bureau Chief himself not cover the most important of stories? After all, 72 men and women were killed in the violence. Since the BBC radio was the only credible media which covered Kashmir, Tully would be mobbed because he was too well known. Satish, his deputy, would turn up with his fancy recorder but he would project himself as “German radio” which the agitated Kashmiris had no interest in.
I sought protection joining the funeral as Satish’s sidekick. My appearances on Doordarshan were on issues unrelated to Kashmir. But the agitated processionists put two and two together and, not only did they identify me, they turned upon me with unspeakable fury. They had recognized me from my Doordarshan appearances. I had incurred their wrath because in a BBC radio interview I had pointed my finger of suspicion for the murder of Mirwaiz at various groups in the valley but not on Indian agencies. “You are a sarkari chamcha” they jeered at me.
The mob multiplied in geometrical progression. Soon I had thousands, arms raised, about to assault me in unison. It was a frenzied, lynch mob. Just then a short man with light eyes, wearing a blue shirt and trouser, whipped out a revolver. He shouted above the din. “I shall finish him off.” Then he waved his revolver at the howling, screaming mob. “Move back.”
He dragged me by the sleeves to the exit. “Now you can go, and do not be seen here.” He was Feroz from the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). This was the Front’s signal that it was not anti-India.
The story now has taken a much more blistering turn. The BBC’s credibility will grow astronomically unless strings are pulled at its head office in London with the following message: “Look, you have turned your face away from the Palestinian story under pressure of the Jewish lobby. Why can’t you turn your face away from this one? BBC will have to ponder. The Arab audience has been neutralized by Israeli stratagem, Saudi money and the western media. But is the BBC prepared to forgo the steady, reliable clientele in Pakistan?
The only balm on the wounded Kashmiri psyche will be to shut up the screaming jingoist anchors controlling the multiple channels. Open the valley to a balanced, independent media. It may take time but it will work in the long run. Of course, I may be speaking out of turn because no one quite knows the depth of the brutality inflicted on the people. Only when the dark curtain of secrecy is lifted from the valley will we know whether the wounds are amenable to any kind of cure. (IANS)
As house prices and social isolation continue to rise, co-living is the latest buzzword among millennials as it provides them with a desirable house at affordable costs, while providing a much needed communal living experience during such unprecedented times.
With the world embracing a hybrid work and study style, a lot of millennials will look to relocate to their base city but will require better living spaces to ensure that WFH runs smoothly as well. As the world adjusts to a new normal, and with a millennial population of over 440 million in the country, the co-living sector is set to rise rapidly and witness a whole new set of innovations.
Isthara Co-Living shares 5 trends that are set to redefine the co-living space in the coming year:
Enahnced safety and hygiene protocols:
Safety standards have become the biggest selling point for co-living spaces and they are expected to move beyond the standard safety protocols and enhance their hygiene quotient in a big way to build on the momentum. Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors, which will notify people in case someone is running a temperature, regular fumigations, CCTV cameras in public spaces to ensure social distancing is followed, or facilities like self-cleaning buttons in elevators.
Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors. | Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Technology led innovations:
As many universities are holding classes online, and work from home is becoming increasingly popular, technology is the way of the future. The co-living players will look to amalgamate cutting-edge technology to cater to the growing work and study needs of millennials. Touchless technology and applications are on the rise in the sector.
Technology is the future, as many colleges offer online courses and working from home is becoming more prevalent. | Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
Flexible and convenient housing solutions:
Innovations such as flexible lock-in periods, weekly rentals, customised housing services, tailor-made amenities, transfer to the company's co-living space in another city, contemporary workspaces are some of the options that will be explored in an effort to entice today's fast-moving millennial population. All in all, players in the segment will look to create a ready-to-move-in space that is hassle-free for residents. If some housing segment caters specifically to one certain profile or profession, operators may also look to customise the place according to the needs of the profile.
Owners can customise the place according to the needs of their job profile. | Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash
Revamp of co-living spaces:
Revamping space to give houses a more contemporary look focused more on enabling efficient work/study spaces, incubating spaces, and a complete overhaul of amenities. The blurring line between work and living will be a major trend in co-living, to match the evolving work-life integration needs.
The blurring of work-life boundaries will be a prominent trend in co-living. | Photo by R ARCHITECTURE on Unsplash
Increased focus on community living:
People are looking to address the urban isolation situation, and are looking for avenues to unwind and engage with a varied set of people within a community. Co-living operators are set to further strengthen their community ecosystem in the coming year, to ensure that people create meaningful connections and combat loneliness.
People are seeking for ways to interact with a diverse group of people inside a community to combat urban loneliness. | Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash
The pandemic may lead to a complete rethinking of how these spaces will continue to exist, and the sector will continue to provide a fresh new perspective to how young Indians view urban living. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: population, urban, milennials, housing, community, innovation, study, protocols, hygiene, safety, space, Housing Solution, Co-living)
Meta-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram has started testing subscriptions, a new feature allowing creators to offer paid followers access to exclusive content. Currently, only 10 US creators have gained access to the new feature, including basketball player Sedona Prince, model Kelsey Cook, actor-influencer Alan Chikin Chow, Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and digital creator Lonnie IIV.
"Subscriptions are for creators," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a video posted on Twitter. "Creators do what they do to make a living and it's important that it is predictable." Followers will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow. Subscription pricing ranges from $0.99 per month to $99.99 per month.
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. | Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. Meanwhile, Instagram is also reportedly testing Stories redesign with vertical scrolling in its app. As noted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, some users located in Turkey have received an Instagram update that brings vertical scrolling to Stories.
While Stories from the same user can still be viewed by tapping the left or right side of the screen, jumping to the next user's Stories requires a swipe down. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: subscriber, feature, testing, Instagram, followers, scrolling, users, content creators, stories)
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. Many strays lose this battle trying to find food and warmth under a scrap of clothing or caged up in the corner of streets. The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), a Delhi-based animal welfare organisation, recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals. These wonderful Samaritans come from all around Delhi-NCR with one goal in mind: to rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need.
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. | Af.Mil
PWF has previously staged feeding drives in Netaji Subhash Place, Connaught Place, North Campus, Delhi University, and other locations throughout the city. A group of 70 volunteers fed over 100 stray dogs in the vicinity and provided water in earthen bowls. To raise awareness about the issue of stray animals, volunteers talked with businesses, local authorities, customers, and hawkers. The actions of this group of young animal advocates were recognised and supported.
"Donations come in from all around the world." To save strays and pay for their treatment, we rely completely on donations. "Every day, our organisation feeds roughly 1000 stray dogs," says Arpit Mathur, the organisation's founder. "Throughout the day, we receive SOS calls. We can only accomplish so much with our limited staff and resources. We hope that more young people, like us, would join us in this cause." In Rohini, the NGO also maintains a recovery centre. Currently, the recovery centre accommodates roughly 40 animals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, and a few unusual birds.
To rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need is the goal of these people. | Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash
PWF seeks to discover and feed all stray animals in need, as well as provide them with food, care, affection, and medical treatment, and organise Mega Stray Feeding Drives to raise awareness and adoption. "We discover stray animals, pet them, and feed them - no one deserves to be hungry," Mathur adds. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: adopt, feed, rescue, goal, Delhi-NCR, Perroayuda Welfare Foundation, Winter, stray animals, Help, Initiative, volunteer)