Shun the TV, stop a war



I HAVE been studiously following the mantra given by George Perkovich, and, accordingly, haven’t watched Indian TV news for a couple of years or more. I would advise my Pakistani friends to do the same with their TV. Switch it off.


The celebrated defence analyst, author of a seminal work on India’s nuclear policy, was in Delhi at the height of one of the avoidable military stand-offs between the South Asian rivals to promote a new book about their unending and fraught adversarial postures. He was asked if there was something that could be done to calm things down. “Unplug the TV,” he said.


The advice, let me assure friends on both sides of the border, has worked like magic. If the choice is between ultranationalist former army officers from both sides offering ways to start a nuclear war and listening to a delectable Mian ki Todi by the sarod maestro Narendra Nath Dhar on a Sunday morning at a private mehfil — choose the latter.

让我向两国朋友保证,这个建议发挥了神奇的作用。如果要在两种节目之间做出选择,一是看军事新闻,听两国极端民族主义的前陆军军官提出发动核战争的提议,另一种选择是在一个周日早晨,在私人mehfil音乐会上聆听萨罗德(sarod)艺术大师纳伦德拉•纳特•达尔令人愉悦的《Mian ki Todi》——选择后者。

If the anchors are getting excited about insane advice about a Navy SEALS-like operation to pluck out a target from his foreign lair and Vinayak Torvi is singing at the India International Centre, a Bageshwari, followed by three compositions in Tilak Kamod, and ending with two Marathi abhangs, including one by the sage Tukaram, listen to Torvi.

如果要在这两者之间做选择,一是看主播们对采取海豹突击队式的行动,拔掉某个外国巢穴而兴奋不已,另一个是去看Vinayak Torvi在印度国际中心演唱 Bageshwari,随后是Tilak Kamod的三首曲目,最后以两首马拉地语古典音乐结束,其中一首是圣人图卡拉姆(Tukaram)的作品,那就选择去听Torvi的音乐会。

Those going to a concert or a movie are not unaware of or inured to the horrific carnage of unsuspecting paramilitary men in Pulwama the other day. It’s simply that there are less demonstrative ways to share grief than to shout inanities at the top of your voice against a real or imagined foe. Amma and other women in their Lucknow neighbourhood quietly gave away their best jewellery to the national fund because Nehru asked for it during the brief 1962 war with China. Twenty-five years later, Rajiv Gandhi was shaking hands with Deng Xiaopeng. It was a historic handshake.


Exceptions apart, TV anchors are mostly lip-syncing the script handed by someone else. When the chips are down, as they are down these days, the ‘news’ becomes shrill advice. The Iraq invasion was carried out by the American deep state, and the justification for the mindless act was left to TV anchors to carry out. The Qatari-owned Al Jazeera channel staked its modest credibility by hawking the spurious narrative of religious zealots against a secular Syria, possibly the only such state left in the Middle East.

除了少数例外,电视节目主持人大多是对口型。当关键时刻到了,就像这些天一样,“新闻”就变成了尖锐的建议。入侵伊拉克的行动是由美国的“深层国家”(deep state)发动的,而为这种愚蠢行为的正名的活儿则留给了电视主播。

I was in Lahore on Aug 14, 1997, to shoot TV footage for a Saarc documentary that was sponsored by India’s Ministry of External Affairs. In the Gujral era, such ideas were possible, and surely enough India’s relations with all its neighbours had suddenly improved overnight.


It was a lean day in Lahore so I switched on a Pakistani entertainment channel in my hotel room. A TV drama on the country’s independence day was on. It showed lots of eager young students in fez caps celebrating a speech by Jinnah in 1945


Upon returning to Delhi, I was watching a TV drama on Kashmir. It was state propaganda from the other side. The pretty young woman was cooing into the ears of her fiancé, a ‘reformed militant’, about how happy she was that he had given up arms, and how his drug addiction, induced by his evil minders, had nudged him to pick up the gun. “Now the go nment has given us this land to grow apples and lead a happy life.” Kashmir’s tryst with violence was the outcome of drug addiction, or so went the Indian propaganda in 1997.


I exaggerate a bit about not watching TV news. I did switch on the TV for exactly two minutes on Monday. On one channel, burqa-clad women were burning the Pakistani flag and urging Prime Minister Modi to avenge the carnage in Pulwama. Nothing wrong with being outraged. In fact, the women were clearly less confused than, say, Javed Akhtar or Shabana Azmi, the Indian movie couple, who called off their proposed visit to Karachi where they were to attend a literary event.


The actress was quoted as advocating curbs on all cultural ties over the Kashmir outrage. Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Sardar Jafri would be turning in their graves. Even Indian leaders in a moment of sanity had decided that acts of terror would not be allowed to derail bilateral talks for peace. That was potentially the most critical clause in their bilateral agreement.


Had it not been thrown into the dustbin, Messrs Narendra Modi and Imran Khan would be having a better grip on bilateral ties, and not letting non-state actors undermine relations between their two sovereign states. There is an alternate view that the TV channels are whipping up hysteria to influence the general elections on behalf of the ruling party. That’s a TV-like conclusion to draw.


The fact is that Manmohan Singh won the 2009 election without lifting a finger at Pakistan for the Mumbai carnage of November 2008. On the contrary, he went ahead with the Sharm el Shaikh summit with Pakistan. It is another matter that his party made a bonfire of the peace agreement. On the other hand, Atal Behari Vajpayee won the Kargil war but his vote percentage went down in the election that followed. That’s not TV news. That’s the reality.



译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47102.html  译者:Jessica.Wu



Feb 19, 2019 08:13am

Closing your eyes to reality, won't change it.




Feb 19, 2019 09:50am

Good advise. Perhaps turning off the TV will bring those CRPF men back. Trying now.



Pro Democracy

Feb 19, 2019 09:52am

An article that people from both sides of border must read. Thank you




Feb 19, 2019 11:07am

thank you Jawed Naqvi. you voice of sanity.




Feb 19, 2019 12:04pm

Believe me watching Tv and using social media has depressed me a lot, when i wake up in the morning i pledge myself to stay away from social media and tv because after watching them i feel a headache. i consider newspapers are the best source for being updated. this article is for both nation Pakistan and India.




Feb 19, 2019 12:06pm

@Prateik, TV news is no reality.




Feb 19, 2019 05:26pm

Pakistan and India; if together, can rule the world. This madness needs to stop. Terrorism is a plague that will devour the very entity that it resides in.



T>l 289995891

Feb 19, 2019 06:38pm





Feb 19, 2019 10:23pm

nice analysis but lets not put Pakistani channels in the same category as the indian channels, our channels have become more mature in Indo Pak conflict than Indian




Feb 19, 2019 10:55pm

@Kris, retaliation won't bring them either, try that too...... But dialogue would save hundreds of lives n millions of cash




Feb 20, 2019 12:35am

Why only TV - why not internet, electronic media including mobile phones and the like - let us go back to the 8th centaury and get all the information from our clergies. Sure they will love it and so, some of us for sure.



Sameer Siddiqui

Feb 20, 2019 01:08am

As usual, sane and measured article from Mr. Naqvi.




Feb 20, 2019 02:59am

@Friends, "If together can rule the world" - Its a myth. They can't even rule over themselves properly esp pakistan.




Feb 20, 2019 07:42am

It's obvious Mr. Naqvi, it makes your friends across the border uncomfortable!




3 days ago

@Friends, "Pakistan and India; if together, can rule the world. " Indians don't even like to play cricket with us and you are talking about ruling the world?

@Friends,“如果巴基斯坦和印度团结起来,就能统治世界。“ 印度人甚至不喜欢和我们一起打板球,你还说要一起统治世界?”


Zafar ahmed

2 days ago

Definitely the tv channels are loosing their integrity as well as the audience day by day. Most of these are exagerating any point as they want. Sometime it is dry and they are showing rains and beautiful scenes outside in the city mostly fake.




a day ago

@Ali Sabir, ''The majority of Pakistanis, outside of their schooling, have never read a single book.'' Why would they?


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