What’s in a word? Why, everything.
And so the day after Holi, let’s look at a few of the favourite words and phrases we hear frequently on television news channels in India.
Disclaimer: This article is written in pure jest. Any resemblance to reality is completely incidental.
First up is ‘Breaking News’, which flashes across your screens so often it’s a wonder we haven’t smashed them to smithereens — into those ‘tukde-tukde’ bits that TV news has a weakness for. But more about that shortly.
This ‘Breaking News’ is ‘LIVE’ even when it is about death (sorry, very poor joke). It is sometimes ‘Exclusive’ and ‘Only on your channel’ — never mind that every other channel is also running the same exclusive news at the same time.
There are occasions when the breaking news turns ‘Explosive’ — a fresh bombing in Ukraine during ‘World War’ (TV9 Bharatvarsh)– and when there are ‘explosive’ ‘inside’ details of Manish Sisodia’s interrogation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) — revealed by ‘sources’. Who are these mysterious ‘sources’? Well, we never know exactly, as the source of these ‘sources’ is rarely identified. For instance, in this case, are they CBI ‘sources’?
Next is the ‘ecosystem’ these channels operate within. It is the most popular word on the lips of English news anchors whenever they have to describe that pet peeve of theirs — “the pseudo-secular Left-liberals”. Since all members of this particular species are considered to hold the same political opinions, wonder if we shouldn’t call it the ‘echo-system’.
Synonyms for the ‘ecosystem’ abound on television news: There’s ‘Lutyens’ Delhi’ that has fallen out of favour ever since Rajpath was redesigned into Kartavya Path. ‘Lutyens’, in turn, has spawned several gangs: The ‘Khan market gang’, which morphed into the ‘George Soros gang’ briefly. And then there’s that most wanted gang of all — yes, you guessed it — the one and only ‘tukde-tukde’ gang.
The gang-sters in this group are ‘anti-nationals’ or ‘anti-Modi’, which, news channels tell you, is one and the same thing. Also, they tend to ‘rant’ whereupon the government ‘slams’ them: ‘Anurag Thakur slams Rahul Gandhi’s anti-India rant’ (Republic TV).
Oh, lest we forget, these gangs can become a ‘lobby’ when news anchors or reporters are feeling a little more sympathetic toward them. And whatever happened to the ‘toolkit’? It seems to have dropped out of the ‘ecosystem’ for now.
Mention Rahul Gandhi and it ushers in the entire ‘parivaar’ and party: The ‘Vadra Congress’ as Republic TV has rechristened the Indian National Congress. It is responsible for ‘dynasty’ politics and most of what ails India – at least, on TV news. ‘Rahul Gandhi lets India down, again,’ says Times Now, weary of his antics.
As for the Congress, it’s a party that hasn’t learnt any table manners — its members, say, Pawan Khera, ‘insult’ the Prime Minister often with their barbed comments.
Also read: Found on TV news: Modi’s insult. Not found: Morbi report—the trivial pursuits of channels
Drumbeat politics–who does it better?
Everything that happens on Indian TV news is a battle, ‘face off’ — it’s always ‘Sisodia vs BJP’, ‘AAP vs Centre’, Yogi vs Mafia Raj’ or the ominous-sounding, ‘Rashtravaad vs Tukde Gang’ (Times Now Navbharat). It’s a pretty dismal picture, actually. Besides the real ‘war’ between Russia and Ukraine, battle cries ring out from Hindi and English news channels: There’s ‘mahayudh’, ‘dharma yudh’, ‘mahasangram’ going on simultaneously, a ‘showdown’ almost every hour, and ‘protests’ every half hour. Nowadays, ‘Delhi Dangal’ is the hottest property on TV news as the Narendra Modi government turns the ‘heat’ on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Inside and outside Parliament, there is ‘high drama’, ‘high octane drama’ that lead to ‘newsquakes’ (India Today) in TV studios. Alternatively, there’s always ‘hamla’, ‘hungama’, ‘halla bol’ in some corner of the country that ‘wreak havoc’ with the peace and tranquillity of this great nation. Naturally, this leads to a ‘war of words’ on prime-time TV debates.
News channels see a ‘conspiracy’ being hatched like eggs by the opposition parties, and scandals under each chair — think ‘sharaabi kand’ (TV 9) in Delhi’s seat of power.
All this leads to that favourite term used by Opposition parties that has found its way into TV news headlines: ‘Vendetta politics’.
Ah, politics. Politics is everything — that’s the drumbeat on TV news. ‘Siyasi hamla’ is invariably being waged in the studio, often so loudly that it becomes ‘halla bol politics’. And did anyone ever imagine that a piece of machinery would give rise to ‘bulldozer politics’ — the one Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has virtually branded as his own and now is exported to the rest of India?
Hindi news channels can be far more inventive and entertaining when it comes to their headlines. The unique feature common to them is that they go for rhyming couplets: ‘Pehle bulldozer ab encounter’, ‘8 din 2 encounter, agla kiska number’ is one recent effort on Zee News. Or as a variation, how about, ‘DY CM andar, agla kiska number?’
Oh well, enough of this word play, our number is up, folks. We will take next week a little more seriously. Or not….
Views are personal.
(Edited by Humra Laeeq)