HYDERABAD: When development is seen in industrialization and building chrome and steel structures, there can only be discontent at the end and it will find expression in people’s movements and extremist ideology.
And related to this, is the role of the media and its increasing tendency to “misrepresent” facts.
That is the ever candid human rights activist and Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Hyderabad G Haragopal’s forthright view.
Speaking to City Express after an interactive session at the literary festival, he said, “the electronic media at the national level has gone for a toss.
It is unrealistic and guilty of distorting and trivializing issues.
Regional media is halfway through and they are not rooted anymore.
They too are embarking on the path of mouthing rhetoric.” Distorted media runs the risk of promoting fascism, though its central role is to keep checks on the powers-that-be, feels the human rights activist.
Wary of sensationalism, the professor shared his tryst with the media when he was selected as part of a team of interlocutors to negotiate the release of Malkangiri Collector R Vineel Krishna who was held captive by the Maoists early last year.
“I addressed a press conference at 7 pm, two days before the release of the collector and announced that the Maoists had agreed to free him in 48 hours.
By 9 pm, it was on national news channels like Times Now that he had been set free.
By 1.30 am, BBC had picked up the news.
The amazing fact is that no one bothered to check up with me as I was the only credible source of information.
They did carry an apology the next day but this is a lapse on their part,” recalls Haragopal.
Observing that the role of money had increased in proportion to the rise in consciousness of the masses, he said that ‘real anger’ was lacking in people.
“Look at Gujarat.
Narendra Modi is being touted as a possible candidate for the post of prime minister, though the number of people killed in the Gujarat riots was much more than those killed by Maoists in the last 40 years!” he exclaims.
In his words, there is no press to protest against the abuse of authority as a matter of principle.
Haragopal acted as a moderator at one of the sessions at the festival on Tuesday.
The topic, Development and its Discontents, had the delegates and journalists C Rammanohar Reddy and Rahul Pandita in an animated discussion.
"Development is associated with a certain kind of progress.
We are meeker and there's no sense of anger even though inflation has hit the roof with food inflation touching the double figures.
However, there is discontent in forests and mining areas," said Rammanohar Reddy hinting that "illiterate tribals" are far more active than the "educated."