Each day the TV brings a new news high.
Day before, it was about the ’emergency’ in Pakistan.
Channels in India were full of it, channels in Pakistan were going off the air, CNN and other western channels didnt make much of it. (Often, I wonder if all Americans wake up every day worrying about what happened today in Tel Aviv or Gaza strip…The TV coverage seem to indicate that…).
But back to Pakistan.
I was trying to explain to my daughter what ‘Emergency’ was. I told her about revocation of fundamental rights, the constitution being suspended, Supreme Court judges being dismissed, politicians being arrested…None of this made her feel that anything was amiss…
Then I told her that all TV Channels are off, internet was down, cell phones cut off, and no sms…That got her…She was really shocked….No cell phone? No sms? What kind of government would do that? How utterly cruel!
As she rushed to her orkutting, I surfed newschannels.
Pakistani journalists, lawyers, political activists and others were speaking quite freely to interviewers from Indian TV. They said exactly what they thought of the man of the moment, the President-General Musharraf Saab. Lawyers were organizing vocal protests. Looking at all this one wondered about what kind of emergency this was. Surely, when India was under emergency (only once, and thank God for that), one didnt see any such bluster amongst the dissidents. Quite a difference. The Pak drama looked more like ” ‘Off with her head’ said the Queen” kind of Alice in wonderland…I wondered…
And then I saw Shekar Gupta in a TV interview, I think it was NDTV. In this interview, he made an interesting comment. He said that ‘India is a democracy, but there isnt that much freedom of expression…whereas Pakistan is not a democracy, but people pretty much speak their mind…’, or words to that effect.
A news item says that Indian ministers were officially told to keep off from a function in Delhi where Dalai Lama was falicitated. No emergency here. But I believe that obedience was total. (see http://in.news.yahoo.com/071103/20/6msk5.html )
Meanwhile, the Pak cricket team on tour to India just goes ahead with the matches – ‘business as usual’…Although, I guess that the matches wont be shown on Pak TVs (for TVs are off the air)…
Welcome to the subcontinent. Smile please!