Reality Bites: ND-Bendy had a great fall…

You know, that dirty feeling you get when you discover that an old friend is turning into a brainwashed bigot? So I christened it Bendy TV and bid it goodbye. My eyes were not moist

Reality Bites: ND-Bendy had a great fall…

Rupa Gulab

I used to have lunch and dinner with NDTV every single day. I did it for years, and rarely flirted with other news channels. Okay, I confess that I would occasionally sneak off to watch Karan Thapar, but I would always return—I’m a good girl, I am!

Nidhi Razdan is the anchor who made my loyalty to the channel almost unshakable when she interviewed British Labour Party MP Barry Gardiner in the run up to India’s 2014 general elections.

As the CM of Gujarat, Dear Leader had invested heavily in Gardiner, and that paid off because Gardiner staunchly supported him when Razdan asked how he could forget the 2002 Gujarat pogrom.

An aside: I must point out that Gardiner is a very friendly opportunist—it was recently discovered that he did favours for China as well. He apparently received over £500,000 as donations from a Chinese agent engaged in “political interference activities” in the UK on behalf of the communist regime.

He also lovingly employed her son as his diary manager! But all is not lost even though he has been outed as ‘Beijing Barry’—he can always do favours for a little new country like Kailasa, no?

Back to Razdan. In that interview, she spoke as the conscience of the nation, a lonely voice because she was up against powerful industrialists, media owners, bureaucrats, and even allegedly liberal public intellectuals who swore that the Gujarat model was the bestest thing ever.

She was panned and viciously attacked, but she held firm and I salute her for being strong.

Things changed in 2014 when the Dear Leader kissed the steps of Parliament and turned it into a frog. NDTV became India’s last liberal mainstream TV channel, as all the other channels turned into rabid Dear Leader fans, waving saffron pom poms and all.

NDTV did whatever little it could to promote pluralism and liberal values while a loaded gun was held to its head. So I clucked but did not throw shoes at my telly when Barkha Dutt screeched “Rockstar! Rockstar!” like a spaced-out groupie during Dear Leader’s Madison Avenue gig.

I grimly watched on although his image and his gibberish were aired 24x7 on the channel. Heck, they would even interrupt regular programmes with “Big Breaking News!” alerts to announce some rubbish like the Dear Leader finally burped after his dinner, all was well with the world.

I rolled my eyes and suffered silently when the anchors solemnly read out from the script handed to them—utter nonsense like every medal won by Indians in international sporting events were all thanks to Dear Leader as though he had personally trained them.

Last year, I cracked. I stopped watching the channel because two things became clear:

1. NDTV followed Dear Leader’s ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ diktat as faithfully as Godi media. The channel stopped covering INC press conferences and events. Good way to earn brownie points from Dear Leader, but a terrible thing to do to democracy.

2. The channel enthusiastically supported another party that also promotes Hindutva and refuses to defend minorities at all, it actively demonises them instead.

Not nice at all. You know, that dirty feeling you get when you discover that an old friend is turning into a brainwashed bigot? So I christened it Bendy TV and bid it goodbye. My eyes were not moist.

Now that news of an apparently hostile takeover of NDTV by Dear Leader’s BFF is out, I have to say this: The biggest mistake the owners made was, they thought Dear Leader would forgive them for their gritty coverage of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. Nope, his motto is like a pulp fiction title: ‘Vengeance is Mine’.

Oh, and in case people are wondering why Oligarch A would sell his NDTV stakes to his rival Oligarch Also A, here’s a theory: Perhaps Dear Leader sat them down and said in a Ram Lila-ish Vishwaguru voice that they should be brotherly and share India and the toys he gave them.

Rest assured they will thank him by stuffing electoral bonds into his jhola.

Goodbye, NDTV. Thank you for the good times, and special thanks to Nidhi Razdan, to Sreenivasan Jain for that electrifying truth-to-power interview with former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, and Sonia Singh for asking Metroman absobloominlutely crucial questions that showed us what he really was beneath the hype. Stay safe.

(Any resemblance with real people or events is a coincidence)

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