The angry young man of Indian Television
|( Image sourced from Net. Origin unknown)|
Like most Indian women who nod off to bed listening to the drone of Arnab Goswami‘s voice getting louder by the decibel as he out-debates his panelists on Times NOW‘s Newshour Tonight, I always wondered what it was about him that appealed to all the men who religiously watched him night after night and what on earth his wife saw in him. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with the side of Arnab Goswami I got to see yesterday evening at the Bombay First talk held at the BSE‘s International Convention Centre.
It was a pretty glum and wet afternoon when Arnab addressed an audience ready to hear his views on how the media could contribute to the growth of Mumbai a topic dear to the hearts of all Mumbaikars who are frankly too tired to even feel tired of the ills that have beset this city. Year after year, as the potholes get deeper, the water cuts more frequent, the trains more crowded, the taxi drivers ruder, the police more indifferent, the traffic more congested, the buildings more dilapidated, the “system” more corrupt and a once wonderful city more mired in decay and decrepitude anyone who can promise some relief is worth listening to. Hence this talk was not only well attended but also well listened to.
Humour and Geniality
And it proved to be an interesting talk for not only was it informative but also entertaining with a touch of humour and geniality I never knew Arnab possessed. Modestly and frankly admitting that he has no blueprint for contributing to Mumbai’s growth being neither an engineer nor an urban planner, he suggested making Mumbai into the media capital of the world to make it a better place. Audacious as this sounds, according to him (and many will agree) Mumbai is indeed the only city in India with an enviable work culture and ethic with everyone willing to work 24×7 in a professional manner. In addition, its multilingual and multicultural population gives it a distinct advantage over several global cities. But what really clinches the argument is the fact that India has the largest news audience in the world and with digital media the future of news, it makes sense for Mumbai to invest in making it attractive to multiple media organisations and establishing Mumbai as the intellectual nerve centre of the country. Apart from nurturing talent, confrontational journalism as invented by him inspires fear among potential wrong doers thus ensuring that the average citizen is heard and his grievances a chance of redressal.
Convoluted as this argument sounds, it was a typical Arnab response: turning the proposition on its head and showing how Mumbai could help the Media grow and consequently contribute to the growth of Mumbai!
Whatever may be the outcome of his suggestion, Arnab turned out to be a passionate journalist, honest, sensitive, entertaining and yes even self deprecating at times as he recounted interesting stories of how he unearthed scoop after scoop and and scam after scam. In his own words, journalism, in order to be impactful and have a trickle down effect, has to be hard hitting and adversarial to the establishment hence his tendency to make a small story big and cut a big story cut down to size, in his aggressive, belligerent persona as he faces the nation night after night.