When reading reports on the rehabilitation of Narmada oustees, have you ever paid attention to the terminology used? Medha Patkar, clearly the face of the agitation is always referred to as NBA activist, as though she was just like the others, one of the many agitators. The media, I think, derive some comfort from this blurring of hierarchies, even those that are too clear to be blurred. The entire world knows that Medha is the leader of the movement and not just another activist. What kind of democracy are media organisations perpetrating by calling her only an activist and not a leader or at the very least a superior? I would term this willful blinding by media organisations hypocrisy because these very hierarchies are very staunchly adhered to in any media setup. Why then do we still like to hold on to communist notions of equality when reporting news??
On a different note, did you know that the ITC Maurya Sheraton in New Delhi dishes out a bottle of mineral water for a cool 150 bucks?? When my sis shared this tiny nugget with me, I was, to say the least, flabbergasted. But then, I was reminded of the ITC's human initiative in Indian villages, the e-choupal, which is a network of kiosks meant to protect poor farmers from unscrupulous agents. The programme is driven from ITC's profits, and clearly, the cycle of profitability is inextricably linked to the 150 rupees ITC's hospitality department charges for a bottle of water from the cream of affluent Delhi society. Who says capitalism is discriminatory? Look beneath the surface and you might be pleasantly surprised.