Monday, August 23, 2010

An Open Letter to Prannoy Roy and Barkha Dutt

Dear Dr. Prannoy Roy and Barkha Dutt:

I have written many serious letters on the subject of the environment to you and to Barkha Dutt, and to your green ambassadors Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu through their websites. (copies attached)

I have yet to receive even a simple acknowledgment of a single one of my letters. I understand that you must receive many letters and emails, of which the majority may be considered unserious, and discarded as frivolous and a waste of time; but I have been a serious and concerned student of the environment for many years, and have written thoughtfully about these issues. At the same time, the environmental initiatives which you have espoused rely heavily on public outreach. If members of the public respond to you and are ignored, what is your accomplishment? Is it merely a show, in which telegenic people stand up, get their pictures taken and then leave for a film shooting?

It wounds me deeply that no one has had the courtesy even to acknowledge my attempts at communication, much less to engage with me on matters of substance which I have raised and on which I have expertise, both moral and scientific.

Some things which come to mind immediately are my Short Story, which was also sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram (whom I knew personally before he went into politics), Jayanthi Natarajan (who is a friend0; the Environment and Man, whether climate change can be halted or slowed, Satyameva Jayate. For your convenience, the letters are enclosed here so that you do not have to search for them.

You look and behave like civilised people whom I have respected. Please prove that also. If you do not want to engage, at least have your secretaries send a perfunctory note of acknowledgement.

Agonisingly,
Ramesh Gandhi


Enclosures:
my letter re Satyameva Jayate
my letter re Short Story: Hang the Hangers
my letter re Climate Change / Environment and Man
-------------------------------------------------------------------


(In response to the above, I received a letter from Bhashwati Sengupta. She is an activist working in the fields of education (setting up schools, teacher training, curriculum development), children’s rights, youth counselling, gender sensitization and the rights of marginalised groups, in India and abroad. She is also a poet and a linguist.)

…“Your insistence on being responded to, even if in mere acknowledgement, far from sounding like an eccentric old man's clamour for attention exposes an extremely important flaw in the systems that govern public life in this country. NONE OF THESE SYSTEMS (read individuals who constitute them) CONSIDER THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC.

The vast state machinery, the even more vast multi limbed media, institutions supposedly established to address the concerns of the people and several other bodies that we are forced to deal with on a daily basis, all of whom leave us damaged and bruised at best and completely destroyed at worst... the best of them seem to act and conduct themselves in a vacuum where they can connect with "us the people" selectively and 'photogenetically' to further their own agendas but never ever in a democratic manner where they and the people are on an equal footing, where they must show the courtesy due to the people who populate the land. What makes the relationship even more unequal and unfair is that the populace is unstinting, often going overboard in its acknowledgement of their existence, partly out of simplicity and partly out of forgiveable stupidity.

In that sense this particular letter is like a rap on the knuckle i would translate as, "Acknowledge or else... explain your existence"
And your demand, to my prejudiced (in your favour) understanding seems to be going out on behalf of a vast mass of unacknowledged people, regardless of status and location.
As one of them I thank you.”
----------------------------------------
  @edgarhopper tweeted: For me, when I was a magazine publisher, media was business, dedicated to making money to sustain itself. Most media adopt a point of view that they hope will make the business successful. Knowledge, maturity and merit are respected only if they help quite obviously, promote the point of view and the business. Sadly, valuable ideas often kare overlooked or forced to wait for a proper opportunity and climate of opinion. This is a net negative for the media not the content provider. My opinion Accordingly, although once a media person, I castigate them and support you my friend, while you are frustratingly patient!
----------------------------------------
@MatrixKape tweeted:  I found your letter to be very well written. Challenges them or shames them to respond to you. Good luck!
---------------------------------------


On 23 August 2010 I received an automatic "read" email from one Gagan Arora on behalf of NDTV. I awaited further response, to no avail, as Arora vanished. I therefore wrote to him today:


Dear Gagan Arora:

My computer gave me a message as below on the date stated. I have this justifiable curiosity, which should not meet with any civilised person's disapproval:

If my message is read, apparently by you on behalf of Prannoy Roy and/or Barkha Dutt, what are you supposed to be doing? Are you not supposed to pass it on, and either tell me that they would respond, or that they are too busy and on their behalf, write a line of comfort or consolation to me for my frayed feelings.

If Prannoy and Barkha are too busy, and I would understand that they are, what is Gagan Arora doing? Is he not supposed to represent them and comfort people, even by an unfeeling, unfelt expression of sentiment and empathy? Please do have this much courage to reply, even if briefly, if you are also as busy as your colleagues/bosses.  I hope you will not disappoint in responding to this minuscule expectation.

Baffled,
Ramesh Gandhi
--------------------------
Update: On 22 November 2010, Gagan Arora wrote:

Dear Mr Ramesh Gandhi,
At the onset I would like to apologise for having missed your communication earlier. We greatly appreciate your contribution towards the Green movement. I have forwarded your letters to the team which oversees the Green project at NDTV. They shall get in touch with you in case they require any further information/details.
Warm Regards,
Gagan Arora

3 comments:

Edgar W Hopper said...

This is pretty much the attitude everywhere. In the United States often the most you can hope for is a formulaic apology for the lack of attention to you or your work.

sandrabullock said...

Hd Wallpapers for free,sorted by categories.Easy to search hd wallpapers for your desktop background.Customize your background with cool hd wallpapers.hd wallpapers

Gagan Arora said...

Dear Mr Ramesh Gandhi,
At the onset I would like to apologise for having missed your communication earlier. We greatly appreciate your contribution towards the Green movement. I have forwarded your letters to letters to the team which oversees the Green project at NDTV. They shall get in touch with you in case they require any further information/details.
Warm Regards,
Gagan Arora