TODAY -

Is the media giving what Monika deserves?

Thanreingam Muivah *

The already strife-torn State of Manipur which has been feeling the sense of isolation from the mainland India is put into biting the dust afresh with its promising daughter being trimmed out of the India's Beijing Olympic Squad after she was charged of failing the doping test.

Much that added to the woe is that such tragedy had occurred at a time when the country had to prepare itself to tell the world what 'Indian Independence Day' truly holds in view of this occasion being often learned to be paralysed in many parts of the country and especially in the North East region for known and unknown reasons.

Although the tricolour is usually seen to be hoisted in some parts of the State, it is an indisputable fact that the true meaning of celebrating this occasion has become obscure with each passing year. This merriest moment, when India was finally freed from the yoke of the British Raj, used to be denounced and boycotted by few organisations—both underground and over-ground—in the recent past.

But this time around, we have witnessed how life came to a complete halt on this occasion with the people's sense of the Centre's step motherly treatment already soared very high.

It will not be an over-statement to say that even the speech of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who holds the highest and most important post in the State, on this very occasion was nothing more than a lip message. For he himself as a citizen of Manipur has openly poured out his emotions in full public view being already irked by the senseless manner in which Monika was treated by SAI officials, who unfortunately happened to be those bigwigs of the mainland India.

We can thus conclude with the calm certainty that if people of this region continue to reel under such situation where their apprehension over racial discrimination only gets compounded, a day will come when this national flag of India merely flies in the open air without having any citizens of this State to salute it.

If we go deeper by the distressing story of Monika, it is hard to swallow why cases like this of her, which is of a national concern had simply failed to get the ears of Indian media that claims to exist in the most democratic country of the world. I am contemplating here at the level of the issue to assess if national media had really given what 'Monika Episode' deserves.

If failure on their part to react swiftly with Monika's case is any indication, it could be assumed that the virtue of social watchdog does not simply find a room in India's Fourth Estate. It has become a grave concern for every right thinking individual to challenge the validity of that magical card media should have played in a tragedy that involves the whole nation.

Had such tragedy occurred to a person who hails from one of the mainland States a mere protest along the Jantar Mantar to Parliament road in the heart of the Capital City armed with over excited media would have given both the Houses a sleepless night and mind you, the officials concerned would have been given a shivering experience.

Should we give a quick ponder on how media had attempted to act as curtain raiser over the recent Noida twin murder episode, where Aarushi and her family's domestic help were slain in cold blood. Being too inclined to the nature of the incident Media had to be jolted with the charge of tarnishing the image of the victim's family in matter of what could be termed as an extra-mile reporting.

This therefore says something about the magical role of media that is believed to be alive and kicking only when a particular incident serves the interest of that media establishment.

No doubt, the Indian media is rendering a yeoman's service in keeping itself informed about every minute details of say Barack Obama, one of the candidates for the upcoming US Presidential election. But for this poor lady who belongs to a small and landlocked State of Manipur, media seems to have chosen the path that merely waits and watches, hoping the tragedy would eventually vanish as former Chief Election Commisisoner TS Krishnamurthy's report arrives.

In denying Monika to represent the country in spite of her potential as a promising weight lifter, let us not forget that India had not only done injustice to her career but also marred the golden opportunity that could have added a feather on its cap.

Today, the whole State to which Monika belongs and of course other North Eastern States look in utter disbelief at the tragedy in which she has been gripped, and worse still, the whole region is engulfed with cloud of uncertainty that such misfortune event would not recur.

"But so far so good", let us simply put this way, as this tragedy had not really triggered into another Manorama episode. And at the same time, we could also not undermine the possible public outcry that is yet to come in case justice is not seen to be delivered to this already defamed athlete by an act of conspiracy hatched by those unscrupulous officials in the highest sports administration of India.

While TS Krishnamurthy, a learned and a man of integrity the nation ever had, must have rendered his best efforts to present the factual findings of Monika episode, owing to people's unprecedented sentiment, the demand for CBI's probe could not be ruled out even at this point of time.

Her urine sample having tested negative for more than three times, Monika had been taking part in series of international events for the last few months/years. But to her surprise, all of a sudden she had to be off-loaded at the eleventh hour from the flight that was to take off for Beijing for the Olympic Games.

In the larger interest of all, in this era when a mere reporting of an incident is considered to be an outdated concept in the media fraternity, Indian media may still do something in-depth into the Monika episode so as to atleast convey the masses that there exist some section of society in India that do not treat the North East Region with New Delhi's sole policy of 'Counter Insurgency'.




* Thanreingam Muivah writes to e-pao.net for the first time. The writer is also a regular columnist for The Sangai Express . This article was webcasted on August 31, 2008.

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