“Mummy I love you a lot. It is possible that I die in this attack. The situation is bad. I don’t know why, but despite seeing death right in the face, I am not afraid. It is difficult to come out alive out of this. There are 6-7 soldiers with us and we are surrounded (by Naxals) from every side.”
In a chilling 90 second video, these were Mor Mukut Sharma’s words as he lay bleeding from his head, face down, in the jungles of Dantewada as the Naxals attacked their convoy. Sharma escaped death in the face of a brutal terror attack. He is a DD crew member who was just doing his job.
The day when their convoy came under attack, another journalist, Achyuta Nanda Sahu wasn’t so lucky. He died that day. He died and became a footnote for 5 star Lutyen’s journalists.. or if Rajdeep is to be believed.. the vultures.
Mor Mukur Sharma and Achyuta Nanda Sahu were not great journalists. They were unknown, nameless (according to the Editor’s Guild) pawns who facilitate the vultures becoming the greats. They were just doing their job without the thrill of smelling blood, and using that blood to become ‘top journalists’. They will forever remain nameless and faceless.
Great journalists are made of stronger stuff. Take Rajdeep Sardesai, for example. Recently, a video went viral where he chatting, all excited, about the terrorist attack on the Parliament in 2001. He spoke about how it was a ‘great day’ and how the media is like a vulture.
After a severe backlash, he resorted to apologising profusely for his “bad choice of words” giving the impression that it was actually a rather traumatic time and that, he just did his job. He said he did his job with passion.
Ma’am, a) use of word ‘great day’ highly inappropriate for which I apologise; I meant unforgettable experienceb) gates were being shut by security in any case and not by us! We had 2 options: to run out or stay and film , we chose latter. https://t.co/wqy5kAkClr
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) 5 December 2018
He then said that when the choice of words are misconstrued easily, it is important to clarify. He lost friends. A cameraman succumbed to his injuries.
When the choice of words are misconstrued easily, it is important to clarify. Only we who were there know what a traumatic day it was. We lost friends who were in the watch and ward staff and a cameraperson who later passed away. Should have been much more careful in word usage. https://t.co/PaXkS04SLS
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) 5 December 2018
The cameraman, who died during the attack Rajdeep was ‘excited’ about, has no name. Just like Mor Mukut Sharma or Achyuta Nanda Sahu. The cameraman is a footnote. Even Rajdeep refers to him as a ‘cameraman’. His name forgotten. His job rendered unimportant and his memory wiped out.
I presume Rajdeep was talking about Vikram Bisht, an ANI camera person who succumbed to his injuries in 2003.
Rajdeep tried his best to insinuate that this was just a one-off slip of the tongue. But Rajdeep had said exactly the same in 2013 while delivering a TEDx talk.
(The same story can be heard from the 7:40 minute mark)
He reiterated that it was a “great day”. He said media persons are like vultures and in fact, he went as far as to say that for journalists, ‘terror is exciting’. This was not a one-off remark and Rajdeep implying so is him being dishonest.
What Rajdeep Sardesai tells us here is that what makes a journalist great is not merely doing his job, but to harbour that mindset that makes terror attacks seem exciting for the sake of TRPs. After all, that is what the 26/11 told us, as well. That is what the media’s conduct during those harrowing hours that left hundreds dead told the world, as evidenced by the Supreme Court’s observations.
A great journalist has to have a great mindset. A mindset like Rajdeep who thought about the doors being shut so other media persons couldn’t enter. The security was shutting the doors after the terrorists fired gunshots in any case, but a great journalist doesn’t care about the doors being shut to somehow protect innocent lives and the sanctity of the Parliament, a symbol of the country’s democracy. A great journalist like Rajdeep thinks that the doors being shut is a good thing because it would keep other journalists away from stealing his TRP.
When the Naxals ambushed Achyuta Nanda Saha and Mor Mukut Sharma, I doubt they were thinking about TRPs. When they were attacked, Sharma recorded a video for his mother because for average joes who just do their job… blood isn’t exciting.
There are really, two types of journalists. The Achyuta Nandas and Mor Mukut Sharmas of the world who do their job with a fire in their belly that takes them to dangerous territories. The other, are the Rajdeeps of the world who get caught in an “exciting situation” perchance while sipping wine and don’t even mention the name of their dead comrade, the lowly cameraman while talking about the scavenging that media persons do.
And since Rajdeep has repeatedly asserted that media persons like him are vultures who scavenge on terror attacks, and has proven his assertion by not once mentioning his cameraperson who died during the attacks, why obfuscate now?
In the two talks, not once does Rajdeep mention the name of his cameraman. Heck, he doesn’t mention the cameraman at all. He was just collateral damage in Rajdeep scavenging for TRPs during a terror attack, and if so, why postulate and pretend that the incident didn’t “excite” him?
Rajdeep has admitted twice at least that journalists like him a vultures, scavenging on death, destruction and terror. It is time Rajdeep Sardesai owns that self-conferred title and stops lying to himself.. and others.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017