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Anubha Bhonsle
Tuesday , May 05, 2015

Beyond the Hashtag #GoBackIndianMedia

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The revolution will not be tweeted, said Malcom Gladwell. The so-called disgust for the Indian media in Nepal that triggered a hashtag for about 24 odd hours was certainly not tweeted by men and women I met in villages close to the epicentre, even those I interrupted while they were pulling out a large rice drum from the collapsed rubble of their house in Kathmandu. Or those who had trekked down for almost half a day when they heard that a small medical camp had come up. I managed to evade television and print for several days while in Nepal. On my return one of the first things I'd say is that a strong dose of introspection by the media is needed. When a disaster happens it seems to everyone that the low hanging fruit is to show the destruction and cycle of death. It's not an easy task....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The breast brouhaha

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As a woman and of course, it runs true for men too - I am the sum of all my parts. We are all the sum of our parts. But not all my parts are equal. I put my mind hard at the top of the body parts list, and it's true - the images, the onslaught of popular culture, the rigid stereotypical roles and the near intolerance with androgyny of any kinds means the perfect pair, the two sisters were right on the top (am yet to make up my mind if they aren't anymore). For years it sat pretty well with me. There wasn't anything to question till I read an almost iconic piece. About 40 years ago Nora Ephron wrote an essay in Esquire titled, "A few words about Breasts". Of course they weren't few, more than 3,000 words reeling of anecdotes about being flat-chested....

Monday , November 05, 2012

Let Sharmila decide her own future without any guilt

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Irom Sharmila is in love. As soon as you say this, a great deal of wonder and hatred follows, for many there is complete surprise to discover that the superhuman that she is now equated with has a heart within. For the others this revelation is almost seen as an attack to the battle against AFSPA, to side track it or to be somehow pushing Delhi's agenda. As just another human being who has met her, observed her and spoken to her for years now, I have never understood why a completely personal decision of Sharmila should be a threat to the campaign itself or be seen as one. As a journalist, I have now realised how the campaign against AFSPA has leaned on her way too much. The young woman has done more than enough to highlight the issue, bring it to focus and give it the dogged....

Tuesday , October 16, 2012

No country for rape victims

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I had a friend, let's call her 'B'. She was assaulted outside her home. We were just out of college. Like most assaults, the perpetrators were not strangers. They were two boys she considered friends. I was at work at the time I got the call. I was on the next bus to see her. The following day I accompanied her to the police station. And over the coming days and weeks, I watched her struggle to manage information about the assault, to limit who knew what and when they knew it. The familiar battle I had heard about, read and even covered was suddenly so close. I watched her struggle to regain control over a situation where control had been violently taken from her. I watched her remember every ugly detail until she became sick of it. As she struggled first to write her statement at the police....

Thursday , July 19, 2012

Camera makes men

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I suppose there is no weapon which so slyly and surely attacks men as a camera does. It works every time, tired troops straighten up and march stiffly, shoulders straighten up and steps quicken, bored students studying a tough lesson on a hot afternoon give out a smile and sparkle, the police inspector looks fierce and attentive, and doctors in the worst of circumstances pull down their white coat and get to the job at hand more earnestly. Some nod, some salute, all acknowledge it. The camera manages to crack the real men and women and a thinly veiled actor comes out each time. Cameramen and women will tell you of innumerable instances of how sacks of wheat will pass with rhythm and speed, of how a politician will deliver speeches with that extra punch and how a sportsman will stretch that extra bit for the camera. Of....

Friday , July 13, 2012

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up

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"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." I read this long ago in an essay that was exploring personal and collective responsibilities during World War II. The vast majority of people in Germany and the conquered countries of Europe were playing it safe. They were bystanders, trying to get on with their lives in the best way they could. They did not speak out against Nazi oppression or risk their well-being....

Monday , September 05, 2011

I am still naked

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"I am still naked." She said it tonelessly, almost hopelessly; no anger, not even an eye-lid moved, and then she got up and left. Her hand waved in a feeble gesture, her bony face and cheeks contorted with anger, and then with an almost a deathly expression she said it again. "I am still naked. Nothing has changed." I felt her body shudder. And then all at once she was seized by despair. She clenched her teeth so as to not scream...and leaned against the wall. And then tears rolled down her wrinkled face. I had never seen Laishram Gyaneshwari cry before, actually I never imagined her as someone who would cry. My first meeting with her was a few years ago. The last encounter was clear in my head. We had sat down for an interview on the roof of an under-construction building. The women....

Thursday , May 12, 2011

'I am ashamed as well'

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Lots of things shame me about India (I take great pride in lots as well). For instance, farmers forced to commit suicide because they wouldn't get institutional lending at a low rate of interest, whereas I with a decent income would be flooded with SMSes from banks or builders to buy a home or a car without collateral and at sometimes rates of interest as low as 6 to 7%. I also feel squeamish when I try and recollect how many times the Prime Minister of this country has visited the Western world but his trip to Vidarbha in 2006 came after 40,000 farmers committed suicide (according to government data). I feel distressed sometimes when I read dispatches from Vidarbha where a farmer once remarked, that he wanted to be born as a European cow. India exported food grain at the rate of 5.45 rupees per....

Thursday , April 08, 2010

Count the bodies, but don't move on

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Let this debate, not settle in the light of facts, analysis and reports. Among the many headlines today, one struck me, "Ye dhokha hai, countrymen killed my brother". A sentiment that's at the centre of this divide, at the heart of this conflict. Who's ambushing whom? Who are we fighting? Is it a people's movement, is it a guerilla group, is it an ideological splinter fighting for tribal rights and social equity or is it a grass-root movement working towards empowerment? Am not so sure if there is a simple answer. The 76 who died aren't quiet far away from the thousands who ambushed. They come from the same small-town India; their aspirations from a 6000-rupee salary are strikingly similar; a brick house that has to be made pucca, a younger sister who has to be married off, an ailing father who has....

Monday , February 01, 2010

You are in the Army now

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Whatever I write here today, I do believe the Indian Armed Forces is one of the nation's last-standing bastions of a morally upright force, an institution that is one of the nations strongest foundation. Absolute realities never die, so it's important that the truth and justice aren't just on offer but are complete and total. In two months from now when the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Deepak Kapoor hangs his uniform, it would have been by far the worst send-off a Chief would have ever got. The Sukhna land scam and the fact that the Army's top brass is caught in a dubious land deal has caused immeasurable damage to a force whose moral chakravyuh should be impenetrable. Did the Chief do enough to stem the rot? Did he act in time? Was he soft on people believed to be close to him? Was a turf battle....


More about Anubha Bhonsle

Anubha Bhonsle is an anchor and Senior Editor of CNN-IBN. She has been a journalist for over 15 years, starting her career with The Indian Express, then moving to be part of Miditech, the Zee Group, subsequently joining New Delhi Television where she was part of the political bureau and an anchor. Anubha joined CNN-IBN at inception, as prime-time anchor and Senior Editor. She is a graduate in Journalism and a post-graduate in social communication. As a Jefferson fellow she researched on America’s political history and the role of gender and race. Anubha and her team have been part of many award-winning projects. Her documentaries on Irom Sharmila and Children of Conflict won appreciation internationally, at the New York Film Festival and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. Anubha is a cleanliness freak, loves collecting kettles and admires Pearl Buck. She lives in Delhi with her family.



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