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Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Theek Hai' is not right and 'foot-loose' is...........

When things go wrong, they go terribly wrong…. Ordinary words assume extraordinary significance sometimes…….  Heard of an expression ‘foot-loose’ – meaning – having no attachments or ties; free to do as one pleases…

Before that another expression which literally means 'it is alright' or 'it is okay' ~ sometimes used to express low to moderate appreciation while receiving a particular piece of information.  It is the term “Theek hai”.  “Theek hai?” asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of his just-over-a-minute-long address to the nation this morning asking people to maintain peace after Sunday’s violence during the protests in Delhi against the rape of a student.

It was  meant to be only for the people recording Prime Minister’s address to the nation, but the words, ‘theek hai’ were broadcast on all television channels. Within no time, social media went abuss.  Someone tweeted “If sabTheekHai, there’d be no reason for you to speak @PMOIndia. Wish words seemed as if they came from the heart & not from sheet of paper.” ~ and another Newschannel person was quoted as tweeting : “Sorry, but PM’s speech was without feeling, wooden and totally unequal to the situation. The ‘theek hai’ at the end revealed it as theatre!”. 

The remark “Theek hai’ was telecast without editing, which set off a virtual war in the PMO and the Information and Broadcasting ministry.  In its aftermath reportedly, five Doordarshan staffers were suspended  for dereliction of duty and  a full blown blame-game  started among officials in I&B and the PMO.  There are queries on whether it was undue haste ?  Was the situation so alarming that the PM had to go on air immediately without waiting for the Doordarshan crew or even an announcement about the address? Why was the established protocol, of using only the government-owned Prasar Bharti or Doordarshan in all programmes featuring the Prime Minister, given the go-by? Why was a private party, ANI, preferred over the public broadcaster? Why was an unedited recording fed live to the TV media when it was the PM himself speaking? Why was the PM allowed to record without the aid of a teleprompter?   ~ more Q – less answers and more blame !

The  incident which has  subjected  the PM to ridicule on the social media, it is claimed that Doordarshan was not even know of the timing of its broadcast.  It is stated that the official broadcaster was the last to telecast it after the recording had already made the headlines. Officials in Prasar Bharti, which runs DD and All India Radio, said this was the first time in history such a goof-up had happened.  The five employees, now suspended, were considered to be the best of the lot in Doordarshan, which is why they were chosen in the first place.

Reportedly, the DD employees were caught in the traffic and arrived late at the PM’s residence by which time the ANI recording had already started.  The communication advisor said the camera was in place and he should start recording right away.  But when the “Theek hai?” remark at the end of the address went viral on Twitter, action was sought to be taken against DD staffers for reporting late.   

Foot-loose or loose Words :  In another place, Dr Manmohan Singh in his address to young IPS officers told that Police should not lose sight of the human rights of citizens and should be prepared to deal with challenges associated with urbanisation that was assuming “a monstrous shape”. “We have a large number of footloose young men who come to urban areas from rural areas in search of jobs, in search of livelihood strategies and if they do not get well absorbed in the process of development in rural areas, they can become a menace in society,” Singh told Indian Police Service (IPS) probationers who called on him on Wednesday. This was PM’s first message to the police after the Sunday’s crackdown at India Gate, which came in for widespread criticism for the force’s highhandedness.

As part of urban policing, he said the police must learn to master and understand what motivated people to take to heinous crimes such as rape and “what is it that we can do to wean (them) away from heinous path”. Singh reminded the IPS probationers, a third of who are engineers, that the people did not have a “good image” of the police. “This must change,” he said, reminding them that the police was “charged with responsibility of law enforcement in a humane manner, which respects the fundamental human rights of our people”. India was a “functioning democracy” and the police must “never lose sight of the human rights of the citizens at large”, he said.

While the later part of  the address to young Police officers is comprehensible, the statement that footloose youngmen migrating to urban areas from rural areas, somehow does not sink in too well.  Also  ‘theek hai’ clearly is not ‘right’ for those in DD  who are now feeling the pressure.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
With inputs from

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