A country’s media industry scene gives its civilisation and culture!
How our media sector is doing?

The size, ownership, funding and the freedoms a media enjoys decides the purity of the media service.

Not all countries enjoy great reputations in the media industry. We, in India, inherited a great media tradition from our British colonial association. But today we need to invent ourselves to suit our times and our own country’s priorities.

Vadamalai Media is a very small venture and priorities thus we have to be modest considering the fast-changing media world today. Of course we now live in a very radically changed world with new technological revolutions, with Internet and other technologies, specially the revolution communications technologies had transformed the way we live and communicate and do businesses.

As for the current media scenario, we needn’t tell much, except to point out how every citizen of the entire world is driven by the mobile tech experiences. We have all the modern tech devices but do we really enjoy our freedoms thanks to these modern conveniences? Do we have role models in the media scenario today?

And editors like C.P.Scott of the Manchester, Guardian or a very independent editor like Harold Evans who passed way, alas, recently. The entire world is now on our palm thanks to the mobile phone and we enjoy so many freedoms to talks and converse with our friends and neighbours, why, with out own kith and kind even based abroad! So many conveniences at the touch of a click but do we enjoy all our freedoms? That is a question not many seem like asking!

Anyway, we were very much inspired and influenced by our experience in England where we went to Oxford for two generations. For printed media England is still the mother you try where the media grew into a mighty social force and generations of great editors, why, owners and others were great path finders. Just recently, a great editor of the old tradition, Sir Harold Evans passed away and he was for a long time the editor of The Times and he was later the editor of the Sunday Times. In our Oxford days we used to read the British newspapers very very avidly and in the process we also became acquainted with some of the big names in particular, we knew some of the greats, one is the well-known name, the late Kingsley Martin who edited the Statesman, which became the voice of British Labour Party, voice of British socialism and it was a very civilised era.

The London Times is still the bible for media men and women and though it has now become so emasculated there are stories from that long era of socially committed media times. Today? And in India today?

If the current controversies and debates in India is any indication, it is now a chaotic world, indeed. The media known in both the print and the mediums are marked by a very deplorable tabloid culture and baseless allegations, crime stories and also very criminal stories hogging the headlines are the staples fed ever house of the day. The more tabloid the more noisy and sounding more profitable. Now, the country is also undergoing some disturbing changes. First, there is no question time today in Parliament and the PM, as it used to be not conducting press conferences where the journalists can ask questions on the very government functioning and thus there is a sort of one way traffic.

In this scenario comes some very other disturbing news items. How the media is owned and funded is a question no one asks. Thus we see some of the biggest corporates buying out the media houses. Also, in their fight for survival, some news channels are resorting to some dubious funding processes. If the media is controlled by the monopoly capital, then, that is the end of media freedoms.

Already the lives of journalists are not easy, there is widespread fear in the society at large, no one hear dissent, there are no free speeches. And no exchange of views as it should be in an open society and a democracy. The role of the Opposition parties is also under threat and the opposition too doesn’t conduct themselves in a responsible way. So the media industry as we see today is not in a healthy and positive way. Now, what chance is there for a development oriented media space?

Is there any chance that a sectors’ vital sector indeed, like agriculture and rural development where the vast mass of people are concentrated has any chance to be heard in a fair and objective manner. Long time ago, the government used to promote development journalism. We like to request the government to create a space for the development journalism, with suitable incentives like priority in advertisement budgets and also many other priorities. The bureaucracy of the Indian broadcasting department almost ignored the development journalism space. Of course much more important is the need to create more awareness and also support for development journalism space.

Our print publications for the last quarter of a century is something unique and we want the Indian media fraternity to know our existence!

We firmly believe the agriculture and rural development are the perennial themes and we hope we will see much awareness coming in the time of online media and even here we are already on the way to carve out a special place for our online, digital transformation, the way we prioritise and go for the overmuch needed awareness. Only an awakened section of people in agriculture can raise productivity and help to raise the incomes of farmers and endless labour without much ideological noises. Thank you.

By KAUSTAV BHATTACHARYYA

There was maintained a calibrated detachment from the humdrum world of politicking. Rather the philosophical abstract world of ideas of politics was acceptable and welcomed. Apart from playing sophisticated games, enjoying music there was the pleasure of devouring good cuisine. The culinary heritage and tradition of Piedmontese exclusive clubs is worth the legend. In these Clubs food was served with all the elegance and formality as mentioned in the memoirs of Emilio Segrè, a Physicist and Nobel Laureate, “A Mind Always in Motion: The Autobiography of Emilio Segrè”, “On Friday I saw Carlo Perrier at Turin. I had lunch with him and his brother at the Philharmonic Club, in a great 18th century palace with butlers in white stockings and livery, but with average food.” The culinary items with respect to their ingredients and style of preparation and cooking is highly interesting and filled with powerful snippets of insight into history and tradition of Piedmontese region.

These ‘charming’ characteristic needs further exploration and analysis which is discussed in this second and concluding part of article on the Piedmontese nobility.

POLITICS IN THE CLUB – GENTLEMEN’S RULES:
This specific dimension of the elite Gentlemen’s clubs imbued with the ethos of aristocracy needs to be emphasized; a safe and comfortable distance from the world of politics. The society insisted on being totally apolitical and despite having members who were political heavyweights: the nobility types, diplomats, serving ministers. As a matter of fact quite recently, about 20 years back, one of the senior members had to step down due to his close affiliation with the ruling political dispensation of the day. It would be safe to state that the broader political position or temper of most of the members were liberal and moderate.

Perhaps the Indian context would be worth comparing with where the elites even the aristocratic ones are constantly yearning for political power and participation. Our elites need to ponder and reflect upon a situation or equilibrium to use an economics term whereby they can refuse government responsibilities and can exist and operate sans political patronage. What would be truly remarkable in 21st century India given the low ebb of politics to create a niche world of elites where it operates and independent of the political sphere.

A glowing instance from Whist Society is that of Cavour who on assuming the mantle of President in 1860 no longer intended to accept any government responsibilities given his disappointment with the armistice of Villafranca.

CUISINE – ARISTOCRATIC ‘AROMA’ & STYLE:
The Philharmonic Society Whist Club was reputed for its elegant, high-class dining so let’s explore some of the reputed dishes or culinary items including entrees, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Moncalieri Tripe, or in Trippa di Moncalieri is a traditional Piedmontese cuisine which is basically a sausage concocted from the tripe and the belly of cattle, like sheep, goats and pigs. This is procured locally from the Moncalieri rural cattle located in the province of Turin. Hence there is a distinct touch of local authenticity. I ‘macaron’ della Val Rilate is a handcrafted macaroni which happens to be a marvellous medieval tradition produced in the charming rural landscape of Montechiaro d’Asti. The process of making the macaroni involves rolling the dough around a knitting needle and the seasoning is a guarded Monferrino secret.

la finanziera is a traditional, archetypal Piedmontese dish in which beef and white meat is used for making. The name traces its origins to the dress usually worn by bankers and high-finance around 1800 who loved this culinary item. Bollito misto, a crowning glory of the traditional Piedmontese gastronomy is a variant of simple boiled meat which needs to be prepared with care, correct choice of meat portions cut, appropriate accompaniment of sauces and paired with good wine. The entree needs to be served with the right side dishes like boiled potatoes, buttered spinach, sautéed mushrooms, sweet and sour onions and a cup of broth. This dish occupied a grand place in the Italian cuisine of nobility, it is noted that around the 1800s King Vittorio Emanuele II would venture off to the small town of Moncalvo for a hunting session for wild game and then enjoy a hearty ‘convivial’ meal of Bollito with his friends. Bollito found its way into the landmark book of Italian gastronomic literature, ‘Libro de Arte Coquinaria’(The Art of Cooking) authored by Maestro Martino.

Zabajone al foie gras is a variant of the Italian dessert Zabajone served with the foie gras. Zabajone is an Italian dessert famous in the top tables of haute cuisine which was an accidental creation of the chef to Duke Carlo Emmanuele-I of Savoy. The original name was apparently Sambayon in honour of Saint Pasquale Baylon. The chef randomly poured some fortified wine into an egg custard. This soon emerged as the pudding served amongst the Piedmontese aristocratic circles and remained their favourite. The serving with foie gras add the decadent touch to a dessert steeped in tradition.

LOCAL AND ROOTEDNESS – CUISINE
If we were to now deconstruct and interpret the aristocratic influence or touch of many of these culinary servings then let’s first consider the characteristics which define or distinguish them as ‘noble’ cuisine and sets it apart from the rest. First and foremost which springs to mind is the ‘local’ rooted nature of the ingredients and recipes. Hence ‘local origins’ is very important for these culinary dishes to qualify as aristocratic. In many instances the Nobility patronized elite Gentlemen’s Clubs which inscribed the local shared identity onto their elite habitus and practices. There is a powerful lesson in this age of populist anti-globalization, anti-elitist sentiments about the importance of connecting with local culture and heritage like cuisine. Today most elites at the global stage have distanced themselves from local authentic reality of life and are basking in the suspended rarefied groundless sphere of luxury and opulence. This is most exemplified by the rise of Skyscraper tall restaurants overlooking the landscape of the city or region.

TRADITION AND HISTORY – CUISINE
Next we can locate this idea of a legacy of history associated with the great courts and families and their kitchens like for instance the dessert Zabajone arising from an accidental blunder committed by the chef in the kitchen of the Duke. This kind of ‘closeted’ history lends a certain mystique and charm to the culinary recipe and perhaps it tastes a bit romantic!! The cuisine has to have some association with history of a noble family kitchen or personal preference of the Royalty like that of the Bollito Misto favoured by the venerable King Vittorio Emanuele II. This is akin to a kind of endorsement of the cuisine and its taste by the most discerning and highest echelons.

FAMILIARITY NOT EXOTIC CUISINE
Apart from these two characteristics one which I would propose is that of familiarity like what’s served by grandmother or what one savours in the dining table for routine meals of the day. In many of the literature on these elite Gentlemen’s Clubs one finds the leitmotif or recurring theme of a familiar and homogenous environment which prompts many to define it as their ‘second home’. In the case of Circolo dell’Unione all the interviewees who happened to be members referred to the Club as their ‘second home’. For instance in most of the culinary dishes mentioned there is a sense of familiarity for the members and for instance the dish of La Finanziera which was enjoyed and relished by the bankers. This again needs to be reckoned by our contemporary global elites who revel in creating exotic esoteric ambiance of dining and entertainment. A great penchant and desire to clip and cut-off the roots of one’s existence or origins is clearly manifested and even applauded. Many commentators have derided this as the proverbial bourgeoisie 21st century exotic excursion.

In the summary one can appreciate and understand the way Piedmontese nobility went about creating a special niche for themselves in the sphere of socializing and aesthetics. Besides we learnt about a glowing instance of Continental European nobility. This demonstrates that there are multiple ways in which fading elite can retain its prestige and exude glory without craving and conniving for political power.

India has to change and specifically Indian agriculture sector has to change radically in many ways.

Today the politics in India is so polarised that even if you want to make any honest and even innocent pronunciation it is suspect and mistaken in terms of the highly polarised politics. And let us not forget for a minute that agriculture is very tough subject and very difficult to articulate in any objective manner. Agriculture is also a state subject and it is for the states to draw up and implement any meaningful agriculture policy or policies. Unfortunately, the politics in the States too is so polarised that those states what are under the Congress party dispensation are asked by Sonia Gandhi not to implement the Centre’s new policies. So we have to keep in mind the larger interests of the very entire farming community.

Here we would tackle only a few basic points. One, we have to first of all take a very broad outlook. Agriculture is the least efficiently performing sector also, the allocation in the budget for agri research is near zero do you know? Just one percent ! The reasons are many, one, the rural areas are so left our socially backward, the castes and the ethnic. Communities are too many and they have all remained tied up with so many traditional beliefs and superstitions. Democratic politics had brought about a very unpredictable rural society. The lands are fragmented and thus, those who support the government and others too often talk about the meagre land holdings.

The data about these vast landscapes is also lately twisted and thus, one new issue that is going to affect the future immediate as well as remote is how we are going to implement the new policies in the absence of reliable data. How to implement, say, the PM’s many welfare schemes, how to put the money in the hands of the small and marginal farmers’ hands?

So, we have to pause and suspect at every stage of policy implementation. The existing and emerging gaps in data pertaining to the dispersal of real potential beneficiaries. You can already see the allegations in the Pradhan Mantri schemes of how the free loans are diverted into hands of corrupt officials. And as we read in Tamil Nadu, the scheme is already in the dumps before it is put into practice! These are the sort of ground level realities we like to highlight and many more such government money-swindling acts are likely to come in the way very soon. So, first of all we have to ensure, the Central Government must first get reliable data is not fudged and the very openness and transparency must be ensured before we start talking about our hapless farmers.

We welcome them, the new bills, with certain qualifications and also with a progressive mindset! You see agriculture is a vast area of economic activity.
Yes, agriculture in India has been the subject of much controversy today. In sum, we can say with certain confidence that all who talk of farmers’ issues are very superficial and they don’t know, we say with some confidence, anything at all about the ground level realities.

The BJP has come out with the three bills, all related to the marketing freedoms for farmers and also with the promise of MSP and much else. The opposition led by the Congress party and in particular by Rahul Gandhi who has lately turned into a full-scale opponent of the BJP and more so directly towards the Prime Minister has turned the whole debate into a partisan politics whose end we don’t know yet full impact of the three bills on the future prospects on the Indian agriculture. The agriculture sector of India is a vast subject of importance. It is a bit ironical that politics in India today also has become so unprincipled that anybody and everybody who speaks on agriculture these days seem to be totally unsuited and unequal to the task! Unfortunately, democratic politics has brought out a sort of rootless people to high offices!

You live all your life in Delhi, you inherit some office or title and you become a leader, even a party functionary is now a leader. In the political parties too most of the persons who appear on the TV screens or get your name inserted in some obscure corner of a newspaper or a TV show is a leader and given the sort of politics we have fashioned in the country with so many of the present or past leaders, the numbers are so significant that there are no resources, we are told to book and carry out court cases against those implicated in criminal cases, the past MPs and MLAs and so on. Given the whole corrupt scenario of the politics and also the unconcern of the common citizen about these allegations, the number of lawyers and others who are making news by associating themselves with political parties and had held offices of ministers even for a brief period are all experts on their own assumptions, these persons also add to the vitiation of politics.

As for agriculture it is a no-man’s land for the mass of people. The office holders speak with authority, those who had lost their offices turn into a sort of permanent residents of the Lutyens’ bungalow zone for years and years. They don’t vacate their residences and for continuation of their occupation they somehow manage to hold on. Just you see how the members of the Congress Working Committee become members in the first place.Today each and every member of these sort of parties’ core committees are New Delhi residents and they are totally cut off from the ground level realities of the rural India.

The point here is that when we talk of agriculture we seem to speak so superficially and has nothing to do with the actual lives and livelihood realities. We are a small media group and we live and practise farming, you believe?

So we are totally unimpressed by the comments and criticisms of all these politicians, the crorepathis and the corrupt politicians who dare and comment and dare to give such bogus statistics etc. Everyone said without exception, it seems, that the average holds of farm lands has declined and now less than one hectare is hell by the majority of the farmers. Is this a magic reality? Is this something very unusual? Only those who live in the villages know well that in every village inequality and inequity is the basic ground level reality.

Not every one can hold big land holdings. It is the village reality that only a few, often one or two families can hold large holdings, every past century you can see that farming lands ceasing to remain big holdings, from old jagirdari holdings to progressive fragmentation. May be if we don’t further attend to farming issues, very soon villages would become desolate and the rest of the farming households would see their members further reduced and there could be empty villages without any younger generation continuing the traditional farming operations.

So, it is one more reason why we have to make farming a productive enterprise, we have to make farming change to respond to new scenarios. Let us welcome all changes with an open hand!
Any change is welcome in farming sector, so too the latest fermium bills. Only sad thing is how the bills were rushed through, may be the government has its own compulsions.

The government needs much sympathy and support, at least they enacted the bills! Of course politics is in reality very controversial politics one, it seems! Where the heads you win and tails you lose!
Now, we like to say certain things very clearly and emphatically!

First you have to reconcile with the Indian rural realities. One, the rural India would have to protect and promote the landless labour. You have to sustain this rural population segment as a permanent feature of Indian countryside, namely, the rural landless population!

India welfare State must address all the economic and social issues, like education, health and minimal protect from exploitation. This is a big issues but these issues will be there with us for long, in one election or other and politicians will continue to mislead and make false promises and this is a subject that needs a great deal of ideological debate and debate, a sort of education and even popular education.

Education is spreading now very furiously and education reformers have a great responsibility as to how to educate and awaken the public consciousness etc. Next to landless labour, there is the issue of the legal and traditional human rights. Land is becoming limited and therefore there will always be the land ownership issues.

Tenancy farming will also be there. You have to reform the current state of issues that remain unresolved. The old type, that is, the existing type tenancy r reforms. Have to go and new type of land ownership and tenancy reforms have to be brought out.

So, that there is a friction free environment in the countryside. The key to these issues like in the panchayat raj institutions that remain a part work only as of now. You have to address the panchayat reform in a committed way so that at the very bottom level the ordinary villager, the very bottom-level citizen feels the security of a non-exploitative social base. This is not there now. Today, there is a sense of insecurity and a fear of government itself prevails. The media and the NGOs and other voluntary agencies are all treated with a sure and dismissal outlook and this is very unfair and arbitrary government.

The Collector’s raj and the local party bossism must go. The corrupt and criminal elements are driving the social relations and the end result is no government and near anarchism and lawlessness.

Agriculture is the very root of Indian ethos. The latest agri laws are likely to contribute towards modernisation of Indian agriculture. There is no other way. The new generation agri laws would surely wipe out the old time mandis and commission agents. And the sort of nexus that had been built up in the mandis, be it paddy mandi or horticulture, like that of the onion mandis and the politicians and mandi bosses in mobilising election funds to other social and political nefarious relationships would go and they must go!

Yes, in their place the new age silos like those of corporate giants like Adani agri silos would come and there is so far everything positive and the farmers who take their produce only the good things have been said! Why not we acknowledge the ground level realities!

There would be only slow change in the rural Indian realities but we can think ahead and articulate rational policies even from now onwards. These are only some stray thoughts and let us debate and discuss issues without any ulterior motives.

Our farmers must enjoy the benefits of new technological revolutions in not only cultivation but also marketing and realising higher incomes.
New Bills would only facilitate modernisation of out-moded practices!
Prime Minister’s assurance of doubling of farmers incomes must be made a reality very soon!

Why there is continuation of farmers’ agitations in Punjab and Haryana. Not much in other States? Down south in the Cauvery belt of the delta regions of Tanjore disticts the traditional paddy farmers are crying for inaction on the part of the government just for the opposite reasons of not lifting the harvested paddy that are left on the road sides and there is almost an outcry of neglect by the government, of course the state government. The simple reason is that what happens to big farmers in Punjab and Haryana is not big deal for the traditional small farmers of Tanjore who are left to tend for themselves or at the mercy of the state government which is not in a position to reform and restructure.

The traditional harvesting and marketing system in practice to put the paddy cultivation, procurement and marketing system in perspective we have to see only what is right now happening in the northern big States. You see there is in Punjab, Haryana there is already these traditional and powerful farmers’ lobby states, there is enough clout and there are the big corporates like Adani business conglomerate that had set up almost a giant Grain silo, the Adani Agri Logistics plant warehouse of immense size and capacity to procure farmers grain product both paddy and wheat. The Adani silos are in existence for the past 13 or so years and it can procure the paddy as they arrive and the silos changed the very face of the paddy procurement system. In Punjab, farmers are very happy to supply grain to Adani silos, the grain was accepted as soon as it is delivered and payments made within three days, say satisfied farmers interviewed by mainstream media.

This is not news for farmers in the southern states. Of course this is not a procurement season in Punjab, most traditional mandis now give a desert look, though Khanna is Asia’s largest market today and workers from Bengal and Bihar are driving the market as a hub of activity. The migrant workers are a constant phenomena and the migrant workers of India are also benefitting by the humming of activities in the Punjab and Haryana mandis. Trucks trundle by ferrying wheat and the migrant workers are busy in open sheds, sorting and cleaning mounds of wheat. Hundreds of commission agents, called here as “arthiyas” are busy dealing with buyers and farmers.

We have to write separately about the role of “arthiyas”, there are an estimated 27,000 of them and there can’t be any procurement system in Punjab without their presence and their well-established services and their role as buyers and money lenders and their intimate relationship with the farming families of the leading wheat producing state. The Centre has enacted now the new legislation namely the ‘The farmers’ Produce. Trade And Commerce (promotion and facilitation) Act’ on two principal counts. It provides greater choice to farmers and more importantly frees them from the clutches of commission agents. But this is contested by actual farmers.

Most farmers in practice are unhappy with these prospects, they don’t like to lose the services of the commission agents. Of course they, the commission agents charge 2.5 percent commission on their services. The government says it wants to cut the commissions but this is unlikely to go immediately at least. Why? This is the very old question, the commission agents who number almost 27,000 of them, all are licensed in the whole of Punjab and it is not an easy thing to change the age-old hold of these very able men who act as credit providers at the instant asking, no paper work, no other bureaucracy hurdles. So, this is the ground level reality at the mandis level.

Of course, the Adani Agri Logistics weights and gives a correct figure, usually, the traditional system of weighing always under estimates and also payment, the government run FCI godowns it takes time and delays payments. Each commission agent has at least about 100 farmers as close associates and so they know each other well. So the new assurances by the government would take time to be felt at the grassroots. There are also other players in his space. There is one Fairfax company which has emerged as the biggest player in agricultural storage it is said that Fairfax-owned National Collateral Management Service which also gives farmers credit in the post-harvest season when there is a glut in the market and prices fall. Whether this commodities-trading type company is a new comer or there will be such players in the future we can’t say right now. Anyway, there are going to be new players and new opportunities in the very near future.

The government’s Farmers Produce Committees are also springing up in other parts of the country and only the future can tell ! Anyway, we have to welcome any new changes in the traditional types of farming systems. Farmers freedoms are paramount and we have to open our eyes and welcome new challenges. Anyway, agricuture is a field, where much attention has been given only at the higher levels, about biodiversity, the Planet’s future and there are many high-level reports like, Living Planet’s Report and the 5th UN Global biodiversity Outlook etc.

But as far as actual farming issues we don’t have many in-depth and serious probing about the actual future of farming. One critical reason is the lack of any serious attempt to reform the age-old traditional agricultural practices. Even now, after 75 years of freedom we see, more so in the northern states the actual tilling of the farms are done by the unseemingly old horrible man-drawing the man ploughs still in operation!

Only in the last generation, that is some 30 years ago we used to see even on the outskirts of Delhi the traditional water lifting devices in operation. Now, they are all gone. Machines have come in the form of tractors and other smaller machineries. In the South there is much change on this front. The government must introduce new policies to modernise agriculture and also lessen the physical labour of the actual farmers. Also, rural housing projects must have special housing schemes for farmers, small and big ones.

Unless you have such special housing schemes, the big one would migrate to cities and the villages would all become deserted. In fact these farming issues are all complex and the average political leaders, specially the populist, low calibre ones would only seek to drive a way the actual middle level farmers also to leave the villages.

Only the far-sighted thinkers and visionaries can only visualise the future of farming and the villages with a robust sense of realism and common sense.

Learning the online work culture!
It is a totally new experience!
It seems a long way indeed!

One new learning is that sometimes big changes, be it high tech or even simple things come not by inventions and innovations they seem to come in a very sudden, brutal physical changes or happenings. The coming of the Covid pandemic is one such event that has thrown the entire word into a spin. We don’t know for certain how long. The pandemic lasting and how we, our lives will all change and what new world. We are going to confront and how the future is going to unfold. Of course nothing like this has happened and we are yet to understand the reach of the pandemic and when the world would turn to normalcy. So to turn to our work culture, both in our domestic lives and the lives and activities in our economic, transport and other socio-cultural and industrial activities. One big unexplored world is the world of work.

We have worked so far in a settled, office environment. From now onwards we have to work in a remote online, digital ways. So, it looks everyone of us seems to be learning. Even in the Western societies there is confusion and contradictory voices. There have been so many U turns! In the USA, it is hellcat the White House and the coming General Elections would be a landmark.

The migration problem is going to create new tensions in all the Western countries. Indian migration to the USA and UK is not going to be easy. Inside India, we have to sort out issues, as the government is going to see new challenges from the way the Centre-State relations are building up. New elections inside India is going to throw up many pressures on our well-regulated Constitutional norms, each regional party is doing things, not in high Constitutional manners. Corruption is going to be a new challenge.

You can’t run the elections under the very opaque manners. The major national parties, the Congress and the BJP are now strictly respecting the electoral laws and norms. So, what role the media once well-respected, today everyone joining and changing parties. So, media, both print and online with the new tech tools like Social Media have to do their legitimate jobs and we have to analyse the issues and ponder over the role of media, print, TV, online and also such issues like fake media, media monopolies etc. Let us give some thought on this subject.

The power of the print media has always been recognised all over the world and the digital transformation of the media is only of recent development. Ever since mankind came to acquire the skills to invent letters and inscriptions, the printed word took of course some few thousand odd years to get a written script. Since the ancient world information we get only through these scripts and much of the ancient world. Wisdom is accumulated in the various divided forms, scrolls and stone carvings from. We have travelled a very long way. You can see some of these historic scripts on various devices.

Even today you are likely to see some of these rare scripts and devices on marble stones, as in Athens in the agora museum, these stone scripts we learnt were used as official messages used by the democratic governments that were functioning there for some 50 odd years and it was thrilling to see these ancient historic sites! So too in many other museums in Europe and other continents. In Cambodia we saw some such stone scripts and some of these scripts are similar to Tamil scripts! That gives us some idea of how the ancient Tamil kingdoms reached the Cambodian shores and particularly one ancient Tamil Chola King, Jaya Varman built the ancient majestic Angkovat temple complex.

Today we live in a very different world indeed. The IT revolution has ushered in an instant information age and the Internet has made us to what we today in the instant email age.

The covid pandemic had enforced a new code of conduct, that is, the digital revolution in all spheres. Our education and office systems all have been forced to adopt and online work culture in all our activities.

Among all the industry reviving talk and many new initiatives, the agri sector is perhaps the most unattended one. For us, it is our high priority sector, in which we are there for a long term, almost for over a quarter century! Yes, there are giants in the media meaning print media and they are also facing much more challenging problems.

That is the age-old issue of freedom of the press. Compared to other countries, even big Democracies the freedom of the media is still a sticky question. There is a visible shift in the mainstream newspapers, many have changed their idea of a free press, they have all turned themselves into captive press and their newspaper criticism and opinion pages have all been almost abandoned and they have all gone soft with the incumbent power holders.

Inside India, this is true while one can guess what is the state of press freedom. As far India is concerned there is this satisfaction of the absence of any ill-treatment of journalists. In other countries, there are more gruesome stories of journalists arrested and even jailed. We seem to have reached some funny state where the major countries, while ill-treating the high political functionaries like a foreign minister travels to Norway for what? For requesting the country not to award the Nobel Prize to the dissenters!

Looking at various aspects of Indian life and society, we seem to be in a unique way much blessed.

We should raise India’s image as a moderate political culture-based country and our brand image in comparison with other countries a superior nation of culture and civilisation.