Dear Arnab Goswami,
I was ten years old when I heard about you for the first time. I saw my seniors squirming and giggling after hearing your voice in an audio-visual round at a quiz competition. While waiting for my chance at the debate competition, a nice senior said that you were really good in debates.
My father was shocked when I asked him to put a news channel at nine. Ignoring the urge to find out about what was happening at the television serial he was watching. He relented but continues to be angry about it till date. I ended up forcing my family to watch the NewsHour program as well. And I am not going to lie, I was hooked to your style. My father dismissed you. I still remember his words “This is not debate. He is the only one talking”. But from the next day, we started watching your channel exactly at 7:00am while we discuss about my education and gorging our breakfast.
Mr. Goswami, you went on to be my inspiration. My friends who would be watching WWE or any cartoon series made fun of me for watching boring stuffs that uncles watch. Adults would be surprised on the fact that I watch your show, it astonishes me more that they ask what was discussed in your discussion. When you broke the news about various scams plaguing the country. I was proud. My confidence on media being the protector of the people increased. Due to your debates, I could easily sneak in adult conversations with the points you raised. Those moments made me feel like a grown-up until my father politely asks me to go somewhere else. Thinking about it now, my interest in field of journalism must have sparked because of you. Irony.
I was naïve about the tactics you used. Only when I stepped into my 11th grade did I realised the façade you were pulling off. “India’s No1 news channel!” “100 weeks No 1” “2x times more from the nearest competition”. Now all I do is laugh after hearing these statements; and I don’t show bias. Whichever channel they appear in, I ensure a snide remark is uttered. I had figured the significance of TRP’s by then but was still proud on the fact that people are scared by you. You had curated the image of being an aam aadmi’s crusader, the messiah who will protect my rights. The guardian who shall fight for me. The debates had become louder, you seemed more dominating. In fact, by the time you left Times Now. You were the judge, the witness, the prosecutor and the executioner.
Just because I admired you doesn’t mean I agreed with everything you had put forward. Sometimes the arguments you put forward baffles me. Sometimes I wonder whether am I missing something while formulating my opinions. Such an aura you had on me. I could either dismiss your opinions or harp on the views you put forward but I could never ignore you. You quit Times Now for some X reason and in few days, I read that you were coming out with an own channel now. I was happy. And now I wish there is a stronger word than regret to describe my emotions on your channel.
I put a photo of you on your first broadcast from Republic Tv as my WhatsApp status. And I was stunned with your expose on Lalu Prasad Yadav. But, after some time I realised the level you had stooped to. The guy who once projected himself as the outsider who questions the biased reporting as made a mockery of himself. The man who fought against ideas that are against the ‘ethics of media’ succumbed to the very ideology. The term ‘Lutyens Media’ you had put forward was used to abuse and attack at numerous prominent journalists. But you bent to something worse, a propaganda agent.
I must say that you are a smart man. It isn’t easy to convince/argue with people of large numbers. Using the really old idea present for a long time, you not only repackaged it but ensured if no one agrees to you. They are against it. You made the word ‘Nationalist’ a dreadful one to use. If I want to eat something, If I want to articulate my thoughts which are against yours. If I don’t support certain actions of the armed forces or do not agree with certain laws. I am branded an anti-nationalist.
You came up with this childish term called ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ to describe people who followed different views and beliefs… from your bosses. How I wish you could see the pieces you are leaving behind. Neither are you a credible journalist nor are you a sane human being to not oppose the injustice happening around you. The other factor you had carried along from Times Now apart from loud, obnoxious debates which now like many other knowledgeable people I despise too was the self-promotion. Such fancy advertisement campaigns to gloss over the incompetency in giving out unbiased reporting. Republic TV has become more of an advertising platform to spread divisive ideas and brands.
I wish I could apologise to the eleven-year-old me for the horrors he is going to see in the future. How one of his role models had evolved. How the person he aspired to be has turned out. Couple of days ago, Rohan Joshi had said “Role Models are only human beings whose disappointments you haven’t realised yet”. Never have I resonated with a thought before.
When it was clear that I will be pursuing Journalism, lot of relatives, friends, acquaintances and people who are no way related to me asked this common question, So, are you going to be the next Arnab Goswami? I would have giggled as I was clueless on what to reply with. But now, I can confidently say that I will be a better journalist than you.
Yes, there are chances that I might not become a journalist, I might decide to pursue psychology or literature further. I might run for the post of Prime Minister or I would just open a small idli kada. However, I shall continue to oppose you for the nefarious acts you have/are committed/committing either by a hashtag or a blog post of mine. Dissent is still democracy and I shall utilise that superpower.
A guy who used to look up to you with respect.