No, I am not going to write about General VK Singh. Perish the thought. That stuff goes on the front page and op-ed. No, I’m not going to repeat the droll story the general told Arnab Goswami about the Indian police, the Japanese emperor and his lost poodle. Last I heard, it was a homely fable concerning the Bihar police, a tiger and a rabbit, but there’s no stopping globalisation. And I won’t tell you about the mysterious babu from Lucknow or the general’s intriguing question: “Funding ministers means what?”
But what I must tell you is that if you missed that edition of Newshour, you missed something jaw-dropping. Even the host was slack-jawed at the allegations flying about his studio and going, “Just a sec, just a sec ” as he rallied to keep up. How humanising this role reversal was. No longer did the nation want to know. Only Arnab Goswami wanted to know. He craved to know. He would do anything to know. He would even become measured, careful, circumspect, laying a perfect trap for the general to walk into. This was a different kind of Newshour, not the usual shower of howler monkeys with Goswami playing fight director.
But hang on, I wasn’t going to tell you about generals. I was going to tell you about onions, or the absence thereof at the BJP’s maha-jamboree in Bhopal. Digvijaya Singh had turned it into a numbers game and ABP News had Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi disparaging the Congress for snooping about in markets, trying to find out skullcap and burqa sales figures.
From talking figures, TV moved on to speak volumes. After estimating five lakh visitors, half a lakh of them Muslims, ABP News dived into the field kitchens which would feed them, where a production line was churning out sabzi-poori in industrial quantities. Stores lay heaped all over everything but onions. Onion and garlic-free sattvik diet for the five-rupee faithful?