Journos of the world unite!


I swear I am not going to write about Veerappan today. If the brigand thinks that by kidnapping a few from my fraternity, he can just walk into these columns, he is sadly mistaken. Does he believe that I do not have even the minimum gumption to refrain from writing about him or does he think by pinching a couple of hacks, he can force me into becoming one of his biographers? In any case, what is more there to talk about him that has not already been discussed in these columns? Does he expect me to sing paeans, as a former Union Minister did, about his heroics or does he wish me to elaborate on the impotent governments’ inability to get anywhere near him, when even unarmed journos do that with effortless ease? Does he think I am impressed about his ability to kill at will and kidnap while the authorities nap? Forsooth! You can go to hell, Mr V, I am not going to be enticed, come what may, into convincing myself about your infallibility. Who do you think I am? The Chief Minister?

And I am no brigand journalist to lap up whatever exclusive scoops about his elusive capabilities that are being dished out for consumption of the gullible. To be sure, there are already suggestions that I am yet to qualify as a journo as I have still not made the mandatory foray into the thickets to pay obeisance to the jungle god and grasp a few footages of him, but that is beside the point. The real point is I am not going to be bullied into writing this column, not for the present at least, till probably I too grow whiskers big enough to challenge the brigand’s or start a Tamil magazine to compete with Durvasas and Third eyes.

The brigand has indeed invited his own nemesis. Those in his custody now are as hardcore as journalists as he a bandit. They are unlikely to be rattled by Veerappan’s sabre rattling. Like our CM, these journos also know no fear. If the bandit is a man of steal, these journos are men of steel, known for their heroics. Just sample this name: Paayum puli. Is it not indicative of the mettle of the journo himself? Such brave men have successively done the profession proud by their unlimited gall to beard the lion in its own den, a bit too often. And if they train their guns, sorry, pens on the brigand he would be wiped out in a jiffy. Again, the all encompassing umbrella of press freedom, which had all these days shielded the brigand from the authorities is now sure to go against him as those in his custody are explosive journos who had innocuously called on him in the course of their ‘professional calling’.

To abduct such well-meaning messengers of peace who had all along only espoused his cause is the ultimate assault on journalism and humanity itself. The brigand has, by biting the hand that had fed him, shown himself in his true colours, which was hitherto hidden from the critical eyes of the learned journos’ community. By indulging in this dastardly act of hijacking his own sympathisers, who had stood by him through thick and thin, the brigand has, besides ensuring a permanent blot on his chequered career also jeopardised any chances securing a surrender or amnesty. By this one act of indiscretion, the brigand has frittered away two years of hard earned goodwill amidst his devotees in the press. Most unfortunate.

The press and more specifically the brigand media of the yellow hue would now do well to pass a resolution in one of their clubs condemning this outrage on the collective confidence they had reposed in their sole obsession in recent times. Truly, I am aghast at this unexpected assault by a friend of the media. That Veerappan should do this to us, who have never, said no to him, who have moved heaven, earth and even the Sun to ensure a safe future for him to pursue his brigandry in civilisation too, and who have stuck our necks out deep into the jungles just to elicit a few words of wisdom from him, is so appalling.

I now call upon every member of the fraternity, whether they belong to the brigand or the ordinary media, to rise as one man to condemn this unmitigated and totally startling slight on our profession. At the risk of becoming a potential hostage, I warn the brigand that, unless he releases Paayum puli and the like held as hostages, a thousand warriors from the journalistic community, code-named, leaping lizards, singing sheep, flying cock-roaches, limping frogs etc, etc would immediately storm the jungles and proceed to secure their release forthwith in a massive, secret commando operation. I also herewith, request the STF and the authorities to keep off, i.e., maintain status quo, as this is entirely a family affair.

Also, they already have enough on their hands, and even Ayesha has promised to send a cassette for her part. That, I presume, would keep the CM, CS, CoP et al busy for quite some time in days to come. So, they can rest assured that the media is eminently capable of handling the situation, given the army of emissaries and negotiators we have in our midst. We propose to begin by calling a joint meeting of all the federations, associations and clubs to first condemn and then, appeal to the brigand. And if the brigand does not relent, then Operation Laughing Stock would begin, to flush out journos from the jungles.

I, on my part, wish to register my protest by refusing, as I had mentioned in Line 1, to write about the brigand. I prefer to go nuclear, instead.

The US sanctions against Veerappan, sorry India…

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Jawahar T R