A Regular Media Student
by Drishti Choudhary
I watched Scoop over the weekend, and what I felt
was something that I had not felt ever before, something that I never thought I would experience just through my laptop screen. I felt scared for my life. It wasn’t me who was there in jail, yet I somehow knew what it would feel like, if it ever happens to me. Jagruti Pathak doesn’t want her grandfather to feel ashamed of her, because she went to jail. Those were the same emotions, that I was experiencing. I can’t compare the pain and agony Jagruti must have been through but until the very end, the only thought that gripped my mind was that I don’t want my grandfather to go through this. Why?
I know we live in a world which is so uncertain, that doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 70 you could be the victim of next bomb blast. And yet, I felt I would be more prone to death, if I continue my career in the field, I am studying in. I know that Scoop as a piece of art didn’t want this to happen, and make no doubt it isn’t the series that has instilled this fear in me but rather, the fact that journalism might actually be the only profession where one is killed because they were doing their job.
We aren’t all unaware of the fact that it isn’t easy to be brave in the environment that we are in. I can write what I want but I do know that there are chances that next day I might not wake up. And to console my parents and friends I might say, its not that dangerous but the fact is I am scared. I know I am not a journalist yet, but still I am scared. I am sacred for the poems that I have written which have not seen the light of publishing yet, might actually get me killed, if they were to. I am critical of the wrongdoers not the nation, but I know for a fact that the uninformed, mindless goons wouldn’t even care to read my poem and understand it before shooting me dead.
And this is what scares me. Jagruti went to prison for something she never did, and that is what is the scariest. This is a case of guilty until proven innocent. The world, the society, your people, every one tends to put you in the box that the charges against you create for you and doesn’t care if that box is real or not. You fail, not just by the system, but by the people. And I must not experience any of this, but I know what it feels like failing in the eyes of people you care about, who care about you.
This might come out as a superficial fear which has no base whatsoever, but tell me does an accountant or a software engineer ever gets killed just because they were doing their jobs? Do they ever care what words are flown from their ink and if they are legally appropriate? Do they ever put in effort to know their basic rights so as they know what to do in a case of emergency? No. They don’t. They don’t have to. But do I as a media student and a future journalist need to care about all these things? Yes. Especially me, a ‘female’ future journalist.
I remember when I decided to become a journalist after realising that I could pen down my words for a better cause, that even if one person somewhere changes even 1% of his thinking, his environment or circumstances because he read something I wrote, I thought I would win as a journalist. But now I wonder, will it ever happen? Or will I still be alive to see it happen? Will my parents still be happy to see my byline on the front page if they knew it would actually be the last of the last of my writings?
I am no war or crime journalist and yet I am scared. I know this isn’t right. How can it be? Because we live in a nation that has freedom of speech and expression as one of its six fundamental rights. But isn’t it the same nation where 194 journalists were targeted in 2022 because they were doing what they are supposed to, they were working. I might always have an opportunity to leave this field and go back to my small town, but what about my aspirations? Why do I have to leave it because the political environment might not support my stance?
As the series ended, and the screen went blank, I felt empty inside. I felt lost. I felt that I should quit and go back. What is the reward of all the struggle that I as a female journalist have to go through if my end would come in daylight in the middle of the market? I might never even meet Jigna Vohra, but I know if I ever do, I would cry. I would cry for her and every journalist out there who have been wronged, who lost life, dignity, career and everything in between because they were too brave to be scared.
I can stop writing now, go for an easy route, become a home-maker, but will my conscience allow me? Will it ever accept the fact that I let go of my chance at being the journalist I had always imagined to be? Will I ever get of out of guilt of abandoning my ambitions when I was close to begin fulfilling them? But again, will my heart ever let me live in fear all the time? Will my logic allow me to breathe my last because I was too weak to accept defeat? Will my rational ever support me to fight for a bigger cause even though the end would come soon? Who is to answer these questions? Who should I go to? How do I live with a dilemma as strong as this? How? Does anyone know? ***