Late Wednesday afternoon a former colleague called me asking if I had read Daink Bhaskar ? No, I replied. He asked me to check out the front page, “Boss uski toh lag gayi (Boss, he is gone),” and disconnected.
There a reporter had brought to light how the passes for Indian Premier League (IPL) were being distributed and later sold at the Khadi Gramodhyog Bhawan. For those familiar with Jaipur and local politics this comes as no surprise. Khadi board is headed by a Congress leader who doubles up as a member for IPL organising committee.
Being a Congress party leader his distributing passes to party workers is obvious, and going by the craze for IPL tickets, if some party worker sold those tickets for quick bucks, I would say his good luck.
I am not defending the illegal selling of passes, but it’s not earth shattering revelation.
During the current IPL season, once when I went to meet the Khadi board chairman i saw scores of MLA’s, local leaders queuing up for tickets/passes. The who’s who of the city were making a beeline for the freebees, this including some of my esteemed journalist colleagues. They did not come in person but, their messages reached just in time.
Scribes pressing for passes, is a story no paper hack or a TV journo will bring forth, so here on the World Press Freedom Day let me share some of my pass experiences here.
Let me admit, this IPL season I too asked a influential local person to arrange four passes. A senior journalist wanted to take his family to see the match. He asked a couple of times and I assured him of making one call. Message passed, passes delivered, issue rests in peace without much ado.
Not a word against the passes, a thank you message drops in.
Like it or not it’s an established norm, pass isn’t merely an entry to the stadium its a ‘I have the power’ show to showcase “I matter in the city.” The senior journalist who asked me to make the pass call said, “We are journalist, how can we not ask for pass. It’s become a habit boss. But directly asking doesn’t look good every time.”
He is not the only one. Few of my other journo pals at the beginning of the tournament too asked for arranging some passes. Motive to oblige some influential contacts and the gentleman who brought the issue to my notice yesterday had only called in the morning seeking a couple of passes for next game as only two matches are left to be played at the SMS stadium.
What bothers me is the dual standards we scribes have at times. The pass story was discussed in the circles and another friend later shared, ‘good the story came’. He liked the Dainik Bhaskar anchor for he didn’t get the desired seat for his friend’s brother in the passes that were arranged.
If this be the state of affairs, how can those of us who seek favours go and point fingers at those who are in the position to have the elusive ‘passes’.
But there aren’t many takers for this argument, for most take scribes take passes as their birth right, for they ‘report’.
Knowing Jaipur, RCA and journo’s at large, by a rough estimate in every match close to 500 tickets/passes are given for scribes or their relatives who ensure that equal number of spectators willing to pay for tickets miss their date with the stars. But we consider public interest only after our interests are taken care off.
No gyaan in here, but will be great if we scribes stop taking ourselves bit too seriously.