Monday, January 15, 2007

Gandhi YouTube Controversy - Gautham Prasad

Gandhi You Tube Controversy - Gautham Prasad Vs Indian Media

"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers" - Mahatma Gandhi.

Today, I thought I'd take a look at the Mahatma Gandhi pole dancing video created by New York based comedian Gautham Prasad on to see what the controversy was about.

mahatma gandhi pole dancing video gautham prasad nri comedian cnn ibn sahara youtube you tubeThe Gandhi YouTube video begins with this skinny Indian guy wearing a fake nose/glasses mask, dhoti and white shawl dancing around a pole to the tune of Punjabi bhangra music. The dancing was not obscene as such but quite comic. It seemed the kind of dancing a drunk computer nerd who watched reruns of the 'Dus Bahane' video would do. Infact, I found myself laughing quite a bit.

Well then, what was the Gandhi pole dancing controversy about ? Two Indian news channels hungry for ratings - CNN IBN and Sahara aired the video begging the government to take notice. The govenment obviously reciprocated with letters to Youtube and the television channels asking for an apology and ban. Being a journalist for the past few years I have many colleagues working for these channels and thought a post on this topic was in demand.

mahatma gandhi pole dancing video gautham prasad nri comedian cnn ibn sahara youtube you tubeWhen I first joined the media around five years ago I had great dreams of uncovering the truth, bringing the evils of society to light and spurring the govenment to take action . With the growth of television news channels, competition and the need to make huge profits increased. Instead of the above ideals we were forced to do stories on mundane topics that would attract the most eyeballs and boost ratings. Some of the stories that disgusted me were the Amarmani Tripathi-Madhumita Shukla diary excerpts and the fake Salman Khan-Aishwarya Rai tapes.

This Gandhi pole dancing video on Youtube controversy is a similar case. 'The media is supposed to report the news not make the news. This is a typical situation where the media created a controversy where none existed. Yes, my colleagues I am blaming you. Its pretty easy to turn to the internet for a juicy tidbit to attract the attention of viewers. The govenment is completely justified in asking you to apologise. Stop this nonsense about 'free press' and 'free speech', it is your fault and you know it.

At every morning meeting the bureau chiefs and reporters decide on the stories for the day. Why did you pick this story ? The internet is filled with controversial stuff like violence and porn. Will you always turn to it when you run out of suitable gossip and go about asking folks and ministers for their reaction ? Using words in your script like outrage, incense, fury, vulgar to create the same may ensure short term advertising revenue but is quite an unhealthy approach towards news.

mahatma gandhi pole dancing video gautham prasad nri comedian cnn ibn sahara youtube you tubeAs for Gautham Prasad, this 29 year old professional clown who acted in the Gandhi pole dancing video - he has sure got some great publicity for his shows, yoga classes and website Wonder if he has a relative or friend working in the electronic media...wink. Plus, he has apologised on his site, so what else can be said ?? I am sure if Gandhi was alive he would have forgiven him !

What say you ??


  1. at best gandhi would have enjoyed the show; at worst he would have ignored it

  2. end of the day, i see gandhi as a politician... everyday there are tons of shows ridiculing everyone from laloo to sonia to vajpayee.. you are abso right, its a created controversy!!

  3. awwww i want to see that pole dance, but im in the office now.
    wat a funny pic lololol
    will see it later. thanks a lottt!!!

  4. I agree with whiskypriest....guess Gandhi wud have ignored it.

    As for the Indian media...the lesser said the better...sometime back I gave up televisin and dont have one in my of the smartest things I have done:)

    As for the video...havent seen it.....reading ur post ..guess its not as bad as the media is making it to be....and yet I am not comfortable with the whole idea of someone pole dancing in Gandhi's get-up...specially an Indian...wht's the need actually??

  5. I think it would be so much better if the media saved the air-time wasted on such frivolous stuff and utilised it for useful stuff.

    There is so much that can be accomplished when the media gets down to doing it...The RTI Act, Justice for Jessica/Priyadarshini/Nitish, the casteist policy of reservations in higher education, etc., etc.

  6. Heather FlanaganJanuary 22, 2007 7:03 AM

    I think that there can be positive portrayals of Gandhi and inappropriate ones. Here is an example of a positive one:

  7. The media is _always_ making the news, not reporting it. Remember the fake BBC photos and stories from the Lebaneese attack on Israel this summer? How they photoshoped the buildings to make the damage in Beirut look worse? I don't trust the media at all- maybe some amateur reports on YouTube would be more relieable than the liers at BBC.


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