Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee | 5.5.19



On 23 April 2019 morning I planted a sapling- physically and symbolically.

I know, mid-summer is not the right time to plant a sapling. It should be ideally done after the earth gets a shower or two of the monsoon. But I planted a sapling today for three reasons.

First, to mark the occasion- of casting my vote.  Second, to goad myself to take the responsibility of watering and tending the plant to grow. Third, to have faith on the hope that the plant will grow and mature and bear fruit like the vote I just casted will see a good candidate getting elected and doing what he/she is supposed to do.

Nobody asked me to plant a sapling. I did it on my own, as I thought it is my responsibility- to plant and tend the sapling so that it would grow. Similarly it is my responsibility as a citizen of this country to see that we get good and able representatives; and they deliver.

In both cases I have a stake. I need clean environment. So, I must do my bit. I need good governance and therefore I must do my bit towards getting it. The least that I can do is to vote.

And like the sapling needs care, the elected representatives need constant monitoring. I need to do that because I, as a citizen have a stake in it.

Individually I may not have enough power to make the elected representative do what he/she is supposed to do. But what I can do is to put in my bit- whatever I can. The least I can- is to vote.

The Price Journalists pay for telling the truth

Myanmar Supreme Court recently upheld Reuters’ journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s convictions. The two journalists were arrested in December 2017 and convicted in September 2018 of allegedly possessing and disseminating secret information sensitive to national security under Myanmar’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They were each sentenced to seven years in prison.

In January, Myanmar’s High Court in Yangon rejected the reporters’ appeal, thereby elevating the case to the Supreme Court, which heard the appeal on March 26.

At the time of their arrest, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were investigating a massacre of Rohingya men and boys by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state. Their reporting was subsequently published by Reuters in February 2018 and led to seven soldiers being sentenced to prison for their involvement in the killings.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo got Pulitzer Award 2019 for their report.

They are still in jail and probably will be there for a long time.

May read more about them here:…/myanmar-journalists-pu…/index.html


The #Trashtag Challenge

You are probably aware of the hashtag (#) used on social media, which generally represent funny or iconic moments in pop culture. But, a new viral movement has taken off. It’s goal is not to entertain but to help save the planet- by cleaning it of trash, which is clogging water bodies and drainage system and is a huge health hazard.

How important is this? Consider this.   Across the world, more than 1.3 billion tonnes of household waste is generated per year, and only 258-368 million tons of it ends up in the 50 largest dumpsite. Meanwhile, million tons of it ends up in the ocean, 80% of which comes from mainland waste.

The new hashtag #trashtag, wants everyone to chip in to chip away at this trash problem.
In this new movement, people are urged to take a before photo of an area that is in need of intense trash clean-up followed by an after photo, after the trash has been cleaned.
Take up this challenge today. Tomorrow it might be too late.

Political Cartoons

Cartoons liven up. Energizes. It makes people sit up and notice-with a smile or may be a smirk. It lampoons and thereby elicits humour. Through lampooning it shows the follies and foibles of the high and mighty and also of the system. Cartoons may range from benign humour to biting satire.
Political cartooning in India is a British export and it has taken strong roots in the politically fertile soil of India. In India there is no dearth of subject matter and persons to be lampooned. Therefore cartoonists are having a field day. Elections come with all the colours of emotions that body politics and vote politicking can bring about. India with its 80 million voter and 2300 plus political parties and countless number of candidates seeking votes is a mahakumbh of elections. The political leaders, the idiosyncrasies of the political parties, the mad race of getting tickets from established political parties, the intrigue that goes with it, the culture of begging for votes by offering sops and the colourful campaigning- all are fodders for the cartoonists.
Different political parties have often engaged cartoonists and caricaturists to make fun of, lampoon even denigrate the rival political parties and its leaders. We have seen this in graffiti and wall writings and in party publications and propaganda materials.
But this election sees a massive scale up. With digital media making drawing cartoons and memes easier and faster and social media making dissemination of ant material real time and at global scale- cartoons and memes have flooded the digital space. Political parties have hired young cartoonists and caricaturists who are familiar with social media to draw cartoons and memes lampooning the other parties and its leaders.

Any which way, there is humour around. And that is good. Probably.

Tailpiece: Don’t Blame

Caller: Hello, Are you Murali?


You: Yes…


Caller: Govt is planning to sell Jet Airways.  Are you interested in buying Jet Airways ?


Murali: Me ?… I am a middle class fellow. I can’t afford.


Caller : That’s why we asked You First….So Please Keep Your Mouth Shut !  Later don’t say, Govt. sold Jet Airways to Ambani, Adani, etc


The author, a journalist turned media academician lives in Central Odisha town of Dhenkanal. An anthology of his weekly column Window Seat, published in 2018 has been published as a book. Write to him to get a free e-copy. [email protected]