FOREIGN AFFAIRS RELATED programmes seem to be an anathema on regional language news television, and most likely, it is because the received wisdom in the world of television says that people are more interested in local non-stories than earth-shaking geo-political happenings.
Unfortunately, no one has tested that in any empirical study.
So while people in Punjab are being served a surfeit of programmes on farm suicides, there is little discussion about the place of farming as a profession in the emerging new world order.
The argument seems to be that Punjabis do not want to engage with what's happening around the world.
Therefore, it was a relief to watch the recent episode of DALEEL with SP SINGH, featuring an in-depth and freewheeling conversation with Qamar Agha, a well known and well regarded expert on West Asia.
Qamar Agha is an independent analyst who has written for the last several years for various papers and news channels in India and abroad, and routinely participates in TV debates and discussions on South Asia and West Asian affairs.
He specialized in international politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; taught "government and politics in the Arab World” to MA students in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; was associated with the Center for West Asian Studies, JMI, as Visiting professor and before that, he was visiting faculty at the School of International Studies in JNU. He has also been a UGC fellow at the Centre For West Asian Studies at JNU.
He has travelled to many countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and America.
For the people of Punjab, where even vernacular newspapers devote little space to foreign affairs and television almost none, a programme covering the entire gamut of issues from shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the killings along the Gaza border, the role of other Arab states, the Iran Nuclear Deal, the North Korea shenanigans and the world of Donald Trump came as a breath of fresh air.
The conversation focussed on how the Gaza Strip is home to two million Palestinians and is effectively the world's largest open-air prison. It would have been better if it were not left to the audiences not fully cued into the politics of the Middle East to Google and find out how Israel was created, how the Gaza Strip was severed from West Bank and East Jerusalem, or how all these came under Israeli occupation after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Gaza was part of the historic Palestine, suffered ethnic cleansing, was captured by Egypt during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, remained under Egyptian control until 1967 till Israel seized the remaining Palestinian territories in war with Arab countries.
Israel now controls Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, 42% Palestinians in Gaza suffer from poverty, the youth unemployment is at 58%, and 80% people rely on international aid, mainly food supply, as per the World Bank.
More than 60% of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees. More than 90% of Gaza's water is unsafe for drinking. No one has ever driven more than 40 kms in one direction.
The Iran arms control agreement, was signed in July 2015 but Donald Trump has pulled out, imposing sanctions once again. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, EU signatories are trying to salvage it. Trump objected that deal did not cover Iran’s ballistic missiles program and some aspects of inspections regime and sunset clauses.
North Korea wants to get rid of sanctions, build up its economy and retain its n-arsenal but President Trump’s tightening of sanctions and his trademark belligerent rhetoric did change the equation. It led to some nice Olympic diplomacy and a North-South summit meeting.
Now, Kim and Moon are talking peace and Trump and Kim are set to meet.
If North Korea halts nuclear and missile testing, including short-range missiles, and its production of plutonium, then China and South Korea will ease sanctions and Kim will get what he always wanted -- legitimacy of being treated as a world leader.
Anchor SP Singh did touch upon Pakistan and Kashmir, though devoting some more time to these issues would have done justice.
It is time news television in Punjabi understands that it needs to nurture audiences with more information and discussions on global politics.
On May 26, the Indian Express wrote in its editorial: "With the Iran deal off, and the renewed turmoil in Palestine over the US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the talks with North Korea were to be Trump’s big opportunity to make history." True, and it is time to say the same in Punjabi, on Punjabi television, for Punjab's audiences who do not cue into the world through English news tv.
There was a time when the international peace movement was fought as much in the streets of Punjab's villages and towns as in Washington DC. Since then, a lot of Punjabis have gone to foreign shores, but our connect with foreign affairs hasn't kept pace.
It's time to move beyond green cards and H1B visas and IELTS talk. It's time to tune in. Those who tuned into the Daleel programme featuring a conversation with Qamar Agha would have realised that. Our point? We need a thousand such programmes.
Watch Video: You can watch this episode of Daleel with SP Singh featuring Qamar Agha here.
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Most shared Punjab Today articles:
SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye
SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel
AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT
The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!
WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?
A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR
ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES
SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab
OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES
WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed
'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS
RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY
WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?
HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?
PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA
APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO
AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER
SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER
OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals
PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE
NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar
JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?
TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE
J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS
SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS
OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...
PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?
Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar
RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.
MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi?
MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER
PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals
Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!
SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary – Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?
THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE
NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty
BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah
MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame
RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience
PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.