Shovels, spades 3-feet a
day digging, 8-hours a day, 5 weeks of excavation – it begins today.
And it begins in style in a
nation boasting and planning space missions to Moon and Mars.
All eyes and ears are going
to be glued to the communication channels to get into the skin of the live
coverage – in real time as it happens – floating in the viscosity of real,
unreal and surreal stories that it has been generating since the seer had his
dream of the 1000 tonnes of buried gold, since he spoke to a dead king of the
18th Century who buried the treasure, the stories that are going to
multiply only in the coming days.
5 weeks – 35 days – enough
of time to ramp-up the channels, to lubricate the wired flow, through the
machinery that never looks to exhaust its appetite for such ‘spectacles’.
Peepli Live, the generic
phrase to describe the media frenzy and the subsequent public attention (or the
public attention, so the subsequent media frenzy) that entered the lexicon with
the 2010 movie, a satire on polity, media and society, on making ‘big’ out of ‘nothing’,
thus setting the agenda, is apt to describe what is happening in Daundia Khera,
a village in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.
And ironically, the Daundia
Khera frenzy is not the first one. There have been plenty of such ‘Peepli Live’
moments. Only the phrase is of recent
In the movie, a small town
journalist of a small vernacular newspaper overhears two brothers discussing
the possibility of the younger brother committing suicide in order to claim compensation
of Rs. 1 Lakh from the government to repay the debt on the family. On the lookout
for story, the journo prints the story in the newspaper in affirmative that the
younger brother has decided to commit suicide though the plot, as it develops,
shows us he never agrees to the idea.
A senior reporter of a
major news channel in a metro city comes across and picks up the story. It’s
bizarre. It’s unusual. It’s politically sensitive as elections are around the
corner. Tamasha of life – hullabaloo over death – it sends its magnetic appeal across.
Once it is on air, everyone
jumps on the bandwagon. Every media house reaches to the village with
minute-by-minute coverage. The melee creates a festivity sort of atmosphere. Food
stalls, shops, transportations, to cater to the rural folks on the pilgrimage to
the Peepli and the media and political folks trying to optimize their chances
on the cash crop of viewer ratings and the caste-based political equations.
Their fodder being the
death of a man who doesn’t want to die but is being pushed to die!
Let’s see how it unfolds in
a real life Peepli Live, in Daundia Khera.
Already, the non-descript
village has become a hot spot. It is said the Shiva Temple near which the
excavation is to be done is attracting devotees and priests like it never had
enjoyed. People are returning to the village to claim their stake of gold. Many
descendents of the king who had buried the gold are voicing their claims from
across the country.
People from the nearby
areas are the regular visitors in increasing numbers to see the mammoth task in
progress, a task that can solve the fiscal problem of the world’s fourth
The scientific community of
the Archaeological Survey of India and the Geological Survey of India is on the
job following the leads from the dream(s) of the seer.
The political community from
the government of India is on tenterhooks and is watching with keen interest to
see if it can find the windfall to meet the financial chaos it has created before
the next parliamentary polls.
And all this is rich fodder
for the media and overall fraternity of the communication channels inhabiting the
Let’s how the ‘Peepli Live’
of Daundia Khera unfolds!
Let’s see the Daundia Khera
Live in motion now. It’s the time!