Zubeen Garg, media and controversies, have they actually become synonymous in Assam now? This year, right from the beginning of the Bihu season, Zubeen Garg has been in the media for all the ‘controversial’ things and the most popular has been the State song claim. Though Angaraag Papon Mahanta also joined the bandwagon for a while, he simply faded away and it has been Zubeen Garg all the way.
Even though controversy has been media’s favourite child, we have also not let our efforts die in fuelling the controversies. And for Zubeen Garg, he must be ‘enjoying the limelight and the attention that he is receiving for his antics on stage’.
This is not the first time, even in the past he has been in the news for wrong reasons. But let us go back and ask, was he really at fault then, considering he is at fault now?
Few years back the ‘Anamika’ creator was performing at Nehru Stadium in Guwahati at the finals of ‘Voice of Axom’ when in the middle of the show he climbed up a pole that was supporting the stage. He was pulled down and was taken off stage. The entire State erupted later- few voicing against him, few in support and few had a neutral tone. The media went all guns blazing at him and criticised him.
Indeed, the act needed to be criticised as a singer like him should not climb the pole and that too in inebriated condition. What if had he fallen from the top? But the singer had his own justification for his act. Did media pick it up? Frankly speaking, NO!
As far as I remember, the singer said that he climbed the post as he was protesting against the fraud of the organisers regarding some financial matters. (I am not sure if this is true or not as there was no media post mortem to this statement)
Advocate Arup Borbora is a highly respected advocate of Assam and Zubeen Garg rubbed shoulders against this law typhoon when the latter slapped the former’s under-age son for smoking in public and behaving in an un-parliamentary way.
In one hand the Government has banners saying that ‘minors should not be sold alcohol and cigarette’, on the other if someone stops a minor for doing it the media comes out all guns blazing at the person and questions his way and his moral rights. A case was also registered against the singer and I have heard that Garg apologised later to Borbora. (Citation required on this part though)
At loggerheads with a newspaper house:
Just after the slap-gate scandal, I heard that the singer went to the office of a popular Assamese daily and got into a brawl with one of the reporters. It was told that the reporter had written something obnoxious stuffs against him. Is it not natural for any human being to retaliate when hurt? The media indeed saw him punching the reporter, but it failed to see the punch of the reporter’s pen, which had made deeper impact in the singer’s heart.
Being in the media, are we entitled to write anything and everything? Don’t we should also think twice and thrice before we pen down something?
For Zubeen Garg his sister late Jongki Borthalur meant a lot and when she died in an accident, the entire world shattered right before him. He was broken to an extent which only he can understand and we can’t even feel a fragment of his pain. Well, media even didn’t stay behind from dragging his name into controversy.
I don’t know if the singer actually went to the Nabagraha crematorium late at night in drunken state, shouted and cried for his late sister cursing the gods above and tore apart his ‘holy thread’. I really don’t know at all but some newspapers picked this up and they ran stories after stories- most of them obviously negative. I remember one newspaper’s headline which when translated to English roughly read as- Zubeen Garg picks up clash with the heavens, where are his Brahminical qualities?
This has been the most talked about Zubeen Garg controversy till date. At a time when most of the people wore neatly ironed shirts and pants (in some cases brand new as well) for attending the funeral of the Bard of Brahmaputra, Zubeen Garg went to the Jalukbari Samadhi sthal of the legend wearing a quarter pant and a ganji, which had ‘Killer 87’ imprinted on it. The dress, many said, was cheap and vulgar and not appropriate for wearing at Bhupen das funeral. The media lambasted Garg for his dress code. Talk shows were organised in TV channels and Zubeen Garg was stripped over and over again.
I agree that what Zubeen Garg wore did not go with the ‘dress code’ of the occasion, but at least he was not fake like some of the singers- who while accompanying the truck that carried Bhupen das body from airport- waved to the crowd and showered flying kisses as if they returned from some war. Sadly enough, no TV camera was there to capture these scenes.
The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), over the years has been issuing diktats during Rongali Bihu that no singer should sing Hindi songs on stage. But Zubeen Garg openly defied the diktats and he did sing his hit chartbusters.
Now again, talk shows were held on the topic if a singer should sing Hindi songs or not and questions were raised on Zubeen Garg’s sincerity as an Assamese. The same channels that otherwise showed news against the ULFA, were now having panel discussion on a diktat issued by the same banned outfit. The centre-stage, however, was Zubeen Garg for he defied the diktat.
Examples like the ones above are in plenty where controversy has been created just at the drop of a hat but even then, some of the antics of Zubeen Garg probably are not right. Zubeen Garg is not just a singer but he is an icon on whom a generation looks up to. He is role model for many and in most occasions his acts on stage indeed have a negative impact o those lakhs of his fans.
As a person he knows what he is doing, what is right and what is wrong and he is solely responsible of these acts. ‘Media’s work is to report’, it is said then the media must also remember that it should not sensationalise, exaggerate and be bias. Reporting should be two-way reporting and it should be done in a constructive manner. The way media has been handling all the Zubeen Garg issue, it is far from being constructive.
I, as a media person, I feel, we all have equal role in building the society and as we help our friends and relatives to grow in life, it is also out duty to help the ace singer grow in the right direction and stop only portraying his ‘bad’. We should stop our trials and judgemental attitudes. If something is bad, let us call it bad but we should not post mortem it over and over again. After all- excess of anything is harmful!