An Opinion about Responsibility in Writing

It has been my philosophy that it is better to stand up for one’s own beliefs and get kicked in the shin rather than lie down and get hit on the face. I would recite the adage of Gautama Buddha in this context: if your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. In my view, standing up for your own beliefs, if they are true both uprightly and honorably, is nothing but including yourself in your compassion.

I see nothing is a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect and bowing down the head for a trivial effect. My beliefs in writing are associated with some sort of self-inflicted responsibility. I strongly admit and second the thought of Adrienne Rich, in whose opinion – responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. Isn’t this sensibly and well said?

I gave this entire overture to give a brief introduction to the topic, which I would like to discuss here. Out of a great zeal and passion, I wanted to take up the task of writing for the media. Even this zeal and passion in me are stemmed from an inspiration drawn from my own life. Years before, once I happened to read a saying – “If you hate war, you should be able to prevent it!” It made me think over and over again, for I wanted to dig out the solution to prevent wars. After a great thinking and effort, I found the solution. Wonder what? It is nothing but “effective communication”. Yes, in my opinion, communication is something like Azithromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, which can be administered to a variety of diseases. So, it has been my desire to be an effective mass communicator. With that very gusto, I had joined the media industry, after quitting a noble profession.

No sooner I joined the organization than I acknowledged how the contemporary media organizations work – their purpose, functionality, and the extent to which the organizations follow ethics, et al. It’s no wonder that almost every organization might be on the same foot, else they would soon lose their business. Yes, the present-day media organizations are for sure business entities. But, does it mean that they (may not be all) should debt morals and ethics of journalism? Does it mean that no business has ethically established pedigrees? I wonder if this was the same case of businesses of days gone by?

I still consider that there are many journos who believe in true journalism and not in yellow journalism. But, of course, their count is meager. I happened to question many media professionals on the same matter. The only answer I picked up was – “We are forced to compromise”. “Compromise! For what?” was my next question, perceptibly. For this, the answers were different and varied. If some media people have to compromise for the sake of their family members, some others have to compromise for some other sundry reasons. But, the only reason is – Compromise. “Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof” – I read it somewhere and sometime before. It’s always been inspiring too.

After a great mêlée with the prevailing situation, I repetitively questioned myself if there was any scope to pontificate ethics to bring back the yesteryears of glory to journalism? The answer is ‘yes’ with an asterisk above the ‘yes’ (yes*) — it signposts we can bring back the glory, but some conditions apply. Those conditions are like struggling for a cause like statehood for Telangana. It took sixty long years to make the dream of myriads a reality. So, it is nonetheless time-consuming. I wish to see that day. Nonetheless, I am aware that I could only be a meager contributor for this great cause. As a result, I unequivocally write only those things which give the exact impression of my emotion and integrity.

For all this to happen, I need to be myself. Of course, I take it as an obligation. In my viewpoint, responsibility to myself means I should refuse to let others do my thinking, talking, and naming for me; it means learning to respect and use my own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.

-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi