Media has no space for Indiaâ€™s brave soldiers | Niti Central Really donâ€™t know when the trend began, surely it was after the advent of the cacophonous news channels that have come to determine what and how we should hear. When I left journalism in the last year of the last millennium the practice was still very much there in every newspaper. But not now. Whatever the ideological label of the newspaper, from the most nationalist to the most pinkest, that once hallowed space has been taken over by non-news or advertising. That space for the most sacred of sacrifices is gone, replaced by at most a two-column story which at best can be called statistical. What I am referring to is the bi-annual tradition of announcing gallantry awards for the armed forces, para-military, and the Central police organisations. As the defence correspondent for an English language daily Iâ€™d wait for the release from the Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Defence, with a certain bit of trepidation, but also much excitement. The former because some known name might well come up as a Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous), and then there would be the awkwardness of condoling with family or unit friends of the deceased. It is never a pleasant experience, and furthest from the â€˜pride of the sacrificeâ€™ that is mumbled ad nausea. And the excitement, of course, for the celebrations that would follow with those who were in the list of awardees. The buzz of a mess party celebrating gallantry awards is a not to be missed occasion. So the defence correspondents would dutifully key in the list of awards, beginning with, if there were any awarded on that occasion the Ashok Chakra, and then onwards ending with the meritorious series. Whenever there was anything known about the awardee it was added as a special, an exclusive. The paper would hold up space for this story, since it was an occasion to remember the brave. And it covered every state of India. There would be an awardee from the far and beyond of the country, something which only added to the pride of being Indian, independent and a republic. That space, alas, is now gone. Newspapers donâ€™t give it any more, and editors couldnâ€™t be bothered with it. The game now is to raise â€˜ad revenueâ€™ to such a degree that news space is carved. But what is saddest of all is that the encroachment happens on news space that should have been reserved for the bravest of India, fighting and dying for its integrity. It doesnâ€™t happen when it concerns the daughter of an MP, who it has been reported will now look after the motherâ€™s constituency with greater care, and has hence called a meeting of key players of the district, in New Delhi. This, alas, is the news priority of todayâ€™s India. Not a brave who battles Pakistani intruders and Maoist terrorism with equal zeal, and priority. Is this the new Indiaâ€™s priority, set by an insensitive and intrusive visual media?