Arnab Goswami is No More Just a Journalist. The Few Days in Jail Have Given Him a Personality Cult

Social Commentary

Arnab Goswami is No More Just a Journalist. The Few Days in Jail Have Given Him a Personality Cult

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Arnab Goswami, editor of Republic TV, has been the only news on Republic TV over the past few days. Hashtags in his support have garnered lakhs of tweets, people have been praying for his release from Bombay to Bournemouth (no kidding) and hundreds gathered outside jail to witness his release, as the channel played superhero music in the background.

Arnab Goswami is no longer just a journalist – he has a personality cult.

People started gathering outside Taloja jail in Mumbai from the moment the news became public that Arnab had received interim bail. RIP social distancing, covid can wait.

The moment of release was filled with the kind of melodrama that could rival a Bollywood movie. A Republic TV anchor punched the air with his fist and stated, “Arnab Goswami, mere bhai, newsroom waapis aa rahe hain.” Another anchor said, “We will never cow down, never cow down,” wiping away her tears.

After chasing cars for months during the Sushant Singh Rajput coverage, Republic reporters were now chasing Arnab’s car. Goswami popped out from the sunroof of his car and started chanting slogans like a soldier who had returned victorious from war. As one social media user pointed out, if the release was two days later on Diwali, Republic TV would have declared it as the return of Ram after Vanvaas.

#ArnabIsBack started trending on social media, as “fans” celebrated his release. When he was locked up in jail, many had shared videos of themselves as well as family members praying for him to be granted bail. Even higher powers were invoked to help India’s loudest man.

People even gave up food and water in worry. One hopes aunty is taking care of her health now that he is free!

Arnab’s celebration called for partying at home. On the bright side, it brought cheer to some people during the pandemic.

Arnab walked into the studio, among his staff like Superman among the public in “that” scene in Batman vs Superman. He delivered the journalism equivalent of the “sattar minute” speech (from Chak De India) to his staff, showed the victory sign and shouted slogans once again.

For some, their hero was back. For others, he was the entertainment they craved after the IPL just got over.