Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Saga of Professor Matuknath & Julie: An Amazing 'Teacher-student' love Affair

Prof Matuk Nath & his ladylove Julie
Prof. Matuknath, who taught Hindi in Patna, hasn't faded from TV screen ever since his disgrace that was beamed live into our drawing rooms [and the subsequent redemption] in the first week of July.

The 55-year-old professor and his relationship with his student-girlfriend Julie was lapped up by TV channels. First his wife beat up his girl friend Julie, who is barely 25, after she found them together.

The poor professor's face was blackened publicly and the entire nation watched it on most of the channels. He was taken to police station. Julie remained adamant that her love was divine and media morality shouldn't guide the lives of people. 

Then the stories of Matuknath and Julie forgetting the humiliation and going on a joyride in a rickshaw in Patna appeared and television channels showed it again. The anchors were surprised that they were not apologetic and hadn't run away, rather moving around freely. 

The reports were repeated every hour through out the day. The 'odd-couple' went to a Shopping Mall and that was also on all channels. Psychologists were called, panel interviews were held and impact of such a relationship on society was discussed. However, that was not the end of Matuknath's saga.

He returend to college after all humiation and surprise, the students had a sudden change of heart and they took him to the class on their shoulders. They claimed victory for his love. Stories about his NRI son criticising his father [his LIVE interview] were telecast meanwhile.

That was not the end as the class in BN College where Matuknath devoted the period to love and Julie was seen sitting among students, was aired on most channels. Special 30 min-1 hr long programmes were shown on Ajtak, Star, Sahara, ETV, NDTV, CNN IBN, India TV and all national television channels.

But then the college administration felt it was too risky to let Matuknath continue as professor. He was suspended due to 'infamy' he brought to the college. But then the lovebirds reached Lalu Prasad Yadav who blessed their love. This was also a NEWS.

Devoid of real issues the media groups boosted their TRPs focussing on this affair. The voyeuristic instincts of the viewers that have already grown an appetite for such stories thanks to soap opera news culture of these channels were catered well.

For a fortnight the love affair has been explored with all angles. The magazine Matuk and Julie brought out, its special issue on marriage and their views. But this doesn't seem to end. Some praise Julie for her courage and dedication to the Professor, rest are just enjoying a peek in other's life--humiliation, disgrace, broken family, allegations and counter allegations.

Now Julie-Matuknath fan clubs have sprung up and this just doesn't seem to end. They are now celebrities created by media. Isn't it enough? One wonders how long this coverage will continue. [PS: The issue got settled and the couple lives happily, even visiting other cities and lecturing youth on love]