Sunday, October 12, 2008

CALAMITOUS MEDIA MANIPULATION

Few days earlier I was listening with horror a news casting in Indian national TV channel. The Newsreader was saying that there had been communal clashes between Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants and indigenous people resulting in half a hundred deaths and hundreds injured. Along with that thousands of cases arson and looting were also being reported. My horror was not confined to deaths, injuries etc. This is commonplace all over the world, particularly in our country. What surprised me was the callous way of naming the religious and ethnic identity of rioting parties. It is a longstanding practice among media community, buttressed by various national and state level laws, to describe the riots as group clashes. It is not that by calling these group clashes essentially make these anything else. Riots remain riots. What is important is media is not stoking any sentimental or emotional situation. It tries to remain objective and responsible. Whatever be the opinion or views of a newspaper or a TV channel its stance remains unaffected.

A well-known columnist writes about the aftermath of October revolution of 1917 as comical socialist experiences. As corollary all the unfinished revolutions in history, or the individuals leading them, like say, Lenin, Thomas Paine -- or why not Napoleon Bonaparte -- are comical. Only that columnist and his tribe, brought up with plenty of milk and whiskey in warm or cool houses, successfully procuring a beautiful university degree and tying up with a billionaire media baron are the models of noncomical successful people. They are never eccentric. They never become mad. Also they are never aristocratic. They have unconcealed hatred for the bloggers.

A few commentators’ way of seeing things is unique. Khudiram Bose was hanged by British government when he was in his teens. His crime was he threw a bomb at a British district administrative head that due to wrong information killed his wife who was at that time traveling in the coach designated to the district magistrate. After mutiny this was the first terrorist act involving a killing and execution. For a century Khudiram is remembered and worshipped by his countrymen, particularly the Bengalis. A commentator went into an overdrive by describing this act as teen-age craze for bravado and also an act of foolishness. Without inviting a debate over effectiveness of terrorism etc. thousands or hundreds of thousands offered their lives for the cause that they believed to be correct. One can question their perception. But it is cynical and heartless to ridicule them. All throughout the history millions are struggling and stumbling for a correct and effective way of removing oppression and exploitation. To get your fat salary you are writing essays to ridicule them. But why ridicule who have chosen otherwise?

With the deepening of economic depression another variety of economic or financial analytical writers have opened up their score. Their task is to affirm in the morning the global nature of the crisis affecting India and in the evening to assure all and sundry about the insularity of India to global crisis. When the question of prosperity through borrowings comes up perspective is global. When in a happening capitalist economy usual cyclical crisis starts, when wars no longer make the economy move, when artificial solvency induced by housing boom collapses in the USA, India cannot escape the consequences. These economists are learned and intelligent people. They are aware of everything. Still they have to write as they are asked to write. They are also a bunch of commodity sellers.

4 comments:

fleuve-souterrain said...

Old Man
this is an interesting observation... and this anomaly in the Indian media has been going on for a long time. There are rules against such unethical stance but then, someone has to show the rules and challenge the big media houses.

About Khudiram, you should have mentioned who that commentator was. From the sound of it, perhaps a Bengali language newsperson? It is fashinable to jump inot conclusions but every historical context is different and I wonder if the so-called media experts have forgotten about that factor or are simply not educated enough.

On the US financial meltdown, some effect is bound to be seen on our nation's financial system. After all, globalization was a much hailed process by most developing countries too, as it garnered more jobs for them than before. But Indian banking system functions on stricter regulatory patterns, something that American finance sector hates. Well, they are paying the price. Let's see what our RBI does. Keep up the great writing, you are doing well!
ND

shamik said...

Old Man
Time is Cruel. What was great personal sacrifices by people like Khudiram Bose or earlier and later by others will be impersonally dissected by some columnist someone who is not remotely connected with that passion or sacrifices of that time - he belongs to another time and sees with coulours of his present time and maybe by his own need and agenda. But then that is what it is meant to be. Their writings are not truth nor they are false in absolute terms but thoughts and counter thoughts thrown open to accept or to kick aside or to partly pick up the grain from the chaff.

fleuve-souterrain said...

the columnist who dissected Khudiram so disrespectfully, is Swapan Dasgupta I think. He's an RSS man, hardcore rightwing and I don;t expect him to understand even a tiny bit of what Khudiram and his companions aimed for. One can always find flaws in what these young revolutionaries did, but one must acknowledge the historical context in which they carried out such acts...

Old Man River said...

It is very perplexing.while we had been discussing how media manipulation is flourishing as a business proposition all attention has got trnsfixed upon khudiram bose.to critically appraise khudiram phenomenon is altogether a different thing.it depends upon so many things.Spartacus to Kalpana chawla are all ultimately stories of sad deaths.One can stay away from such things and embrace a life of ignominous existence of staying alive by any means.it is your choice.