There is a very real war of civilisational narratives in this media-crazy world where truth takes a backseat to propaganda and perception. Nations, cultures and peoples are ‘constructed’ through their images and portrayals. In the minds of the people, in the minds of the governments, in the minds of the international community.
Imagine the impact perception and propaganda can have when a certain issue becomes the hot favourite of global media, for weeks, months and years. A quick look at the headlines across all the western media outlets over the past few days will reveal how the rape problem in India has been reported and analysed. (Before anyone accuses me of being chauvinistic, of avoiding the real problem of sexual violence, let me point out to the disclaimer at the top of the post).
In today’s globalised and highly inter-connected socio-economic climate, a developing nation like India which is trying to position herself in the world to attract larger foreign investments, more tourism, greater leverage in the geo-political dynamics is now forced to fight another battle of perceptions. An unfortunate fallout of the recent controversy around the BBC documentary. Some of the reasons for this may be government’s own doing, because of their hasty and ill-informed decisions. But the larger blame for this renewed battle of propaganda must squarely rest elsewhere.
An excerpt from my opinion piece published on Swarajya:
“What do films like “India’s Daughter” end up achieving?
In my opinion, films like these end up giving fodder to susceptible sections of the social elite, especially the most radicalized, vital-sensationalist minds, to mindlessly start generalizing about a whole society and culture on the basis of the most vile, vicious thought uttered by someone like the convict who was interviewed for this film.
Already I have seen more than enough of status updates on Facebook about how misogynist the whole of Indian society is, how horrible the attitudes of Indian men are, how women are abused left and right in India, etc. etc. And I am not on Twitter, which I am sure will be even worse. And of course, then there is our mainstream media which I am sure will be giving undue and unnecessary publicity to this whole thing.
We all know one evil-minded convict’s opinion about attitudes toward women should not and cannot say anything about a huge society like India. And yet, that’s how the dice roll in the sensationalism-loving, TRP-obsessed, media-crazy world of today. The end result is that more young and impressionable minds get alienated from their cultural/societal roots because they are most susceptible to the media-constructed realities of what their society is like. This is most unfortunate, really.
Things are never as simple as they seem on the surface. Just as I wouldn’t generalize anything about Indian mindsets or attitudes based on a few random observations or experiences, I also wouldn’t generalize about all India-related reporting that happens in the Western media. There is a huge diversity of mindsets and attitudes, everywhere.
But there certainly is a noticeable trend in the Western media reporting, especially about the issues and challenges facing Indian society and culture. Most of the reporting focuses on the negatives and the extremes. No serious effort is made to put things in a balanced perspective and well-intentioned context. Rather the tendency is to highlight the bizarre and zoom in on the most atrocious resulting in mere sensationalising of the issue under investigation.
It is this tendency that makes me wary of such films like “India’s Daughter.”
Read the full article here.
Today’s post is about India’s daughters who make me proud to be one of their sisters. I share about only a few such daughters, but there are countless others. All across the length and breadth of this vast country. Come, listen to their stories.
As a student of Sri Aurobindo, I remain interested in the larger principles. The wider picture. The deeper truths behind the outer picture. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any preferences, but to whatever extent possible I try to constantly weigh my preference in the growing light of those larger principles, that wider picture and those deeper truths.
ABC’S of Indian National Education is a recently published book by Dr. Beloo Mehra. Here is an author interview about this interesting piece of work that compels us to re-think about our educational philosophy.
Vishal Bhardwaj has managed to present, for the most part, a good adaptation of this powerful story using an interesting and engaging narration. The lead actors in the film have performed their parts very well, making the experience of movie watching quite enjoyable. But what puzzles me (and perhaps many other people too, if I go by some of the comments and discussions going on in social media and also on the basis of a few reviews of the film) is the choice of political context in which the story of Haider has been situated. This article presents a list of seven points which made me wonder whether this time around the filmmaker’s love for Shakespeare has taken a backseat to his politics in this third adaptation of the bard’s plays. – See more at: http://letbeautybeyourconstantideal.blogspot.in/2014/10/when-movie-gets-political-case-of-haider.html
how many of us know something, I mean really know something, about the women of Mahābhārata? Other than some well-known facts that Draupadi had five husbands or that Kunti was the mother of Pandavas or that Gandhari blind-folded herself for life the moment she learned that she was married off to a blind man without her knowledge, most of us hardly know anything about these women. And these are some of the well-known women from the epic. Even then we know them in only sketches, we know them only through popular portrayals on TV or in films or popular literature. – See more at: http://letbeautybeyourconstantideal.blogspot.in/2014/10/what-occupied-my-mind.html
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