Indian problems are unique. We are an over-populated nation with fractured identities and massive disparities. The national debates we have been having since Independence have changed, and the arguments around them have multiplied. Multiplicity of debates may not be seen as progress. The fact is that we are slowly turning into a bandwagon whose one wheel is being galvanized and polished, while the other has been allowed to rust into grains.
While more Indians can afford to eat in McDonalds and shop in branded marts, nearly a million farmers have committed suicide in despair over the past 20 years. On one hand, more IPL games are being played at night to tie in with the burgeoning nightlife in metros, and on the other, people are suffering from 15-20 hour power cuts in the chawls of the very same city.
The crisis is very much with us. Cosmetic changes won't make it go away. Unfortunately, we have evolved into a society that believes that problems can be solved just through arguments. Arguments do not necessarily mean an evolution in thinking, especially, when these arguments are driven by the media.
The media has become the new Indian god, deciding the fate and interpreting the world for all. This twisted approach to journalism insults the intelligence of the masses. The media seem to forget the masses are always more intelligent in solving problems than a single intellectual. In their ignorant hands, the media has boiled down to become the most undemocratic entity of India's socio-political ecosystem.
Data manipulation in newspapers has reached alarming levels. The truth is being suppressed and we no longer know what is going on in the nation. Scams are systematically hidden. For example, no newspaper has dared to cover the mining scam currently that happened Goa. It could be the biggest scam of this country - much larger than the mining scam of Bellary!
The media has simply stopped covering unprofitable leads. Take the example of the labour correspondent - a prominent aspect of old-school media houses. These days, if labour issues are covered at all, they come under the header of Industrial Relations, and they’re covered by business correspondents. This means that they’re covered by the guy whose job is to walk in the tracks of corporate leaders, and who, when examining labour, does it through the eyes of corporate leaders. In most newspapers, the idea of having an agriculture columnist doesn’t even exist any more. Having no voice for labour and the farmers 70 per cent of the people of this country don’t matter at all.
Newspapers have heavy political bias in India. In a recent survey by the CRI, among the 25 most important English newspapers circulated in India, 16 favour the UPA, 3 favour the NDA and 1 is leftist. Only 5 newspapers in India are unbiased. None of these 5 are among the largest circulating newspapers of India.
Propaganda has taken the place of news across the media. In India, you’ll hardly find any news of the seven North-East States, nor will you find accurate news from Jammu & Kashmir. Very little news on scientific achievements remains covered. We read excessive news of cricket which extends far beyond the sports section. Other sports are simply not encouraged. When was the last time we had a cover story on hockey or chess? We are served with meaningless film gossip and useless news about celebrities, which shows how much the PR agencies of these stars are paying the media. Newspapers today have turned into fashion magazines and have taken us far away from real issues.
I personally have seen youth with great potential, debate upon unnecessary filmi topics or irrelevant issues. Debate, while essential, needs to be accompanied by pointed action to effect real change. Across the world, the middle-class is up in arms against graft, ill-governance, and social injustice. Luckily, our democratic dynamics are shaped by the masses, where decisions are made collectively, driven by the opinion of people’s representatives. This shouldn't mean that the youth does not participate in real discussions - on issues that matter.
The source of knowledge for the people is the media. With a biased media, the knowledge of intelligent people becomes a barrier to them being able to solve an Indian problem with an Indian perspective.
Photo credit: rotikapdamakaan.wordpress.com