De-Rationalizing Indian Minds: Role of Indian Media

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Indian media's biggest project for the past 3-4 years now has been the derationalizing of Indian Minds.

Indian media’s biggest project for the past 3-4 years now has been the derationalizing of Indian Minds. Brace for it till it destroys our society completely. It seems like the media is on a mission to kill the critical thinking of the masses. This is being done with a vicious agenda and with brazen participation of the state machinery. This agenda is being realized every day with certain events becoming milestones in this project. The recent fiasco after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death leading to one of the worst witch-hunts and media trials is one such milestone in this grand project. It’s being done by hyperbolic voices, nonsense news peddling, fake news streaming and mainstreaming of WhatsApp messages through this generation’s biggest agenda amplifier – the meme pages. 

While the world is amused, many Indians at this point think why we are discussing the death of a star when we are having about thousands of daily COVID deaths. The situation is grim at LAC and the Army Chief is saying that the trajectory could take any turn now. Even then the Indian media seems least bothered to take up these issues. The government looks clueless on issues such as agrarian distress, farmer suicides, brazen human rights violations in Uttar Pradesh, floods in Bihar etc. Even as the COVID cases in India hit a new record daily and our economy has contracted for the first time ever with unemployment at all-time high, our national media joins in a pitch fever high distraction battle over demanding Justice for an actor’s death which has lately turned into India’s favourite pastime of denigrating a woman’s dignity.  

India is plunging into a deep economic crisis but the media crisis is deeper and more insidious. Year-wise you can find 2-3 periodical events that have no news value, lapped up and being presented as “the national issue”. The event is fed into the mind completely through story length WhatsApp messages being broadcasted on millions of Whatsapp groups. The internet is filled with thousands of memes on the same issue made by paid meme pages or others who just follow trends. Certain people sensing a business opportunity in this start making youtube videos and Facebook pages & groups. The same Facebook pages & groups are later sold off to political parties before the elections and their names changed. Sushant’s untimely death has been a part of this series of events only.

This is a project to kill your questioning abilities and make you into a person who accepts whatever is presented to them while it goes on removing any kind of dissenting voices through their malicious campaign successfully. There are two fronts in this project which runs parallel in it’s every nuisance hyperbole. One is the destruction of an ideological enemy while another is creating a smokescreen for hiding the failures or the real question that one should ask. The first front is to settle political scores or strengthen the ideological voter base while another is to distract you from actual issues. There have been various scapegoats, losers and purported targets of this project. 

The same thing happened during the Tablighi Jamat incident, Anti CAA-NRC protests, JNU Fee hike protests and the various lynching incidents, the anti-national debate, etc. The media successfully with its hyperbolic campaign buries the actual legitimate question while demonizing the ideological enemy as a scapegoat. It’s not that the majority thinks like that only. This thinking has been developed over the years by manufacturing consent– consent to whatever government tries and the media broadcasts. 

Who do you think is the scapegoat in this project of bringing justice to Sushant Singh Rajput ? It’s the woman, the progressive or modern or independent woman. The coverage of Rhea Chakraborty as a drug addict while flashing her semi-nude pictures and posing provocatively for her fashion shoots is aimed toward this only. Such coverage will only lead to Indian parents and society questioning the character of modern young Indian girls who want to live their lives freely and independently. Young girls who live independently as bachelors are seen as those not adhering to the norms and values of the cultured Indian society. The traditional Indian society sees a girl as one who is supposed to remain with her family until her education and then married off. The rest ones who seem to pursue anything independently are dubbed as ‘characterless sluts’ and other expletives that you are seeing nowadays being hurled at Rhea Chakraborty. 

All this because a middle class family cannot accept that their son could have clung on to drugs in despair of depression. Because how can their Raja Beta do any wrong, and all evil must instincts in him must have come from the girl. Starting with the TV anchors who are patronizing and presenting this to the moms in Indian households and teenage girls, everyone seems to be demanding justice. These women can be seen demanding public beating of Rhea Chakraborty to her hanging. In light of such times, it is worthy enough to be quoting Hitler who once said :

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”  

The biggest fallout of all this project has been the virulent atmosphere that we live in. Think about the discourse that this nation used to have 10 years before, we were discussing enormous GDP growth, a burgeoning middle class, a big market, job creation, winning world cups, organizing world cups, organizing protests against corruption, etc. All that is now lost and is rarely seen on Indian minds. For most of the time now, Indians are seen discussing how politics is playing out and how it should be played out along with a communal angle in every story and event. 

There is no talk of governance. That’s the difference the discourse has made in our public life. Earlier we focused on the effects on governance and how it impacts us but now we talk about the politicization and how elections are won and how governments are getting formed and how a party is dominating the political sphere. The discourse on the ground is so low that an illegal construction gets demolished in an overarching political drama and is presented as the death of democracy which rakes the Indian conscience but fails to even stir up souls when students were getting beaten up and universities were smashed by police forces with approval from the government. We are talking about cow saving schemes, beef bans but there is no talk on jobs, salary, healthcare, malnutrition, etc. At a time when India is attracting worldwide attention for its rising islamophobia, the Central Government gives clearance to a hate monger to run a show labelling Muslims who clear the prestigious civil services exam as Jihad on which the Delhi High Court has put a hold.

The job of the media is to make you think about issues of utmost public interest. In its defense, the media is just a mirror of society and in a way, it reflects the mindset of the audience that it caters to. In a nutshell, the current state of media shows the growing pessimistic voyeurism that has crept into the  Indian society. Thanks to the magnificent combination of the kind of politics playing out in the country, we’ve slowly started to mirror the signs of what led Pakistan on the road to fundamentalism and a perpetual state of violence.

Featured Image Credits: Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Rohit Shukla
Rohit Shukla is a student of Journalism at Delhi School of Journalism, University of Delhi.

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