Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The role of media in Naga society - Spreading alienation, disaffection

By Jagdamba Mall

The propaganda mechanism and media manipulation are at work very effectively in the country today. Different media houses are employed to serve their masters and employers. They look at the truth through their coloured glasses. The causes of one and single incident are described in different manners only to serve their masters and employers. They publish what they are asked for. By this partisan role of media, the powers-that-be are benefited. The mediapersons are rewarded for strengthening the position of powerfuls. But the people? What happens to the people? The innocent mass suffers in silence. This is another form of choking the voice of majority community to please minority communities because of vote-bank politics.

In this context, there is no better example of media-manipulation than that in Nagaland. In the mid eighties and before, the Nagaland media devoted most of the space on focusing the viewpoint of militant section of Naga society. It ignored the rational thinking of concerned senior citizens of Nagaland. When these enlightened sections of the Naga people chose to speak in public meetings, they were done away with. The local media could not give voice to them. Rather, media failed to give justice to these right-thinking men of Naga stock. It was mostly because of influence of church and militant organisations and partly because of threat from armed cadres. Even editorials were influenced by interested parties. Thereby, Naga society was deprived of correct information about the past, present and future of the state. The isolation of one Naga community from the other and that of whole of the Naga society from rest of Bharatiya samaj continued to persist. This has caused heavy loss to Naga society in every field. Out of many, the one perceptible and irreparable loss to the Naga society is the ever-growing hostility in a section of this community against Hindus.

The constant demonising of Hindu organisations and condemnation of Hinduism coupled with glorification of anything rival to the above have weaned away the innocent Naga society from Hindus. A section of people from Nagaland always look at the members of the Hindu society with suspicion sometimes for unfounded reasons and sometimes for petty reasons. It is because of propaganda against Hindus.

Whether one likes it or not, the fact is that Bharatvarsh is populated by 85 per cent Hindus and their population throughout the world is 135 crore and if Buddhist are included, the Hindu population becomes the largest in the world. People are amazed to notice the constant condemnation of Hindus by a section of Naga society. They are more surprised to notice that a section of local media still adds fuel to the fire that too in the age of information explosion. Who is harmed because of this? The Naga society is at the receiving end. The Naga people may boast that they are “super human being” and “God’s chosen people”. But international community is no more in dark about the truth. Of course, a very wrong and distorted image of Naga society is projected in other parts of the country and that is “terrorist”, “anti-national” and “anti-Hindu” image of Nagas. For that, national media is responsible but local media of Nagaland and militant organisations have large share. This has to be done away with. The proclamation of “unique history” is, thus, another stunt.

I have seen the various phases of changes in Naga society from 1975 onwards. Many qualitative changes have occurred and it is appreciated by right thinking observers. The qualitative changes in Naga society have occurred in perception, in life-style and many more aspects of life. Along with these, some glaring negative developments have also taken place. This has to be curbed. Simultaneously, there is a qualitative and very appreciable improvement in the Hindu perception too towards Naga community. The gulf of confusion and hostility between Hindus and Naga community is shrinking fast due to information dissemination, population exchange and many more reasons. The local media in Nagaland, too, has acquired noticeable qualitative improvement still there is a lot of scope for improvement.

History can be created but it cannot be changed. Who records the History? Is it not the media that informs the scholars to record the history? Is it not the media that informs the people to look back in the past, choose correct path in the present and plan for the future? Is it not the media that opens the various worldwide avenues of learning and employment for the youths by furnishing constructive information in the entire field? And is it not the media that guides the government and society to choose correct path? Because of this heavy responsibility, media is called as the fourth pillar of democracy. People living with the perception of fifteenth century cannot plan for twenty first century. Hope, learned mediamen in Nagaland will give a thought to what has been pointed out in fore-going lines in this small write-up and help the society to rise in the present competitive world.

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