February 26, 2014

Semiotics of 2014 Gen Election in India & Lord of The Flies

There is a shocking uncanny resemblance of the 2014 India election scene with the William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. The hunter wants to dominate the weak social order incapable of producing excellence. But unfortunately, unlike in the book, India has no luxury of a foreign messiah rescuing it from the chaos. Will India pay the price & submit meekly to the hunter, as it has on innumerable occasions in pre & post 1947, for its lack of social order capable of producing excellent public order & society?

The antagonist in the Lord of the Flies, Jack, older of the boys left stranded on a deserted island in wake of raging war in the developed world, lacks love & affection for others and he tries to make that up with offers of security & food. In the struggle for acceptance, Jack wins the largest following among the disparate group afraid of its survival & redemption, by persuasion & force both.

In India Narendra Modi wants majority India to support him despite his management of 2002 Gujarat riots. Modi almost resembles Jack who is adept at manipulating others, represents the base instinct of savagery within all human beings, in contrast to civilizing instinct of Ralph, the protagonist.  

Another major character in the LOTF is Piggy, a whining intellectual boy, who represents the scientific, rational side of the civilization, like media & couple of experts therein. The Jacks of the chaotic democracies know that characters like Piggy pose no threat to their dictatorship dream but also help them project a liberal side for publicity, a camouflage. Media in India is like the Piggy.

The chief protagonist in LOTF is Ralph, who is younger to Jack and has backing of the majority in the beginning. Rahul Gandhi campaign is trying to project him as the leader who promises a just civil society capable of delivering all that is promised by the Jack, and with a humane face. Although  some may disagree with my opinion and would like to paint Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Adami Party as the true hero of India’s enactment of LOTF 2014 edition.

Most outside India, who don’t know the Hindutva character of India, find it difficult to understand why a two term Prime Minster of India , a humble, suave sophisticated & brilliant economist Dr Manmohan Singh don’t have same adulation & following within India as abroad?  Well Dr Manmohan Singh is a Sikh & majority of Hindus are not yet ready to accept a non-Hindu as PM of India, even beyond 1947.

President Obama is elected by people of the USA and hence represents their collective morality. On the contrary, Dr Manmohan Singh can’t win an election despite being the PM of India. Simon in the LOFT is the only person whose sense of morality does not seem to have been imposed by the society. Simon represents natural goodness, in contrast to unbridled evil of Jack & imposed morality of civilization represented by Ralph & Piggy.  A Simon can’t be first past the post in contest for power.

Akali Dal & Shiv Sena are to BJP what Sam and Eric are to Jack in the LOTF. Congress too has its own band of likeminded parties that support it for from time to time based on mutually profitable terms that has nothing to do with development of India. Those who have read LOTF would see many characters like Roger, in Indian political scene too, who are willing to kill for a consideration.

Although many Indians believe that India is no island and it is a super power or going to be superpower which has lot of respect in the world but when they travel abroad their dream gets shattered. India is still like an island that needs to work hard to grow into a continent of power and so it must choose wisely. The Ralphs may not look strong with enough killer instincts but such characters give promise of a just & civilized society which can integrate itself with rest of humanity on the planet. A Jack can hack well but they should be contained to some island for sake of humanity.

February 6, 2014

Media the fourth pillar or just for Chillar?

Media pride itself as a critical component of a functioning democracy. It enjoys vast powers in the name of being the guardian of citizen’s rights & interests from mighty powerful governments.  Media claims to be the watchdog of people in a republic. But is it possible for privately owned, advertising revenue funded media to keep the interests of democracy and citizens ahead of their own avowed aim of profit maximization & business?  You would doubt.

Let’s examine the media thesis of being a public service for strengthening of democracy in a republic. In order to analyze the myth of media being a public service it would be appropriate to study its conduct during most critical period of elections in democracy. How media contributes, influence or obstructs election process can reveal its true intentions and therefore nature.

Media in India competes for vast advertising & promotion budgets of political players.  There is no harm in fair competition but media do not treat political advertising at par with other advertising. If media want to further the cause of democracy in a republic then what is the rationale to charge premium over normal advertising tariff? Moreover if commercial advertiser gets credit then why deny same facility for political advertising? Why should media organizations be allowed to charge higher tariff & cash terms for political advertisements meant to educate citizens and make informed choices? Profit maximization on public service advertising is criminal and anti-democratic.

Media monsters charge lower than commercial tariff on many categories of advertisements but during elections time they go for kill and bring a variety of wrongful pressures on political players for maximum share of advertising budget.  The Election Commission of India must intervene and order the media to charge lowest advertising tariff close to DAVP rates as election advertising has no commercial objective.  

Indian media is a unique beast. It has no resemblances to anyone else in any democratic country on the earth. The unregulated media doesn’t serve the nation, governments or citizens and places the profit maximization motive of its owners foremost.  India must stop it & tame the beast. Media enjoys vast benefits in India but its actions are directed at collecting chillar [Money] than working as fourth pillar of democracy. 

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