Prasar Bharati is launching a web channel worth 75 crores for the propaganda of the BJP/RSS. It is not new that Prasar Bharati work for the ruling government in India.
Media is an important prong of democracy. It mediates between the citizens and the Government. Ideally. But increasingly media has been becoming a tool in the hands of the Government. India is in the grip of biased media. However with the free flow of information because of the internet and access to global media, it is difficult to always provide “Big Brother” version of all the happenings.
The Global media brings in the impartial account of the happenings. This is true in the case of highlighting India’s worst disease of the caste system. After the infamous Khairlanji massacre in 2006, it was the global media that first gave publicity to the issue of atrocities based on the caste system. Leading newspapers from all over the world published the news regarding the Khairlanji massacre of 2006. Recently, The Guardian came up with an article of Modi’s choice of Adityanath as a step towards radical Hindu nationalism. Similar analysis also appeared in the other international media.
Indian media should have taken the lead in fighting the domestic problems, particularly the caste system. The Indian media have never launched any campaign to end the practice of untouchability and caste system.
The Modi-led BJP/RSS government is trying to use media to create monolithic views of economic and political events. The Man Ki Baat is modelled on Hugo Chavez, the failed dictator of Venezuela, and his weekly radio talk show. If the Government is really serving the citizens, it does not need media as the citizens can directly see the benefits for themselves. In the next move, the BJP/RSS government is trying to use the public money to create a clean image for itself. The BJP/RSS wants to erase its image as “Hindu Nationalists” organisation. It wants to sanitise any news that has “Hindu Nationalism” tinge on it. Prasar Bharati is planning to launch the web channel that will create India’s image of “growing economy”, and cultural superiority of India. It is alright to showcase India’s growth story to attract investment, but it can also be misleading as the investors need to know everything from the economy to polity to society.
Let us wait here and ponder for a while. What is it in Indian culture that we would like the world to appreciate? It is true that India has a long history of civilisation, and our greatest export to the world has been Buddhism. Buddhism went to all over the world, not only from Bihar but also from Gujarat and Rajasthan. In fact, Emperor Ashoka, as Charles Allen, wrote in the biography of Ashoka, is the founding father of India.
If it had not been for Ashoka and his Buddhist-based diplomacy, India would not have been founded and India reached the highest glory under him.
Even the “Hindu Nationalists” like Savarkar begins the history of India with the Buddha. Before that, we have no historic material evidence to prove that there were any other pan India phenomena other than Buddhism. The invading Aryans were just trying to consolidate their base in India and were largely confined to a few villages.
It is interesting to see how the “minority” worldview of the Brahmins took over the “majority” worldview of Buddhist India.
The story is interesting as to how the Brahmins crafted Hinduism to fool India’s majority that come in the shape of SCs, STs, and the OBCs. If some reports are to be believed the population of Brahmins have shrunk to 1 to 2 percent. So it is still a bigger question as to how OBCs, SCs, and STs are going to claim their “majority” share in the power. The history of the SCs, STs, and OBCs is tied up with Buddhism, as in Hinduism, their status is the status of “Shudra” and “Ati-Shudra”.
The web channel seeks to glorify Indian culture. Let us look at Yoga. Studies have shown that there is ample evidence to believe that Yoga is post-Buddhist development and borrows heavily from Buddhism and modelled on Buddhism. The way Buddhism shows the clear-cut path to enlightenment, the same things cannot be said about Vedas. So what on the earth BJP/RSS is showcasing.
Vedas, Puranas, Gita, Manu Smriti, and other Shastras of Vedic Brahmanism are filled with the caste prejudices. The Gita Press is trying to expunge these remarks, but how many they can do is a big question. Gita was written to justify the Varna system on the basis of new theory when the Varna system was challenged by Buddhism. There will be a time when the Shudras will read these texts, the texts which 99 percent of Indians have never seen. They were debarred from reading it. Now they should read them and see for themselves what it has for them. The way Shahu Maharaj did. The way Prabodhankaar Thakre did. The way Periyar did. The Brahmin scholars are interpreting these texts using the new parlance and trying to invent something which is not there at all. Of course, one can interpret any story the way one wants to push their interest forward. I often wonder why the “Vedic mathematics” is never taught in the schools.
Hindu Nationalism as a project of India’s Brahmins is clear and evident. The atrocities on Dalits are real. The underrepresentation of the OBCs in the Government is real. The lynchings of the Muslims are real. If the BJP/RSS really work on these issues and really work towards giving justice to these citizens, they will not need state-sponsored media for propaganda. But as the propagandist organisation that thrives on propaganda, a propaganda machine is a must for the Brahmins, but that machine is created by the Public money (majorly coming from Indians at large) is betraying the citizens.
Media such as Prasar Bharati should come out of the control of government and give people the real picture.
Author – Mangesh Dhaiwale, Human Rights Activist