Thursday, May 28, 2015

Propaganda Can Never Fill Stomachs -- PD Editorial

BJP-led NDA Government's  Official Celebrations of its First Year

Propaganda Can Never Fill Stomachs

The official celebrations of this BJP-led NDA government's completion of one year have begun, Prime Minister Modi launched the celebrations amidst a  flurry of media blitz from Mathura.  The BJP has announced the holding of 200 public meetings across the country. All Union Ministers, we are told,
are to hold at least three public meetings and three press conferences each,
i.e., over 200 public meetings and 200 press conferences across the country.
This may be in addition to the 200 public meetings other RSS/BJP leaders may hold.  The Prime Minister has perfected the art of feeding the NRIs with
rhetoric on his unprecedented number of foreign tours. Now the RSS/BJP will be totally engaged in a similar feeding of the Indian people with demagogy.

The choice of the Prime Minister launching the campaign from Mathura is notinnocent. It is loaded  with serious dangers of escalating communal passions across the country.  Remember that the RSS/BJP have all along highlighted
that they shall `liberate' the Ram Janmasthan (Ayodhya), Krishna Janmasthan(Masthura) and Kashi Vishwanath temple (Benaras). Appropriately, PM Modi waspresented with a Krishna idol by the local BJP MP Hema Malini.  The campaign
for building the Ram temple at Ayodhya led to the destruction of the
centuries old Babri Masjid and unleashed a vicious communal poison that
claimed the lives of thousands of people across the country and continues to
breed a deep sense of insecurity amongst the religious minorities in the
country. PM Modi has retained his seat in Benaras  resigning from his home
state Gujarat, having contested in two Parliamentary constituencies. Now the
launch of this programme celebrating the end of one year from Mathura.
Ominous signals, indeed.

The spate of multi-coloured advertisements in all streams of the media has
risen to such an extent that it is doling out monetary patronage breeding
servile conformism and media sycophancy.  Little wonder that media surveys
have declared that this BJP-led NDA government has passed its first year
with distinction!  (The Times of India) Only when one sits for an exam can
be marks given.  Here, marks are liberally being given by the media even
when this government has not taken any examination.

Given the impact of media fed and media bred, `popularity' it is little
wonder that major corporates are making a scramble to own media companies.

Corporate takeover of media is an attempt to earn credibility. But when the
corporates run their control over media to serve their ends of sycophancy,
then it is the media's credibility that is at stake.

May be this is what explains the dichotomy between the blazing front page
banner headlines lauding the first anniversary of this government and the
lead editorials in the same print media.  Let us look at a sample.  The same
Times of India editorially comments, "'s difficult to tell, one year
into the NDA government, whether the Indian economy has really turned the
corner. Exports and industrial output are flat, the sensex which soared in
2014 has plummeted again, not enough jobs are being created. The last is
critical to hopes for achche din as ten million new workers enter the job
market every year" and so on.

The Indian Express says, "The government doesn't seem to be working to any
systematic or long term plan".  Further it says that the government must use
statecraft  to bring a consensus in parliament, "instead of seeking  to
vault over critics and opponents by making direct appeals to the people
through one way communication campaign".

The Asian Age says, ".after high sounding promises raised expectations sky
high in every section of society, delivery has been lackluster for and the
government has come under critical scrutiny even from some key supporters
who accuse it of lacking in direction." Further it says, "The farm sector is
in acute distress across India. The corporate sector, especially big
business that the government is desperately seeking to please has begun to
grumble."  Even The Economic Times says, "Dissent has acquired shades of
treason, instead of being treated as inputs to broadbased decision making.
The opposition needs to be engaged, not merely confronted.  These should
figure in the agenda for the next four years. Voters don't care about
anniversary tallies."

The Business Standard editorial echoing similar sentiments ends its
editorial saying that this government's ministers "will be better served
learning from the past year, so as to ensure that no publicity blitzes will
be necessary on May 26, 2016."  The Hindu says: "On the first anniversary,
some of the promises remain as proposals and many others appear too remote
with little and no chance of coming to fruition in the next four years".  It
ends by saying, "All told and added up on the political ledger, the debit
column has certainly ended up being longer than the credit column".

These venerable editors have tried to salvage some credibility.  This,
however, appears to little with the credibility of `fourth estate' heavily
suffering under the barrage of handsomely paid advertisements.

This BJP-led NDA government must be told forcefully by the strength of
popular people's mobilizations that propaganda does not and has never filled
stomachs.  Since the current reality is not filling the stomachs either,
this government must be forced to reverse its anti-people policies and
refrain from patronizing the sharpening of communal polarization negating
the very secular democratic foundations of our Republic.

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