Media Manufactured…

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Anna Hazare

NDTV and Times Now have already approved Anna Hazare's movement as second freedom struggle. So its Official.

Anna Hazare ” is a classic case study to understand how media can drive a nation.  The Jan Lokpal episode illustrated how television channels can blow tiny tots to a mammoth giant. The North Indian media in both English and Hindi are projecting as if the whole of India is on streets in support of Anna Hazare. In reality Anna’s hunger strike is just another protest for the majority. In South India it’s just another news. In Chennai considering the city’s population, only a handful of upper middle class are fasting with Anna fever. In Kashmir and the Northeast people have more serious things for concern than the Jan Lokpal bill. In all the Non-Hindi speaking states only the minority of the population which has access to English news channels cares about Anna’s fast, for the rest its business as usual. For ‘NDTV’ and ‘Times Now’ the English speaking Urban-Upper-Middle class means INDIA. They don’t care about any other protest by other sections. The North Indian media never gave a lime light equivalent to Anna’s fast to the peasants of Singur and Nandhigram Or the people of Kashmir Or the tribals of central India fighting against the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ Or the protest like the one against POSCO (Orissa), Vedanta (Niyamgiri hills) Or at least to the students who stood for Uniform syllabus in Tamilnadu. This cruel media can hide any true uprising of the masses and at the same time can uplift a totally middle-class movement like Anna Hazare’s. We are living in a country where the media decides what a protest is and what is not.

Irom Sharmila being dragged by police

Irom Sharmila being dragged by police for another force feed. Courtesy :

The world’s longest Hunger Strike is also going on in India. In Manipur the lady named Irom Chanu Sharmila is fasting since November-2000. She is demanding the Indian government to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).  The AFSPA is in force in seven states of North east and Jammu & Kashmir where there is no practical democracy and actually ruled by the Indian Army. With AFSPA in force the Army can attack any one without a proper social or technical justification.  Irom Sharmila was arrested several times by the government and force fed through her nostrils. The North Indian Media never turned their camera on this Iron Lady of Manipur. The great Indian middle class who are jumping behind Anna Hazare is yet to discover the Northeast. And the North Indian Media needs another Columbus to reach northeast and unearth the atrocities of Indian Army there.

Muthukumar Immolation

Muthukumar lying dead inside the premises of the Indian government building 'Shastri Bhavan' in Chennai on January 29, 2009.

Muthukumar Funeral

Muthukumar's Funeral filled with a ocean of people. (click on the picture to expand)

Another example of media blockade was on the mass protest and movement by the Tamil Diaspora during the genocide of Srilankan Tamils in 2009. K. Muthukumar, a young journalist wanted to turn the attention of the Indian people and government towards the genocide of Srilankan Tamils. He wanted to stop the war in the island through a mass upraising in India. He made a self-immolation after distributing a four page pamphlet to the public before his death. This was not even a news material for the North Indian TV channels. Muthukumars death ignited a mass protest across Tamilnadu. Students were on streets shouting against the Indian and Lankan governments, Lawyers boycotted courts. Muthukumars funeral procession was attended by tens of thousands of people; streets were flooded by people shouting slogans, banners everywhere. At the same time Sun News was projecting India-Srilanka cricket match in breaking news. And as usual the North Indian media considered this as a regional stupidity and ensured that all these were not aired.

And we have the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ hunting tribals in the states of central India like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Where the government has singed numerous deals with multinational mining companies to exploit India’s natural resources Or to set up SEZ’s (Special Economic Zones). These companies want to evacuate the people living there. If they refuse to leave their land they will be killed by the Indian paramilitary forces with a popular escapism of curbing Naxalite’s.  ‘Operation Green Hunt’ is alive since 2009. For ‘NDTV’ & ‘Times Now’ this was never been a matter of concern.

POSCO Protest

Tribals in Orissa protesting against land acquisition for a steel plant by POSCO, a South Korean multinational.

Today Anna Hazare is projected 24X7 in all Hindi and English channels. What is the difference between Anna and Irom Sharmila, Anna and Muthukumar or Anna and the tribals of central India.

Irom Sharmila’s protest directly questions the concept of Indian Union. She exposes the brutality of the Indian Armed forces. It brings out the Indian occupation of Manipur.  In the interest of the Indian ruling class the media cannot give her a 24X7 status, only Anna & Co are eligible for that.

Similarly Muthukumar’s death raises a hammer on India’s foreign policy and its Geo-political interest in South Asia. Muthukumar’s death can shackle the built-up pseudo Image of Rajeev Gandhi as a peace messiah for Srilankan Tamils. And more importantly Muthukumar’s Image can be used to mobilize the masses to pressurize the Indian government to stop the war in Srilanka which was originally aimed to create new market for the Indian capitalist.  As a market friendly media ‘Times Now’ and ‘NDTV’ cannot show something which will affect the Indian investors who were ready with their cash to invest in Srilanka after wiping out the freedom struggle of the Elam people.

In the same way the tribals of central India are exposing the cruelty of the ‘New Economic Policy’ which is praised by our brilliant middle class. They are exposing how the natural resource of this nation is plundered by the multinational companies. In the interest of capitalist and imperialist this valiant struggle by the tribals has to be hidden deep inside the dark.

On contrast Anna Hazare is not fighting against the Indian Union nor the Imperialist nor the capitalist. He is just another hero against the most popular villain to the middle class called ‘Politician’, Yes… Yes in most of the Indian movies a politician means villain. Anna’s version of corruption is very narrow. Anna and his group claim that corruption is only linked with government and politicians. They hide the fact that behind every mammoth scam there is a corporate hiding behind. They don’t feel tax waiver for huge corporation is a corruption. They don’t fight the actual enemy, they are just trying to divert the anger of the educated middle class towards the government so that the corporates exposed in the scams of the recent years can escape. Let’s apply Anna’s theory to the 2G scam, only A. Raja is the culprit and the corporate that paid kick bags to reduce the price of 2G licenses is not. If Anna’s men are protesting before the house of the MP’s, they should also protest before the gates of TATA and Reliance.

If we term this with a middle class eye, Anna Hazare’s protest is very much market friendly. No wonder why it was blown out of proportion by the capitalist media.

Manipuri Women Against Indian Army

This naked protest by Manipuri women against the rapes and human rights violation by Indian Army shook the world, but not the Indian media. (Year 2004)


Written by palindia

August 25, 2011 at 3:18 AM

8 Responses

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  1. superb article. Anna Hazare was 10 yrs old in 1947. Is he really a freedom fighter?


    August 25, 2011 at 1:51 PM

  2. well put palindia.


    August 25, 2011 at 5:23 PM

  3. Nice article. I am not a big fan of protest comparison (i.e. this protest Vs. that protest). In my opinion, comparison doesn’t give any additional sense. Every protest is unique in its own way and his own purpose and agenda (both legitimate and fake). The comparison between Anna’s fast Vs. Tamil issue Vs. NE issue is unfair. Having said that, there are many reasons for this fast to get such huge attention from the media. 
    1. Media likes new stories. This motivation is obvious. Keep it fresh
    2. Media doesn’t like to be left alone. If NDTV covers it, CNN will do it too, right or wrong. Eventually, every channel is talking about it, giving a false impression that this is a “big deal”
    3. Media likes  to cover stories involving men of great integrity (such as Anna in this case; though I disagree that Anna is a man of integrity), because that gives them an unlimited capability to spin the story the way they want it. Today media can say anything about Anna’s protest and people would just take it for granted; because Anna is “nice” man
    4. Media likes to come up with themes. That resonates well with the emotional idiots like Indians. Anna’s fast is just not a story. It is a culmination of a theme. CWG scam, 2G scam involving many politicians, Nira Radia, Ratan Tata, Reliance and now Anna protest. What a great theme/movie? After two years of scam reporting, both media and people were getting close to a boredom. 2G scam is now diluted. Because people and media think that justice has been done via TN elections. How sad? And out of the blue comes, Anna’s fast…a new twist in the story. Media is rejuvenated. 
    5. Media understands idol worship mentality we have. Idol worship comes with myths. “If he is a nice man, he must be right”. Even worse myth, “he is a man of integrity, then he knows everything”. This myth is what is bringing movie stars into politics. Anna is riding high on the idol worship and media is simply fueling the idol worship. Media claims, “India has spoken”. They say, “Anna is India” etc etc. The hard fact, like you mentioned in your blog is, India doesn’t give a shit. 

    I have more thoughts on this protest itself, Anna’s integrity (or the lack of one), Lokpal bill and how it ties into democracy, non-cooperation movement and the big indian mind fucker called “Gandhi”…I’ll save that rant for later.


    August 26, 2011 at 1:04 AM

  4. Media is again another kind of business. No one is running media (TV/newpaper) for public service. On Anna’s case, I like the hype created by english media, at least other countries come to know about Indian corruption.

    Frankly I don’t know much about Irom Sharmila protest. It is very sad, news about her protest is not reaching all part of the country.

    I appreciate your effort for writing this blog. We should use social medias more to spread important awareness.

    Side note… I don’t know how this Lokpal bill will get rid of corruption until
    – people are not ready to wait on a long queue at every government office
    – people are not ready to spend time to attend traffic or other violation case at the court, instead of paying bribe to police and escape
    – people are not ready to follow government rules properly. In most of the cases it will cost less time and money to pay bribe to break the rule

    GnanaSarathy Jayabalan

    August 26, 2011 at 6:52 PM

  5. I can’t criticize you for forgetting about Irom Sharmila you don’t seem to post much here less than once a year. I disagree that her campaign is about questioning the union. But then I have met with her correspond with her most others just read reports some false on the internet. She has only one request the removal of the AFSPA from Manipur. Others claim this means x y z. I don’t think it makes her an enemy of the Indian Army. I would argue anyone who understand the AFSPA has read the reports of the Indian Jurists who have looked into it possibly taken into consideration the advices of UN Special Rapporteurs as independent minded and the fact that India has continually agreed to review it at every UNHCR periodic review would find difficult in keeping it in the same form. Simpler to abolish it and use existing models to provide robust rules of engagement that do not allow Indian Soldiers to get away with gang rape and murder. That shouldn’t be beyond the competence of the Indian Jurist. If the Soldiers are there to protect the people I don’t see a problem with their being in Manipur ensuring the roads are built that blockades manned by drug crazed idiots are not allowed to tax and rape citizens going about their business. But for some reason those claiming to support the Indian Army and the Republic still argue the insurgents are allowed to rape and murder why can’t we. It’s not that you have forgotten Sharmila you tend to make a definitive post on a subject and move on. But I think the elections will bring hope whoever comes into power. If Modi he may rejuvenate Manipur first to punish his enemies. Congress UPA and their babus have profited so far from the corruption. He has no reason to maintain the status quo. I don’t think the idiots who call themselves insurgents are going to take him on if what he wants to do is to build roads, provide a full infrastructure electricity telephone and utilities and allow the free flow of business. All he has to do is unfurl the full potential of the AFSPA upon the first morons who challenge him. The AFSPA would allow what the americans term acts of genocide to occur without accountability. He doesn’t lose any friends. He gets the north east rejuvenated. Next year he can remove the AFSPA. And the year after take Manipur State as his jewel in the rejuvenation of India. But I am not partisan. Rahul could denounce the corrupt allies of his predecessor and do the same. He wants to be the jawan of the poor. But I think he will have to wait his turn to be PM. And as much as you put down Mr Hazare. He may have gone but the desire to take on corruption is there. One of you posters said no Indian would have it. But when they got the chance to have officials removed by sting operations in Delhi there was a real hunger for more honesty. I guess Indians have worked out if they want to make real money long term corruption benefits the few. Anti-corruption makes the majority rich. Looks like three or four people read this stuff too. So let them eh lad.


    April 10, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    • Why there is AFSPA implemented in Manipur?

      Did Modi told you that he is going to remove troops from Manipur?


      April 11, 2014 at 8:24 AM

  6. Please I have no interest in indian party politics. And for you now you is the only the indian who wants to talk to me. AFSPA was implemented in response to the Naga independence movement. The actual act was a harsher version of the Britisher AFSOA 1942. Now that was brought in because the Japanese army had reached Burma and they believed it was about to invade India and they didn’t want a war on two fronts. But it was always meant to be emergency legislation. Since the 1980s the number of independence groups multiplied last count there were aroudn 40 main ones but these days any idiot with a gun can call himself part of a insurgency and demand 5 lac rupees of any business driving in on an autorickshaw and leaving with 500 rupees for his next score. I am going with Modi because that’s realpolitik. My feeling is that India wants change Kerjiwal will sweep Delhi and Modi will have enough to form a government. But if Rahul took power I think he’d want to stamp change on his administration and I am hoping that they start with the Northeast and Manipur. But India is your country. The problem remains you have to ask a foreigner why a law was brought in by the liberated Indian Republic. And you still know and care very little about Manipur. If you know its not in Mangalore you’re a clever Indian. I’d like AFSPA removed then you do what you want with your country. I try to visit but please come up with some better questions lad. I don’t know President Obama either. I am an ordinary shmuck like you offering opinion which 2 or 3 people might read. Unless you are really important in which case I will have offended you now my bad.


    April 13, 2014 at 1:45 PM

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