Friday, July 31, 2009

Media: The good, passionate and the ugly

In chapter 14, Shri Krishna speaks of there being three modes of nature, very akin to our concepts of good, bad and ugly. Except that bad is replaced by passion. Whether passionate actions are good or bad, we leave it to future post. To summarize them in one verse,
17:

सत्त्वत संजायते जनानाम
रजसो लोभा एव च
प्रमदा-मोहु तमसो
भवतो ’जनानाम एव च |

"From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of passion, greed develops; and from the mode of ignorance develop foolishness, madness and illusion."

Media is a fourth pillar of any nation. As such, its purpose is fulfilled only when it emanates true knowledge of happenings in the outside world, while remaining detached from giving opinions. This is because facts are very sacred in our day-to-day life. Opinions are free, (i.e. in a nation based on basic freedoms). One can either be biased, or be thoughtful of the other. However, a matter of concern for a rational mind would be when opinions are arrived at with incomplete knowledge. This is obviously more important in democracies, since people need basic knowledge of the system and the participants in it in order to be able to make choices of candidates.


Fig. The hammer of judgement should be struck by the people, not the media.

But as everything in the world, the media is not perfect. There are sections that cater to certain lobbies. Then there are other sections that focus on petty things when more important things are around. To the knowledgeable reader, viewing this could be quite entertaining or sometimes, discomforting.

However, the common man out of distrust for the system generally buys their message hook, line and sinker. When people, out of laziness or limitations of time stop their questioning or confrontationist attitude, the society lapses back into dogma or superstition. We have been there once, perhaps many times, and we have faced the consequences.

Without classifying them, I'm quoting three articles from the Indian press:

1) In this connection, I have only three points to raise. First, those who call themselves the champions of human and women’s rights take pride in forcing Muslim women to abandon the burqa which is a clear infringement of an individual’s freedom to wear what one wants to. When some women are allowed to wear skin-showing outfits, why should others be disparaged when they want to cover their body? The writer forgets that individual choice of dressing should not come under the purview of law.

2) The Indo-Pak Joint Statement issued after PM Manmohan Singh met Pak PM Gilani in Sharm-al-Sheik (Egypt) has created ripples of controversy across the nation. Supposedly, India agreed tode-link Indo-Pak dialogue from the latter's action against terrorism in the Joint Statement. There is also a mention of unrest in Balochistan in it.

3) "He wanted to be the first pop star in space so badly. He had to be first. He knew it wouldn't only be history-making, it would be history-shattering," said Jackson's close friend Uri Geller.

I leave it up to you to classify them according to your bent of mind.

5 comments:

agapitos said...

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Kalidas said...

Thanks Agapitos, I have some interests in aeroplanes.. will view and comment on your blog soon...

Gandaragolaka said...

I take strong exception to this statement:

"The hammer of judgement should be struck by the people, not the media."

It only indicates that we are good at regurgitating what the west taught us.

Who are these 'people'--
Are they well-versed with dharma-shaastras?
Are they experts at intuition?
Can they be trusted to remain calm, unemotional, and fair under difficult circumstances?
And finally, if they were meant to give judgement, what are all those books about dharma for?

Pitting 'people' against the 'media' and then arguing who is better is like pitting one blind man against another and then arguing who's better at guessing what the elephant is like.

--The media as such, has a limited role of dispensing information.

--The people also have a limited role of following the dharma.

Now, whether a particular event conforms to the dharma or not is a matter for a special kind of people--

They can be recluse wise men and women who have no interest in wealth, power or glory and who are ever committed to dharma-sthaapana. We used to have many such sages and rishi-families in the jungle in their ashramas.

Alternatively, we have heard of many kings who have delivered landmark judgements in many difficult cases, for example: Raja Raama Daasharathi, Chakravarthi Yudhishtira, Chandragupta Vikramaditya, Raja Janaka, etc.

Hence,
The hammer of judgement should be struck by only those who--
1) have mastered their senses
2) have mastered the dharma-shaastras and
3)have a commitment to uphold the dharma in the kingdom.

Kalidas said...

I did mean that by this statement:

"When people, out of laziness or limitations of time stop their questioning or confrontationist attitude, the society lapses back into dogma or superstition. We have been there once, perhaps many times, and we have faced the consequences."

By laziness, I also meant to include (though not specified) intellectual laziness, which means that people do not think twice before deciding something. Only those should be allowed to strike the hammer of judgement.

Kalidas said...

Correction to "I also meant.." it should be "I meant"