Tag Archives: Television

Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

Almost every day, Modi takes off from Ahmedabad airport in an EMB-135BJ, an Embraer aircraft, for his rallies. The jet is owned by Karnavati Aviation, a group company of the Adani Group. “We record two movements of Modi’s aircraft daily. No matter where he goes to address rallies, he always comes back home,” said an air traffic control official.

Recently, Modi’s aircraft was denied permission to fly by DGCA in Delhi for over two hours, following which he lashed out at the central government for stalling his movement. Ever since, Modi has increased the use of choppers to cover smaller distances. “Mostly, politicians use chopper to reach places where bigger aircraft can’t reach,” said an ATC official.

Over the past few days, Modi flew in an Augusta AW-139 chopper, owned by the DLF Group, for his rallies in north India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. ‘Fleet of 3 aircrafts ensures Modi is home every night after day’s campaigning’, Times of India, April 22, 2014

The Political Culture of Fascism

In an earlier post, I had joined issue with a section of liberal intellectuals, whose ‘liberalism’ was either rendering them too gullible or simply complicit in the formation of the Narendra Modi phenomenon – which I have no hesitation in referring to as the Indian edition of fascism. The gullibility or complicity of many of these intellectuals also manifests itself in the myopia that grips them when the talk about the impending challenge before democratic politics in India – a brief glimpse of which is provided in the quote above, that indicates the alliance, the power bloc that will rule, were Modi to come to power.

The Modi-formation is ‘fascism’, in the sense that it takes direct inspiration from the particular history that goes by that name, especially its Nazi episode and knows that even though it cannot replicate the conditions of its existence in India, it can nevertheless use its cardinal ideas. The exaltation of the Nation/ nation-state, the manic obsession with ‘national security’ to the extent of the destruction of democratic rights, identification and suppression of scapegoats – the Other (the Jew, the Muslim, the homosexual, and all kinds of ‘wayward’ sexualities – often, all rolled into one) and of course, the intellectuals, artistes and human rights activists. A key aspect of this political culture is the combination of violence with mass frenzy that is sought to be continuously whipped up and directed against the imagined enemies of the ‘Nation’. Continue reading Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

Growing up with PTV in Poonch: Saqib Mumtaz

Guest post by SAQIB MUMTAZ

Away from the revolution of direct to home (DTH) and cable TV networks, the nineties were the time of one channel, when Doordarshan was synonymous with Television for most Indians, especially in rural areas. There was not much on television for a kid growing up except the occasional cartoon clips and Shaktimaan. I was fond of Meena and her parrot Mithu. They were loveable unthreatening characters. The duo imparted important lessons on a variety of social issues. Movies were a strict no-no and the news was other things adults were interested in. Every evening my grandfather would tune in to the Hindi news which was followed by another news broadcast in English. Even as a kid I could sense the repetition but never the reason of watching the same news twice.

In my memory of those days, it’s not Doordarshan that I associate myself with. Luckily for many of us near the border there was PTV.

Continue reading Growing up with PTV in Poonch: Saqib Mumtaz

Of a Few, By a Few, For the Few: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU, carrying the debate on the Anti-corruption movement forward

I am distinctly uncomfortable with predictions – using either scientific or unscientific tools. For me it smacks of charlatanry – from astrology to psephology to stock market speculation. But with the charade that was unleashed for the past few days on news television by the mainstream media and of course at Jantar Mantar and a few other town squares across the “mainstream” Indian political landscape by Anna Hazare’s fast – I did dare to make an attempt – both at prediction and more comfortably with dissent. I foretold the outcome of the fast tableau at an emergency meeting that was convened by some co-travellers at the Salem Citizen’s Forum to debate on whether and how to show solidarity to Anna Hazare…

…Well, it is not just Anna Hazare and his team who won this match comfortably. All actors who joined the show have won the match. Everyone – the “civil society” that sat on fast at Jantar Mantar and other places, the Corporate media, the glamour world, the Government, political establishment of all hues and shades – everyone who bothered to join the game. It was like bathing in the Ganges during the Maha Kumbh – everyone’s sins were washed away. And of course nobody in their right minds regardless of political affiliations or ideologies could take a position “for corruption”!!! A veritable Bush-ian position — either you are with Anna Hazare or you are with corruption. And yes, India Incorporated has won the match and it is time for celebrations!

Read the full post on Countermedia

Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti

Or, when suicide threat becomes political strategy


I am witnessing a bizarre phenomenon in Andhra Pradesh which I can at the moment only call Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome. That this is pathological, and that this has to do with the media I am certain. But it is difficult to pin down what the pathogen is.

First, in the days and weeks following the then chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s (YSR) death on September 2nd, 2009; over 450 people were reported to have died either of heart attacks or suicides. Newspapers kept a daily tally and the numbers kept mounting. Being in Singapore at the time, several thousands of miles away from Hyderabad during those weeks, I had no first hand experience of the mood in Hyderabad. I dismissed the reportage as a silly political gimmick. It was easy to surmise that vested interests had simply been collecting daily death reports from various government hospitals in different towns and attributing them to grief over YSR’s death. The largest number of these deaths – 227 occurred on the day of the funeral and the following day. Continue reading Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti

Sandra Samuel, Faces and the ‘Nouveau’ Media – Monobina Gupta

Guest post by MONOBINA GUPTA

“The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of a cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalistic industry, along plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good die like dogs, for no good reason.”

Hunter Thompson in Generation of Swine

We, in the business of media, are running a trade in ‘faces;’ swapping ordinary ones for the attractive, distorting news coverage and not really giving a damn about it. But the craft of journalism was not always so warped. We made it so.

Continue reading Sandra Samuel, Faces and the ‘Nouveau’ Media – Monobina Gupta

Witnessing Madness 24/7

What is happening? The Taj is burning, gunmen are shooting, the police is storming, the Oberoi is burning, the army is descending, people are running; bleeding; dying. Barkha Dutt is talking, Rajdeep Sardesai is talking, Srinivasan Jain is talking, Vilas Rao Deshmukh is talking, L.K Advani is talking, Manmohan Singh is talking, Vikram Chandra is talking, an eye-witness is talking, the army chief is talking, the naval chief is talking, an ex-hostage is talking, the terrorist is talking, Javed Jaffery is talking, Arnab Goswami is talking, is anyone even listening, is everyone listening—But what is happening?

Continue reading Witnessing Madness 24/7

Manoj Mishra gets his TV spot.

“In a world that is really upside down, the true is a moment of the false,” wrote Guy Debord in “The Society of the Spectacle”, his ground-breaking situationist text on mass-media and reality. Forty years after the text was published, on 15 August 2006, Manoj Mishra, a transport contractor in Gaya, Bihar, died in an attempt to generate the ultimate visual image of protest against the non-payment of his dues. Goaded on by a battery of television news cameras, Mishra doused himself with diesel and set himself on fire as the cameras recorded his death. Reports in national newspapers suggest that camera-persons went to the extent of handing him a diesel-soaked rag, and assuring him of rescue once their footage was complete. In the event, private security guards came to his rescue and rushed him to the Patna Medical College Hospital, but by then it was too late. He succumbed to his burns en-route. Continue reading Manoj Mishra gets his TV spot.