Anna Hazare, Indian Media, and Prince Falling In the Well

The journey of Indian mass has been significant. it has jumped straight away from being completely unconcerned about anything that happens to their surroundings to being hyper-reactive to each and every thing that happens around them, and mostly it does so blindly, without even thinking what it is doing, or without ever stopping on sanity.

by | Apr 11, 2011

On the cost of irritating a lot of so-called “socially aware” individuals, I am going to compare Anna Hazare with Prince — the kid who fell in a well and which was so much glamorized by the media to make every mother in India feel if “Prince” was her own child. I hope you have not yet forgotten Prince, or have you already buried him deep in the dark and forgotten recesses of your mind, miles beneath the memory of the sweeping wave of India’s Joyous World Cup victory, or débâcle of Delhi in IPL 2011.

What is so similar about Prince and Anna

With other things being different, what is strikingly same about the two is that both are media’s children. Although created in different hues, both (Anna and Prince) served the same purpose — more TRP and more revenue.

What Anna signifies?

One thing for sure Anna episode has vividly displayed that Indian mass has become more sophisticated to be trapped by episodes like Prince. Now, people need something meaningful, something like Anna Hazare.

The journey of Indian mass has been significant. it has jumped straight away from being completely unconcerned about anything that happens to their surroundings to being hyper-reactive to each and every thing that happens around them, and mostly it does so blindly, without even thinking what it is doing, or without ever stopping on sanity.

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Both are equally dangerous. In the first phase, bureaucrats and corporate vultures benefited from Indian people’s “WHO CARE” attitude, and in the current phase corporate vultures alone benefit from this.

See how tactfully, corporate guys have removed bureaucrats from the mix!

Why Anna succeeded where everyone else failed?

Anna succeeded because it represented urban middle class of India. It clicked with everyone who has to give bribe to get a gas connection (I know they portray this as an example on radio), to get a driving license, or to pay for “red light” jumps.

Anna has nothing to do with 80% of Indians living in India’s hinterland.

Why I am so worried?

Over the period of time, Jantar Mantar has turned into a place for political Ansans (hunger strikes).  Many social activists have done so to show their disagreement with the policymaker (if not outright hatred), but never, not even once did the government budged, and even when they did it was not so fast.

I have read about many “well natured” activists protesting and going on Ansans at Jantar Mantar, but their plights were never heard, and they never got anything more than mere consolations and empty words. But, here is a 74-year old Anna, who pulled government on its knees.

Isn’t it an example of POP Politics? (Like POP philosophy and POP psychology).

You will agree with me when you will see who all joined Anna’s cause. Among many guests were Aamir Khan (Icon of POP Politics and POP social services who does nothing other than giving lip service to causes related to his films) and Baba Ramdev (POP Yoga Guru).

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Aren’t they all after some personal gain? Chasing some personal target?

Today during a course of discussion with me, a very senior journalist mentioned that after the hunger strike was over, Anna left Jantar Mantar with so much of garbage behind that Municipal Corporation of Delhi is having hard time clean it up.

He said what kind of civil society Anna is promoting? He slyly added Anna Hazare is attempting to clean India, and who will clean the garbage he left there? Isn’t he concerned about it? Or cleaning Jantar Mantar is not part of his agenda, or has it already served its purpose? I could sense frustration, anxiety, and sarcasm in his voice.

I am also worried because of the timing of all this

And moreover, look at the impeccable timing of Anna’s fast to death campaign.

It came after India’s World Cup victory, and before inception of IPL 4. Was Anna used to work as filler for media between World Cup Victory and IPL matches? Government genuflected right before IPL began. People will argue that it was “a happy coincidence”, but I am not game for such claims. I believe it was tailored.

Who will benefit from it?

No one if not corporate India (media included)!

Voices of countless other social activists “fasting unto their deaths” at Jantar Mantar were never heard because they were representing a section of people (80% Indians) who lived in India’s hinterland. Media didn’t cover them because their victory would mean defeat of corporate India and of middle class urban Indians, by the way who is also the prime (or perhaps only) target audience of the media. Media, therefore, cannot risk alienating this group.

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Like most of my readers, economically, geographically, technically, or in all other senses, I also do not belong to that 80% of Indians whose voice is never heard, but I do not support Anna Hazare. I do not endorse his view, no matter how loud stupid RJs, arrogant anchors, and ignorant reports shout at me.

I do not support Hazare because I care!

Bikram Kumar Singh

Bikram Kumar Singh

Bikram K. Singh is a freelance writer who after a brief stint with a leading media company got disenchanted with the corporate scene, and began his solitary journey thereafter. He tries to maintain an independence of thought and a critical outlook on the things that happen in the highly institutionalized world of ours.

email: bikram@probinglens.com

2 Comments

  1. Vivekanand Pandey

    Congratulations for such a nice write-up. Must say its an eyeopener.

    Regards,
    Vivek

    Reply
  2. Harshit

    sir, ur write up is amazing! i cud relate a lot! and with each statement I went :O ! really nice sir!

    Reply

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