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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Magic of medieval Patriarchy in a democratic state

Anil sinha
It was a Sunday evening। Just before going out to the local market I wanted to update myself on day’s happenings. It landed me up in front of the most objective of the news channels, the NDTV. But it came to be a very disappointing experience of the day. The channel was running a program on young voices of newly elected parliament.

Youngistan was the name given to the program and it was an outdoor exercise in the Garden restaurant in Delhi. All the participants were significant in the sense that they not only represented their constituencies but they are carrying forward the legacy of their families. The carefully chosen group was representing all the important regions of the country- Hamidulla Sayeed (Lakshadweep), Jayant Cahudhary (Mathura), Harsimrat Kuar-badal (Punjab) and Kalikesh Singhdeo (Orissa). Hamidulla is the youngest MP of the country. He is the son of PM Sayeed, former Deputy Speaker of LokSabha. Jyant Chaudhary is the son of Ajit Singh and a grandson of Chuadhary Charan Singh, former Prime Minister of India. Harsimrat is the daughter-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and the wife of Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Sukhbir Singh बदल

Junior Sayeed was talking of developing Lakshadweep। Jayant was vowing for rising the issue of farmers. Incidentally he does not have any background of farming except for the fact that his father belongs to a landowning dominant caste of western UP. He has studied in London. Harsimrat was talking of fighting against the practice of female foeticide rampant among the middle and upper middle class of Punjab. Kalikesh is the grand son of a former Chief Minister of Orissa and belongs to a famous royal family of Orissa. He was talking of development though his region is one of the most backward regions of the country despite being rich in resources and his forefathers have ruled the area.

I have given these details to make my point about the appropriation of issues to legitimize their position as the leader of the society and the role of media in establishing their their identity as social leaders। Media has seized questioning. Interestingly, all the participants of this program belong to the families who has been ruling the area since the country became independent. If their areas are backward who is responsible for that?

Unfortunately, the reporter did not ask this question lest it would have destroyed the whole exercise of legitimizing them as social leaders। Harsimarat was step ahead of her co-participants. She has chosen a subject that could make other feel that she is modern and secular and different from her Akali counterparts. The exercise is old one and Bhartiya Janata Party stalwart Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpai has done it long ago.

This ‘benevolent’ politics of Indian elites is the most favorite theme for Indian Media। Medieval patriarchy is being revived to garb the real face of Indian politics. Most of the leaders have transferred their legacies to their sons or daughters or to their family members. The list is very big and it starts from the royal Gandhi family and goes down to local MPs and MLAs.

Media is adding to the confusion created by the new patriarchy evolved after nurturing the vested interests during the post-independence Indian politics। The most dangerous of it is the appropriation of issues of masses. These leaders talk of issues related to the poor people but in reality they serve the interest of rich class. They favor SEZ for development and raise issue of impoverishment of rural people. This dichotomy is conveniently ignored by our media.

The story on Nandigram would add to the points I have raised above। The story was run on IBN7. It was done to depict the changes Nandigram has witnessed in the local power equations after the victory of Trinmool Congress. The issue of land was not mentioned even for a single time and the whole story centered on the power equations affecting the local bureaucracy and political workers of CPM and TNC.

Media is now the biggest tool in raising the issue out of its context and creating confusion among the oppressed classes। The fight between two political and social forces became a quarrel between political parties.

Same evening, Big Bachhan was recalling his days on Times Now. I am sure, he can not recall his contributions in derailing Indian cinema to the extent of making it Lawaris. It is to his credit that Indian cinema got a theme where gangsters became heroes and fighting against the system was an individual endeavor not a social effort. The culmination of the entire struggle was in becoming a tyrant yourself to oppress others. The tradition of Phir Subah Hogi or Jagte Raho or for that matter Boot Polish was lost in a cinematic trend inspired by Hollywood movies. His personal association with Amar Singh speaks volumes about him and his political behavior.
(courtesy : 'communism', the monthly magazine)

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