Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The misuse of state broadcaster (Doordarshan) continues...

If someone would have told me before general elections of 2014 in India that if BJP (or to say it correctly Mr. Modi) wins this election with absolute majority then there will be a live telecast of RSS chief's speech on Doordarshan (or DD, national broadcaster of India), I would have dismissed this statement immediately and might have even blamed that person for stretching his/her concerns too far and trying to be too cynical in his/her approach towards BJP/Modi. But we all witnessed this event just few days ago, DD telecasted the speech of RSS chief live, this was the speech which he delivers every year on the occasion of Vijayadashami (Dussehra). To be honest I was really surprised if not shocked to read this news. It is not that national broadcaster of the country was misused for the first time, previous governments also misused it on many occasions to propagate their own party agenda but any previous wrong doings don't legitimize present mistakes. If previous government did some mistakes then current government can't purposely repeat them and tell people to deal with it as this is not something new or something happening for the first time. But unfortunately this has become very common trend, if anyone asks any question to BJP government they say previous Congress governments also did same things and vice versa. This never ending blame game is going on for years between these two major political parties. Both of these parties claim to be different from each other but in many aspects they look quite indistinguishable from each other. 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is a non governmental organization, it claims it self to be a non political, cultural organization but every one knows about its political affiliation and heavily pro Hindu ideology. RSS chief neither holds any constitutional post nor he is elected member of any of the houses (Loksabha or Rajyasabha). So it was unprecedented move to allow such a organization to use air time of a national channel which is entirely funded by tax payers money. There is nothing wrong in having pro-Hindu or pro-Muslim or pro-anything organization; every religion, sect or culture have right to form a organization and have their gatherings wherever they want as long as it is within the framework of law. Many of them including RSS do lot of good social work in various areas. But at the same time many of them have very sectarian ideology which heavily favors particular religion and for a central government to allow any such sectarian organization to use national air time was a big surprise for me. Another question is now where we draw the line? If RSS can get live coverage why not Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)? or Bajarang dal? or any other organization which promotes sectarian ideology of any particular religion but claims to be a cultural organization? Why only RSS, what is so special about them apart from their proximity with current ruling political party?

As I already wrote there are many NGOs (non governmental organizations) which do lot of good work in India at the same time there are many who misuse this platform to make money or to spread some sectarian religious ideology. RSS's political affiliation is very well known, BJP is considered as their political arm and there is no secret that RSS controls many things happening at top levels in BJP. If they only allow this particular event to go live on national television and not other events by similar organizations then it is a blatant and clear misuse of government resources. I was amazed to see spokespersons of BJP pathetically and shamelessly defending this action during many TV debates. They sounded really helpless as they didn't have any logical explanation for this action and they had really tough time to defend this decision, but they did it anyway. But one really good thing happened because of this event, the mask which was on the face of BJP finally fell off. They tried really hard and even very successfully to make people believe that RSS and BJP are two separate units, even though they both share same ideology they claimed that they are different but now this delusion ended. It is good that now people know whom they are voting, which ideology is going to dominate, so the choice and preference is very clear now and I guess this is a very good thing. It is always better to have a clear picture.

Any government can use or misuse the resources which are at their disposal, it is entirely their choice. Current government made very clear which direction they want to go and which ideology they want to propagate. But there is a remote possibility that all these things are wrong and this was really unbiased decision taken by DD administration on their own without any government pressure as claimed by BJP. If this is true then I am waiting for them to allow similar air time to all other cultural organizations. After all any government body can not be partial towards one cultural organization and ignore all others, they need to give equal treatment to all of them. Either their should be appeasement for all or appeasement for none. I am willing to wait and watch if other cultural organizations get their share of time on national television or not before reaching to any final conclusion. I hope I am wrong in my assumption that RSS was favored because of their ideological closeness with BJP and I will be very happy if current government proves me wrong, let's wait and watch.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

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