There ensued a heated discussion with a colleague yesterday over the banning of the controversial documentary, #IndiasDaughter. There are many against any kind of ban. Most people are proponents of freedom of speech. Not many realise the cost of too much freedom without the reins of duty or ownership. Not many realise the mind freeze that a bad intent and sale focus can cause. I would want to point you to two articles to present a different perspective, especially in this case, before we argue about the impact of visual medium. A letter written to BBC by a girl from South of India, which was removed from the @WorldHinduNews website, is a fitting reply. Another letter, written by Jawhar Sircar, CEO Prasar Bharati, is a revelation too. I urge my readers to click the hyperlinks and read these letters before continuing. My two posts, ‘Cultural Confusion’ and ‘social media’, talk of similar aspects.
Let me bring to your notice the impact of this one-sided documentary. A German professor denied an Indian student an internship citing ‘rape problem in India’.
Coming back to the arguments with my colleague, a headstrong young man, whose contention is that there is no reason to ban a documentary. He felt that people should watch and shudder. The sentiment is right. He also continued with India bashing, a trait common in younger generation. They like to believe that they are global citizens, and finding faults is being rational and unbiased. Nowhere in the world do we find such rationality as in Indians. Youth in other countries are irrationally patriotic. This could be the reason for Jaichands and Mir Jafars making Indian invasion in various forms possible.
Little do we realise that everything shown is not the entire truth, and in some cases, hardly. Here are my reasons for being very careful with the visual medium. If I look at the Dale’s Cone, it explains a lot about the impression that a visual medium has on learning. Dale spoke of various modalities of assimilation of learning and defined the impact each had.
Let us come to more non-technical basic reasons. The current generation is not aware of the ancient history, scriptures, and current events in as much details. Little is taught on these subjects. There are different translations and interpretations, each suiting the translator. Most people, young or old, depend on visual media, like television and movies, for news and information. I have already discussed this in my article, Social Media and Deluge of Information. Many initiated movie and documentary maker present their versions of historical facts, historical personalities, mythology and their characters and incidents. Most of these are driven by individual interests in a section of the story, and on the projections that they want to depict. Uninitiated audience, with little or no background on the events being showcased, lap it all up as facts. Taking a personal example, my knowledge of the historical figure, Razia Sultan, is coloured by the movie of the same name, where famous actor, Hema Malini, played Razia. The film could only manage to show her love for a slave and could not highlight her acumen as a warrior, or a great ruler. Similarly, Haider showed the Kashmir struggle and projected the Indian Army in poor light. Please do not forget to read the associated articles by clicking the hyperlinks for a clearer perspective.
My argument is that audio-visual medium is the most powerful medium. This is the most accessible medium and can create and/or mould people’s psyche. There is enough said about the fertile minds of the masses. A mass-movement in a particular direction can break or make a nation and the people. Enormity of the harm that uninformed, half-baked stories, serving selfish motives of the storyteller can do, are difficult to fathom. I would have been an endorser of the freedom of speech a few years ago, but experience has shown that many an intentions of the ‘revolutionary’ are not always honest. My yet another colleague participating in the same discussion rightly advised, “Do not be so naïve to believe everything shown.”
My advice is to take each information with a truckload of salt, research the facts, weigh the consequences, and form the informed opinions. Stop trending…stop flowing with stream…but do not stand apart just to be different…conforming could be good too…it should be an educated decision, always, to avoid the mind freeze.
- Jawhar Sircar
- German professor denied an Indian student
- Hema Malini
- Indian Army
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||