Propaganda to Pulverise the Underdogs

  • Publish Date: Jun 23 2017 7:24PM
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  • Updated Date: Jun 23 2017 7:24PM
Propaganda to Pulverise the Underdogs

The idea is to give a dog an ill name to hang him. That is what the large sections of the Indian media are doing to Kashmiris


Oppressive regimes throughout the world have used and abused various media channels as a propaganda tool to caricature and demonise the ‘OTHER’.

This practice was pretty common in pre-colonial times. It is not uncommon in the post-colonial era.

In 1923, Julius Streicher started his anti-Semitic weekly tabloid-style newspaper titled “Der Stuermer” which willingly helped the Nazi propaganda against the Jews.

The tabloid enjoyed Adolf Hitler’s full backing. Hitler viewed Der Stuermer “as playing a significant role in the Nazi propaganda machinery”. Streicher’s tabloid was a tool in influencing the opinion of the common German on the street.

The idea was to establish power and control and to show the Jews in bad light in almost every aspect.

Der Stuermer often ran anti-Semitic caricatures. The Jews were accused of being anti-Catholic, anti-Capitalist and anti-Communist.

Interestingly, according to Holocaust Research Project, the tag line at the bottom of Der Stuermer’s cover page usually carried the following phrase coined by Heinrich von Treitschke in the 1880s:

“Die Juden sind unser Unglueck!” (The Jews are our misfortune).

Similarly, when Algerians were involved in their freedom struggle against the French occupation there was lack of recognition by the French media to the genuine struggle of the people of Algeria.

The French media paid little or no attention to the massacres of the Algerian civilians.

On 17 October 1961, tens of bodies of dead Algerians were piled in the streets of Paris which a news service reporter wanted to report but his superiors at the news agency stopped him from telling the full story then.

Thus, the Algerian war for Independence (1954-1962) remains an indelible scar on the face of France. That is why it is said that the French media failed the test with respect to the coverage of the 1961 Massacre of Algerians in Paris.

It is an undeniable fact that the propaganda has been used as a tool against the disempowered, disadvantaged, dispossessed and marginalised people throughout various stages of recorded human history.

Unfortunately, the official propaganda continues to be used as a tool to further marginalise the marginalised sections of our societies in the post-colonial world that we are part of.

At times, the oppressive regimes in utter frustration indulge in propaganda even to justify war crimes against a population that is deemed ‘hostile’ in an ‘enemy territory’.

The resistance offered and resilience shown by the oppressed is often criminalised and delegetimised while the state enjoys its monopoly over violence.

An enemy is created and the media then effectively used to generate sympathy wave for the oppressor through sustained and vicious propaganda.

Renowned public intellectual and linguist Noam Chomsky lists ten common strategies of manipulation by the media, which include the strategy of distraction, using the emotional side more than the reflection, feeding ignorance and mediocrity, getting to know the individuals better than they know themselves, and going to the public as a little child, etc.

All media strategies that Chomsky talks about are currently being used in Kashmir by the vast sections of India’s electronic media.

The other day in a live debate on Republic Television anchored by Mr. Arnob Goswami, a defence analyst Major Gaurav Arya ridiculed Kashmiris in a racist salvo.

In his barrage of prejudiced remarks, the defense analyst wondered how come Kashmiris have red cheeks (“laal laal gaal”) when the Kashmir Valley often remains shut because of the curfews and shutdowns? He also seemed to complain why there are no cases of malnutrition in Kashmiri children or farmer suicides in Kashmir when such cases are a routine in mainland India? He did not even make an attempt to hide his hatred for Kashmiris.

Interestingly, the anchor described Mr. Arya’s racist commentary as “very deep argument”. Mr. Goswami also suggested the need of having India’s own Guantanamo Bay for Kashmiris espousing anti-India ideology.

Similarly, on other Indian television channels like Times Now, India Today and Zee News the prime time anchors, ruling party spokespersons and retired army officers often caricature Kashmiris and employ terms like “stone pelters”, “paid agents of Pakistan”, “terrorist sympathisers”, “agitational terrorists”, etc to demonise them and to deny them any agency to express their aspirations.

As a deliberate design, Kashmiris are bracketed as “stooges of Pakistan”, as if they do not have the mental faculty as conscious and educated individuals to have an opinion on issues that confront them.

Worse, India’s army chief General Bipin Rawat recently hailed Major Gogoi despite the fact that the latter stands accused of a war crime that of using a Kashmiri civilian Farooq Dar of central Kashmir’s Budgam district as a human shield in early April on the day of polling for Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat by-election.

Major Gogoi’s bizarre action was also possibly a violation of Geneva Conventions which the Amnesty International in one of its recent statements alluded to while expressing surprise over the act of honouring the said army officer even before the completion of a military court inquiry ordered into the human shield incident.     

Commenting on a controversial statement made by General Rawat in which he said that he wished that the Kashmiri youths instead of throwing stones at his forces had picked up guns so that his men could appropriately deal with them, the leading rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it depicted “a criminal leadership in the Indian Army”.

Both Major Gogoi and General Rawat are now being likened to General Dyer of England, who was responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which took place on 13 April 1919, by some noted scholars.

General Dyer too was awarded for his action then. Even Rudyard Kipling had showered praises on the military officer involved in a war crime.

That’s what propaganda does. It even blinds the best among us. The idea is “to give a dog an ill name to hang him”. That is what the large sections of the Indian media are doing to Kashmiris.

That said, no amount of propaganda can obfuscate truth for long!