Thursday, June 08, 2006

Movements are not build through media

Why Dalits should have their own media

Dear friends,

Movements are not build by the media. The reservations are going to stay even if the media do not want it. Media blames the politicians for vote bank but they also have their 'notebanks', the industrial houses and the corporates and they dare not go against them.

I agree with Shivam that more and more activities have to be on the ground. Activities
are there which media would rarely report. How many of the national papers reported
the first rally of the backwards-Dalit organised by Siddharamaiya in Bangore which
has a swelling crowd of over 75,000 people. How many of them carried the report of the latest rally of Janmorcha in Lucknow which has equal number of people. And recently when the JNU students organised a protest in India gate, how many reported. I was surprised that a Kashmiri Pandit protest consisting of less than 10 persons got a better photo-op than the strong pro reservation protest.

You can not protest to make news for the purpose of TV 'visuals', nor do you depend on them to give you strength. Dr Ambedkar did not survive because of the media and government but because the Dalits all over the country worked like a mission on his writings, on his perceptions. Today, I can say with conviction, that the dalits understand much better than their upper caste counterparts, who rarely know about history and social fabric of the country. Ambedkar's example is a role model for all of us how Gandhi who has been imposed by the media and their upper caste historian on us, still can no where come near Dr Ambedkar, Phule or Periyar, as far as popularity is concern. Dalit-Bahujans worship their ideologues. Gandhi is not even read by the so called Gandhians, leave alone the upper caste youths despite all the state patronage.

It is simple. Noam Chomski and Edward Said would continue to dominate our mind
despite the American corporate media black them out.

My point is, that we are in the internet age. It is good that blogs are coming, websites
are being created and stimulating discussions are taking place. At the ground level, work continue. It is that people do not know. Dalits are politically empowered and will retialiate when the elections come. That is one positive side of this entire episode.
The more the upper caste media villify the Dalits and backwards, the better their chances of coming together to form an electoral alliance which will prove lethal for the upper caste formulations.

Knowledge has traditionally been brahmanical hegemony. In recent years it has been
corporatised under the Banias ( most of the editors are traders today belonging to Bania community,Chawalas, Shanghvis, Guptas..). They have been thoroughly exposed.

Like the American media where every palestinian is considered as a terrorists, Indian media consider every reserve category student belonging to Dalits, backwards and tribals as inefficient and abominable. They do not have the same attitude towards those who come through managment quota or NRI quota or some other kind of quota.

However, there are good people also in media and one should try to network with them. Some time they succeed in planting the story, otherwise, Dalits will have to have their own media. It is here that creamy layers of Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists should work together.. To bring out an alternative channel or daily/weekly newspaper of their own.. but not as a mouth piece as many of them are already bringing out. One should strive for such paper/channel which bring out a rationalist/humanist/ambedkarite response on all the current issues.

21st century is the the century of information. The next war is being fought in information age. You can not expect a CNN telling truth on the Gulf War so they came with a much better choice Al-Zazeera which has hit the business of both CNN and BBC in the gulf. The Muslims simply did not go to CNN to ask them ' Please show us on the TV'. If you do not want us, fine, we will have our own. That should be the spirit.

I am sure Dr Laxmi Bairva and others in the US can think of these option. We will have to do something of our own.

With regards,

Vidya Bhushan Rawat