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Information Warfare

Information Warfare

So the trend continues… Nirbhaya got some award from the US government. Why is it that only negative things about India get awards? Is it a plot by west to glamorize, popularize that only negative things happen in India (and hence make us believe that we cannot be good unless we follow them blindly)? Books - The God of small things, The inheritance of Loss, The White Tiger have won booker prizes and they all portray grossly exaggerated worst things about India. Slumdog millionaire got Oscar award and the name of movie itself shows what it contains. Bollywood makes hundreds of movies every year, couldn't they find a single movie that shows good things about India? The story of the book 'The Inheritance of loss' is based in Kalimpong, a hill station in the Himalayan foothills. When this book came out, the locals of this town protested against the book because it was far from the reality of their town. 

Caste divide, poverty, gender biasing, dirt - that’s all there is in India if one follows India by the western prize winning Indian stories. True, we have these problems in India, but which society is perfect. Teenage pregnancies, teenagers going on shooting spree, broken families, drugs, extra-marital affairs, child abuse - these are rampant in a western society.

How often do we see books/movies based on these getting prizes? In US, many people get their wives insured for a big amount and then kill her, just to get the insurance money. And the number of such killings is very large (more than Dowry deaths in India). Do we ever hear such news, probably not? If Gandhi didn't get Nobel peace prize, who else in the world deserves it? But he didn't get it because his movement was against the people who decide who should get the award.

Needless to say, as soon as a book wins booker prize or a movie gets Oscar, its popularity increases multifold. So a simple way to popularize a bad Indian story is to award it so that millions of more people get to know about it.

We have a huge lot of happy stories too. e.g. Arranged marriage works wonderfully well in most cases. A normal middle class Indian doesn't get beaten by higher class goons every now and then. How come the happy stories never get any prize or recognition? Despite problems, the happiness level of Indians is higher than many so called developed nations. Our government still doesn't have to spend a lot of money on the old age homes (though as we are getting more westernized, it is bound to become priority for the government in due course). Hardly any traditional Indian custom is damaging to the environment, unlike the western patch-work where they use one chemical to solve a problem and another chemical to undo the bad effects of first chemical and so on.

It’s true that if there are problems in India, they need to be corrected. But if the west has right to act as international policeman or give appreciation certificates to the world, we have a right at least to remind them how they have been a root cause of some of our problems. For example – west takes great pride in researching (basically popularizing) India’s poverty. But in 1800, just 200 years ago, which is a short period on the scale of history, 25% of world’s GDP used to be from India. Thousands of ships, laden with gold, diamond, silver and other precious things from India were taken to Britain from India during 200 years of British raj. In fact Britain ruled the world using money from India; all the so called modern scientific research and industrial revolution was funded by money looted from India. Rather than doing supposedly research on India’s poverty, they should apologize for making India poor. If we want to get back just 1% of what they looted from India, they will be probably bankrupt.

Another thing west takes pride is announcing is that women are given secondary treatment in India. Somebody should remind them that in no other religion but Hinduism, there can be a female goddess. It’s the Christianity and Islam that consider female as second-class human beings. Only after invaders starting raping our women as part of war, we had to confine our women to home.

Before the Second World War, the purpose of a war was to take control of enemy’s territory. After Second World War, a nation was powerful if it could control the natural resources of a weaker country, without politically ruling the latter. Now, powerful probably means controlling the minds of people - using media, awards, controlling the dissemination of information, so called research papers with hidden agendas.

Is it not a kind of bribe to award a negative story about someone else, kind of ‘You spread a bad news about India and we will pay you’? The payment can be a direct cash transfer in which case it can be straightaway labeled as bribe or it can be camouflaged as an award. In a traditional war between two countries X & Y, it’s like X plants a mole in the army of country Y, to bring down their morale as the mole keeps on saying, ‘X is very powerful, we are nowhere close to them, they will defeat us so easily, their weapons are too good for us’. Because the design of war has changed from direct fight between armies to controlling the minds of people, awarding a negative story is like planting a mole in the rival army.

Physically, information war may be less painful  than a traditional war, but the problem is that today, we have to defend ourselves 24x7 – from the content written in text books and newspapers, the information on your TV screen, mobile screen, computer screen; not to forget the moles disguised as award-winners !

Author: Arun Chaba

Published: April 5, 2013

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