Saturday June 23, 2018

Macaulay’s harrowing effect on Indian media

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New Delhi: While mystery and controversy still shrouding the infamous ‘Minute on Indian Education’ speech by Thomas Babington Macaulay, cultural invasion and undermining of Indian plethoric culture and heritage has continued unbridled.

However, Macaulay did play a pivotal role in corroding the very base of Indian culture.

Alike most other Europeans, he considered the Indians to be ignorant and devoid of formalities. Attributing the atrocious condition of the Indians to heathen religion and despotic rulers, he felt the urge to substitute the Indian culture with the western one.

His very aim was to embed the English language into the very fabric of the centuries-old Indian education system and destroy it completely.

In a bid to keep Indians away from cultivating their own culture, Macaulay, in 1835, advocated that Indians should proliferate western education system in British India.  The result was a ghastly blow to Indian researches in various field including science and language. He very well knew that there were countless dialects in India and it would be a near impossible task to administer them.

His motive behind introducing English was to bring all strata under an umbrella of one common language to facilitate administration.

His vicious effort alienated us from our very own indigenous culture, science, technology & even history. The outcome was a deadly one, Indians were uprooted from their cultural base but failed to adapt to the foreign culture. They were left languishing in between aping something that had destroyed the basic identity.

Macaulay landed in India at a tumultuous time with various Indian groups revolting against the atrocious of the foreigners. Macaulay very well knew that the rich cultural base of the Indian society needed to be corroded and a complete revamp was needed to control the country.

With Governor-General of India, William Bentinck giving a nod to the policies of Macaulay, Indian language and culture were sent to rot.

Not much has changed since then. Our overall lifestyle has been anglicized.

However, we have not become the gentleman but have lost the Indianess.

Ripples of the Macaulay effect was also felt in the globalization of Media in India. Despite an exponential growth in the Indian media industry, it failed to showcase its cultural history. With the private channels eclipsing Doordarshan, the agenda to educate, inform and create a feeling of national unity took a backseat.

The rapid growth of Indian economy with its middle-class aspiring for a western lifestyle was alluring for foreign players to explore the market. US-based transnational media organization was aware that India was graduating into one of the biggest English-language media software markets.  So, it was obvious for them to make inroads into the media which was once considered to be a tool for educating the masses.

A paradigm change took place in the media industry. Doordarshan began facing stiff competition from foreign players and it had to shift from disseminating educative programs to commercial contents.

With more and more foreign media players intruding into the Indian media industry, television channels started using metropolitan languages for broadcasting. Foreign program formats like reality shows caught the fantasy of the Indian audience.  The Indianized version of the shows had non-Indian languages, codes, and conventions. Mahabharata, Ramayana, Malgudi days lost the charm and was replaced by programs which used street-smart language.

Macaulay’s dream was fulfilled by channels like MTV and Channel V who wiped away Indian languages and introduced the usage of ‘Hinglish’ (a mixture of Hindi and English). The effect was the creation of a generation who started thriving on a fake and borrowed culture.

There were obvious reasons for the media tycoons to choose a foreign language for broadcasting. They wanted to spread their content across the whole of India and making programs in several languages was expensive. and for that they bombarded the use of a pro-English dialect that was neither completely British not completely Indian.

Commercialisation became so rampant that marketing policies began controlling news content. English channels created a notion that they are authentic and erudite. Their popularity rose to such heights that people began keeping English news channels switched on for all the time.

Discovery channel also thrived on Macaulay’s principles. They spread the propaganda that they aired educative content. However, their content initially focussed only on global topics and very less on Indian perspective. It became a runaway success as Indian proudly claimed that they watch nothing but the Discovery channel.

It is indeed regrettable that no government took any initiative to create content that would highlight Indian culture justifying the fact that Macaulay was right that for the development of an “illiterate nation” English has to be propagated.

The plague of western culture has crippled me to such an extent that I am compelled to use a foreign language to try and find out how Macaulay implanted the seeds of a foreign culture that have flooded the media which has become a part of our livelihood.

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Is The observance of Valentine’s day a Commination For The Indian Culture?

India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture

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Exchanging gifts on Valentine's day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Wikimedia Commons
Exchanging gifts on Valentine's day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Wikimedia Commons
  • Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones
  • Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner
  • Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II

One can spot excited lovebirds everywhere as the week of love starts. Shops like Hallmarks and Archie’s are brooding with love tokens. The essence of ‘love is in the air’ can be felt very easily. The Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones. The day falls each year on 14th February and holds a great significance for the people worldwide. Things like cupid hearts, roses, chocolates, and red heart-shaped balloons can be seen in every florist and gift shop. Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner.

In India, along with all these romantic accessories and lovebirds, an uproar by political parties is also created every year. The party people go to different restaurants and places where the day is supposed to celebrate to wipe out Valentine’s Day decorations. These political parties also demand that this day this day not be celebrated, as it is not a part of Indian culture. Like every year, this time also the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and Hindu Mahasabha with the plan to ruin all that the lovebirds might have planned ahead. The couples which are been held on by such ‘social moral-police’ forcibly marrying them by accusing of expressing love in public or even on social networking sites. To counter the aggression of such groups, Chhattisgarh made it official that 14th February will now be celebrated as ‘parents worship day.’ Such is the plight of democracy in our country.

 

Also Read: 20 best valentine’s day gift ideas for him & her

Valentine’s Day History

Majority of people in India do not even know about Valentine’s Day origin and what exactly does it stand for. If we see historically then Valentine’s Day has really got nothing to do with individual love. It is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Therefore, 14th February is also known as the St. Valentine’s Day. There are many other stories associated with it but in the end, the day is associated with the tradition of courtly love which was an act of chivalry of Knights for their ladies.

Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Wikimedia Commons
Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Wikimedia Commons

Valentine’s Day Meaning

The Valentine day is well accompanied by Chocolate day, Hug day, Rose day, Slap day, Kick day, Breakup day etc. etc. So, now the lovers celebrate a Valentine week. If we see in the Indian context then it holds no sense of celebrating a day that too when its history has nothing to do with our society. It is understood if Indians who are Christians are celebrating it as it can be considered their festival.

The question arises, what is so wrong with celebrating Valentine’s day or expressing love in public?

If we look at the general celebration of any festival in India then, almost all the Indian festivals are celebrated in a very traditional manner and none is complete if done without worshipping God. Such festivals involve family but not just couples. Like Diwali is celebrated in a very convenient way in India. We pay obeisance to God, greet our friends and families, light diyas and burst cracker. But some people on the other hand drink and gamble on this auspicious day. Is it allowed by Indian culture?

India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture. Such practices make people think it is trendy to celebrate them. One has to celebrate Valentine Day because the event has been marketed in such a way that it looks special and cool for the young generation.

Also Read: Modern methods, ‘print your love’: Valentines day

Complications Involved

Basically, what matter’s is the way in which festivals are celebrated rather than their name and origin? The day in India is more likely driven by fashion and less by emotions.

Like many other cultures and festivals, Indian culture might absorb Valentine’s Day. Fundamentally, celebrating love is not harmful in itself but forgetting what love stands for and trampling the local culture and traditions as it does not resonate with the definition of globalization is certainly harmful.

The Valentine day is marked in such a way that youngsters are made to believe that they have to shower their partner with expensive gifts to keep the relationship going even when they are just students and the gift would come from their pocket money savings.

Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of "patriarchy and oppression" by the western world. Wikimedia Commons
Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, why should there be just one special day to express your love for your loved one? This should be expressed on daily basis for relationships to go with bliss. Exchanging gifts on Valentine’s day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Some people have started expecting benefits from this extraordinary show of love on a single day. It is extremely absurd when people start comparing how their previous date was so much better with the gifts they have received. The very idea of judging the love and affection on a materialistic platform has become a menace to the society.

The problem in India is that the society is undergoing a transformation and there are many bad elements in the society that take full advantage of such days. For some, love means only physical pleasure and nothing more than this. If this notion holds true then it is true that not only Valentine but any such festival is against Indian culture. Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones.

Also Read: Origins of Valentine’s Day: rooted in violence and blood

On the other hand, Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world which has been a part and parcel of India for generations.

If someone celebrates Valentine day to realize that they are a global citizen then the aura of subconsciousness is really gone wrong. In some cases, the conversion to other religion is also seen at the behest of such festivals.

Conclusion

Emotions like love have a very deep meaning in India and most Indians try for a lasting relation who will lead to marriage and a stable life. Thus celebrating a day where you express your love for your better half is never a big deal. There are the different set of arguments for either liking or disliking this day but that doesn’t mean it gives the right to extremists to forcibly marry off couples seen expressing love in public or social networking sites. However, we should be wary of unwanted practices just for the sake of attention and let things that ruin our culture happen. But at the same time, we should also not start moral policing at everything around.

Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones. Wikimedia Commons
Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones. Wikimedia Commons

There are many other foreign festivals that are now celebrated in India such as New year, Halloween, St. Patrick’s day, Mother’s days, Father’s day and so on though with less vigour. It is a common conception that foreign festivals attract more people as the way of celebrating these is just like a party and it is very attractive.

Valentine Day has become an occasion of global celebrations due to various reasons. Even the cultures and communities like India that have otherwise no links to Valentine Day have also adopted it. India has a glorious tradition, a leader in spirituality and diverse culture. Now a day, celebrating Valentine Day is considered a marker of modernity. It’s up to an individual how he/she takes the spirit of love and adhere to the very idea of compassion.