Friday October 18, 2019

Is it right to call Narada Muni the world’s first journalist?

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By Gaurav Sharma

At a time when the brand of journalism being practiced today is increasingly raising eyebrows, it would be pertinent to trace the roots of the fourth pillar of democracy in Hindu mythology.

You might be wondering how Narada Muni has got anything to do with journalism.

Well, that is because the nationalists, particularly the Sangh (RSS), have been celebrating Narada Jayanti as Journalism Day for several years now.

Strangely, the Press Freedom Day almost coincides with the birth of the ancient rishi (sage) Narada, the day  celebrated as Narada Jayanti  among Hindus.

In Indian mythology, Narada is visualized as the first journalist, the primary source of information among Gods. The RSS in its paper, Organiser, advises journalists to practice their profession in accordance with the principles of Narada.

J Nandkumar, the assistant publicity head of the RSS, while citing the fifth chapter of Mahabharata Sabhaparwa, says in his publication, “Narada was considered to be the first reporter or journalist of the whole universe. He knew the crux of journalism. His mastery over journalism and expertise in communication was shown when he gave tips to Yudhishtira on governance.”

Referring to the importance stressed by Narada on transparent and fair news broadcasting, Nandkumar adds, “At another occasion he told Yudhisthira that the power of the common people is totally based on how they are informed. They should know how things are going on all over the world. So a responsible ruler should make necessary arrangements to make people aware of the facts.”

While some branches of Hinduism, particularly the Vaishnava school, considers Narada as a pure and elevated soul deeply absorbed in singing the glories of Vishnu. They believe that Narada cannot be viewed solely as a beacon of truthful message transmission.

The secularists might view the angelic projection of Narada with suspicion, as various facets of his nature are brought to the fore in the scriptures, which also depict him as a war-monger responsible for spreading mischief and gossip.

In folklore, he is seen as travelling between the realms of gods, demigods, humans and demons, inciting quarrels among them, by striking deft, witty conversations, which make them jealous and insecure.

This behavior seems more in accord with the brand of sensational journalism that we all too often see on our news channels today.

Mythologist Devadutt Patnaik in an article written in 2008 refers to Narada as the “Cursed gossip monger,” saying, “If you find ‘office politics,’ know that Narada has been at work. You can sense his presence at almost every office lunch or late night booze party, where invariably, inevitably, someone will provide fodder for enthusiastic conversations about cunning secretaries, unfair promotions, manipulative colleagues, favoritism of bosses, disproportionate salaries, nefarious practices.”

Staunch followers of Hinduism, however, remain adamant in their stance and are quick to dismiss such ‘false notions.’

“Narada was known as a person who used to cultivate disputes among gods and others with his communication skills. Without knowing the real purpose of those skills, many called him war monger kalahapriya (fond of contention), etc. But Narada used those disputes only to resolve the complex problems and also to restore dharma and peace,” says J Nandkumar.

Be that as it may, both extreme views of Narada, as an ideal journalist and a shrewd igniter of bitter battles, may not be entirely true. A more human form– a concoction of divine properties with devilish propensities is what Narada seems to possess.

  • I think he can be called a mischief broker.

    • where there is mischief he breaks it. Lesser friends of Narayana cannot understand the complexity of His work.

Next Story

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Now Keen to Develop Young Leaders

The first camp in this regard will be held in Jhansi

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The RSS will be holding camps in Uttar Pradesh to discuss ways to identify and groom young leaders. Pixabay

With most senior leaders in the BJP having retired from active politics, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is now looking towards building a new leadership. Later this month, the RSS will be holding camps in Uttar Pradesh to discuss ways to identify and groom young leaders.

According to a senior RSS functionary in Lucknow, the first camp in this regard will be held in Jhansi, possibly on June 29 and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will be attending it. Another camp is scheduled to be held in Lucknow.

“After Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, there seems to be a dearth of second rung leadership in the bhBJP. There is a need to develop leadership that will carry forward the work initiated by these two leaders.

“Rajnath Singh is a senior leader, but his age is 67. He would have crossed 70 by the time the next general elections are held in 2024. We have to identify and inculcate leadership qualities in the younger lot,” the functionary said.

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The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is now looking towards building a new leadership. Pixabay

He further said that identifying young talent that could be groomed for greater responsibilities was a continuous process in the organisation and it never stopped.

“It is not a sudden decision but the RSS leadership always has a vision for the future and thinks ahead. We keep finding young people with leadership skills,” the functionary added.

Earlier this month, the RSS chief had underlined the need for checking misuse of power at a four-day camp that he addressed in Kanpur.

“Those getting elected in a democratic set-up have immense power, but this does not mean that it should be misused. If the government falters at any point of time, the Sangh will give it advice and suggestions with a positive point of view,” he had said.

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The RSS chief had also discussed the topics of nationalism, social equality and service in his interaction with over 600 volunteers. He also focused on qualitative development of the Sangh volunteers and apprised them of his views on dedication towards society.

The RSS leadership is also expected to come to Lucknow for a separate camp at the end of this month. In Lucknow, the RSS leaders will pay homage to senior journalist Rajnath Singh Surya, who passed away earlier this month. Surya was also a senior RSS functionary.

Officially, however, the RSS office bearers said that they had yet to receive any programme of Bhagwat and said that such camps were a ‘routine affair’. (IANS)