India decriminalizes homosexuality

Section 377, the 150 year old ban on gay sex, has been officially removed today in India, when Supreme Court ruled saying that consensual adult gay sex is not a crime further stating that sexual orientation is natural and people have no control over it.

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https://theprideembassy.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/section-377-decriminalized-a-new-chapter-in-indian-history/

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Climate Change can derail the development in Arab states

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a new report today that revealed how climate change can hamper the development in the Arab Region and may render efforts to end poverty and hunger by 2030 futile.

As per the report, the Arab region is now the planet’s most water-scarce and food-import-dependent region with malnutrition rates rising. The world’s largest population of refugees and displaced people reside in this region. The Arab region includes 14 of the world’s 20 most water-stressed countries.

Adriana Dinu, Director, Global Environmental Finance, UNDP, said, “Over the past decades, the region has seen significant economic and social progress. Climate risks threaten to derail these development gains. This could disrupt efforts to build peace, cause a spike in ‘eco-migrants,’ and undermine efforts to end hunger, poverty and inequality by 2030”.

In past, the region has seen cycles of drought, resulting in situations of famine and food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and life, consequently, the displacement of millions. The report stated that the Arab region’s environment is prone to rising temperatures, sea-level rise, and increased risks of floods and droughts. Climate change projections reveal that by the year 2025, the water supply in the region will be only 15 percent of levels in 1960.

UNDP is supporting countries in the four sub-regions of the Arab region to adapt to climate change impacts and build climate resilience. Mourad Wahba, Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, said, “UNDP works closely with our national partners to build resilience of institutions and communities to anticipate, absorb and adapt to increasingly complex risks from climate change”.

 

THE FATE OF LGBT COMMUNITY IS YET TO BE DECIDED.

Supreme Court of India began with its proceedings on Section 377 today and with the entire nation keeping up with the updates, praying for the archaic law to be eliminated. Section 377 that criminalizes homosexuality and considers same sex as ‘unnatural’ has been the noose for the LGBTQAIP+ community in India for a long time.

Advocate Saurabh Kripal argued for striking down of 377 today and the hearing in the case is to be continued on Wednesday at the Supreme Court as the bench rose. While some homophobic or intolerant voices like Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy may find homosexuality as ‘danger to national security’ and that it is against Hindutva, the community in India prays for a better future.

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https://theprideembassy.wordpress.com/2018/07/10/the-fate-of-lgbt-community-is-yet-to-be-decided/

A Different Lens!

  • COLONIALISM

With pride month celebrated globally last month, India came to realize the dark aftermath of British colonialism, a period when homosexuality got constructed in a way that the LGBTQAIP+ community till date roars against the archaic law. It started in 1860, when Honourable Lord Macaulay, the chairman of the First Law Commission drafted the Indian Penal Code. The IPC that was drafted with the traditional Judeo-Christian perception of morality criminalized homosexuality and considered it a punishable offence. Though British themselves eventually changed the law, legal matters in India continued to be the same even after independence. The era of stigmatization of Indian sexual liberalism continues to this day and can be perceived as a colonial hangover.

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Colonialism thereby is a cultural, social and even legal exploitation that occurs as an aftermath of colonization. Evidently, colonialism is an ideology and not a practice, that directly influences cultural ambits, lifestyle, legal and socio-political avenues and over time becomes naturalized, as was the case with Section 377. From our language to our morality, everything is tainted in colonial hues, as Jamila Lyiscott, a tri-tongued orator, clearly spoke in her TED Talk, “Yes I have decided to treat all of my three languages as equal, because I am ‘articulate. But who controls articulation? Because the English language is a multifaceted oration subject to indefinite transformation… even ‘articulate’ Americans sound foolish to British”.

The political domination of European powers, especially Great Britain, from 16th to 20th century over different parts of world led to tumultuous change in the landscape of many parts of world. The mere imperial aggrandisement extended to social, pedagogical, economic, political, legal and cultural reformations. Consequently, with British rule, colonialism brought a direct change in the lifestyle for many. The ancient India accepted and celebrated gender fluidity and various sexual expressions as evident in places like Konark and Khajuraho. Even many sacred and religious scriptures have homosexuality and alternate sexualities being expressed in par with the society. Mohini, the avatar of Vishnu, and Shikhandi from Mahabharat are just some characters that go against the tenets of Section 377.

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It is colonialism in direct action that was brought about with the practice that sodomy was criminalized in England. Fleta, 1290 and Britton, 1300 are some sources that substantiate that sodomites were burnt alive. The Buggery Act of 1533, which was re-enacted by Queen Elizabeth I, penalized sodomy by hanging, thereby it resulted in the charter for consequent criminalization of sodomy in British Colonies. Eventually, Section 377 was propagated in India.

The very Indian sensibility of morality was altered by colonialism, and what Britishers thought to be immoral, got naturalized as Indian morality and generations down generations, got culturally approved and appropriated. Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, drafted in British era, breathing arrogantly in the present Indian clime, is the living example of colonialism deeply embedded in the Indian culture. Even though the legal structure might change in the near future, the social acceptance of the community has always remained a concern. Homosexuality is a severe matter of contention in Indian society as people consider it to be against the ‘Indian culture and morality’, which ironically, is the repercussion of British sense of morality- colonialism at its best. Though the LGBT community is raging, roaring and rising in power, trying to create a wave of social acceptance and awareness, in its face value, they are actually trying to decolonize the masses out of the stanchly entrenched colonialism.

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  • POST-COLONIALISM & POSTCOLONIALISM

Post-colonial is a historical phase or period that occurs post the colonies become independent. Once the colonies get decolonized, the period succeeding that phenomenon is referred to as post-colonialism. Most nations were formed as a direct result of decolonization, thereby, post-colonial addresses the challenges inherent to the politics of nation, nationhood, language, citizenship, literature, culture and nationalism immediately after decolonization.

Literature written during this period is referred as post-colonial literature and essentially, it encapsulates the response of the decolonized masses to the Empire. Some critics term it as ‘the colonized writing back to the colonizers’. Mostly, post-colonial texts highlight the harsh realities of colonial rule, address the changes and bring to the surface, the questions pertaining to new identities within the historical time frame of independence, sovereignty, and secular republics. Post colonialism has a deep concern with the national culture and it is a state of consciousness with self-awareness of cultural process. Post colonialism is in a way cultural and political imperialism in a broader sense. “We must also pay attention to the cultural hybridity that is the natural feature of post-colonial writing and that has become one of the most characteristic features of the modern world itself”, says David Murdoch about post-colonialism.

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In many texts, a resistance to the former colonizer and an assertion of national identity is felt and Padma Shree awardee, Nissim Ezekiel excels in that. Nissim Ezekiel as a post-colonial poet had always attempted to establish a native tradition in his works. Ezekiel’s poetry provides clear representation of native culture and indigenous tradition in a vivid way. His poems include: ‘The Unfinished Man’, ‘Time to Change’, ‘Sixty Poems’, ‘The Exact Name’, ‘Hymns In Darkness’ show many characteristics of post-colonial literature.

His famous poem ‘Enterprise’ talks about post-colonialism in further detail. The poem talks about the journey of few men on a spiritual undertaking to find the meaning and reality. The journey that starts with immense zeal and energy, gradually fades away, as the travellers face adverse natural difficulties. The poem resonates with overtones of Indian spirituality and indigene facing British claws of colonization.

Through his lines,

“Observed and put down copious notes

On things the peasants sold and bought

The way of serpents and of goats.

Three cities where a sage had taught”

Ezekiel refers to a post-colonial understanding of India where the native systems of trade and spirituality have been lost, directly hinting at the British invasion. The shadow of discord that falls onto their enterprise in their poem symbolizes the divide and rule policy of British administration. By referring to these incidents, Ezekiel is rewriting the indigene history in a post-colonial way.

“A section claimed its liberty

To leave the group. I tried to pray.

Our leader said he smelt the sea”

The above lines signify the independence movement where masses revolted against the British rule, denouncing imperialism in all its ways, under the guidance of a leader, a probable reference to Mahatma Gandhi. The usage of sea evokes the story of Exodus where Moses led the way to freedom. Reminiscence of the independence movement while realizing the identity is a post-colonial method. The last line of the poem concludes the feeling of nationalism as he writes, “Home is where we have to gather grace”, and clearly marks the post-colonial thought of realizing national identity in the poem.

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Like Shiv. K. Kumar, A.K. Ramanujan, Jayanta Mahapatra, R. Parthasarathy and other post-colonial writers, he also realizes that it is the best to know and symbolize the identity. ‘Home’ therefore becomes an extension to national identity, which somewhere got lost in the colonial era. Post-colonialism therefore aims at that revival of identity, resuscitation of nationhood and restoration of cultures. Most of Ezekiel’s works are based on that tangent of post-colonialism.

“A writer needs a national or cultural identity, without that you become a series of imitations, echoes, responses, but you do not develop because there is nothing at the core to develop” were Ezekiel’s words and they show how vehemently he believed in the discipline of post-colonialism.

Poets like Rudyard Kipling have also written in post-colonial hues, like in his poem, ‘Gunga Din’, he blatantly reveals the savage treatment of Englishmen inflicted on Indians. The cockney dialect of the poem serves as a reminder of the colonial days. Rudyard responds back to the Empire by writing a character, so kind and sincere, that dies serving the British though receiving nothing but mockery and meagre living for his services. This type of character sketch, that takes back the readers to harsh realities of colonial rule and makes them realize of the servitude Indians went through is undoubtedly a post-colonial strategy to make readers aware of their identity and history.

However, postcolonialism is a different term altogether, which broadly refers to the cultural impact of colonialism. Postcolonialism addresses the effects of colonialism on culture and society. It refers to the totality of practices, in all their rich diversity, which characterize the society of the postcolonial world from the moment of colonization to the present day, since colonialism doesn’t cease with the mere political independence and rather rolls out into neo-colonialism.

Postcolonial texts usually deal by finding the spaces in and around us where colonialism has left a significant change. It can be as minute and ingrained in our systems as our greeting systems. The way we get up in the morning and rather than using our mother tongue to greet each other, we say “Good morning” is a postcolonial text. Like that, all the major social and cultural systems hailing from linguistic discourse are primarily postcolonial. Even our daily eating habits of lifestyle, like evening tea with some snacks is quintessentially a British habit. It has perpetuated into our lifestyle and social habits over the time and has altered it. This recognition of cultural change comes under the functionality of a postcolonial text.

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Easter 1916 by William Butler Yeats is an impeccable example of postcolonialism as Ester Uprising marked the advancements to decolonization. If postcoloniality is construed not as after decolonialization but since colonization, then Yeats is easily in the postcolonial canon.    Edward Said, in ‘Culture and Imperialism’, argues for Yeats as a decolonizing writer, and makes the claim that Ireland is indeed a postcolonial nation. Said introduces the notion of Yeats as an “indisputably great national poet who during a period of anti-imperialist resistance articulates the experiences, the restorative vision of a people suffering under the domination of an offshore power”.

In Easter 1916, Yeats writes about the postcolonialism in Ireland as social situations have changed since colonization and “terrible beauty is born”. Ireland was revolting against the imperial rule and the Ireland had gone through a serious change since the time of colonization.

“But lived where motley is worn:  

All changed, changed utterly”

Through these lines, Yeats is talking about the same change in cultural, political and social landscape post colonization. This recognition of change as evident through lines like, “When, young and beautiful”, “He, too, has been changed in his turn, transformed utterly”, “From cloud to tumbling cloud, Minute by minute they change”, “A shadow of cloud on the stream, Changes minute by minute”, “And hens to moor-cocks call; Minute by minute they live, Now and in time to be”, “Wherever green is worn, are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born” second the postcolonial thought of the poem. From the natural terrain changing like streams and meadows till the nature of women and men changing, entire Ireland seems to have changed and absorbed colonialism within. Yeats talks about the places and people, who because of English imperialism, had completely changed their course of existence. Women who were once quiet and at peace, had now gone shrill, men too were exhausted. Clouds were recasting a new shadow on the nation. All these imageries add up to substantiate the postcolonial experience of Yeats with Ireland.

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His reference to England in lines,

“For England may keep faith  

For all that is done and said.  

We know their dream; enough

To know they dreamed and are dead”, explains how the postcolonial acknowledges the colonizing machinery of England and is able to find its effect in its own system. Yeats, though personally never took a clear political stand, through his poems always sided by postcolonial method of vilifying British. Critics consider him as anticolonial, however his poetry reverberates with postcolonial thought.

Writers like Arundhati Roy, Radhanath Swamy, Sandeep Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri and such pen down the postcoloniality in subtle ways, while acknowledging the fact that how deeply it has perpetuated in us.

  • DECOLONIZATION

Decolonization is the process of revealing and dismantling colonialist power in all its forms- political, social, cultural, legal, pedagogical and economical. It comprises dismantling the hidden aspects of those institutional and cultural forces that had maintained the colonialist power and that remain even after political independence is achieved. It is referred to the procedure of granting independence to the colonies, often preceded by movements of nationalism, fight for civil rights and various forms of revolts against the colonizer.

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What started as a boycott movement of Manchester cloth and Liverpool salt in parts of Bengal on August 7, 1905, with the passage of Boycott Resolution, very soon changed into pan-India Swadeshi movement being led by militant nationalists like Tilak, Lajput Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh. Emboldened by Dadabhia Naoroji’s declaration at the Calcutta session (1906), the self-government or swaraj became the goal of Congress. The Extremists had given a call for passive resistance in addition to swadeshi and boycott which would include a boycott of government schools and colleges, Government service, courts, legislative councils, municipalities, Government titles, and such. It was shaping into a large-scale decolonizing machinery being operated by colonized demanding for independence.

Aurbindo’s words, “make the administration under present conditions impossible by an organised refusal to do anything which will help either the British commerce in the exploitation of it” mark the dismantling of British commerce and trade. Boycott of foreign goods and public burning of foreign cloth, boycott of foreign-made salt or sugar, refusal by priests to ritualize marriages involving exchange of foreign goods, refusal by washer men to wash foreign clothes and such initiatives helped in the decolonization. Decolonization was on the brink as emerged as mass mobilisation.

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Swadeshi movement had eventually tumulted into nationalist movement or freedom struggle, led by Mahatma Gandhi. Refusal to use British commodities was picked up as a dismantling technique of decolonization. Non-cooperation Movement and other forms of resilience came about as decolonizing methods.

  • DECOLONIZING THE MIND

Many postcolonial critics believed that the political decolonization does not indicate the end of colonialism. Rather, language, religion, the politics of representation, and politics of neo-colonialism continues to colonize the minds of people at various levels even centuries after political independence. Decolonization is the meaningful and active resistance to the forces of colonialism that perpetuate the subjugation and/or exploitation of our minds, bodies, and lands. Its ultimate purpose is to overturn the colonial structure and realize indigenous liberation.

The Make in India initiative, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in September 2014 can be seen as part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives towards decolonizing the minds of Indians against the consumption patterns of foreign products. Devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, ‘Make in India’ aims at reducing the manufacturing and purchase of gods and services from other nations and realizing the swaraj movement’s motto of self-reliance.

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The initiative is a process of decolonizing the mind when in the present socio-cultural scenario, westernization, especially Americanization seems to be a colonializing undertaking on the minds of youth. In the Non-cooperation movement, Swadeshi was the way protestors silently decolonized the minds and pushed forward the idea that they demand self-reliance and won’t depend on British anymore for anything.

At present, India is one of the largest markets for American companies and conglomerates as the consumption rate is very high. In such a case, USA and its multinational companies have launched many products and services that have transmogrified the lifestyle and cultural patterns of people. American media and film have further affected Indian sense of morality and thinking. For the commerce aspect of this colonization, ‘Make in India’, ensures production lines being carried out in India, thereby decolonizing the minds of 1.3 billion citizens. In the global scenario of cultural recolonization, decolonizing the mind becomes an immediate requirement.

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‘Khadi’ is being promoted once again to ensure the idea of self-reliance and swadeshi goes down the throat of Indians. All of these steps taken by government can be read as ways of decolonizing the mind towards Americanisation. In the post-colonial era, swadeshi movement and non-cooperation movement, that propagated ideas of self-government and self-reliance were ways leaders tried to decolonize the minds of people. Charkha, khadi, indigenous cultures, and such were used as tools of decolonization of mind. Our sensibilities were being tried to remoulded and reshaped to realize the effects of colonialism. A decolonized mind defends culture by defending the root of its existence.

Frantz Fanon wrote, “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land and from our minds as well”. That removal accounts to decolonizing the mind. We might be independent but perhaps be still colonized with some ideologies, removal of such ideologies makes us decolonized.

Resuscitation of Doling Lake: Mitigating the needs

 

Government of Sikkim has been successful in reviving the once seasonal Doling Lake of Rabongla into a perennial kind by diverting the water of the nearby stream into the lake. The project was completed in 2008 with joint efforts of Block Administrative Centre (BAC), with and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

“This stream was not being used by the people owing to its difficult location, so we channelized the water and filled up this dried-up lake”, explained Udaya Chamling, Field Facilitator BAC. The initiative though taken to beautify the tourist location and mitigate the water scarcity in the nearby areas has not completely met the latter tangent of work.

With the resurrection of Doling lake, however, the tourism industry has seen an evident boom. The scenario wasn’t the same before as the changing climate trickled many water resources in the neighbouring areas, especially with springs and lakes facing a consequent decrease in their discharge. These water bodies have remained the primary sources of water for rural households and to ensure its availability, Government of Sikkim has further ventured into the revival of many such dying springs and lakes of the state. Besides, the sustainability of the mountain ecosystem thrives predominantly on such water resources.

Doling lake stands as the exemplar of the revival of the fading ecosystems of the mountains. The resurgent lake flows in tranquil today in the shadow of the Doling monastery garnering the attention of many.

 

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Battle for Hodeidah wrecks Yemen: 8.4 million on the verge

It will be a major blow to the very fabric of life in Yemen if the Saudi-led coalition takes the port of Hodeidah amidst the Houthi rebels. The port city is a crucial part of Yemen as almost 70% of food and medicine imports are brought in through here, and if the political agitation increases, it will cause a major paucity of food supply to a population of 8.4 million.

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The Times

PART I

Major Publishing and media production house

 

The Times Group also called Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.(BCCL) is the India’s largest media conglomerate according to the Financial Times as of March 2015. The company remains a family-owned business as the descendants of Sahu Jain own a majority stake in The Times Group. It is a private mass media industry founded on 4th November 1838 (177 years ago). It deals in publishing, broadcasting, radio, film, entertainment and web portals. Indu Jain is the present chairperson of the Times Group.

Media Ownership and its Concentration

 

The company has 16 publishing centers, 15 printing centers, fifty-five sales offices, over 11,000 employees, 5 dailies, including two of the largest in the country with approximately 4.3 million copies circulated daily, 2 lead magazines, 29 niche magazines reaching 2468 cities and towns and 32 radio stations.

Its major brands include:

  • The Times of India, world’s largest English-language broadsheet daily in terms of circulation.
  • The Economic Times, India’s largest financial daily, and the World’s second largest in terms of circulation after The Wall Street Journal.
  • Maharashtra Times, a Marathi daily.
  • Navbharat Times, a Hindi daily in Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Ei Samay Sangbadpatra, a Bengali daily in Kolkata.
  • Sandhya Times, a Hindi daily evening tabloid in Delhi.
  • Mumbai Mirror which is India’s largest circulated compact newspaper.
  • Kolkata Mirror.
  • Ahmadabad Mirror.
  • Pune Mirror.
  • Bangalore Mirror, Bangalore’s first morning compact daily.
  • Brand Capital.
  • Vijaya Karnataka, a Kannada daily.
  • ZigWheels, India’s largest Automobile magazine.
  • ET Wealth, India’s largest Personal Finance compact weekly.

The TV Channels under Times Group include MN+ HD, Romedy Now, Romedy Now HD, Movies Now, Movies Now HD, Movies Now 2, ET Now, Zoom, Times Now and Magicbricks Now.

The Times Group subsidiary companies include:

  • ENIL

Entertainment Network India Limited that controls:

  • Radio Mirchi National network of FM radio stations
  • 360 Degrees Events
  • Times Outdoors (TIM Delhi Airport Advertising Private Limited)
  • Mirchi Movies Limited Filmed Entertainment.( Producers of BEING CYRUS, VELLITHIRAI, MANJADIKURU)
  • Media 360 Concept India Pvt Ltd.

      Times Internet Limited

 

Times Internet Limited is one of the largest internet companies of India. It extends interests in spheres of online news, online business news, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, and Bengali news, ecommerce, music, video, and communities. Some of the larger properties of TIL include:

  • Indiatimes shopping – one of the largest and earliest ecommerce portals in India.
  • Indiatimes
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • com
  • ZigWheels
  • co.in

 

  • Times of Money

Times of Money operates financial remittance services for Indians abroad to send money back to India. Their product, remit2India, is a standalone product, while also powering the remittance services of many banks globally.

  • Times Business Solutions
  • TBSL, corporate website of TBSL.
  • TimesJobs, a jobs portal.
  • Techgig, a professional networking site for Technology Peoples.
  • SimplyMarry, a matrimonial portal.
  • Magic Bricks, a real estate portal.
  • Yolist, free classifieds portal.
  • Ads2Book, online classifieds booking system for print publications.
  • PeerPower, a Senior-Level professional networking portal.

 

  • World Wide Media

World Wide Media started off as a 50:50 magazine joint venture between BCCL and BBC magazines. In August 2011, it was announced that Bennett, Coleman & Co. bought out the remaining 50 per cent shares of Worldwide Media from BBC Worldwide thereby making World Wide Media a fully owned subsidiary of BCCL. Presently it covers the following:

  • Filmfare Awards, an awards show.
  • Femina Miss India, a Beauty Pageant.
  • India World, a Male Beauty Pageant whose winner represents India in Mr. World.
  • Miss Diva, a part of Femina Miss India pageant.
  • Top Gear Magazine India.
  • BBC Good Homes.
  • Femina Hindi.
  • Hello Magazine.

Times Group through its subsidiary companies in the realms of marketing, advertising, print and broadcast journalism, mass media, business corporations and other financial endeavors, has attained the apex position in the present plight. It is the largest conglomerate, which has emerged as a media monopoly influencing the public sphere using its various media tools. By conducting Filmfare awards, publishing Femina, hosting Miss Diva and Mr. India World and propagating its views through ENIL companies, Times Group has ameliorated the sophistication of the cross cultural pan India. Through offering its business solutions, Times Group has in a way created a huge hallway of windows of opportunity for the developing India. The power of media is well concentrated in the hands of it. Its effective print and broadcast journalism has homogenized the diversely opinionated Indian audience. Thus in the media sector ,Times Group is presently soaring at the pinnacle of the media ownership, where major leading brands of media like Times Now, Times of India are under the strings of  it.

 

Patterns of news and information

 

Spanning across the significant sectors of the market, it’s quite convenient for Times Group to disseminate the news and information. Avery striking aspect of it is that it has a gleaming effect in its dissemination of information. May it be Times Now and Zoom for broadcast journalism or Times of India for print journalism, the way they deliver the information to a certain level seems to be drenched in tones of extravaganza, exaggeration and elitism. Though the engrossment quotient remains saturated, many a times the preciseness of the disseminated information doesn’t remain intact. Utilizing the advancements in technology, Times Group has facilitated the growth of trade and commerce through its extensions like India Times Shopping and Magic Bricks. The informative pattern of news dissemination followed by Times Now and Economic Times has escalated the society to a higher echelon.

Be it Arnab Goswami of Times Now debate or The city times of Times of India, the way the news gets delivered emphatically to the readers is the same. The same impact in a recreational sense is seen through the jokes and pranks of Bollywood stars at Filmfare Awards. The audience gets attached to the various wires of the same network, here Times Group. Audience has made Radio Mirchi and Gaana.com an integral part of their lives as they deliver the same information in a frolic fun way which not only appeals more emphatically to the people but also instills the sense of brand equity in their minds. Economic Times is said to be the every morning’s ephemeral companion of every business class person, may he be a CEO or a potential shareholder. That is the efficient system in which Times Group releases its information in the esteemed pages of its newspapers and magazines. Miss Diva, Romedy Now and Femina are the rudimentary requirements of contemporary civic Indian women, who consume their sense of feminism through these portals of Times Group. Times Group is truly the largest conglomerate of India.

PART II

If the nature of media’s audience is changing, then mass communication processes must also change. Four examples to substantiate this statement:

 

With the changes in the attitudes, approaches and aspects of the audience, the mass communication processes need to adapt to the changes. As the audience progresses ahead, the media houses have to alter, advance and upgrade their strategies. This is done extensively to meet out to the demands of the audience. As customers are the king, products and services need to be presented to them in their desired way for which media processes have to be modified. Media is under a constant development which is in concord to the development of the audience. Some of the examples of this phenomenon can be:

  • The pattern of news being shown today is a very evident example of this phenomenon. There was a time when only Doordarshan aired the national television. In the entire day of display only half an hour was allotted to news and the rest time was for informative clips and light hearted serials. Today the scenario is way different, due to the fast moving life of the pre dominantly cosmopolitan lifestyle; news has been now made as ‘breaking news’. The world wants to be informed of the surrounding and the happenings. Thus news has transcended the ancient boundaries of time and location. Anyone can access news anytime at any place. News is constantly under construction, as days pass away, news becomes more interactive, informative and individual oriented.

 

  • Cinema too has flown away from the black white soundless sequences to a motional vibrant scale. People evolved in their backgrounds, their standards of living enhanced. Thus the very structure of society leaped ahead the traditional ambit. The old hackneyed cinema got transmogrified into a moving sequence of life shots. People relish movies and serials which connect with them and in that short span of 2 hours or so, convey the desired message and entertain them. Cinema is a living example of the modernization. Audience grew in their psychological frames, consequently cinema became more people oriented and socialistic in nature. It was for people’s benefit that cinema took a leap in its content, angles and screenplay.

 

  • Time is money in today’s rat race. Technology has bridged the gaps and thus people are trying to sculpt the 25th hour out of their daily routine. In such an era, where landlines and telegrams and postal system have faded into history, advanced cell phones and smart phones are facilitating the communication around the world. May it be the increasing internet facilities or the developing media technologies; communication has got more time restricted. Thus even abbreviations have ensued in the texting world. People care for their time; they want the same bit of information to be bombarded at them but in the most concise way. Bulletin news, terribly tiny tales, short weather forecasts, less than 60 character news, push messages are some of the repercussions of this. Thus again technology has molded itself to suit the better, easier and faster delivery of information through its media processes.

 

  • The audience is not a passive ignorant fool anymore. The increasing literacy rate has ensured the questioning radical approach in the audience. Thus the hypodermic needle theory is losing its importance in that context, as audience does not take up anything which you throw at it. Thus the media communication processes involved in advertisement and marketing are changing. The scientific pragmatic perspective is being employed in these sectors. Any product or service being advertised now shall be backed up with scientific, emotional or persuasive arguments. Unlike the primitive days, the communication processes involved in the advertisements and public relations are more objective and particular. They are designed in a way that every single person viewing it, builds up a personal contact with whatever is being portrayed. This is being done to match up with the increasing horizons of the audience.

Is Social Media the sole spark of life?

The ubiquitous social media has not spared any aspect of our everyday life. The eruption of social media and the magmatic flow of the trend has seeped in all strata of society. While many may believe that youth is the direct consumer of social media, the aftermath of its consumption can be felt in all the attributes.

Facebook is the most consumed social media platform in India which not only dominates the minds of the cosmos of urban life but also has got quite an evident following from developing and rural sectors. With Facebook’s newsfeed, many absorb the news content and share it on different platform. It has created a more virtual presence of people, utilizing which many business firms flourish because of the easy networking facility of the social media. Somewhere down the line, Facebook has become a requirement for fitting in the ‘hip/ modern/ updated/ relevant’ tag. Many events, from international rock concerts till local meet ups, garner attention and audience through Facebook. All rising and established business firms, aspiring artists, institutes, have their business Facebook pages, that not only serve as the medium of communication between the organization and the consumers but also help them in maintaining brand equity. We tend to side-line the firms who don’t have a well established social presence. This tendency is the direct repercussion of social media.

An Instagram account is a must for affirming a classy brand name, it maybe for individuals or firm. Richer the user manufactured visual content, better is the branding of the concerned party, more authentic and credible is the reputation of the user. We share and communicate with our followers through stories and pictures we upload on Instagram. The case is same with Snapchat. We are consuming and generating a lot of content for our higher visibility. The media houses have active social media platforms to facilitate that visibility. Twitter is another medium, highly used by media houses and journalism channels to engage better with the viewers. Higher TRPs and more viewership gets the credibility intact.

Talking about the pursuit of higher viewership, YouTube is one major platform where videos of all sorts catering to different interests and informative values are consumed by viewers extensively. Amateur designers taking Photoshop tutorials, working wives learning how to cook their husband’s most cherished dish, retired army official humming to the melody of Kishore Kumar songs, or simply a movie lover starting his own channel on movie reviews, YouTube offers a wide range of facilities to its users. Many popular YouTubers earn a lot from their famous channels. Lately, media houses have started their YouTube channels, where along with Facebook, they post live feeds. YouTube has become a very important social media platform where lot of content is consumed by people of different pursuits.

Blogging platforms continue to be used by individuals, where personal content is manufactured. Blogger, WordPress, BlogSpot, and many more continue to be extended information pages of many organizations and spaces of innovation and creativity for individuals.

Social media campaigns have facilitated many changes and created a wave of awareness. From Me2 campaign till hashtag Cauvery, social media campaigns have served as change facilitators. The recent #Padmavati is becoming the raging voice of freedom of expression, which is being in a way curtailed because of the opposition against the movie. Sports commentary, news pieces, entertainment bits exploit social media to reach out to as many people as possible. Government has also started to use social media to promote their party propagandas. Elections always hit up the social media buzz.

From the lifestyle choices till the political decisions we make, social media has penetrated our society ad us to the core where it has begun to become an indispensable part of our lives. We might not interact much with our peers or colleagues, but we will surely catch up with them on digital chat boxes or follow them by liking their posts. Interpersonal communication has taken a step down, where virtual presence and social media interaction is manifesting the path ahead. It is downright a fallacious remark that social media hasn’t affected our daily functioning. It has influenced our thinking, shaped our approach, sculpted a virtual image of us and apparently connected us more. We were cave dwellers in the stone age, time developed us into social animals at the dawn of civilization and presently, we are virtual presences in the world of social media.

Discussion is the way

James Humes was verbatim correct when he had said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership”.  In present day politics, where voices are suppressed and monologues are heard more, true essence of communication is distorted. Communication is called effective when the expected feedback is received. Politicians, rather impose their views and follow one way stream of communication. When the audience won’t be feel informed and heard, how will any community or nation prosper?

A massive open online course (MOOC) provider, edX tells about three modes of communication which can be followed. Debate, Dialogue and Discussion are three modes which help in disseminating information through an effective communication. Though edX finds discussion as the best mode considering it is more solution oriented, Indian politics favours debate as the way. Debate has an underlying connotation of proving one party the tag of winner and the other loser. A person argues not just to prove the point valid but to claim his superiority and superior intellectual endowment. The aim of the argument drifts from finding a solution to claiming your victory. Parliament has on multiple occasions show the art of debate, where politicians either with their raised tones or profanely rich dialects, have tried to bring the ball in their court.

The similar phenomenon is observed in private and public spheres, where we try to project our opinions as the absolute answers, and when our views are countered, instead of accepting the difference of opinions, we resort to an enraged debate. We attach our personal egos with our stances, thus when someone dejects our viewpoint, our institution of knowledge gets disturbed. At the point of time, to prove the other person wrong, by hook or crook, is the driving force of the conversation. Roy T. Bennett sumps it up very well, “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” That is the exact problem with debate as a medium of conversation. When you listen to reply, you are not understanding. As the adage goes, listen and silent share the same letters.

Amartya Sen in his essay ‘Democracy as public reasoning’, stressed upon the importance of healthy communication, driven by logic and persuasion, as the way to build democracy. He enlists many historical accounts, where democracy has flourished at the dispense of public discussion. A dialogue is the mode of simple conversation, it may be backed with facts and figures, but may not always have a solution oriented path. On the contrary, discussion is considered as a medium, where difference of opinions is accepted and more importantly respected, for the better cause that is the solution.

We have beautiful speeches in our political history, where politicians, not leaders, have given hours long descriptions about our problems and challenges but very few, whom James might call leaders, have showed India the path to eliminate the persistent problems and achieve the solutions. To speak well embellished words is not wisdom, to provide practical answers, which can be implemented, to the questions is. The growth of knowledge depends upon the power of discussion.

Students, teachers, parents are the first three entities which need to adopt the system of discussion and not debates at the grassroot levels. At schools, debate competitions are held, and we proudly gasp looking at the eloquent oratory of the students but is that the way we want our future to be? Law schools shall second when I say debates have no definitive end in today’s scenario, an aftermath of the personal affiliation speakers draw towards the subject in house. A healthy discussion shall always result in an effective communication, where both the sides shall be heard and solutions shall be drawn out.

Present plight of political discussions is not at all solution oriented. Parties merely throw shades at each other and side-line the most important issue: the future of India. We need to stay silent to imbibe what the other speaker is saying and then analyse the argument and speak when you think you have something concrete to contribute to the discussion. Speaking just for the sake of it, shall never fetch us the India we dream of.

Look around, you will find people engaged in heated arguments, pedestrians fighting, politicians as usual quarreling with miles away from a solution, and then think about the dream of a developed India. It is like an unpaved road with one sided fence fading in the distant undergrowth. Seems far, doesn’t it?

The waves will still hit the rocks

You took my hands to the beach,
no one else to be seen in the reach,
kissed the rain drops,
till my cheeks and closed eyes.

Knit together, our red hands,
I felt the time running in distant sands,
You whispered, I blushed coy.
My ears are still warm with that melody.

My smile was your adoration.
Holding me by the waist in sweet redemption,
We traversed further,
Water receding from our feet to horizon.

Five seasons passed away,
And you went to the foreign bay.
Memories stay and haunt me,
Render me wide awake.

To see me asleep in your embrace,
with nothing to worry for days.
The sweet rain of love,
Still tickle down my terrain.

Well, I still remember,
How you had held me for the first time there.
Blood rushed, I twisted, love flushed,
And you hid me in your arms,
No sun, no winter, nothing to be seen.

‘Time wasn’t with us’, murmured your lips,
That our paths will meet an eclipse,
feathers will eventually burn,
that I will crash to the ground.

Those rides, that mirth,
Warmth of your breath,
Smell of your hair,
Rush of your fingers,
Still cripple me, make me moan,
Recall, regret and break.

You said you’ll still be there,
Still care,
Will still love me.
But, I know, it can never be like before.

I will go to that beach again,
To that bed in vain,
Where the waves and wrinkles will wait to drown me.
I will stretch out my head in that sun again.

No ends will meet,
No kiss, no touch, no heat,
This time,
It shall just be me.

The waves will still hit the rock,
Where we once sat in love lock.
The wind will still kiss the dusky paths,
Where we walked together.
The world will still smile a day ahead,
But my world won’t stay the same for me.