Live telecasting of ‘bhoomi pooja’ at Ayodhya on August 5 by Doordarshan amounts to misuse of power
Such a function should be naturally covered in the proper way by the national broadcaster. But the decision to make a live telecast of the function signals an unhealthy message to the nation<b></b>
In the advancement of ultra-right politics, propaganda plays a crucial role. The history of fascism has paraded innumerable instances of it. The Indian face of fascism represented by RSS-controlled BJP has excelled the art in a comparatively short span of time. They believe that through propaganda they could turn black into white and false into truth. Doordarshan, our own national channel, is under constant pressure to follow the suit.
The corporate controlled Indian media, both print and visual, have been already tamed and trained to become the mouthpiece of the ruling dispensation. For quite long, a tame Doordarshan was obediently doing it. There are examples where Doordarshan attempted even to intervene in the text of the election telecast of the CPI. They were asking for the deletion of sentences uncomfortable for the politics of the ruling party which naturally was rejected by the party. Now the government wants them to live telecast the ‘bhoomi pooja’ programme taking place in Ayodhya on August 5.
Nobody denies the fact that it is an important function attended by none other than the Prime Minister of India. Such a function should be naturally covered in the proper way by the national broadcaster. But the decision to make a live telecast of the function signals an unhealthy message to the nation. The political propriety of the move is being discussed in the country. For Sangh Parivar, it is the proclamation of their victory for which they were mobilizing all their strength for decades together. And they are hell bent to make further political gains out of it.
The question raised is regarding the haste behind the wisdom of the national broadcaster live telecasting it. It is likely to affect India’s secular credentials and would further aggravate the wounded feelings of the Indian minorities. The true Hindus of the country also won’t subscribe Ayodhya to become a constant symbol of communal tension and disharmony among people. The people irrespective of their religion want the country to march together and address the real burning issues before it.
For RSS and BJP, the intention is just opposite. Setting apart the merits and demerits of it, the country is aware of the Supreme Court verdict of November 9, 2019. The ruling party celebrated it as their long-cherished dream. Though the apex court decision was to give 2.77 acres of land to the temple, the government decided to give the whole extent of 67.7 acres of land to the trust named as the Sree Ram Janmabhumi Theertha Kshetra. The live telecast need to be viewed in this background.
The Prasar Bharati Act through section 12 2(a) has mandated the Doordarshan stating its objective as “upholding the unity and integrity of the country and the values enshrined in the Constitution”. There is no need of any ambiguity that the Doordarshan should apply its prudence in broadcasting a religious function in Ayodhya on August 5. They have to make it certain that it is not contrary to the accepted norms of national integrity.
The function is to take place where stood the Babri Masjid for more than 400 years. It is the place where that place of worship was demolished. The Supreme Court called the act as illegal.
None other than religious extremists would glorify the act of vandalism that took place in the very same land on December 6 in 1992. It is the place where the aggressive war cry of Hindu Rashtra was echoed. It is the place where Indian secularism was afflicted by a deep wound. A long and live telecast of ‘bhoomi pooja’ from that very same land maybe a political necessity of BJP preparing for elections in Bihar. But for the country and its poor, that priority is beyond apprehension.
While the country is reeling under the hardships of COVID 19, priority for people is to fight against it. Their food, shelter and living conditions are under constant danger.
In such a situation, causing a wedge among people is against Indian ethos. A live telecast from the national broadcaster may be seen by the crores of minorities as an act of vengeance. They are already suffering from a feeling of insecurity caused by various acts of the government like CAA, NRC, scrapping of Article 370 etc.
The Left in the country believes that unity of people is the prime need for the moment. Every action of the government should be contributory to the unity of the nation. The strategy of divide and rule may bring political dividends for the ruling party. But it will only add salt to the already existing injury in the secular fabric of India.
A live telecast from Ayodhya may provide a temporary feeling of ecstasy to the religious extremists in the Sangh Parivar camp. But the government of a secular democracy committed to uphold the constitutional principles is not supposed to act according to their whims and fancies. Obviously, that is what is happening in the present-day India.