February 28, 2009

Of Awards and Propaganda

For all its merits of modernity (or globallization), there are some flaws too.

Now, it is indeed a fact that the Anglo Saxon group has coveted the world and it has been a harbinger of technology and progress. Pax Americana, the current era under which we live right now has given us such technological progress that it has dramatically improved human life all over the place. Those of us who have been able to derive benefits from this have moved ahead in our personal lives.

But this has been at a great cost to local cultures and civilizations. The places where the above mentioned group has gone to have had to face tremendous loss of lives and fortune to get this 'manna' of civilization from the West. And in places where they have not been able to destroy local cultures, the locals have had their minds subverted to being subservient to the West forever. People view their culture as lowly and , and anything made in the West is treated to be heavenly and divine.

Something similar happens in the award category. While we all know that awards are meant for hard work and achievements, there is an often unseen dimension to awards. That they can also be given by propagandists of a cause, or an image.

And so, in India, while people may give back awards from the government as below:
“I have a great deal of respect for the Sahitya Akademi, for the members of this year's Jury and for many of the writers who have received these awards in the past. But to register my protest and reaffirm my disagreement — indeed my absolute disgust — with these policies of the Indian Government, I must refuse to accept the 2005 Sahtiya Akademi Award”, Arundhati said in a statement here.
“These essays written between 1998 and 2001 are deeply critical of some of the major policies of the Indian State”, she said. The main area of her disgreement included the government policies of constructing big dams, persuing nuclear weapons, increasing militarisation and economic liberalisation.

which may or may not be for a just cause, people do not think twice before accepting awards from western governments or institutions.

For an example of how this propaganda takes place, have a look at the winner of the 10th annual Jonathan Mann Award. A yet ambiguous case still pends against him and yet he gets 22 Nobel Prize winners demanding his release.

And now, we have slumdog millionaire. Nobody in India needs to be reminded of slums. Poverty is endemic in many places in the country, even the rich might not be able to avoid the sight of slums as they may have to go by them on their way to work. If people had to generate awareness, one trip outside would suffice. The plea for slumdog apologists that it is the beacon of truth and enlightenment is pure baloney.

And if we are thinking that slumdog is a slang for a person from the slums and is a commonly used word, then we are wrong. The word does not exist, at least in this dictionary. It is but a hangover of us being called dogs by natives of the nation that might not even have existed when India was at its zenith. For them, we are still what we are 60 years ago. In this day and age, inspite of sections of the Indian society having started to march ahead, we seem to have no right to dream, no right to look up and no right to relieve ourselves of our troubles even temporarily by demanding a feel good movie. We need to be kicked and punched and thrown back into the same hole, that is what the white man seems to be saying. Even a woman of a newly turned middle class family would try to hide her ugliness, if any. Why not mother India?

I have not seen the movie, so I can't say more. What appalls me is that our own people have fallen for the trap, and allowing this portrayal of poverty in India to win acclaim and getting back Oscars. And although many a common Indian has raised his voice against it, but since we are not part of the movie, our word will not be accepted. Instead of allowing the contrarians some space, voices against the movie have been dismissed by a member of the star cast as being jealous or worse, childish.

Bear with me for the large number of links, but the article would only make sense if you have a glimpse of every article linked.


  1. I have read your post and have gone through all the links.

    And Here I strongly condemn it, No one has the right to object some one else's religion, mimic or ridicule it, No one has a right to disrespect someone else's decision to choose the way he want to live his life.

    Blamming the religion for act of individuals is one of the most unethical and immoral way. We know that no religion promote violence, they why is religion blamed for the acts of terrorists? we know terrorists have no religion.

    How can you Quote out of Context Ahadith (Saying of Propher Muhammad SAW) and then making a website out of it?

    Ridiculing any religion is Blasphemy. And I am very hurt and still protest the way my Prophet is being made fun of here!

    I retire.

  2. poverty, religion, slums and slumdog... we made it up as per our convinience.. if we all acted just as human, world will be a better place !!

  3. totally agree wid asbah..
    i wonder when will ppl stop blaming religion/communities/castes etc instead of the individual....when a person does some wrong...its dat person who is wrong ...n not his religion or whatever...
    ..dat rehman point was highly insensible.

  4. Asbah.. I feel this is not a ground of political agendas and it was mischievous or perhaps sheer ignorance of me to post that link, so I apologize..

  5. Accepts your apology and your concern about it, Thankyou :)

  6. Agreeing to the above statements, relegion as a whole, doesnt spread hatred but it is the interpretation that makes it so. Few people for personal gains they do what ever they want using the people's ignorance and psyche.

    anyways, that was a good write and thoughtfull. There is so much to think about and so much to do.

    Actually the movie is an entertainer, good music,nice screenplay and storyline, exaggerated now and then and the underdog finally wins. The backdrop is poverty,which we cant shy away from. It depicts the reality albeit exaggerated here and there.

    So people have their own opinions, GOD, there are other things to worry about, this movie should be viewed with artistic sense and not like a documentary judgement. As in all movies , its the same here too. Only thing is India is being associated with poverty and there is nothing wrong about it. Actually ppl live in far more worse conditions, for which we've ourselves and our system to be blamed.

    Lets have a life ;)


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