Defining Relationship

of Media and Indian Mindset


Man is the basic unit of our social structure. He is a creature of knowledge and ideas which have produced great industries, transportation systems, enormous scientific enhancements, global commerce and instant communication. One of the major products of this vast knowledge has been Mass media. It includes variety of forms like radio, television, magazines, newspapers advertisements etc. ‘Mass’ because it reaches out to a number of audiences. Media today has become an inevitable part of our lives. Mass media is an essential part of our social system. In a country like India which holds a unique blend of diverse cultures, media fulfills the role of social maintenance which is complimentary with the roles of such other entities as commercial firms, governmental agencies, educational centers, political parties, religious groups etc. It reflects the features of various communities, regional and national structures in terms of domination, interests, political philosophies and cultural norms. One can easily get many insights about a nation especially the powers and institutional setup through careful attention towards what our media publishes or broadcasts. Media also acts as an important agent of unity whose immediate function is to smoothen out the conflicting contrasts in the values and attitudes amongst the diverse people and create an environment conducive for national development. Media thus should be viewed as an institution meant for enlightening the nation, spreading awareness, broadcasting the reality, bringing about justice to all. Media is called to be the eyes and hands of the public. It acts as one of the most important factors which influence the mindset of the public. people settle their enquires with the help of media .they firmly know, understand and believe all what media broadcasts .but does media truly live up to all what is expected out of it? Is it truly serving just the nation for national interest or has it become a part of the marketing prospects?

India as a nation is independent. It stands aloof and is going through major developmental phases. However in the scenario of globalization, nations are growing out to be increasingly interdependent. This interdependence brings about a lot of imbalances and grave inequalities.  In such a scenario it is important to realize the role of media and the pictures it portrays. It is important to know the extent to which media is being helpful in maintaining the solidarity of the nation.

India has a rich form of cultural heritage. It is a traditional country. It traces its civilization from the Vedas. It has a diverse society. It has a diverse topography. Religion has been the core of the Indian tradition. Further religion and science have been the very bases of the developmental phases that the country has faced. It has taken thousands of years of development combined with evolution to stand on the position where it is today. However the nation presently reflects the presence of highly dynamic economy, theatrical politics, pseudo secular religious sentiments and red-tapist administration as a consequence to the existing selfish profit making attitudes which have caused serious adulteration in every field existing in the nation. This fact truly acts as a magnet and attracts media which is found to be ever ready for any kind of interesting coverage. No other medium now has the potential to reach so many people efficiently for informative, educational, and cultural and entertainment purposes. Mass media indeed is no longer an exclusive prerogative of urban population. Its expansion is practically all through the rural areas to urban areas, regional centers, national capital and also the remote places.

The conventional definition of media emphasizes the importance of news and stresses the rational communication political, economic and social ideas and information. It is supposed to reflect the citizen’s concern with their government; to be an integral part of the democratic process. As such it performs the role of a watch dog on the state which is believed to act as a custodian of public interest and their mission is to tell the truth freely and fearlessly.

Whenever we question the working of media and the role it plays in our country a simple answer is stated which explains that media broadcasts raw information. It helps in spreading awareness; it helps in maintaining the flow of information not only within the nation but also outside the nation. It helps in exchanging ideas and bringing about freedom of expression. The main focus is on liberty promoting mechanism, pluralism in moral arguments, democracy in politics and capitalism in the economy. It focuses on liberty. Media has nowadays started taking the word freedom for granted. Freedom to media generally means trespassing any kind of social cultural and religious boundaries, in order to ignite a spark in the public to extract anything that can broadcasted with increasing TRPs. It has indeed today converted itself into a profit gaining mechanism. On the other hand when ever media takes up any bold issue half of the population blindly follows it, while the rest stand against it without heeding to the intricacies of the topic and thus major commotion is experienced amongst the mindset of the public. 
Simply showing all that pleases the public, be it right or wrong, explicit or decent, showing it all is not the point, showing all what suits the nation and does not give it a wrong direction should be the concern.

Effect of Media on the Value System of the Country:

Media has absolutely acted as a factor which has to an extent lead to the erosion of the value system in our society. India is a traditional nation. It has had its own social limitations, norms, morals values among relations that exist in this society. We know that the traditional and modern societies are totally different in their dimensions. In present day scenario media is found to be absolutely influenced by the western world and ways of life, as they say, the nations are interdependent. Media takes the blueprint of the culture and tries to look at it from a neutral point of view and portrays the same to the public in the broadcast. Media is indeed influential. this creates chaos and stretches society in two different dimensions; modern as well as traditional i.e. when the media picks some new form of organization from the modern society and places it over the traditional ones then the new form of organization does not necessarily replace the older one, rather they get superimposed and create certain conditions which are not suitable to the environment already existing in the nation. Because of such actions today the basic essence of family values have declined. The reciprocity and responsibility amongst the society towards man and vice versa has reduced. It has lead to an individualistic approach of man towards life.
The change occurring in the west is universal. All the societies undergo evolution. There are stages like underdevelopment, development and developed stages which turn a nation to superpower and finally bring back the jungle stage. But this process follows a natural path only when the society lies undisturbed from any kind of external intrusion. Converging on the same lines as west would need severe qualifications as they are already developed.  Sharing the same path as west in the moment towards industrialization is a question for empirical examination, not simplistic description, which based on the reflection of the past.  The traditional Indian society has had its past, which has been quite different from the modern societies today. India has seen the presence of intimate family relations which involve close bonds & responsibility but the coverage shows the extensive presence of the idiosyncratic ways of leading life. So we see that the coverage being shown by the media today does not suit in the environment in the country. 

Effect of Media on Political and Administrative Systems:

Media is a very important asset in any democratic and parliamentarian structure of a sovereign country like India. The active and useful participation of various media channels like digital, print, electronic voice etc. is now much more effective. Either it is the involvement of the notorious criminal in Indian politics or moral responsibility of following the election commission guidelines, the media is playing an important role to cover the news while conducting debates and making analysis. One of the popular examples of media involvement and projections in Indian politics is Times Now showing relating debates and conversations with distinguished Indian politicians and political experts conducted by Aurnab Goswami. We can always expect a good result of motivating youth and educating Indians as well as creating awareness amongst all. Socio-economic and political issue is of a great concern presently. Media has shown its involvement in significant technological growth in India. The huge impact of the internet on youth and educated lot cannot be avoided which was indeed given a push by the media. National parties like the BJP and congress have increased their party projections through websites, web banners and social media involvement. Various issues like the Varun Gandhi’s controversial comments, money distribution in Indian politics, the existing corruption and lack of accountability in the Indian administration are the issues regularly taken up by the media.

Nevertheless, we cannot forget the negative impact of media on the socio political as well as administrative system in the country. The issues which are constantly hyped by the media are the ones showing the flaws existing in the systems. There exists a degree of constant criticism. Also media has started serving and promoting values, norms, ideas roles that generally serve the interests of the established political elites. The cultivation of the 'Mean World Syndrome' is to support the authoritarian structures and in turn expecting monetary gains. Recently the issue of khaps was given unnecessary importance .the issue had flooded the prints and press. Even though the same khaps and the social norms have existed for years in the country yet the media gave the issue a special reference. All political parties were referred to. Some were for and some were against the issue, many activists were also involved. Somewhere down the line the motive of division of votes was met. However no one tried to understand the real reason behind the issue. Media never tried to clarify in front of the public all what the traditional groups were trying to say and even if the issue had a lot of scientific facts and genetics involved, the issue was truly given a back seat.

Media is indeed powerful. It is extremely influential in drawing public opinions, ironically, in its own favour, or in accordance of a political group. Media has shown various shifts in its trends. the trend has shifted from following a   either a strong or a weak effect to the one in which 'the truth actually lies somewhere lies in between, although the balance is definitely in favour of the passive media public, which carries a hyped portrayal of a picture and thus a strong media effect is created. So the media should be much more serious and honest while presenting the issue. It should not be subjective. The idea that the media should serve the public and the society in solving problems that people face is gaining momentum. The identity of a responsible media is playing an objective role while reporting matters without giving unnecessary hype to attract attention of gullible public with an objective of making money and just money. It is only after reporting responsibly;  media can play it’s so called theoretical roles of educating people, help in forming mass opinion and solving problems of the public.

Effect of Media on Education System in India:

Education is that aspect of one’s life that truly gets into ones character. It shows in one’s mind set. Media has tried to act like a guide and a driving force to education system in the country today. Media is almost in the process of transforming the basic information included in the syllabus. It has set up new exchange systems of knowledge with other countries too. It has to an extent helped in promoting the formal as well as the non formal education to all. However it has been see that the media has given undue importance to the 21st century education system coming from the west and has not given any importance to the already existing systems in India. 

It has promoted English as a language, it has helped in getting rid of the board exams, and it has changed the syllabus in accordance to the west which is no longer a burden to kids. Though, it has forgotten that by doing so it has truly spoilt the efficiency that exists in its population. The reason why the supreme powers have failed in the present day scenario is due to the in efficient human resource. The Drink Drug Dance culture of the west has been the reason of the failure of the human resource.

Even though humans are basically intelligent however if not kept in disciplined and polished conditions, they develop an inclination towards the jungle nature life. There have been instances in America, where the president has made it compulsory for students to study science, bans have been put over the movement of youth from their houses after 8pm, in France the revealing clothes of the young girl students have been questioned in many colleges, while the students have revolted back each time. There exist reasons behind any kind of development. The reason behind such developments is the lack of human resource, which the country definitely needs and secondly, excessive  freedom , exposure and liberty  amongst the society creates a lot of confusion amongst relationships, decreases responsible nature of the residents, and increases the crime rates. Media is purely under the influence of the west. It is keen on taking the blueprint of the culture and super imposing it over our culture while totally forgetting the consequences it can lead to. India has been an intelligence hub; maximum amount of brain drain is faced by our country. Under such a scenario media should focus towards our own education system and try to bring about improvement within self. Media usually favors to write about the problematic schooling system rather than issuing inspirational stories of schools and of successful students. The focus on educational struggle and failure only serves to compound educational problems and confine to the existing stereotypes. Further media has also lead to the creation of the 'knowledge gap'. The ones who can reach out to the new technologies or the resource of information get to use it. The groups of people who are down trodden do not get any kind of exposure. This has lead to the creation of serious inequalities.

Media Influencing the Indian Mindset

Media has created confusion in the mindset of the existing population today. The traditional Indian society has been, from the very beginning, a dynamic society which has seldom resisted too many spontaneous changes from within. The whole Indian society has been a saga of multifarious influences, interactions, adjustments and readjustments at different times. These changes have been clearly brought about the constant interactions amongst various countries and cultures and the most influential factor involved in the process has been Media. 

Under such conditions the mindset of the society faces certain major transformations. Taking the example of the family value system, the family has been under the influence of the cumulative changes occurring at different times in the society. The Hindu family had clearly defined the roles of husband wife and other members of the society. However the structure of the family has faced transformation. Changes in the inter-personal relations, role of different members, introduction of the nuclear family system, occupational migration has lead to disintegration of the structure of the institution. Some functions have been lost to the family in the new situation. The enculturation of the child was an important function of the traditional family. The child received the first lesson of the formal education from his natal family. Ideas of essential discipline, virtues and character were stressed on him. This function is now being lost to the modern family as it has little zeal as well as little time for it. Apart from this now there are a few members to share this role. 

Under the influence of the westernization more stress is being given to industrialization and urbanization .people is being forced to shift from the rural to urban areas. This has lead to major structural changes further. Though 70% of the Indian society depends on agriculture as its primary source of living yet the people are being influenced to move from the primary to secondary and the tertiary fields. This concept is equivalent to importing more unemployment. No wonder now India stands at a perplexed state where the thought processes and the ways of living are discombobulate. in spite of the fact that we are superficially being modern the basic problems of a society like poverty, regional inequalities, unemployment, lack of skilled labor, lack of food and fodder, malnutrition, declining sex ratio, infidelity in relations are coagulating . 

The exposure to all what exists has increased their expectations from lives. While being basically humans, people look out for all the luxuries. The influence of the west has been such that half of the population dreams of settling abroad, the expectations from the jobs have increased. People are not ready to work and focus on the primary occupations rather the main objective is to gain money. Hard work has taken a back seat. People wish to make quick money. As far as family structures are concerned an individualistic approach towards life has set in the minds of the youth. The sense of responsibility has reduced. The aim has become to live and enjoy one’s life without holding any liability for the future generations. Culture is also facing a backdrop. People have stopped following the traditional norms. The whole way of living life has changed.

Media has paid an undeniable attention towards the benefits of global communication. It now knows no boundaries. It is called to be essentially democratic in nature. It calls for freedom of communication and access. It brings down the barriers between the nations and its people. However there arises a need to limit the freedom being taken by the media. Also media needs to introspect itself to responsibly accept and play its original role of serving only the public. It needs to bring about the presence of morality in its actions. Morality somewhere equates ethics with accountability. All the issues which are covered up now a days should involve morally correct discussions. The media should abide the social norms to an extent. Even the scholars who work and carry ideas which are out of the box accept the validity of the prevailing norms. Imposition of the ideas should be avoided. Rather, a discussion can commence from an 'ideal' that is distinguished from existing reality, but the ideal should not be anticipated as an empirically possible alternative. Rather it should be taken as a regulative idea whose approximation can be taken into recognition to condition the reality. But never should be completely assumed to be realized.

The emphasis of the media should be on the liberty promoting mechanisms but within boundaries. It should bring about pluralism in moral arguments, democracy in politics and capitalism in the economy.

Media generally at all levels and in all roles makes it a point the 'the press' due to its special constitutional status deserves recognition and protection as a key democratic institution. The same press at the same time remains reluctant to apply to the press the same standards of accountability expected of the other democratic institutions. The accountability however can be improved by the involvement of the local media and public journalism. The real role of the local media is to disseminate information to the roots of the society. To enlighten all, reflect the just, the truth. In the structural environment of the technological era, the task of the local media within the community is to trigger the projects having considerable impact on the local economy. Thus the media can bring about development. Also in case of public journalism, if the details about the values behind the agendas are one factor of mistrust about the press, public journalism should then be seen as an effort to make new organizations, more accountable to the public they serve. By experimenting in the print and the press and by asking for the participation of the citizens in shaping the news agenda and evaluating the result, the press brings about an open dialogue of self and a few angry and infuriated agendas. Thus media has its own advantages however only if kept under constant vigilance. 

The conventional definition of media emphasizes the importance of news and stresses the rational communication political, economic and social ideas and information. It is supposed to reflect the citizen’s concern with their government; to be an integral part of the democratic process. As such it performs the role of a watch dog on the state which is believed to act as a custodian of public interest and their mission is to tell the truth freely and fearlessly.  


More by :  Sonali Dhanker

Top | Perspective

Views: 3454      Comments: 1

Comment Ms. Sonali,
I appreciate your analysis on the issue of Indian media and how people percieve it. The way you have given your perspective gives much more dimensions to the issues. It was interesting to read this.

Kshitij Bansal
02-Apr-2011 07:08 AM

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.