Kaun Banega Crorepati: Version ‘Propaganda’
Yunhi hamesha ulajhti rahi hai zulm se khalq
Na inki rasm nayi, na apni reet nayi
Yunhi hamesha khilaaye hain humne aag mein phool
Na unki haar nayi, na apni jeet nayi
Isi sabab se falak ka gila nahin karte
Tere firaaq mein hum dil bura nahin karte
The whole town was mourning. Kashmir had gone into a momentary furore at the custodial death of Rizwan Assad, who was yet to turn 29. The school principal, preparing to pursue Ph.D in chemistry, was well known among his student for his humility, soft-spokenness and his acumen at the subject of chemistry. The death of a highly educated school principal would have dilapidated if in any other corner of the world, but in Kashmir it was simply seen as one more addition to the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives to the conflict. A sense of ‘normalisation of misery’, devoured over the gruesome incident and the reactionaries of pseudo-normalisation and peace plugged their licentious eardrums to the truth, to loss and to a perpetual suffering that Kashmir has been plunged into over last three decades.
Exactly one month after the incident, on April 29 DD-Kashir broadcasted the first episode of Kashur Kaun Banega crorepati. Talking about the channel, while trying to restore normalcy in Kashmir, Delhi had come with a new intervention — the setting up of DD Kashir. Entire Bollywood landed in a huge charter for a dance and music evening in the lawns of Lalit Grand Palace on June 6, 2000, to mark its formal launch. Aimed at neutralising the impact of Pakistani media, this satellite channel started creating programmes on the culture of diverse regions of Jammu and Kashmir in almost 12 languages mostly with a very strong pro-centre flavour. Having been almost forgotten for last ten years, the DD seemed to make a new entry into the households of disgruntled Kashmiris with the antic of Koshur KBC
The program had hired consultants who had worked in Bollywood and fresh media graduates, and the stint was hosted by a local comedian. The show that was planned and executed on the directions of centre, with the idea to air television shows aimed to promote democratic values, national unity, communal harmony, merits of secularism and patriotism, highlight the perils of fundamentalism and project the security forces in a positive light, was advertised as a probable champion of Kashmiri language and and the misnomer of Kashmiriyat, ‘Kashmiriyat’ which is mostly synonymous to the fictitious ambience of a falsely doctored ‘normalcy’ in Kashmiri political discourse, medieval or modern.The participants were taken to New Delhi and their travel and all their accommodation expenses were covered. Interestingly, the Government claimed that Kashmir crisis which has been under constant rise since last many years needs such programmes for the reason that “Such shows will deviate the youth’s attention and expose them to other cultures, which will help in bringing peace to the Valley” (News 18, April 30, 2019).The hype was surreal, with some of the protagonists of state perpetuating the rhetoric as ‘the most prestigious achievement’ in history of Kashmiri entertainment.
The recent UN report on human rights projects a gruesome and horrendous state of affairs in Kashmir, with numerous killings in crossfires, destruction of property, sexual violence, torture and enforced disappearances. The state is reduced to a bedlam where subjugation of saner voices is a norm. The show, however, portrayed the fluffy and unrealistic ideas that are completely impractical in a land that has seen thousands of young men being killed, that has witnessedthe ink of scholarships flowing with blood and doctorates flying into human ashes. Education and intellect hasn’t prevented us from being killed, our social roles haven’t stopped the bullets hitting us in our bellies or the pellets blinding us, but a fraudulent-intellectualism is used to downplay the realities that thousands of students have lost their lives, have lost their teachers, their college professors and their Principals. Smiling faces, romantic tenors and hyper-nationalistic comportment, with the carefully crafted questions and conversations in subtle praise of certain political corridors, tried to provide the audience with a fake sense of happiness and content, and merchandise a false commotion of peace and normalcy to the rest of the world. Many a times the show was seen to praise the idea of neo-liberalisation, unpopular policies of past and present and historical adversaries of state like Dogra Kings as the subscribers to an apocryphal prosperity.
Hence, the most important feature of the show, which allows it to be used as means of propaganda, is its ability to have covert, unnoticed impact on people and reshaping their narrative regarding the conflict. The influence is usually in sensual form out of the consciously manageable field, which helps to bypass rational thinking (the emergence of sensual resonance). Sensual resonance may be defined as the creation of certain mood among a wide audience, at the same time propagating certain ideas. It allows to bypass psychological protection at conscious level, which tries to protect from advertisement, propaganda and any form of brain-washing. It is here that sensual resonance is necessary, because its first rule is: “One should influence man at sensual, not at conscious level”. The show has its exact ideological orientation, that is, to create images of perfect subjects, perfect contend democratic society, which were serving to the perfect state. The audience is expected to forget all they underwent in last few decades, the show is expected to work like a delusional band-aid, but over the lacerations which pierce through the body of Kashmir through and through.
The most widespread means of mass media: film, promotional video, cartoon and TV broadcast, have become basic means of television, in the meantime being used as tools for political influence and as such Koshur Kaun Banega Crorepati has turned out to be a modern day Bande Peather, the medieval version of which was introduced and promulgated by Mughal rulers in Kashmir, as political tool for veneration of the kings and at the same time very cleverly reorienting any antagonising intellectual or ideological proclivities.
We are simply not in a state to have a program like Kaun Banega crorepati. Our graveyards and orphanages are in competitions with each other. There is a human rights crises in Kashmir and lingering are pertinent issues which need to be tasked out and discussed so as to ensure political safety of our future generations. The propaganda very clearly tries to mitigate any conversations regarding such political inquisitiveness and draws people into a complete submission of lights, glamour and money.
Writer is published author and doctor by profession, he can be reached out at: