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Impromptu / Extempore  speeches

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14. The media controls how and what we think!

There is diabolical power in indoctrination. The mob and the people, they can be led by clever manipulation of information. Revolutions, freedom struggles, great philosophies and much else that storm the world can be traced back to some level of mass dissemination of ideas.

Gentlemen, even our own beliefs on how our nation was formed are more or less based on premeditated indoctrination.

In the earlier days, it was the print media. Now, print media has to compete with other equally powerful media such as films, TV and even the Internet.

It is doubtful if there is any mass media which has only altruistic aims. Almost all of them have business interests. When they indoctrinate the people, the consistent ulterior motive is always self preservation and business gains.

I remember a story that I heard many years ago.

Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped from St. Helena. Louis the XVIII was on the French throne. The headlines of one prominent French newspaper screamed: The Monster has escaped.

The next day, Napoleon reached the shores of France. The newspaper headlines roared: Napoleon has reached France. On reaching France, Napoleon moves along with a surging crowd towards Paris. The king runs away and Napoleon is on the throne of France. The same newspaper headlines thunder: Napoleon is emperor. Viva la Empereur!

Here one sees not just the control of the mob by the media, but rather the mob power controlling media. Well, in many ways, I think it is a give and take relationship between the media and the mob. For example, in many ways, the media tries not to dismantle the idols of the people, but rather loves to rhyme with the love, and the whims and fancies of the mob. But then, still it can influence the majority view in a very slow and non-tangible manner.

I may even say that the First World War was spurred by the words used by the Austrian newspapers. Even in the case of India-Pakistan relationship, can one deny that the newspapers and TVs of both nations do play a great part in stirring-up violent and vengeful passions in the people of both the nations?

Gentlemen, may I now mention a more unsettling thought? It is this. Most of our great men, great political leaders, mahatmas and much else are merely the creations of our media. In fact our nation is a nation of an immensity of great men. But then, where is the evidence of their capacities on the streets of this nation? Well, the fact is that their greatness disseminates all round us from our media. Yet nothing concrete is there to prove their greatness other than what our media teaches us, incessantly.

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