1. Dissecting Pakistan’s Problem with Discrimination
  2. Preparing Tweets As Important As Preparing Guns
  3. Using Cricket to Heighten Hate
  4. The Art of Perception Management
  5. India’s Toxic Nationalism with a Runaway Media
  6. India’s Unhinged Media
  7. Khalid Zahid: Transforming Saudi Art
  8. Now Walk the Talk, Imran
  9. Violence against Minorities
  10. Unsheltered
  11. Lumbering Giant with a Midget’s Mentality
  12. How to Encourage Terrorism
  13. Faisalabad in 2028
  14. Mental Illness & the Progress of a Nation
  15. Child Sexual Abuse
  16. Living amongst the clouds : Aalia Bux
  17. Mental health – What soldiers can teach us
  18. Many Cookies still to Crumble
  19. Steering Through Turbulence
  20. ExxonMobil – Close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s
  21. NAYA PAKISTAN?
  22. Making ADR work for Women
  23. Women’s Rights under Family Law
  24. Shutting the Door on Refugees
  25. Water Challenges and Opportunities
  26. In Conversation with Dr. Ghulam Rasul on Hydrology
  27. In Conversation with Shafqat kakakhel: Internal Water Management Practices
  28. Come on Skipper !
  29. GUMM
  30. Annus Horibilis
  31. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  32. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  33. Method in the Madness
  34. Legal System Reforms
  35. Power Over Impulse
  36. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  37. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  38. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  39. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  40. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  41. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  42. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  43. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  44. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  45. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  46. NEWS PICKS
  47. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  48. Fitness with the Mughal
  49. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  50. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  51. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  52. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  53. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  54. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  55. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  56. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  57. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  58. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  59. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  60. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  61. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  62. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  63. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  64. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  65. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  66. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  67. Money for nothing, bits for free
  68. FinTech
  69. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  70. Crisis of Civilization
  71. Child Sexual Abuse
  72. Education is the only Solution
  73. Fit for Purpose
  74. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  75. Mini meringue recipe
  76. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  77. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  78. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  79. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  80. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  81. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  82. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  83. Five major political events of 2017
  84. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  85. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  86. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  87. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  88. What we can learn from Ghalib
  89. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING
Thu, Apr 25, 2019
  1. Dissecting Pakistan’s Problem with Discrimination
  2. Preparing Tweets As Important As Preparing Guns
  3. Using Cricket to Heighten Hate
  4. The Art of Perception Management
  5. India’s Toxic Nationalism with a Runaway Media
  6. India’s Unhinged Media
  7. Khalid Zahid: Transforming Saudi Art
  8. Now Walk the Talk, Imran
  9. Violence against Minorities
  10. Unsheltered
  11. Lumbering Giant with a Midget’s Mentality
  12. How to Encourage Terrorism
  13. Faisalabad in 2028
  14. Mental Illness & the Progress of a Nation
  15. Child Sexual Abuse
  16. Living amongst the clouds : Aalia Bux
  17. Mental health – What soldiers can teach us
  18. Many Cookies still to Crumble
  19. Steering Through Turbulence
  20. ExxonMobil – Close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s
  21. NAYA PAKISTAN?
  22. Making ADR work for Women
  23. Women’s Rights under Family Law
  24. Shutting the Door on Refugees
  25. Water Challenges and Opportunities
  26. In Conversation with Dr. Ghulam Rasul on Hydrology
  27. In Conversation with Shafqat kakakhel: Internal Water Management Practices
  28. Come on Skipper !
  29. GUMM
  30. Annus Horibilis
  31. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  32. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  33. Method in the Madness
  34. Legal System Reforms
  35. Power Over Impulse
  36. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  37. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  38. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  39. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  40. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  41. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  42. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  43. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  44. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  45. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  46. NEWS PICKS
  47. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  48. Fitness with the Mughal
  49. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  50. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  51. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  52. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  53. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  54. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  55. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  56. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  57. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  58. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  59. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  60. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  61. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  62. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  63. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  64. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  65. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  66. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  67. Money for nothing, bits for free
  68. FinTech
  69. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  70. Crisis of Civilization
  71. Child Sexual Abuse
  72. Education is the only Solution
  73. Fit for Purpose
  74. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  75. Mini meringue recipe
  76. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  77. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  78. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  79. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  80. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  81. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  82. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  83. Five major political events of 2017
  84. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  85. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  86. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  87. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  88. What we can learn from Ghalib
  89. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING

India losing ground

Mastering the art of creating and managing perceptions of the public takes great skill. The United States was the best at it. The Americans decided not to break the Soviet Union with B52 bombers, but with charismatic prose, pop culture and freedom. For this, they relied on their press to project core tenants of American culture all of which revolved around freedom.

The U.S media would also play with words very cleverly to demonize the Soviet Union. The ‘Red Scare’ was used in their literature to cause widespread fear of a communist invasion. Books were also a major weapon to undermine Soviet influence. The legendary Dr. Zhivago and Gulag Archipelago were examples of that. This is not to say that the U.S ‘bought’ the authors to write the books, but once they were written, the U.S saw the opportunity to distribute them in order to bolster their position. In the 1950s, the CIA created the Congress of Cultural Freedom with a mission to weaken the Soviets and win over the hearts and minds of Europe’s left-leaning intellectuals. In the end, it was America’s soft power that triumphed over the Soviets. During the heyday of the Cold War, the U.S decided to defeat their enemy by displaying their tolerant, attractive and progressive way of life through their powerful media.

If we fast-forward to today’s India, it is evident that they have sought something similar. Through their robust media, the message consistently projected is of a modern, secular, democratic and romantic India. It has worked to a great extent. They are propped up by the West as this shining example of what a successful South Asian democracy looks like. Their media has also been successful at promoting attractive aspects of their culture throughout the world. If you have travelled even a little, you would have run into the grungy, unbathed, self-righteous hippy sort obsessed with the idea of travelling to India and doing yoga in a forest in Karnataka.

While India did an admirable job at marketing themselves for many years, the façade is finally being exposed. Since the BJP has been in power, they exploited conventional and social media to project their nationalist agenda. Many primetime Indian channels decided to project the government’s nationalist narrative with vehemence and conviction. Through social media, BJP nationalist propaganda has been spread far and wide to the public causing division and hate.

“The BJP’s aggressive media machinery, which was supposed to be their strength has turned out to be their biggest weakness, and it will likely show in the polls this year”

Passionately and constantly arguing that India is being threatened by ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘Pakistani funded terrorists’, the media has been successful in bringing many under the nationalist sphere of influence, which was always their prime objective. However, what the constant promotion of the nationalist ideology has done is reveal the true face of Indian democracy. When the self-confessed nationalists took control of the media, they overplayed their hand, to the point where the perception of a romantic and exotic India is beginning to wane globally. They got too loud and too hysterical for their own good, which are clear symptoms of misguided hubris.

The fact that the appalling human condition has been covered up for so long is astonishing. The reality is that the majority in India is living in utter destitution. The democratic institutions have consistently let the people down. More than 70% of the country is living in extreme poverty. Despite a fast-growing economy, more than one third of the world’s malnourished children live in India. When economic progress does not improve the lives of the majority, it becomes pointless. If the measure of success is high rates of growth over the human condition, then serious introspection is required.

When you look at India’s relationship with its neighbors, particularly Pakistan, their antagonistic behavior is extremely telling. The hysteria in the mainstream media has reached depths which go beyond the imagination. After the recent mini scuffle with Pakistan, where they were outwitted militarily and politically, the Indian media exposed the government’s destructive nature. Their lack of nuance and blind support for the government’s hasty decisions during this conflict has backfired within and without. The BJP’s aggressive media machinery, which was supposed to be their strength has turned out to be their biggest weakness, and it will likely show in the polls this year.

If the perception a country has created is not based on even a little bit of truth, it will come crashing down. Even with its mass media and all its wealth, they could not make the narrative of unity and progress stick.

The purpose of this article is not to demean India or Indians. The argument is that managing perceptions of the public for a long period is a difficult task. The Americans during the Cold War worked extremely hard to win the world over. However, through a lack of maturity and subtlety, the Indian leadership and media took it too far. To be fair, this is not just an Indian problem. Primetime media the world over is more interested in being subjective and entertaining rather than objective and factual. It is heartening to see that sane Indian voices are finally coming out against the hysteria on mainstream channels. The reductionist narrative of ‘nationalists’ vs. ‘anti-nationalists’ is finally losing steam, which is good news for India and the entire region

By: Ali Gauhar

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