Perhaps the most dangerous development in India is the advent of aggressive television. The Talk Show has become a travesty of common sense….writes Bikram Vohra
The multiple cloned programmes in different languages now ‘attack’ issues both violently and graphically and do this on a planned and deliberately provocative platform.
Even possibly inflammatory issues are reduced to entertainment on the one hand and important stand offs are made trivial in the babble of sound that passes for audio.
Recently, a talk show on a religious figure turned into a slapping match between two participants and deteriorated alarmingly. A foolish ban on meat for a particular community has sparked a furore that, as a priority, is purely laughable.
These shows are seen as relaxation for a high strung nation that commutes and works ten to twelve hours a day to come back to more hassles on the home front. An hour of white noise drowns out their despair of the day and it is comforting to watch these verbal duels on the screen.
But as a social tool the TV in this huge nation of 1.2 billion has become a sharp knife for divisiveness and canned hatred. By bludgeoning millions into audio-visual submission every night (and day) it offers limelight, sour as that is, to kooks, religious bigots, gurus and other self styled saviours in saffron, to fringe loonies and nut jobs of every kind. Whatever their absurd line of thought the recklessness of the producers in advocating an ‘everything goes’ does get listeners and converts to the nonsense spewed off the screen.
Rage, hostility, pettiness, provincial shortsightedness, prejudice and bias set to a scream is the diet of the majority and it is now reaching dangerous proportions.
There will be a payback as the schisms sharpen and harden and extreme rightwing lunatics get their fifteen minutes of fame.
There seems to be no stopping this hurtle into audio-visual hubris and there will be consequences of the worst sort if sanity is not restored into programming.
There is a whole generation being taught that there is no harm in hatred.