Electronic Media and Hindu Sentiments – I
26 Oct 2009
[Tamil Hindus have noted an increasingly anti-Hindu bias in the electronic media. Recently, a programme telecast by Vijay TV of 'Star TV' Group on 11 October, in Tamil, ridiculed the Hindu cultural practice of married women wearing Mangalsutras and insulted Hindu women. There is growing concern that this is part of a concerted socio-political move to defame and delegitimise all aspects of Hindu tradition in public life – Editor]
The sanctity of Mangalsutra
'Mangalyatharanam' or the tying of Mangalsutra is the most important ritual in the Hindu marriage. The Mangalsutra, sacred symbol of marriage in all Hindu groups, is known as 'Mangala Naan' or 'Mangala Mani' or simply 'Thaali' in Tamil. Even an ordinary thread soaked in turmeric solution and tied with a small turmeric piece is considered as Thaali, because turmeric is attached with divinity, as it is one of the important ingredients in puja; hence the turmeric thread has the sanctity of a Mangalsutra.
"Musical instruments (Nagaswaram, Thavil) are played at the time of the tying of Mangalsutra at full volume, so that any bad words being mouthed by anyone in the marriage hall may not fall in the ears of the bride and bridegroom. The Mangalsutra is tied around the neck of a woman so that she is recognised by all as one who is married to another man and respected. A married woman should never desire another man. The 'Thaali is like a Veli' (Mangalsutra is like a fence) protecting her, and she must not transgress it. Tamil Nadu even had a king by name 'Thalikku Veli'…
Agni (fire) plays the role of 'witness' in the marriage ritual, a witness not only for the wellbeing of the couple, but also for their character. If they are not sincere to each other and become characterless, Agni burns their heart and mind and punishes them. That is also reason a woman of character is known as "Karpukkanal" ('Karpu' = chastity; 'Kanal' = Agni).
The groom puts three knots while tying the Mangalsutra around the neck of the bride to ensure her character: the first knot indicates that she is obedient to her husband, the second that she is docile to her parents and the third that she fears God. It can also be termed as "Kaappu" (protection) that she gets from her husband, parents and God. Both the bride and bridegroom are tied a "Kaappu" in their hands symbolizing that she is ensured of her protection and he assures her his protection.
Hinduism is the only religion which projects woman as Devi and her husband as a devotee (bhakta) making their life happy.
Hey Hinduism! You have made the life happy by projecting the woman as Goddess and laying a fencing of chastity around her! I love you like my life!" - Poet Kannadasan in "Meaningful Hinduism" (Arthamulla Inthu Matham)
It is our culture to look upon a married woman as a mother. The Mangalsutra is not a decorative item. It is a symbol of culture; it is a symbol of divinity; it is a symbol of chastity; it is a symbol indicating the sanctity of marriage; it is a symbol projecting the renowned Bharatiya Hindu culture.
Our culture survived the oppression of Islamic and Christian invaders for centuries. But in the half century since independence, particularly the last three decades, our culture has undergone severe changes for the worse. Westernization and the assault of anti-Hindu forces, continuing alien system of education, self-centered politicians and their misrule and the irresponsible foreign-controlled mainstream media have together taken a heavy toll on our cultural heritage, driving it along the path of destruction.
Christian Media House insulting Hindus
As a milestone on this destructive path, Chennai based 'Vijay TV,' part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire (Star TV Group), has been telecasting a programme titled "Neeyaa Naanaa" (You or Me – Tum aur Mein) every Sunday for over two years. It is produced by another Christian production company called Mercury Creations; the CEO is one Antony. The programme is anchored by one Gopinath, also a Christian. It is basically a discussion forum wherein two teams (one 'for' and one 'against') debate a subject before a chief guest (a supposed celebrity), and finally the chief guest and anchor declare their 'verdict' in conformity with the 'motive' of the producer firm.
It has been noticed that this company invariably takes Hindu oriented subjects for discussion, and demeans Hindu culture, insults Hindu tradition and wounds the religious sentiments of Hindus, planting seeds of poison in the minds of gullible viewers (mostly Hindus) so that they suspect and distrust their own cultural heritage and religious traditions.
A few weeks ago, for instance, the channel telecast a debate: "Do we need to worship the Kula Devatas?" The debate was organized between 'elders' and 'youngsters', elders talking about Kula Devata worship and youngsters against it. The programme would certainly have impacted upon the innocent minds of the next generation against Kula Devata worship.
Similarly sensitive topics like, "Why not we have Tamil archana in temples?", "Why should we have only Brahmins as archagas in Agamic temples?" have been debated with the motive of ridiculing Vedic and Agamic principles and to project only so-called Brahminism as Hinduism. These topics were utilized to the hilt to create a rift between Purohits and Pujaris and alienate worshippers of village deities. Another topic "Which is better, arranged marriage or love marriage?" saw Hindu customs ridiculed.
Normally, the participants, who are supposed to talk in favour of the production company's motive, are handpicked by the company; even if the other team's participants perform better, their arguments get edited. This writer has had the personal experience of participating in one such programme, anchored by the same Gopinath.
Unfortunately, most participants are Hindus who simply come to show their faces on television without realizing that they are also playing a part in the denigration of their religion and culture. For such persons, seeing themselves on the TV screen is a big achievement, to boast about in the neighbourhood. This is a reason for the obsession with sending children to so-called 'Reality Shows', which smack of indecency and even vulgarity.
Vijay TV's audacious show
The last debate telecast by Vijay TV must be viewed in this backdrop and the topic debated on Sunday, 11 October 2009, between 9 pm and 10 pm (primetime Sunday) was, "Should the Mangalsutra be necessarily worn by women?"
In course of the debate, the sacred Hindu custom was ridiculed in demeaning terms and the Mangalsutra termed as just an 'ordinary thing' which need not be worn. Some of the outrageous comments made by the anchor and some participants include:
- Wearing the Mangalsutra is only a superstition; it doesn't have any sanctity attached to it; the Mangalsutra is just an ordinary thing.
- Most women do not wear it nowadays.
- Women who go out for jobs do not want to show themselves as 'married' and hence they conceal their Mangalsutra inside their blouses.
- A lot of women do not wear it while sleeping at night.
- Many women do not wear it while going out and prefer to leave it at home.
- It is like a dog's license hanging round the neck. The Mangalsutra is only a marriage license and doesn't have any sanctity (comment by a Christian lady)
The arrogant Gopinath asked a participant who supported wearing Mangalsutras if she would remove hers if a doctor asked her to do so before a surgery. The lady replied that she would obey the doctor and wear it again after the surgery. The anchor teased her, "Will you do whatever the doctor says?" which made her squirm in embarrassment.
In a shocking incident, one lady simply removed her Mangalsutra and handed it over to the anchor when he asked for it. Chief guest Nirmala Periyasamy, a former news reader in SUN TV, who belongs to the school of Dravidian thought, gave the 'Best Participant' prize to this lady. When the prize was handed over, the anchor forced the other participants to applaud her for her 'courage' and 'rational' thinking.
It was obvious that this lady and others who spoke against the sanctity of the Mangalsutra were handpicked by the production company and that the arguments of the opposite team have been edited sharply. The anchor openly bullied participants who spoke in support of wearing the Mangalsutra and the sanctity attached to it. One can imagine the adverse impact this programme could have made on the minds of young girls and innocents in semi-urban and rural areas.
(To be continued…)
The writer is a freelancer
Electronic Media and Hindu Sentiments – 2
Even rationalists couldn't disown Mangalsutra
In the last seventy years, the Dravidian racist organizations and political parties have been trying their level best to alienate Tamils from the Hindu fold, by propagating that 'Tamil culture' is totally different from 'Hindu culture' and all that jazz.
This kind of campaigning increased manifold since 1967 with the help of official machinery after the State came under the rule of Dravidian parties. The so-called self-respect marriage was the first step taken by Dravidian racists towards this objective. Its aim was to denigrate Hindu tradition. It is a different matter that self-respect marriages have been a great failure.
The self-respect marriages happening now are sans purohits, Agni and Vedic Mantras, but not without Mangalsutra. Dravidian leaders who claim to be products of EV Ramasamy's and Annadurai's schools of Dravidian thought, have been brazenly presiding over self-respect marriages, blessing couples by personally handing over Mangalsutras to them. A recent example was the conduct of 84 marriages on the 84th birthday of Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, wherein he blessed 84 couples by gifting Mangalsutras.
Silent Tamil parties and effete Hindu organisations
Though the 'Thaali' has become an integral part of the life of Tamil people, it was quite evident that the agenda of Mercury Creations was to poison the minds of the Tamil people and create a sense of hatred against the habit of wearing Mangalsutra. It is very sad that this programme, which insulted a great culture and ridiculed a divine tradition, has not stirred any protests so far.
It may be recalled that "Tamil" political parties made actor Kushboo's life miserable for stating in an interview to "India Today" that there was nothing wrong in premarital sex, by demonstrating in front of her house with footwear and broomsticks and filing a flurry of cases in all courts across the state, forcing her to render a public apology. They said Kushboo had insulted Tamil women and demeaned Tamil culture.
But by remaining silent now, they have indicated unwillingness to protest against Christian companies. Thus, those who showed bravery against a hapless woman for conveying an opinion do not have the courage to act against a rich and powerful media house. Another fact we can infer from their silence is that these 'Tamil' parties have not come out against Vijay TV because they also run their own newspapers/magazines and TV Channels on the common plank of anti-Hinduism.
But why haven't Hindu organizations protested? Was it because of incapacity, disunity, lack of cadre strength? Even the women's wing of the BJP has not bothered to take note. They could have at least issued a press statement. There is a fear among the Hindu intelligentsia in Tamil Nadu that what the propaganda of Dravidian parties failed to achieve – to alienate Tamils from the Hindu fold – may well be achieved by the weakness of Hindu organizations! Hindu bodies must realize this and pull up their socks. As news about this outrageous programme has spread across the state, Hindus expect these organizations to launch statewide protests and force Vijay TV and Mercury Creations to render a public apology, failing which these organizations must take the legal course.
Individuals rose to the occasion
Though political parties and other organizations kept quiet, concerned individuals registered their protests in no uncertain terms. They contacted Mr. Sriram, CEO of Vijay TV and Mr. Antony, CEO of Mercury Creations, over telephone and protested against the telecast of the concerned programme and demanded a public apology. Sriram attended a call or two but later instructed his Secretary to avoid the phone calls. But he could not dodge the persistent Radha Rajan (Editor, www.vigilonline.com) to whom he said, "We just telecast the programme and we are in no way connected with the production. I will ask the producers to speak to you." But Ms. Rajan gave him a piece of her mind and asked if he would telecast any kind of filth if it comes with money, without any social responsibility.
Antony contacted Radha Rajan and asked her audaciously, "So many movies have come showing scenes of removing the Mangalsutra. Did you question those producers or protest against them? Why are you protesting now?" When Radha Rajan blasted him for his arrogance, he tried to mislead her saying, "I belong to the 'Thevar' community and Pon Muthuramalinga Thevar is like a God for me". But when she pointed out that he could not hide the fact that he was a 'Thevar Christian,' he replied, "We have just aired the opinion of the participants," and without showing any remorse disconnected the phone.
Two other Hindu activists, Mrs. Uma Ananth and Mr. Venkat, also called Sriram and Antony and demanded a public apology. Parameswaran of Hindu Munnani strongly condemned the telecast of such an outrageous programme and demanded a public apology from both. Gautham from Kanyakumari called up Antony and blasted him for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. He asked him if he had the courage to produce programmes demeaning a minority community's culture. Antony reportedly told Gautham, "It was not a deliberate act. We have just aired the opinions of the participants. Moreover, I am a devotee of Vaikundanathar and so I would not hurt the Hindus". Antony, apart from 'acting' as a devotee of Muthuramalinga Thevar and Vaikundanathar, showed no remorse to those who spoke to him.
However, realising that the protests were increasing, Antony approached Sri Ramagopalan ji, Founder President of Hindu Munnani. He refrained from discussing this issue with Sri Ramagopalan ji but invited him to be chief guest for a future programme on 'Siddhars'. As Ramagopalan ji was unaware of the issue he consented to this request. As Antony was leaving the Hindu Munnani office, he got a mouthful from Parameswaran who reached there by chance and later informed Ramagopalan ji about the issue.
Columnist BR Haran, who learnt of Antony's visit to the Hindu Munnani, urged Sri Ramagopalan ji to take up the cultural atrocity with Vijay TV and ensure their apology via 'scroll' on the screen the whole of Sunday 18 October. He suggested Ramagopalan ji organize a protest demonstration in front of Vijay TV office, and urged Sri Vedantam ji, International Vice President VHP, to support the protest.
Shri Ramagopalan ji called Sriram and asked him to render a public apology for telecasting the said programme which had hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu majority. Sriram had the temerity to tell Ramagopalan ji that he had sent a report to his Head Office at Hong Kong and could act only as per their advice. The same reply was given to Uma Ananth when she demanded an apology.
When the Television Company and Production Company are Christian institutions working with an anti-Hindu agenda, what can employees like Sriram do? Still it is sad that Hindus work in such companies at the cost of their dignity and self-respect, without being able to do anything when their own culture and religion are degraded in front of their eyes.
Meanwhile, Chennai based advocate R Subramaniam sent a legal notice to Vijay TV-CEO Mr. Sriram (Respondent-1), Mercury Creations-CEO Mr. Antony (Respondent-2) and Vijay TV Anchor Gopinath (Respondent-3) with copies to the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu and Commissioner of Police, Chennai City. He condemned the first three respondents and demanded a public apology before telecasting the next episode of the programme, failing which he requested both the DGP and CoP to take immediate action against them.
The offence committed by Vijay TV and Mercury Creations is violative of Sections 153(a), 153(b) and 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code and they deserve punishment in accordance with those sections.
(To be continued…)
Electronic Media and Hindu Sentiments – 3
28 Oct 2009
The Hindu hatred of other media houses
Denigration of Hindu culture, demeaning Hindu traditional rituals, hurting religious sentiments of Hindus, ridiculing their beliefs as blind superstition, have all been perpetrated for years by a major section of the mainstream media, both print and electronic. Most maintain an anti-Hindu stance and work on a common principle of 'Hindu hatred.' While the print media publishes news and articles insulting Hindus, the electronic media telecasts programmes belittling them.
Most media houses are subservient to alien forces, as they are allegedly funded by them and act as per their instructions, which are seemingly hostile to our national interests. Another pertinent aspect is that most employees of these media houses are Christians, Marxists, Muslims, secularists and Dravidian racists (Tamil Nadu) and hence don't have any qualms in being subservient to their masters and acting against the Hindu majority. Although some Hindus also serve as employees in such places, they are helpless.
Vijay TV telecasts a programme "Nadanthathu Enna?" (What happened?), which has stiff competition from "Nijam" (Truth) of SUN TV and "Nambinaal Nambungal" (Believe it or not) of Zee-Tamil. All three channels compete in denigrating Hindu culture, tradition and beliefs thereby hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. The programmes focus on Hindu festivals in villages and tribal areas and belittle their rituals and traditional practices.
The ruling DMK's "Kalaignar TV" is catching up with others in denigrating Hindus. When other channels present special programmes on Hindu festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Vijaya Dashmi, Kalaignar TV would present the programmes as 'Holiday Special'! Despite the fact that majority of the viewers are Hindus, the channel would not mind insulting them.
PMK's "Makkal TV" (Peoples' TV), which claims to be serving the cause of 'Tamil' – it is true it has never used a single English word so far – is blatantly anti-Hindu. It distorts 'Hindu culture' and sells it to the viewers as 'Tamil culture' in an attempt to alienate Tamils from the Hindu fold. The anti-Brahmin slant is visible and in the guise of hurting Brahmin sentiments, it actually hurts Hindu sentiments. One Prof. Nannan from the Dravidian school of thought has been teaching the Tamil language through his programmes wherein he denigrates Hindu culture and religion at will.
The Hindu hatred of these channels is more visible in 'Mega Serials', as most serials are produced and directed by Christians, Muslims, Leftist intellectuals and Dravidian racists. Temples are shown as places of conspiracies, family feuds and lovers' parks, while Churches are shown as places of holy love, Mosques as places of peace and tranquility. Hindu Swamis will be shown as evil men, Padris and Maulvis as men of love, peace and goodness. Brahmin priests are shown as jokers in many serials and all serials will have at least one Brahmin family specifically included to insult the community. Hindu women sit before these idiot boxes watching all serials from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm. with total addiction.
The support to Christians and Muslims is blatantly visible in almost all channels. Not even a single channel is without propagation of Christianity and Islam. Even the State-owned Doordarshan allows propagation of Christianity and Islam in the name of 'secularism'. Telecasting religious festivals is different from telecasting religious propagation. But all channels including Doordarshan allow propagation of Islam and Christianity, which is against secularism and violates the Constitution.
The 24x7 English Channels are equally bad when it comes to denigration of Hindus. They openly exhibit their anti-Hindu stance in news presentation and debates. At every opportune moment, they successfully create a bad impression about the Hindu ethos by choosing people who hate Hinduism as panelists during discussions connected with Hinduism. The Ice Lingam at Amarnath Shrine, Makara Jyoti of Sabarimala, Kumbh Mela at Prayag, Mahaprasad of Puri Jagannath, dress code in Guruvayur and no-entry for women in Sabarimala, are some of the subjects chosen by these channels for debate, utilizing them to the hilt to denigrate Hindu traditions.
An analysis of all these and many other programmes would confirm that the mainstream media in India is indeed anti-Hindu. All channels create a sort of suspicion and distrust about Hinduism in the minds of people, particularly youngsters, misleading them and making them hate Hindu culture and tradition.
Suggestions from Hindus
This writer received more than a dozen calls on 12 and 13 October, complaining about this particular programme aired by Vijay TV. Other activists and organizations also received calls. Parameswaran of Hindu Munnani was told of the confused state of mind of women in rural areas as they saw urban women removing the Mangalsutra on the screen. Many Hindus questioned the motive of the channel and demanded if it would telecast programmes debating Christian and Islam oriented topics, as suggested below:
- Is it necessary for Muslim women to wear burqa and cover their faces?
- What is the need for circumcision of Muslim children?
- Why do Muslims beat their chests during Moharram?
- What is the benefit of Ramadan fasting?
- Why should Christian Padris wear long white robes?
- Why should Christian couples wear their respective rings even after their wedding?
- Why are Dalit Christians not allowed to become Bishops?
- Why are Dalit Christians allotted separate places in Churches and given separate burying spots in the cemetery?
- Why are Dalit Christians not allowed inside the Churches of upper caste Christians?
- Why are Muslim women not allowed inside Mosques?
- Why has Jesus, who was believed to have resurrected and is expected to come back to earth, not come even after 2000 years?
- Christians, who ridicule Hindu Gods as 'Satans' and demean Hindu culture and rituals as blind beliefs and superstitions, are yet adopting the strategy of 'inculturation', why?
- Is it right for Mosques to run without 'Tamil' worship? Why are Tamil Muslims and Muslim converts who do not know Urdu or Arabic not allowed to pray in Tamil?
Many such topics can be suggested for the benefit of the media. Will TV Channels come forward to telecast debates on these topics? Will newspapers and magazines have the guts to publish articles on these topics? These topics have been proposed, not to hurt the sentiments of Christians and Muslims, but to expose the cowardice, arrogance, malicious intentions and Machiavellian agenda of print and electronic media, and to make readers and viewers understand the pain and trauma of the Hindu majority.
Responsibility of Government
The media's irresponsible conduct will harm society and prove detrimental to peace and harmony. As this evil had not been nipped in the bud, it had grown manifold. The government cannot afford to remain silent. If the media continues to function in a biased manner with hatred towards a particular community, the Police must take immediate action and ensure that the perpetrators are punished as per the law of the land. The government should take steps to control and regulate the media in the interests of peace and harmony.
The authorities must take immediate and necessary action against Vijay TV and Mercury Creations to serve as a salutary lesson to the rest of the media. Only then will they understand their social and moral responsibility.
Hindus must realize that the maintenance and protection of their culture and tradition is more important than showing their faces on TV and act accordingly. They should boycott media houses which denigrate their cultural heritage and religious tradition and hurt their religious sentiments.
I urge readers to kindly contact Mercury Creations (Mr. Antony-CEO) at 0-9840712192 and Vijay TV (Mr. Sriram-CEO) at 044-28224696 and 044-28214201 and record your protest and condemnation and demand a public apology. Readers can send letters to Vijay TV, 15 Jagannathan Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai – 600034. Readers can also send protest letters by e-mail at http://app.indya.com/feedback/starfeedback.asp?channel=star Mails can also be sent to STAR TV at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
The writer is a freelancer