‘Hegemony’ is a word I’ve been using in many contexts lately. Because I find the word very appealing. I first learnt it in an interview, or rather, a press conference of Arnab Goswami, India’s famous journalist, in Moscow, with Russia Today. Five journalists from different parts of the world were invited, from BBC of UK, CNN of USA, CCTV of China, DWTV of Germany and from Times Now(then) of India.
I liked his concept in that press conference very much. The topic was, ‘Global Media and Journalism’, where he said, ‘The hegemony of the western media has to end. The Western media had too good for too long, which is not only damaging the balance of power in politics and society but also in media world. According to a survey, 91% of Indians follow cross border news, which means, Indians are most interested about the world. The least interested in the world are the Americans and the British. But US and UK contribute 70% of the source of global news whereas all of Asia contribute 3%. Summarising these, the least I can say is that Indians are the least insula, most open minded, whereas Americans are the most insula people having a global dominance over the world news’. That’s when I fell in love with the word.
Now, that was also when the this thought had reflected on my mind. No, it was already within my mind-the way western stuff were exaggerated. Especially after the Paris attacks. The way people changed their profile pictures into french tricolor ridiculed me to the utmost level. This concept-the concept that ‘everything that happens with western countries is of utmost importance’ had been sown within the minds of the residents of second and third world countries since time immemorial. Also, as I write this post, I realise, I’m no exception, as I just labeled my country as some second world country for no reason, although we all remain in a single world. Such hegemonic concepts have been sown deeply into the minds of ours, so much so that, their way of discrimination has become words of urban dictionary and we use them joyously and shamelessly, without even recognising it’s origins and purpose.
Now on this context, I’d like to quote once again Arnab Goswami..
Look at the Paris attacks and look at the coverage of the Paris attacks. The Paris attacks have generated lots of general coverage, upto the point that we have talked this morning about a global coalition to fight ISIS and why it cannot happen. You’d know that on the 26th of November, 2008, in the Mumbai attacks, 161 Indians were killed in 4 locations, in Paris attacks it was one, by ten terrorists sent from Pakistan, and that was the greatest act of bloodshed that happened.
The point that I’m making is that, the Paris attacks generated outrage all over the world which they of course should have done, and this scale of attack has prompted this international effort against ISIS. Now, before ISIS, before Paris, when Mumbai was attacked, there weren’t as many news outlets in Western country who took up the job, (and I’m not talking about the coverage), of sanctions against Pakistan. And the reason for that is because, the US has been ‘hands in glove’ with what is happening in Pakistan. Now it would be very surprising to know that an American, David Coleman Hadley was the mastermind behind this Mumbai attacks. He was a FBI double agent . Just one American news agency, Pro Republica, covered this story. Now just imagine, if today it was proven the presence of such mastermind behind the Paris attacks, what kind of news coverage could it had got in respect to Mumbai attacks.
Now it’s indeed an act of guts that he spoke this to a western audience, but it’s also a matter of honour, that all he got was smiles and claps of approval from all of them.
Now this is just one aspect. If we look deeply, we’ll find that, we are surrounded by western culture. We even sacrificed our own native cultures to accept western culture. I wonder how many people complain of crowds in a Durga Puja pandal, but happily stand in long queues to get into the church in Christmas. People are gaga over gunshots in gay clubs in Miami but never care about millions of lives being lost in Civil wars in Iraq and Syria. I even reconcile a candle march being held in my city for the memory of Paris attacks. What Arnab said in this context was cent percent true. And why only target Paris? What about other spheres of life like sports? I hear people say, ‘Wow! English Premier league is so cool!’ And when few passionate people are trying to lift the standard of football in India, they say, ‘However amount of money they’ll spend, nothing is going to happen in this country’. What about language? We are now in such a shameful condition, that people in Dhaka organise marches and rallies on a specific date, just to save their mother tongue language. Young kids think mother tongues are of no importance when whole world moves ahead in English.
Now lastly my apologies to those doesn’t fall in this category. I know, generalisation is a bad thing. But if we look into, percentages of people illusioned in western hegemony is way higher. I know, there are some, or rather, many sensible beings who think about life in a general way. And I guess, some would turn their tables of thinking after this. And for others, dear friends, to whichever extent you bask in western glory, after death, you’ll be bound to concede to your own culture. So better enjoy the taste of it when you are alive.
Happy Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Bihu to everyone.