Thursday 19 April 2012

Indian Electronic Media's Definition of 'Aam Aadmi'

Written by Anil Singh

Some media experts (those who research the media) are of the opinion that the Indian electronic media, which includes both Hindi and English news channels; works solely for the Indian Middle Class.

More specifically, these experts are of the view that, the electronic media in the country may talk about the crimes and atrocities taking place among the impoverished; But, when it comes to money and taking forward an agenda; then the electronic media in the billion plus country acts as a mouthpiece of the Indian Middle Class.

It does so, by cleverly disguising the Indian Middle Class issues and demands, as something which the poorest of the poor in the country wants.

Which I think is quite true.

Let I give you an example.

Who do you think is an "Aam Aadmi" in India?

Yes, I'm referring to the same Aam Aadmi, which Congress calls its own.

Will you call such an Indian, an Aam Aadmi, who buys on loan a 25 Lakh and upwards apartment in a city, has AC fitted in his home, drives a car, sends kids to Public schools, and sees his wife bring home equivalent or more salary every month?

Or will you call such an Indian, an Aam Aadmi, who pulls a rickshaw in a city, lives in a roadside shanty which doesn't have a fan, sends his kids to a Government school or doesn't send them at all, sees his wife do chores at the middle class households in the Apartments on the other side of the road?

I think with 40 percent of Indian population living in abject poverty; the Rickshaw puller is the real "Aam Aadmi" in the country.

But, time and again, Indian electronic media calls the ‘Apartment buying, car driving Indian as the Aam Aadmi’.

I’m not beating the bush. This clever thing happens in Indian televisions every day.

Every time RBI hikes the Repo rate (rate at which RBI lends money to banks) and as a consequence the home and car loans become costlier; the news channels instantly say "Aam Aadmi ke liye ghar khareedna mahanga ho jayega". Every time, consumer durables, like fridge, AC etc. become costlier, the channels say “Aam Aadmi ke liye fridge, AC khareedna mahanga ho gaya”. It will look absurd, but Indian news channels can’t even digest a hike in car prices.

And all this happens at the name of Aam Aadmi – the rickshaw puller, the laborer etc.

And the logical human brain asks: Which Aam Aadmi is installing an AC in his Home?

This disguised and superficial empathy for Aam Aadmi should End. The real Aam Aadmi is not capable of buying a bicycle let alone a car; can’t afford a one room accommodation let alone a 25 Lakh Apartment.

For God’s sake, Indian Electronic Media should stop using ‘Aam Aadmi’ out of context.

If it defines Aam Aadmi OR Common Man, as:

Any Indian citizen who doesn’t have a proximity to the kind of Power a politician, bureaucrat or a Government Servant has.

Then it should change its definition; as in no country, the entire population can become politicians, bureaucrats or Government servants.

In ideal terms: A common man or an ‘Aam Aadmi’ is not the one who can’t wield power a politician, bureaucrat wields; but is the one who is at the bottom of the economic pyramid. A person, who finds it difficult to arrange a single meal a day.

A Request to Indian Electronic Media: You can take the demands of Indian Middle Class, like Car loan, home loan, and Public School fee hike etc. to whatever extent you want. You have every right to do so; as many of you are also paying EMIs for your new Apartment or car. But please don’t give the impression to the viewers; that you or the Indian Middle class is the “Aam Aadmi”.

We know where the Aam Aadmi in India can be found: in slums, shanties and pulling rickshaws on the roads.

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