We are happy blaming ourselves
In a satsang with SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR a seeker asks why the Indian media revels in projecting a negative image of the country and its people.
Why is it that in India the media is so negative and wants to sensationalise everything?
Sri Sri: This is nothing new, this is what we have inherited from the freedom movement. Because when we were slaves, when India was ruled by the British, our media had this tendency to blame everything and it was necessary. It was necessary to show a bleak picture of what was happening in the country. But that continued even after independence, the same mindset continued. This is the difference if you see between the international media and Indian media.
We are happy blaming ourselves. We are very happy showing all the negative things about ourselves. Once I was in a conference in Europe; there, one European journalist asked me this question, ‘I cannot understand why Indian media is so negative about its people and its country.’ In a way he expressed wonder about it and he appreciated it also in some way. Here you don’t need someone from outside to come and criticise, ;ou are good enough in doing that job. We can criticise ourselves. So, having said that, there is one positive aspect of it but a lot of negative aspects — that it shows a country in very, very poor light.
If you see the crime that happens in New York city – it is manifold times more than crime in whole of India. There are fifty thousand homeless people in Los Angeles. The Art of Living is actually feeding them; we had a programme to provide fifty thousand food packets in the city of Los Angeles. So we know what the situation is, over there. In Los Angeles there are fifty thousand people who are living under bridges, who are living in rags. You will not find even one of them written about in newspapers and magazines.
Three million people, more than one percent of America’s population, are beggars. Have you ever heard about it? Have you ever seen it in any of their news? You will not. But the image of India is that there are snakes, and dead bodies all over the road. People are afraid to send youth to India; parents get paranoid.
A small country like Greece gets 12 million tourists every year. India gets four million. And we have many more things to see. People are happy to send their children to Thailand or Cambodia which are worse than India. This is because of our negative publicity. So we need that orientation in this country. It is not all only negative; there are a lot of positive things as well. You can’t be give only good and sweet things, that is also not right. We will be doomed then; it is better than having only sweet-sweet things! There always needs to be a balance.
Media has two things to do. One is to keep the situation in front of you as it is, keep the facts. Second is inspire people to do better. This dual role has to be played with balance. That is necessary. If you see the amount of conflicts that exist in other countries, even rape, murder, all these crimes, India’s number is much, much better.