By Imteyaz Alam
Anyone who has not read the novel ‘1984’ may mistake it to be about anti Sikh riots of Delhi. The novel ‘1984’ is in fact a visualization of totalitarian society, a dystopia. It is one of the most famous novels of dystopian genre.
This novel is so timeless that what is depicted in the novel holds true for different generations and societies. Though the novel portrays so many facets of an all powerful authoritarian regime, I am trying to visualize the news rooms and street vandalism vis-à-vis the dystopia of ‘1984’.
The news channels today act like omnipresent Telescreen of Oceania. The hate session which is conducted for two minutes on the Telescreen of Oceania goes on incessantly 24×7 today. The nation wants answer, is repeatedly asked. The nation constitutes of every citizen of the country, but one wonders which nation the screaming news anchor refers to.
The news channels today convert any event which increases the TRP into breaking news and the real breaking news is ignored. The news rooms are converted into war rooms and media trial rooms. Every dissenting person is labeled as traitor, anti national and terrorist. These channels have recklessly declared so many people as the traitors that they find it difficult to run war rooms without traitors. The real anti nationals have fun and laugh at them.
The panelists on these channels contort faces, snarl and abuse each other when they reach hysteria during discussion. There comes a moment when the frenzied participants start jumping and thumping in the studio and the viewers stand on their toes in drawing rooms. At the peak of these hate sessions particularly a TV programme called NEWSHOUR all the participants starts yelling to the capacity of lungs and viewers starts chanting slogan. In this bedlam, one only sees opening and shutting of mouth like a landed fish on TV screen.
Like Oceania, the people are trolled, watched and stalked on social media and in real life. The hyper TV channels are akin to telescreen which reminds all the time that ‘ BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU’. The vigilante groups here also roam free and peep into the kitchen and refrigerator of people to find out beef. The sniffing vigilantes smell and dig out food packets hidden deep inside the travelling bag.
These war like situation and trial, fortunately remain in news room which disappear from viewer’s mind very soon as the mind gets ready for next episode and next trial. The vandalism and atrocities are still dealt with and rule of law still prevails in the country. The temple of justice still emanates ray of hope. The media, however, is still unleashed. The mechanism is urgently needed to regulate them in the interest of real NATION.
[Imteyaz Alam is a writer and keen political observer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org]