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A guest post by Hari Prasad on the propaganda prevailing in India, the nature of it and the implications it has for the country and its ability to understand its government.

India. It was May, 26th 2014. There was a coronation in front of an historic building to an undisputed emperor of the purportedly new dawn, the king of good days (not times). There was hope, expectation, (misplaced) rejuvenation among many and there was anxiety, curiosity, worry and suspense among another lot. What one thinks and feels (or felt of thought) is not relevant when it comes to judge what has happened since.

There have been seemingly unconnected statements made by various ‘fringes’ – a term which is mostly an excuse by the present ruling dispensation in India and its larger family the RSS. It is important to see why these statements and certain actions are to be seen in cohesion and not as so called ‘isolated’ anomalies.

But how are things handled these days in India? How is criticism taken these days in India? How is opposite point of view is viewed in India? All of these not by Indians but by the present ruling dispensation and its cohorts in India.

I have kept the prose very rudimentary, less grammatical and only in hints or examples (not explanations) and there is a reason to it.

Ad hominem:

You place an argument and instead of responding to that argument, we are called names. I will let you assume what those names have been and how many people have been victims of those. To electoral opponents in Delhi to an economist.

Ad nauseum:

How many times have we heard a single or very limited ideas being repeated – like ‘Love jihad’ or ‘us vs them’ or ‘appeasement of past’?

Appeal to authority:

How many seemingly unconnected and extremely opposite national icons have been appropriated by this group? Bhagat Singh was a completely left. Ambedkar called Hinduism “a veritable chamber of horrors.” Netaji had nothing to do with RSS. Patel was opposed to RSS. Yet, and that’s where the beauty lies, they are being appropriated.

Appeal to Prejudice:

How many loaded and emotive election campaigns have we seen during 2014 and two years after that? Whether it is 15lakh per person to Muslim across the border in Assam to crackers across the border in Bihar, to the latest Kairana, we have come a long way in just appealing to only emotions.

Big Lie:

The big lie was economy was absolutely down. Nothing moved. Policy paralysis. Based on the new series (or magic series, if you are one of the critics), in fact the economy didn’t do as bad in numbers published by the finance ministry in final years of UPA. But in meetings after meetings, in interviews after interviews we heard the word “revival” used sparingly and without any inherent meaning. There was no concrete proof provided on what that word meant. There was neither concrete proof provided for the word “in shambles.”

And oh, the global economy was blamed. And what did the world see after 2008? A high growth and high demand period? (more on specifics in another post)

Black and white fallacy:

Sometime back, I wrote on ‘is and the ought.’ Apart from those, we have been provided with few false choices during these two years. A shining example – “have four kids or else…”

Cherry Picking:

Savarkar sympathizers quoting Gandhi, to their own convenience. The irony died multiple times in the past two years.

Classical Conditioning:

If you are against this government or its policies, you are termed you know what by you know who. What happened and is happening to the NGOs and the activists in Chatisgarh is beyond comprehension.

Common Man:

Remember the photo ops – worshipping parliament, crying in central hall, posing with broom. These appeal to the common folks, just like you and me. And by the way what is wrong with it? Nothing, if they are true and honest and we know now those are not. When you work actively to topple elected government, your empty symbolism is sheer waste.

Cult personality:

My favourite. There is nothing wrong in personality but everything wrong with Cult personality. Name a person in India who has used mass (and social) media to have cultivated idealized, heroic and worshipful image? The never-wrong image fuels the followers and in turn feeds the person as well.

Demonizing the enemy:

Remember the Hitler and Akbar comparison by a dimwit? Libtards sounding bastards to refer liberals. Presstitute sounding prostitute or press? These are sub-human and at once demonizes all opponents.

Dictat:

Indian Prime Ministership is supposed to be first among equals. There has never been a PM apart from Nehru who personified this. However, there was nothing called as Dictat from the last PM. But now, there are Diktats – Yoga Day on Ramzan, Good Governance day on Christmas etc. With short term memory, we forget the burqa diktat in one Jaipur rally of BJP and yea, asking colleges to send pupils to its Mhow rally.

Disinformation:

Dadri. JNU and Hyderabad University. Created false records, forged video to convince us of some untruth. This also has extended to conceal truths by censorship. Udta Punjab is a case in point and not the end of it. Kerala – somlia comment. Amit Shah showing a Sri Lanka kid’s pic with the words “God’s own curse”

Euphoria:

Circa 2014. Need say more? Or all the NRI meets.

Exaggeration:

Modi lied about paying off Gujarat’s debt before and he lied about 15 lakh per person on black money. And I am waiting and so are crores. These are all classic case of exaggeration which are allowed only to poets and if politicians use this licence they have one word for it – LIARS!

Fear, uncertainty and doubt:

With demonization and name calling, few sections of society are left in fear. They have to prove everytime that they are innocent and the starting point of any debate is under the assumption that they are guilty.

Flag-waving:

After 6 decades of independence we are left with a debate on nationalism and patriotism. Now, we are expected to prove our patriotism first when we debate the idiots and foxes in power. To provoke nationalism is one thing, it can harness good in a society but the flag waving group is certainly not doing for it.

Guilt by association:

You are associated with congress, yes you are guilty and anti-national. Well, when they cross the river and come over to BJP, their sins are cleansed by Ganga jal and are reborn. Assam to Uttarakhand to Arunachal we have seen it all.

Half truth:

“Despite being Muslim….” That’s how a minister referred to Late APJ Abdul Kalam. He was a Muslim, yes, no denying that but ‘despite’?

Intentional Vagueness:

This government is a master in not disclosing facts and trumpeting on motherhood statements. Take for example BJP-PDP alliance. Or for example the Naga accord. What are the specifics? What have we conceded or accepted to? Bharat Mata is worshipped but “afforestation commitment” and “Forests Rights Act” certificate have been removed for miners!

Labelling:

Aadarsh Liberals. Libtards. Sicklar. Presstitutes. Barmaid.

These are easy, simple, deceptive, meaning less but enchants the crowd. (Bhakt is a praise and cannot be called as pejorative.)

Managing the news:

As Arun Shourie said, this government is managing the news and not the economy. What we are given now are recurrent themes – “under threat,” “love jihad,” “illegal migration,” “fastest growing” and acronyms and abbreviations for endless recycled policies and schemes. But actions on those? Never mind.

Minimization:

Dadri. It was not a cow. No, wait. It was a cow. So killing is justified. An unjustifiable position is justified. Go online and see comments and feedback on Godhra and the answer is glaring.

Name calling:

Should it be elaborated? How many facts based arguments have we seen in the past two years? Every issue is twisted to make it emotionally suitable to a point of view, to an agenda, to a predisposed conclusion. Oh! And don’t forget a former general calling some Dog. Behold, Sickulars!

Oversimplification:

Pakistan, China and the like. We have seen and heard solutions to all. We have seen and heard the past government being (rightly) criticized for handling these issues and were offered “56 inch.” But what have we seen? ISI has visited our Air Base, China came in last week, Nepal screwed and no, we love Africans (but only one of our CMs has a reservation about Nigerians). Results? A big big zero.

Rationalization:

How many reasons have we been offered for completely indefensible acts?

Scapegoating:

Oh yea. Blame it on Nehru. Blame it on Congress. Blame it on Mughal Rule (note: not on British Rule). But I am incapable to providing solutions or answers. All I can do is blame the past. And no, don’t question me on my work. Because, I am a patriot.

Also, keeping a one arm distance, the ‘fringes’ are offered as scapegoats whereas they are perfectly in line with the mind-set and ideology of the ruling dispensation.

Stereotyping:

NGOs are foreign national plant. Christians are converting beasts. Most of the supporters actually believe this garbage. And no, I need not say anything about their thoughts on Muslims. A quick stroll through whom the PM ‘follows’ in Twitter will give a glimpse of the stereotyping.

Testimonial:

In March, 2016, BJP tweeted a purported quote of Mahatma Gandhi praising Savarkar. However, when I tried searching a lot, I couldn’t find a quote.

Third Party technique:

Another testimonial came in the form of WikiLeaks which praised Modi as corruption free. Remember? That was also a lie. An organization which is respected and hated worldwide was quoted without any authentication or permission and self-glorified itself.

Unstated Assumption:

One follower, a famous one at that said “When pest control is done at homes, cockroaches, insects etc come out. The house gets cleaned up.” What is the implication? Eradication of all who are opposing this government of us? Or even if they oppose what is the written law, so what? The unstated assumption here is that like Hitler used vermin, he had used it and threatened whoever is opposed to whatever this government thinks it as right. So did he propose a ‘final solution’ to the problem?

Virtue words:

Truth alone triumphs

The world is one single family

Non-violence is the topmost Dharma

Let good thoughts come from everywhere

All spiritual paths are treated equally

“Sahana bavathu… let there be no hostility”

These were pre-2014 words of Modi’s Idea of India.

As recently as last week, we have seen the double message – Vikas from PM and Kairana from the planner.

So why are all these necessary? What are these random phrases? These are phrases which define any propaganda machinery. Their methods, techniques and their ways. Its hard to see things in isolation but when you connect the dots, you have it all.

Without knowing and without being obvious, what we are seeing and living with is a propaganda machinery at work. We can’t search for a plan, a blueprint. What we are left with are actions on ground, inferences glaring at our face, wanting to take note and stand up and raise our voice.

Why was the prose kept very simple? Because someone in the past said that propaganda must be kept simple.

What is Propaganda?

The dictionary describes it as “information, especially of biased nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”

What will this trend lead to?

People who have the power also have the responsibility to do. In our case, we have the power to resist such schemes, manipulations and twisting of facts. If we stand and watch silently, if we think that this has not happened to me so it will never happen to me, I leave you with these wise words of Niemoller.

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Dissent, debate and disagreement are cornerstones of a vibrant democracy. By using the techniques of propaganda, the ruling party and its affiliated ‘parivar’ are undermining it. Brick by brick, the edifice of our democracy is being eroded in front of our eyes and we are remaining mute spectators.

If we think, this will not happen to India, just because this is India, we are either living in fools’ paradise or utterly stupid.

Wake up, its propaganda!

Originally published here

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Political party supporters are usually biased in favor of parties they support, but BJP takes it to a whole new level with a complete disconnect with reason, dignity or even self-preservation. Some days it is like watching a road accident. It is horrifying and you can't bear to watch and you can't look away. Other days it is like a macabre dream, where you see someone walking off a cliff and you are only supposed to watch.

The election fervor comes with a lot of political and communal polarization. This is a time when it hits you that there is no level to which some of these will not fall, no sacrifice of own reasoning powers too great to see one person cannibalize not only political opposition, but own party as well.

BJP has lost its vision, all sense, decency and honor. Sometimes you just pity BJP supporters for the shit they have been fed. It is an alternate reality.

"No cases against Modi"

When do they see there is no Santa Claus? I don't even feel anger. I feel concern and fear. How does one communicate with a person whose "facts" come from some place not verifiable? What do you feel angry about if a person has been informed things that aren't true and taught suspicion about contradiction?

"clean chit" by Supreme Court.

They don't even have the mental freedom to wonder when Modi appeared before SC. Forget us "sickulars", but it would make some news even through the party pipeline if it was Modi's hearing in the Supreme Court? Where does the clean chit come from?

The alternate world created by BJP is like the Hote California. Check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Entire "facts" warped. And in this imaginary world, everyone is Modi's enemy, because basically most Indians hate India and he's the only one trying to save the country.

The creepiest part is if you speak with them, there is no sense of finding anything odd with any of the contradictions. It is like every belief is standalone and not required to tally with other beliefs - even their own other beliefs from their wonderland. Hindus persecuted for thousands of years, converted, killed in vast numbers, Hindus reproduce less than Muslims... but Hindus are still majority - but they are at threat of extinction - must be defended or will go extinct.And they can discuss this for hours with complete seriousness with no visible indication that anything doesn't tally up.

There is no perception of a logic mismatch between Hindus exterminated in their own land and continuing to be a majority. There is no mismatch between Hindus being a majority in spite of such extermination and them being under threat of extinction when they are not being slaughtered by the "millions". There is no mismatch between a four thousand year old faith (your mileage may vary) surviving a history of repeated invasions but unlikely to survive the present government unless citizens rise up to defend it.

It is like a complete suspension of critical thinking. Unquestioning recording of facts as informed with no urge to put them together and see what the larger picture looks like. Or perhaps there is no awareness of completely contradictory ideas being a part of the same picture.

It extends to other beliefs as well. The defenders of one of the few civilizations in the world with several "prostitute" professions with well outlined civil rights and legal protections today use the "fallen woman" standard of the monotheist religions to insult a woman they hate, but see no incongruence in their adoption of a near identical stand from those they claim to viscerally hate. They hate everything Islam and Muslim, but their leaders recommend very Islamic rules for women. Woman's place in the kitchen, school uniform with overcoat to prevent harassment of girls...

Their loudest accusations against those they hate, usually turn out to be their own practices - whether they are true about the accused or not. Funding from the "Ford Foudation" is a recent example. But there really are many. BJP supporters and leaders are found shouting the loudest on acts they have defended about the BJP. Weeks after officially persecuting South Africans in Goa AND defending the actions staunchly with an abundance of racist remarks, BJP had forgotten all about it, polished its halo and was accusing AAP of racism. BJP flip flops on free speech are too many to count. The irony of asking the country to move on from the 2002 riots while condemning the Mughal invasions is lost on BJP.

Their bizarre actions after the Delhi Elections were another example. Got most seats, refused to form government. Taunted AAP about not forming a government, but complained when it did. Told AAP to accept Congress support, accused AAP of accepting Congress support. Created a ruckus demanding resignations, accused of escapism when they resigned. Accused AAP of squanderinng public funds by not forming government, refused to form government in spite of having more seats. It is incomprehensible. This is party leadership in Delhi we are talking about, not your average supporter on Twitter.

It seems to be a brainwashing so determined that it leaves the brain damaged to even put two thoughts coherently side by side and get a sense of proportion. Without intending any insult, it is a scary symptom. You see basic coherence appear in under teenage children. What exactly is the level of regression we are talking about, and what goal is worth psyops of this scale that people have to completely destroy reasoning skills to support a cause that can't make sense with functioning critical thinking skills?

I am not angry. I am alarmed at the primitive level of operating of the brain, where everything is basically reduced to a fight or flight instinct for political purposes and executed with animal cunning like methods of pack attacks and simple dismissal of what cannot be thought through. What will devolving to such a level offer even the cause it serves? Will it enhance the Hindu cause to have people unable to reason out complex concepts and evolve them further for enriching the civilization?

You see this among Pakistani right wings on the Internet. Growing up with realities like "Indians are cowards", "India is the biggest threat to Pakistan", "Hindus are cowards" and what not, you cannot make sense of what they talk when you encounter them online. There is no point asking what Bangladesh is doing as a separate country if Pakistan has never lost a war against India. There will be some conspiracy theories of treachery, some circular logic or outright detour from the subject to return right back to the "belief" - "Pakistan has never lost a war against India" - you cannot budge it, because there is no logic entering or exiting from it to engage with.

It is psychotic and dangerous, but how do you get angry at what basically amounts to deliberately cultivated schizophrenia? In BJP you see it strongest around Modi. Modi's enemies are everywhere. Congress, Italian Sonia, Pope, CIA's Ford Foundation, AAP... within BJP.... everywhere. Not one moment to pause and wonder how it is democratic for a leader "everyone" hates to lead the country. No sense of any verification. Modi is a great leader, except his greatness must be explained by PR agencies and you have the same descriptions over and over. Modi will be an accountable Prime Minister, but doesn't like being questioned. Modi will make hundreds of new cities, but can't name one in twelve years in Gujarat. Can go on and on, but it is basically like "hypnosis". Where your critical thinking is suspended, and you believe whatever you are told.

Whatever you cannot explain is the conspiracy of "others" to turn you away from your true path and you must focus and return to it. It is the "others" without honor and liars, though fake pictures, pamphlets and propaganda are being used to support Modi, not others.

BJP coming to power in this primitive state of intellect is as good as turning country into mental asylum.

It is one of the reasons I rarely get angry with trolls. They are simply from an alternate reality, perceiving to be cornered and under threat. They believe the visions they are shown and what appears to us as hate and violence is them waging some imaginary desperate war for survival for most supporters - while the core criminals know exactly what they are doing.

To believe BJP propaganda is to believe that the party that never had a simple majority in the country is actually the true definiton of everything Indian and those who oppose it are not legitimate Indians. India has more anti-nationals than nationals in its population. Because basically most want to destroy their own country. There isn't the slightest shock to hear that Hindutva leaders called for karsevaks to be killed to enrage people and build mometum for demolishing the Babri Masjid. This is the kind of behavior they attribute to terrorists - jihadi - willing to die for a cause. Yet there is no discomfort learning that supporters like them were calculatedly wasted and passed off as victims of resistance to their cause to get more people like them. It is chilling. The complete lack of self-preservation or even comprehension of betrayal.

It is a bizarre mishmash addicted to supremacy that admires Hitler for the same reason it admires Israel and the same reason it admires Modi. Modi's biggest selling point, that will get bragged on the street, but never admitted officially is that it was under his rule that it was possible to teach the Muslims a comprehensive "lesson". It is why the riots after 2002 do not register in memory, because rioting Hindus are not a problem. Muslims did not riot. The "development" is merely a civilized veneer. If you could dispute and debunk every single claim of Modi, you still would not be able to budge his core supporters, even if you could show someone else superior in all aspects. Because the development is the selling point to get others to allow their desired leader leading the country. It isn't their reason. They will merely find another reason or allege a conspiracy or strike some deal that gives Modi something new to brag about.

The goal is that bloodlust. That addiction of annihilating lives and proving superior. Primitive. Reminds me of a comment about cannibals. They not just defeat their enemy, they eat him. That is how the subtle promises go. Riot accused given tickets. Statements that 30% of Muslims harbour terrorists. It sets the stage. it is a promise of an orgy to come. It is irrelevant whether it happens. Sooner or later it will. Moving in the right direction is all that matters to those seeking their supremacy fix.

There is no concept of the leadership owing them anything, even their own lives and safety - which, ironically is the reason they believe in the cause if asked openly. There is simply nothing to believe in that cannot be changed, no level of evil that must be avoided if it helps the cause. No amount of self-respect lost is too much. No sacrifice is too much - even if it is used to invent a lie for the cause where your own people kill you and turn you into a trophy to get more like you. It is all fine. There is a serene acceptance of the cause being right and everything else merely being the path to it.

It is sad that exploitative leaders destroy the minds of those supporting them. Ugly price of loyalty for mind to become unreliable. Bizarre as it seems, I feel angrier on behalf of BJP supporters than at them.

This is as disturbing a post to write, as it is to see the complete mental subjugation. I debated for a long time, tried to find better words. In the end decided to put it how I could, because this is the best I can express what I see, though I believe it falls short.

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Funny how Indian media, quick to mourn the "environment for investment" after the Supreme Court judgment on generics last year seems unwilling for their investees to face the criticism for their views. Indian media seems to find it diffcult to report such "identity politics".

In a crass yet frank admission, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said the company’s new cancer drug, Nexavar, is not “for Indians,” but “for western patients who can afford it.” The statement came in the wake in a recent ruling by an Indian court that certain life-saving drugs could be produced and distributed at 97% of the brand-name price.

While Dekkers’ earnest admission is contemptible on a certain level, the ideological defense mounted by bourgeois media and others reveals a deeper level of truth:

intellectual property, patent, medicine, generic medicine
New cancer drug is not for poor Indians but Westerners who can afford it.

‘Of course we want to make sure people have access to life-saving drugs,’ sycophants and beneficiaries of capitalism emphatically explain, ‘yet widespread violations of intellectual property rights erases the incentive to invest incredible resources into developing these drugs in the first place… Eventually, everyone [who is still alive] will benefit from adhering to the exclusive rights of intellectual property.’

Such apologism for Bayer unwittingly implicates the wider system: ‘in order to produce life-saving drugs, we need to restrict access via pricing measures, dooming many to unnecessary suffering and death, so that we can make a profit and do it again.’ Of course, ‘everyone’ will ‘eventually’ receive hypothetical benefits over the long-run.

What will they promise next? Flying cars and elixirs to restore youth?

Bayer’s sordid history and the cancer industrial complex

Bayer was founded in 1863 in Barmen, Germany. In 1899, it trademarked aspirin. The previous year, it trademarked heroin and marketed it as a children’s cough medicine “without side-effects.”

During World War I, the company turned its attention toward the manufacturing of chemical weapons and even founded a “School for Chemical Warfare.”

Following the war Bayer joined with other chemical manufacturing firms to form Farben, the largest company in Germany at the time and the largest contributor to Hitler’s election campaign.

During the Second World War, Farben used slave labor in many of it factories and mines. Working with the Nazi regime, Farben owned the patent to Zyklon B, the cyanide-based gas used to murder over a million people in concentration camps throughout occupied Europe, which it produced without any odorant. In 1946, the Nuremburg Tribunal concluded that without Farben, WWII would not have been possible.

Only 13 of the 24 Farben board members indicted on crimes against humanity were sentenced to prison, and those who did received sentences which were, in the words of the prosecutors, “light enough to please a chicken thief.” Additionally, many of the Nazi-supporting executives and managers returned to the “new” companies that Farben’s assets were divided into in 1952.

Today, Bayer is a huge conglomerate with three primary divisions: Bayer HealthCare, which makes drugs and medical equipment; Bayer MaterialScience, which produces polymers and plastics; and Bayer CropScience, which produces pairings of GM crops and agricultural chemicals. Essentially, Bayer is three large companies, two of which produce or use materials which cause medical conditions like cancer, one which produces cures for medical conditions like cancer – but only for people who can can afford it.

The political economy of intellectual property

India is not the only country attempting to product generic versions of patented drugs at a significantly lower cost. South Africa recently caused a row after a similar court ruling allowing for the low-cost local manufacturing and distribution of internationally-patented drugs. In both cases, western capital has threatened punitive actions and even more restricted access to new drugs in the future.

The controversy of local manufacturing of drugs highlights some of the contours of global contradictions. In this case, the bourgeoisie of a small handful of ascendant Third World countries are feeling more at liberty to challenge the economic hegemony of trilateral imperialism. Western imperialism, for its part, is feeling evermore threatened and determined to maintain its hegemony.

Economically speaking, patents and intellectual property is a type of monopoly capital. When joined with other forms of finance capital, i.e., insurance companies which typically pay the bulk of expensive treatments for those privileged enough to be covered, such monopoly capital allows for the circulation and concentration of capital in the core at the expense of the periphery. Hence, not only do intellectual property rights necessarily restrict access to life-saving medicine for those who cannot afford it, they are part of a system which creates the very conditions whereby the world’s masses are typically poor in the first place.

You can’t patent a solution

It is clear that a real solution to global health will not found within the modern capitalist-imperialist system. After all, under capitalism if pharmaceutical companies can not restrict access to their drugs to secure a profit, they have no purpose to exist and would actually fail as a company. The very business model of the drug companies is predicated within a larger system in which a majority of people will not be able to afford their products or services.

A real solution must be sought through a new governing economic principle: democratically and rationally producing and distributing the satisfaction of wants and needs. Such an economic system can only be instituted through revolution: the overthrow of capital-imperialist productive and social relations – intellectual property rights and all – and the economic and political ascendancy of the world’s exploited and oppressed masses.

- Nikolai Brown

Reblogged from the anti-imperialism blog

Sources

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/26/bayer-pharmaceutical-ceo-cancer-drug-only-for-western-patients-who-can-afford-it/

http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/03/05/bayer-will-appeal-india-compulsory-licence-on-its-cancer-drug/

http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-firms/11153-bayer-a-history

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/drug-patent-threat-opens-division-on-how-to-fight-back.html

Dear Bayer,

How is this for a stereotype?

Indians are a superstitious lot and "medicines" by pesticide manufacturers are abhorrent to them. Clearly, you can see the pesticide influence in the CEOs thoughts.

Besides, generics are cheaper.

Hope your drug gets copied a lot.

Congratulations on insulting a leading medical tourism destination.

Cheers.

A poor Indian who can't afford your drug.