Propaganda warfare: A lethal weapon

With the Government of India doing every little to ease the simmering tension and work out a solution, and the State Government caught in a stupor, there is no visible sign of the protracted violence coming to an end any time soon. Already, the State of Manipur and its people, belonging to all communities have suffered colossal losses. In tandem with the firing or exchange of fire going on incessantly at different places, a media campaign or more precisely propaganda warfare is also going on in full gear. Narratives and counter-narratives of different colours are emerging every single day. All observers are being bombarded with volumes of narratives and counter-narratives. The biggest and most crucial task for all stakeholders is to find out the truths and facts from these volumes of narratives and counter-narratives. In another word, all these narratives and counter-narratives cannot be true at the same time. A larger section of these narratives and counter-narratives is just crooked propaganda aimed at garnering public support and sympathy. Again, a big chunk of these narratives and counter-narratives is fabricated propaganda aimed at twisting facts. Woodrow Wilson was elected President of the United States of America on the platform ‘peace without victory’. However his administration was committed to join the war (First World War) then raging in Europe. But as Naom Chomsky said the American population was extremely pacifistic at that time and they saw no reason to become involved in the European War. The Wilson administration was well aware of the people’s feeling. Knowing well the disastrous repercussions that would result at home from going to the war on its own, the US Government set up a propaganda commission under the name, Creel Commission. Within six months, the Commission succeeded in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population which wanted to destroy everything German. Actually, much of the strategy and methods adopted by the Creel Commission was invented by the British propaganda Ministry whose own commitment at that time was to ‘direct the thought of most of the world’.
Coming back to the present crisis at home, one party has perfected the art of propaganda more than the other, and they are projecting themselves as victims of the violence quite convincingly. A cursory look is not enough to ascertain the facts and truths of the violence but a large section of the Indian people, including media based outside the State have fallen prey to this propaganda warfare. One needs to dig a little deeper to understand the true picture of the devastating violence. Who are the aggressors and who are the victims? The one who started the violence cannot be the victim just because the other party launches a fierce counter-attack or retribution.  Russians could not be aggressors only because they pushed back Nazi forces all the way to Berlin during the fading years of World War II. One party’s propaganda machinery are so well-tuned that the entire community of the other party has been totally vilified by capitalising on the video clip of a shameful and outrageous act of parading two women naked by some scoundrels. The incident deserves outright condemnation and the perpetrators heaviest punishment. But the particular incident cannot define the entire crisis. Unspeakable atrocities have been committed by both the parties. At the same time, one should not miss the fact that the particular video clip was released on July 19, just one day ahead of the commencement of the Parliament’s Monsoon Session whereas the shameful incident reportedly took place on May 4. This is indeed one fine accomplishment of the particular party’s media campaign. But no amount of media campaign or propaganda warfare can overturn the fact that the Churachandpur protest rally of May 3 was participated by automatic rifles-wielding men and the rally culminated with torching numerous houses of innocent people, and it ignited the violent crisis.