There is a story told by Master about when he was speaking to reporters in India in 2008. It deserves to be told given the uncertain times we live in, times when force or violence seem to speak louder stronger than peace and non-violence. It was a day when we learned of a terrorist attack somewhere in India. How does a journalist report the bad news, the violence, the destruction that should be on the front page but is material that can only fuel more anger and despair?
Writing in his book “The Art of Communicating,” Thay explains, “We should reflect and discuss events in a way that will not increase people’s despair and anger. Instead, we can help them understand why things are happening, so that their insight and compassion increases. We can make a big difference with the practice of looking deeply. The solution is not to hide the truth.
He captured these and other thoughts in a message that can become the hallmark of all good journalism, and will help expose the hate being spewed these days by many media outlets: “You have to report in such a way that we don’t do not water the seeds of fear, anger and revenge in people.
Essentially, these are Indian messages that we need to rediscover and reengage because they have been lost in their country of birth. India today is an India that is moving away from the high standards that have made the nation stand out and become known for its many gifts. We can’t deny the flaws. But we can only be proud of the wealth. Today we can see that the direction in which the nation has been placed is not one in which the moral position is improved. It certainly shows in the way India’s narrative has been changed in record time, but this slide into spiteful divisions, a drive to tear down the neighbor, did not start today or lately. We’ve been downhill for a while; recent events and stories have only accelerated the trajectory.
India’s downfall is reflected in many ways today: growing inequality, violence against the oppressed and minorities, the rise of hate speech, the ugly squabbles created by force on television, the demonization of dissent and a way and manner of speaking that has violence woven into it.
It’s not just politics that’s bad. Our TV shows promote insult as comedy, making fun of others has become a ticket to stardom, crushing others is celebrating entrepreneurship. In general, space needs to be snatched, punches need to be shown, and yelling at others is part of the game.