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Window Seat: Fanaticism

11/04/2021 at 8:19 AM

Fanaticism is an extreme and often unquestioning enthusiasm, devotion, or zeal for something, such as a religion, political stance, or cause. A person who engages in fanaticism can be called a fanatic.

There are and have been fanatics in every country, religion, faith and perhaps every political ideology. It was thought that with the development of civilization, spread of education and rationality fanaticism would wither away. It did not happen. In fact in several countries including the reverse happened. Fanaticism like Corona virus is developing new strains and variants.

In India it is perhaps moving from what a social scientist says ‘competitive fanaticism’ to ‘fashionable fanaticism’. From ‘I am more loyal than you’ to ‘Look here, how fanatic am I’. It’s like sticking a poster on the front door proclaiming fanaticism.

The us and they binary is there- has always been there in some form or the other. The next level is competitive fanaticism. Fashionable fanaticism is the next. You become fanatic not because of any intrinsic value system or even reason. You become fanatic because you think it is cool to be one. Or, if you are not one, then you do not belong to the happening gang. Being fanatic is then being cool. Fanaticism has become a kind of batch that you wear because you think everyone else is and it is cool to be one.

This belief is flawed. We’ll discuss about that next week.

Media Ethics

In the new normal time, everybody and his/her uncle or aunty is ruing the lack of ethics in media. Words like ‘presstitute’ are used too often. Media bashing has become a common activity in the social media.

The word ‘ethics’ started appearing in journalistic discussion by 1850. The first code of ethics for journalists was formulated sometime in 1890.

There are two key principles in media ethics. One relates to idealism: how strongly we feel about the pursuit of humanitarian goals. The second is relativism: the belief that the only way we can decide what’s ethical and what’s not is to rely on our own experience and internal moral compass.

However, there are five core principles of ethics in journalism: a. truth and accuracy, b. independence, c. fairness and impartiality, d. humanity, and e. accountability.

Media, like any other institutions need free space and societal support to discharge its duties. Both are shrinking.

Aam fale jhanka jhanka

In 1990s a folk song – Aam fale jhanka jhanka, tentul phale banka, Baripada hatu tote kinidebi sankhya lo, kinidebi kanara jhumuka… was very popular in Mayurbhanj in Odisha where we lived then. My two years old son also used to sing it. Translated into English the lyric goes like: Mangoes grow in bunches, Tamarind grows oblong, I’ll buy you bangles and earrings from Baripada haat.

As I see bunches of mangoes at the place I live now- I remember the catchy earthy song and relive the sandal-scented past. I go back in time and see my little son singing the song full throttle.

I touched the swinging mangoes- green and young. They waved back. Probably they also remembered the song and heard my little son singing it like only children can do.

Wear Mask

Cartoons ridicule. Cartoons comment and criticize. However, cartoons can also be used to create awareness in social issues.

See the following cartoons on the importance of wearing mask to contain Corona. Wearing a mask and keeping social distance are the two main ways to contain the Corona surge.

Cartoons by Ponnapa, Chandrasekhar Hadda and Manoj Chopra.

Fine and Tax

What is the difference between fine and tax?

Fine is a tax for doing wrong.

Tax is a fine for doing right.

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Odia translation of an anthology of essays titled Mahatma Gandhi: Journalist and Editor.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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