End of News

Why are newspapers distributed in the morning? It is really an unwelcome intrusion on precious morning time of the reader. It is the worst beginning of the day. It is more than a jab for a drug addict. It goes straight into the head, bypassing the digestive and circulatory systems of the body. It is gulping more than a bowl of poison in the morning. This poison consists of painful negativity. Starting the day with so much of negativity spoils the whole day, causes unbearable pain and leads to depression. Our forefathers were very wise people who devised for us a very healthy  daily routine, which started with morning prayers. The first thing in the morning, as far as possible, should be to finish the daily ablutions followed by a good morning bath, a few minutes of prayer and reading of the scriptures. Depending upon the availability of time, exercising or playing, should precede prayers. It fills one with enough positive energy to make the day a grand success. One feels happy amidst all the news that the print and the electronic media might circulate even to the unwilling. Not all news is relevant to everyone all the time. Generally it is negative, irrelevant and of no use or muse.

News is less news and more advertisement these days. When the newspapers started, internet was not there, the world was not a global village and society was far from a knowledge society. Times have changed since. Today’s newspapers are more of a pain in the head and heart than addition to knowledge. The television is another bundle of buffoonery. What can be said in less than a second is devoted hours without drawing any conclusions. The visuals are disturbing since they show the prohibited in great lingering lengths, such as child abuse, murder, arson, bomb blasts, funerals etc. If the rules of aesthetics were to be applied, depiction of the “vibhatsa rasa” dominates news these days-killings, accidents, wars, insurgencies, human trafficking, organ trade and other variants of violence, cruelty, barbarity and inhumanity. The enduring Emotion or Sthaayi Bhaav of Vibhatsa Rasa is Ghranaa or “hatred” and other emotions are anger, grief, melancholia, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and suicidal tendencies. As against it, prayers and reading scriptures belong to “Shaant Rasa”. It leads to a peaceful state of mind, equanimity and humanity (treating all human beings as belonging to the global fraternity or Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam). Conflicts, ego clashes and professional rivalries get sorted out with ease in such a state of mind. A morning started in prayer ends in a fulfilling day in prayer and a goodnight’s sleep. Such a mind is in a state of perennial happiness. Those who claim to be rationalist or secularist, might feel offended at the very idea of prayer or scriptures. But that doesn’t devalue Shaant Rasa, whose enduring emotion in peacefulness. What gives peace of mind to the rationalist or the secularist is his prayer or scripture. Peace of mind or a peaceful mind is the need of everybody. News agitates our mind; it makes us feel terribly upset; it casts a pall of gloom over us which lingers for several hours or days. Our mind starts analysing the whys and whats and wheres of all that makes the news. But I don’t want to pay for being bothered to such an extent by journalists of the newspapers or television channels. If I feel disturbed by any nuisance in my neighbourhood, should I not feel disturbed by all the gory tales of rapes and murders and bomb blasts, all in one newspaper or TV news bulletins in the morning itself when my mind is fresh and I am in the best state of my mind? That is why I have reached a considered conclusion that the habit of reading the morning newspaper over a cup of tea is injurious to health and needs to be corrected. Consuming so much of news first thing in the morning raises blood pressure and is sure to give heart attacks and cause neurological disorders early in life. Other kinds of poisons can be washed away, but psychiatric ones hardly. Psychiatrists have already warned us that India is fast becoming the world’s number one country for patients suffering from psychiatric disorders!

Once a technocrat colleague of mine visited me in the morning in office. He was very disturbed. He confided that he could not stomach the news anymore. I gave him a patient hearing and advised him to read only the matrimonial advertisements instead to see how ambitious the parents and the youth were turning. The language of other advertisements similarly revealed the cleverness, smartness, greed, deception and attitude of individuals, communities, businesses and professions. He immediately burst into laughter and was at ease. He  came a depressed man to me but went back a happy person. Yet another experience I recall relates to a neighbour who would simply listen to the headlines of the AIR (All India Radio) 2000 hours news bulletin and turn off his radio. I would not understand the depth of it all at that time, but later in life I came to understand that all news is by and large nothing more than the headlines! The knowledgeable know the causes and effects of all that constitutes news. No news, till date, has ever disclosed the truth or that which was crucial for the human society to know for its survival or existence or prosperity. In fact, news has only helped the ruling classes to hide from the ruled critical and crucial information by creating news about it in a superficial or marginal way, as strategized by the ruling establishment. Are we witnessing the end of news?

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