History of Halloween

From communion with the dead to pumpkins and pranks, Halloween is a patchwork holiday, stitched together with cultural religions and occult tradition that spans centuries.

Before Halloween

It all began with the Celts; a people whose culture had spread across Europe more than 2,000 years ago. October 31st was the day they celebrated the end of the harvest season in a festival called Soin, that night also marked as Celtic New Year and was considered a time between years; a magical time when the ghost of the dead walked the earth as called as time when the veil between death and life was supposed to be at its thinnest.

At that time the villagers would gathered and lit huge bonfires to drive the dead back to the spirit world and keep them away from the living. But as the Catholic Church’s influence grew in Europe, it frowned on the pagan rituals like sawing.

The name Halloween

In the 7th century the Vatican began to merge it with a Church sanctioned holiday. So November 1st was designed All Saints day to honor martyrs and the deceased faithful. Both of these holidays had to do with the afterlife and about survival after death, it was a calculated move, on the part of the church, to bring more people into the fold.

All Saints day was known as then Hallowmas; hallow meaning holy or saintly, so the translation is roughly mass of the saints. The night before October 31st was All Hallows eve while gradually morphed into “Halloween“.

How the holiday spread

The holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of the 1840s. The brought several of their holiday customs with them including

  • Bobbing for apples and,
  • Playing tricks on neighbors like, removing gates from the front of the houses
Irish immigrants

Trick-o-treat

The young pranksters wore masks so they wouldn’t be recognised but over the years the traditional of harmless tricks grew into outright vandalism such as in 1930s, pranks during Halloween became really holiday, as there was such a hooliganism and vandalism.

Trick-o-treat was originally a extortion deal, give candies or get your house trashed. Storekeeper and neighbors began giving treats or bribes to stop the tricks and children were encouraged to travel door-to-door for treat as an alternative to trouble making. By the late 30s trick-o-treat became a holiday greeting.

History of Indian Stamps

India got independence on 15th August of 1947 assured in a new era in the history of the country but philatelist had to wait another 98 days for the release of India’s most commemorate stamp on 21st of November 1947.

First stamp

The Postal Telegraph Department however came out with a large Kashi postmarked with the slogan “Jai hind” for the occasion and letters mailed that the major post offices of the country were cancelled with this post mark.

The India’s first commemorative stamp features the Lion capital of Ashoka which had one set on the top of a column of Sarnath near Varanasi. The lion capital has since been around at the state emblem of India the denomination of the stamp was one and a half annas and an inspiration of “Jai hind” in Hindi was also depicted in the stamps.

Other stamps

Actually three stamps were planned to release at the time of Independence. The rest two stamps were released in the 15th of December 1947 with the three and a half annas stamp with portray of the national flag in tricolor Saffron on the top, white in the middle and green in the bottom.

The twelve annas stamp depicts an aircraft a symbol of the modern age. These stamps also have inscription “Jai hind” in hindi, they are also known are Jai Hind stamps.

The stamps were printed offset lithography. As the three and a half annas stamp was printed in three colors in three steps because difference in inking at different stages, because specimens having the top of the flag in deep orange or pale orange and the lower part in pale green and deep green were coming across.

Media mere puppet for politicians and giant corporations.

Media, the fourth pillar of democracy act like a puppet in front of politicians lately. With many toolkits, cases highlight. Excessive paid news reporting during Election. Exhibits how media is governed by political parties. Today massive advertisement by the political parties shows the nexus between media and political parties. Showcase their close economic connections. Media also alleged for running agenda and propaganda for their allied politician during elections. Which hampered the credibility of the media. Many journalists appear to favor their alleged political parties openly in their text, report, and debate. Even the questions asked in interviews are biased one sustaining only one side or party. Its been observed during elections, this funding increase manifold. To dominate media investment partnership, toolkit, gifts, privileges are some tactics that political parties used without coming into suspicion. Such malpractice is performed by political parties to bribe the Media. To use it as a weapon during election campaigns. witnessed in the way media seems divided in their message. They showcase only the positive side of their party, their positive work shaping the idea and ideology of the common people. Media runs agenda and propaganda to deviate audience from the basic problem of the society and shift towards the direction their funders want. media propagates only those messages there supportive parties want. Maximum paid news reports are linked with political parties. Many politician leaders names are highlighted and summoned by the election campaign. But lack of proof and unwillingness lead to no fruitful result. And no severe action was taken place. Now media listen and write only what there investor wants. The incomplete, partial and biased information shared by the news channel became a hindrance for the sovereignty of the country. Severe actions and identification of the political parties became the necessity of time. the large number of manipulation on the part of the media shows that it has lost the credibility and trust that people have in them prior. Passive audience are consuming the biased or manufactured message that can hamper the autonomy and sovereignty of the country. Nowadays, Beside politicians many private institutions and cooperate giants seem to invest their large chunks in the media .For example, Mukesh Ambani, his family and friends owned INX Media recently. That show media became a puppet now.

Women objectification in Indian Cinema & Advertisements

In a country like India where people worship goddesses like Parvati, Durga, and Sita, there the females who are considered mere objects. Such an irony in one go, but it’s the true state of the nation. One of the major influences is through the Cinema and Advertisements that people come across in their day to day lives. Bollywood being the power source of entertainment has largely depicted the women in a sexualized roles. Objectifying women in the name of acting is not at all justified, and actresses playing the crass role of ‘glamorous dolls’ are equally disgusting. Whereas in the case of advertisements, they have shown women in a stereotypical manner. It’s not just this if we look for things in the bigger context these issues have lead to the heinous crimes against women. ‘Item songs’ are ubiquitous in almost all the Bollywood movies. If you see any film/song shot in a very cold place, the actor would wear a jacket and pants, and the actress would be dressed in skimpy attire or a translucent saree. Why is that so? Many advertisements /show women in a submissive manner, an object of interest, wives shown as doing all the household tasks, less educated/informed than her husband. Nonetheless, the woman deemed as an accessory to the man is an idea that holds a lot of significance to the nation at large.

Advertising

Advertising began as a tool to bring into the consumer’s notice the existence of the product, why one should purchase it, what are its benefits but with time it has become a tool to express a particular set of thoughts such that they even define what society will come to accept as desirable and true. Most advertisements that promote sexual objectification of women are in plenty. A major influence that advertisements have for women across the nation is going to be the idea of the woman as the object of sexual pursuit. Taking examples of Axe and Wildstone. They have their entire advertising strategies built on the idea that the product being advertised will make the person ‘achieve’ a woman. This woman is a bodily construct who has no humanity. Here, the idea of bodily display and sexual persuasion fall together and in a combinational way. In very effective research on how the identification of men and women is undergoing it was found out that those women are identified ‘locally’ whereas men are identified globally which is again a demeaning factor.

Objectification of women is not merely sexual bodily display, which is the most obvious form of objectification but also about customization. With the increasing obsession with physical beauty, a lot of products that are advertised to ‘customize’ or change bodily characteristics fall under this category. This includes beauty products promising to change the color of the skin. Fair & lovely, a fairness cream always had its advertising strategy that builds on a woman fulfilling her dreams with a customization of skin. When particular characteristics of humans are picked and analyzed and made to change, the humanness of the person is lost to a certain extent, and the person becomes a piece of object that can be changed according to attractiveness and desirability.

Indian Cinema

Two facets in which objectification of women is done in Indian Cinema

  • Bodily characterization

Out of the 18 films, 10 have some sort of an ‘item number’ in the film. In these item numbers, the dance techniques and dressing are sexually provocative in nature, with bodily display aided with sexual movements and expressions. Firstly, it is necessary to analyze why these dances cause the objectification of women. This happens when the woman in question (the ‘item girl’) is dancing, the camera angles move across parts of the woman’s body, focusing on the sexually stimulating body parts (breasts, legs, waist, and butt). The role of the women in that particular movie is then reduced to only the ‘gaze’ of the male, hence, and there is no human-ness left in the woman at all. This happens the same in advertising when a woman’s body is all the identity she has left. This viewing of the bodily structure is done by men, as well as women themselves. While watching an item number, a person’s consciousness (whether male or female) will look for these bodily traits in every person around them, even if it is in the mirror.

  • The portrayal of sexual harassment in Indian cinema

In the movie ‘Wanted’, starring Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia, the character Salman Khan lustily stares at a woman’s yoga-pants. After a short while, says to one of friends that, ‘In jaisi ladkiyaan, ham Jaise ladko ke liye yeh sab karti hain’ meaning “These kinds of girls behave this way for boys like us.” There are several movies like Rascals (2011), Wanted (2009), Grand Masti (2013), Dabangg (2010), Rowdy Rathore (2012) that have male characters overtly pass derogatory remarks about women’s bodies. Not only that, there are several examples of the leading male characters physically ‘teasing’ the woman (who is a stranger to them) who will eventually fall in love with them. For example, it is a very common storyline where the female leading character resists the attempts of the male character to romantically pursue her and eventually agrees. Movies like Singham, Dabangg, and Rowdy Rathore have three leading actors of these times in roles that are idealized and heroic. But when the portrayal of how they deal with women is concerned, the behavior is rude, demeaning and there is a downright refusal to attempt to understand the agency of a woman’s body and consent.

Connection between the two

Drawing a connection between the Advertising and Indian Cinema the objectification of women is done to an extent that a certain understanding of women is been made. They are reduced to being sex objects, like this it is easy to view them as objects of ownership. This leads to an air of unsafety for the women. The woman now understands that others see her as a culmination of breasts, legs, and buttocks, making her believe that she is unsafe if she dresses a certain way that reveals her body parts. Since the identity of the woman is reduced to being available for sex, for men sexual harassment becomes the norm. But this does not end here only. Bodies of women themselves become an object. This plays into the larger picture of the society that if a woman dresses up, it is to fulfill the gaze of the male. The idea of ownership leads to ‘eve-teasing’, sexual harassment, and also rape. Due to the influence of cinema, a person’s manhood is defined by how heroically he can convince the girl by being  manipulative and persuasive. The leading characters of the mainstream Indian films are stubborn and have suggestions to make to the leading women of the film, and since this is not objected to by these women, it is understood to be the norm and something that the woman-object deserves. Sexual objectification is very easy to go unnoticed, but it can only be with responsible viewership that the nation can be made safe for women. Sensitizing campaigns could represent, at least for women, a powerful tool to raise awareness against unrealistic beauty ideals and sexualized images that are regularly shown on television and to motivate individuals to engage in collective action aimed at improving how media portrays women. Unless there is a complete overhaul in the arena nothing can be changed.

 

Bickering Bollywood….

So we all know that Indian film industry aka Bollywood is the second highest movie producing industry in the whole world after Hollywood per annum. Well to be honest yeah i agree that Bollywood is a gold mine of vibrant,diverse and really amazing movies. But the question remains at the point as why such an old,powerful movie industry with actors like Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan who come in the list of top ten richest actors in the world, and with directors like Satyajit Ray are never producing movies which at least can be the bread and butter of the whole world. French and the German movie industry even the movie industry of Chile and the Korea is producing movies which garners massive popularity worldwide. In french we have ‘Belle de Jour(1967)’ and ‘blue is the warmest color (2013)’, German’s having ‘The Marriage of Maria Braun(1978)’ and ‘Freier fall (2013)’, chile’s ‘A fantstic woman (2017), the ripple maker Parasite(2019) and many more from many other countries as well. And then the question prevails why not Bollywood?

Movies like Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955) and Mira Nair’s Salam Bombay (1988) in a manner defined Indian movie industry’s potential. But current scenario Bollywood is all about nepotism and love stories nowadays. As if we see that famous movie Slumdog Millionaire(2008) which bagged eight Oscars is not what india is?But the entire movie industry of the world is running after one thing that if India is represented it either poverty or god forbid it’s about curry, thanks to everywhere you see starting from movies like critically acclaimed Lion(2016) or Love Sonoa(2018) everything is about how indians are suffering,human trafficking, lack of sanitation and blah blah blah!!! If we talk about that’s what we see i the world. But people need to realize something that India the world’s second most populous country,sixth largest economy and seventh largest country is not all about trash and poverty. This scenario as explained above is what shows the failure of bollywood. but not everythings bad as we can’t say that Bollywood has gone down totally in these recent years as we made so many good movies too like Raazi(2018), Neerja(2016), Uri(2019), Barfi(2012) , Lust stories(2018) , Mary Kom(2014), three idiots(2009), Bajirao Mastani (2015), Jodha Akbar(2008), Dangal(2016), Devdas(2002), My name is Khan(2010), Swades(2004), English Vinglish(2012), Tumbaad(2018), lagaan(2001), Tare zameen par(2007), PK(2014) and many more which show case the value of the Indian movie industry and it’s potentials.

Now if we talk about problem which is wrecking us all starts with the lack of originality and the rejection of new talent in Indian film industry and how can we forget the grandad of all fiasco the one and only Nepotism. Nepotism is whats actually responsible for killing the Indian film industry in a really gruesome manner as due to this the new talents in indian film industry is getting choked as we speak. Another big problem is the lack of experimentation and really comical and absurd action movies as I’m literally starving for a good science fiction movie or a bone chilling horror fiction at least. But all we get is boring love stories with a lot of songs which are not even sung by the actors but they are just LIP SYNCING to it. No diversity at all as white washing of the whole cast is the forte of bollywood. Not even a single dusky or black actor or actress in a lead role you will find here(leaving the very few exceptions). That’s what i meant when i wrote bickering bollywood as if bollywood won’t up it’s ante there will soon be what we call a hot white mess left in the indian subcontinent for people to watch. Toodles!

Knock knock. Who’s there? Democracy. Democracy who?

Democracy in layman terms is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Media is being considered as the fourth pillar of democratic society after executive, legislature, and judiciary. One of the crowning glories of the democratic system is the freedom of expression and the space that is provided to views from different sections of the society. The last few years witnessed an enhanced interface between the media and the common man, thanks to social media

The role of Social Networking Sites in Indian politics has risen tremendously in recent years. Different Indian political parties have their websites and some of them also use other social mediums to interact with people. With every party having its website and leaders being active on different media it makes the citizens feel that they are within their reach. It feels like the leaders are a touch away. Mr. Shashi Tharoor of Congress Party was one of the first politicians to start tweeting and has a separate fan base for his tweets now. Through social media, politicians now constantly display their message through endless campaigns, see direct responses to their actions via Facebook or Twitter, and connect with the public. One of the most recent example is Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders, where an auto-generated response was sent to all those who tweeted to the PM, giving the illusion that they were contributing to something large.

It is important to note that political engagement through social media is not limited to adults, but young potential voters increasingly use social media for online political participation. Especially younger people are using social networking platforms such as Twitter to develop an individualised form of activism that they connect to most. Unlike Mainstream media where narratives are indirectly controlled, influenced and favoured by the business houses and political parties that are funding the channel, Social media is comparatively a less regulated space.

Ravish Kumar on his Prime Time show on NDTV urged everyone to stop watching television back in March 2019. Why would someone who earns his living through mainstream television media tell you to do that? This shows how grave the situation was and still is. Public issues have disappeared from the channels, when Indian states were reeling under floods, the channels were still flooded by anti- Pakistan narratives, tukde-tukde gang narratives and the never-ending glorification of the honourable PM. Is TRP more important than highlighting important issues? Is selling news more important than upholding the fourth pillar? If we see the current media scenario then the answer to the latter question seems too easy.

Wouldn’t you agree if I said that the watchdog, or in other words the press and the media have a significant influence on society? Then is it fair to have corporate houses and political parties with vested interests invest in the media?

India News is owned by Karthikeya Sharma, son of a Congress leader. News 24 is controlled by Rajeev Shukla, a Congress leader and his wife Anuradha Prasad who is the sister of BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Times Group is owned by Bennet & Coleman. The Italian, Robertio Mindo who has a share in the group is a close relative of Sonia Gandhi. CNN- News 18 is owned by Mukesh Ambani. Republic TV is owned by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd and one of its biggest investors is Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a BJP leader- These are just a few examples out of the many news channels.

Editors are pulled up for putting their opinion, journalists are asked to toe the line, and media houses align themselves with different political ideologies and the interests of the owners and sponsors. Is it really possible to have a free and a fair media with this direct hold?

‘Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.’

Walter Cronkite

India is the world’s largest democracy, and the media mustn’t be controlled by any political party, big corporate houses or any other sector. The Press and the media is the voice of the voiceless and should promote the rights of not just the majority but also the minority; it is the duty of the press of any country to ensure that the government is functioning properly and no section of the society is left behind.

Sources-

  1. Role of media in Indian democracy https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/203650/11/11_chapter5.pdf
  2. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/critic-inside-ravish-kumar-speaks-tnm-state-indian-journalism-109378
  3. Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action- University of Chicago
  4. Who owns your media?- https://www.newslaundry.com/2014/02/05/who-owns-your-media-4https://cablequest.org/index.php/news/channels-owned-by-polticians