Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #180 - Chasm between tatemae and honne

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ” ― George Carlin


Diwali celebrations in India start with Dhanteras, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi and then Deepavali on the third day. Diwali is followed by Diwali Padva and then Bhai dooj which celebrates the love between sister and brother. Diwali is on Kartik Amavasya.  The lunar new year starts as the Sun enters Scorpio and the month moves from Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) to Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight).

Although many religious commentators and laymen call Diwali to be a symbol of victory of Good over Evil, in spiritual terms the movement always needs to happen from ignorance to knowing.  It is not a knowing of data of the mind, but the knowing of the existential Truth.  It is a realization rather.  In that realization – or enlightenment – a being lights up.  Darkness is expelled and Light emerges.  For those on a spiritual path, that is what Diwali represents.  Journey to light.  Just as the planet takes that step from darkness to light, so do many energies around us.  If we are able to work on ourselves, that possibility is available to us as well.

Diwali is the Shift.  Between the “Dark Fortnight” to “Bright Fortnight”.  From Dark to Light.  Nature doesn’t need candles to announce the shift.  Or lamps.  It becomes the “Shift”.  We light lamps because those who understood the movement of nature and its significance, spiritually, had suggested it to us, in case we missed the larger phenomenon.

Diwali is not a Cultural Festival.  It is a Spiritual Opportunity.

Celebration is one thing.  Awareness and Realization are another.

Wishing you all a very happy five days of Diwali!


drama and news - the new direction

The year was 1883.  A slow, non-descript paper in New York called the New York World was bought by a young 36-year-old guy with a different vision of journalism.

Until then, the reporting in the papers was more like the government communique couched in legalese.  Almost like the minutes of a board meeting.  Boring and drab.

The new owner turned the same information into dramatic stories.  The headlines were blaring for attention, the articles had big pictures and nice graphics.

The articles became sensational and emotional.  They weren't rational or logically put anymore.

Every day, the paper became an anthology of one drama after another.

The name of this guy was Joseph Pulitzer.

A name that has become synonymous with serious journalism.

He was the pioneer of the techniques of yellow journalism.  The paper attracted readers with sensationalism, sex, crime, and graphic horrors.

In 1912, Pulitzer established the Columbia School of Journalism via his philanthropic bequest and in 1917 the Pulitzer Prizes were set up thanks to his endowment.  These are still given annually for excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music, and drama.

As journalism went from print to radio to television, the need for drama increased.  The news was slowly but surely turning into a playground for interest groups and lobbying political and ideological actors.

The businesses brought in a different flavor to the news industry.  They had millions at stake.  And, so would be willing to invest in creating the right narrative.

In a review of Paul H Weaver’s seminal book “News and the Culture of Lying: How Journalism Really Works,” HBR wrote in the May–June 1995 Issue:

At Ford, Weaver learned that news often has a dual identity, an external façade and an internal reality, much like the Japanese duality of tatemae (appearance) and honne (reality). “On the surface there was a made-up public story put out for the purpose of manipulating others in ways favorable to the story makers,” he writes.(Source)

The chasm between tatemae and honne has become the most defining characteristic of journalism today.

The role of the press in today’s world is, HBR said, “to promote public illusions and private privilege.”

If you had the means, privilege or power, you could dictate the narrative that you wanted people to believe.

Narratives can change perceptions and perceptions become reality.

Over time, the public caught up with the whole facade, somewhat.

From 1973 to 1993, only Congress fell further in public esteem than the press, according to surveys of public confidence by the University of Michigan. The decline in confidence reflects a widening feeling that the news media are contentious, unfair, inaccurate, and under the thumb of powerful institutions, a 1989 survey by Gallup for the Times-Mirror Center for the People and the Press concluded.(Source)

Facts were distorted, news either became ideological garbage or dramatized press propaganda material regurgitated in the morning paper.

Whoever paid more, threatened harder or imposed his privilege got to get his voice across.

Surveys were gamed.  Scientific research studies were ‘sponsored’ and absolute quackery was cloaked as science and presented to the public in order to sell products.

The scientists even brought out research to say that candies actually inhibit cavities!

Companies routinely use research studies to promote products or positions. White bread won’t cause you to gain weight and is nutritious, a study by the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research found. Its sponsor: the maker of Wonder Bread. Chocolate may actually inhibit cavities, concluded a study by the Princeton Dental Resource Center, which is funded by Mars, the maker of M&M’s and other chocolate candies.(Source)

If you had the money, you could prove anything you wanted.

India’s bought press

In India, journalism was fashioned by the powers that had an interest in dictating the events in this country and using them as a means for fighting the larger global battles.  India was just a toy in that geopolitical war.

Not that the KGB was the only agency active in India. Another noting by Oleg Kalugin, former KGB major-general, says, "It seemed like the entire country was for sale: the KGB and the CIA had deeply penetrated the Indian government."
 Not just the government. The book alleges that the KGB had recruited one of India's most influential journalists, codenamed NOK. His anti-US articles were considered a major coup in the Lubyanka. However, they had other ways of stoking anti-US sentiments. In 1969, according to The Mitrokhin Archives, Andropov informed the Politburo in Moscow that they could "organise a demonstration of up to 20,000 Muslims in front of the US embassy in Delhi and that it would cost Rs 5,000. I request consideration." Leonid Brezhnev wrote, "Agreed on Andropov's request." (Source)

Journalists, newspapers and news agencies were like prizes or rather war booty that had to be poached and enslaved.

The KGB claimed they had ten Indian newspapers and one news agency on their payroll and thousands of articles were planted in these outlets. It claimed to have funded several politicians, senior bureaucrats (including diplomats, police officers and intelligence officers) and members of Parliament. Surely, the CIA would not have lagged behind in this kind of activity. (Source)

To put it simply, whatever you had heard, read, and believed in for almost 70 years was simply a version of the propaganda by some power in the world outside India.

Arnab - the Pulitzer of TV journalism

In that cesspool of bought and fake journalists came this young upstart named Arnab Goswami.  He aligned himself with nationalistic ways and ideals.

Journalism had become colorful with loud headlines and jazzy visuals.  Sides were taken.  No journalist had any qualms in either fanning communal violence or telling the Pakistanis about the exact location of the Indian artillery during Kargil or rooms where people were hidden in the Taj Mahal hotel during the 26/11 attack.

In that milieu, with his better grasp of facts and figures and a heart beating for nationalistic narrative, Arnab Goswami did a Pulitzer to the Indian TV journalism.

And, he succeeded as well as Joseph Pulitzer had.

You see he made narratives real.  Emotional yes, but relatable.  Just like the young angry Bachchan’s dialogs would echo the anger of the youth of the 70s and the 80s, Arnab’s outbursts and practiced humiliation of the clueless Pakistanis on his channel gave a cathartic relief to the Indian masses.

Arnab did not invent drama in journalism.  It was always there.  Crass, bought, fake, and anti-social even.  He just gave a different narrative and took the drama a few extra notches.

He touched a nerve.

The crowds outside the Taloja jail were not because he is the greatest journalist ever.  But because when he threatens Uddhav Thackery and Param Bir Singh on national TV in the loudest words possible, he gives voice to what millions of Indians want to do, but don’t have the means.

For the first time in 70 years, someone is channeling what the majority of Indians think and want.  He is just the voice, dramatic and over-the-top but genuinely Indian.  The narrative coming out is of the Indian public.

That is why what we are witnessing today are Media Wars. Between the old, privileged, bought, compromised, anti-social and anti-national media relics and a new way to do things.

Listen to this excellent succinct report from Vivek Agnihotri.


Blast from the past

In 1993, former cricketer/businessman and father of Rajdeep Sardesai was caught by Mumbai Police for violation of FCRA law.

Former Indian test cricketer, Dilip Sardesai and a leading Pune-based businessman Jayant Vittaldas were Friday arrested and remanded to judicial custody till October 29 in connection with alleged foreign exchange regulation act violations, involving $6.89 million. The arrests followed seizure of certain documents by the income tax department during its raid on Vittaldas' residence in Pune on October 12 and 13, indicating FERA violations and the subsequent Cuffe Parade residence in this metropolis on India's west coast. The department has handed over the documents to the directorate, which carried out raids on Sardesai's house and subsequently arrested both. In his statement, Sardesai denied having received the amounts in foreign exchange as stated in the stamped receipts. He, however, admitted that the contents of the receipts and some corrections made in the receipts were in his handwriting and also confirmed his signature. The receipts were meant as security for raising abroad for certain projects in which he was working, the report said. Vittaldas, in his statment admitted that the 14 receipts were seized from his place but denied about making any payments to Sardesai. The remand further said on the basis of available evidence, it appeared that Sardesai had acquired a total of $6,889,100 without any general or special permission from the Reserve Bank of India. (Source: ESPNcricinfo)

The fruit, as they say, doesn’t fall far from the tree.


Talking about the new world and new media, here is an excellent illustration of the major players in different categories of the informational digital world.

Check out the extremely informative thread - Source.

market corner - quick bytes

  1. Guide to Nirmala Sitharaman’s Stimulus package - more

  2. SBI’s Diwali stock picks with “up to 30% upside” - more

  3. Motilal Oswal’s Diwali stock picks “with 35% upside” - more

  4. Gold price at 67k/10gm soon? - more

  5. How to order Aadhaar PVC Card online? - more

  6. A new EPF scheme for companies hiring new employees during COVID - more

  7. How to become a full-time investor - more

  8. Atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in aluminum for India? - more

  9. Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) busts Rs 685 crore fake invoicing racket - more

  10. Where does India invest? - more

nota bene

Twitter’s deliberate attempt to undermine India’s sovereignty: The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued a notice to Twitter seeking an explanation in five days as to why legal action shouldn’t be taken against the social media platform for disrespecting India’s territorial integrity as Twitter has shown Leh as part of J&K, not Ladakh. The notice has been sent to the global Vice President of Twitter, people familiar with the development said. It also termed the mistake as a “deliberate attempt to undermine the will of sovereign Parliament of India” which had declared Ladakh as a Union Territory of India with its headquarters in Leh.

Icon for 75th Independence Day: An iconic structure is being planned to be built in Nav Bharat Udyan (New India Garden) to realize the grand vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, symbolizing emerging New India with equitable growth opportunities, rooted in values of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Vishwaas' and representing the aspiration of clean India, free from poverty, corruption, terrorism, communalism and casteism. Nav Bharat Udyan will be open to the public and is being designed to have an iconic structure and infotainment facilities such as Sphere of Unity, Milestones Walkway, Journey of India, Tech Dome, Amphitheatre, public amenities etc. to showcase India’s rich historical and cultural heritage. It will also showcase scientific achievements, and will symbolize unity in diversity and aspirations of the New India.

Celebrity Pastor’s mistress tells all: Married celebrity pastor Carl Lentz’s life came crashing down around him this month after the star-studded megachurch Hillsong fired the 42-year-old father for what was initially only referred to as “a recent revelation of moral failures.” The day after Hillsong’s founding pastors announced the news to the global Hillsong community, Lentz offered further specification of his misdeeds in an Instagram post: He had cheated on the mother of his three children, wife of 17 years and fellow minister, Laura Lentz. Now, his former girlfriend has spoken up about their fiery, five-month pandemic romance and the hypocrisy of a man who she said was unable to practice what he preached. (Source)

1000 kmph train in Korea!: The Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) announced on Nov. 11 that it has achieved a speed of at least 1,000 kilometers per hour in a 1/17 hyper-tube train aerodynamic test model. The hyper-tube train is for use in a near-vacuum tube of 0.001 atm. It is an air resistance-minimized and unprecedented vehicle. No high-speed train has ever succeeded in overcoming the limit of 600 km/h so far. The velocity of 1,000 km/h is approximately equal to that of international flights. (Source)

Electricity into Hydrogen: A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has discovered a new method that makes it possible to transform electricity into hydrogen or chemical products by solely using microwaves – without cables and without any type of contact with electrodes. This can represent a disruption in the field of energy research and a key development for the decarbonization of the process industry, as well as for the future of the automotive sector and the chemical industry, among many others. The study has been published in the latest edition of Nature Energy. (Source)

Facebook shredding the fabric of our democracy: A top advisor to President-elect Joe Biden has torn into Facebook in a thread on Twitter. "If you thought disinformation on Facebook was a problem during our election, just wait until you see how it is shredding the fabric of our democracy in the days after," Bill Russo, a deputy communications director on Biden's campaign press team, tweeted late Monday. (Source)

Story of Gujarat riots in 2002

No other fake story in the history of world politics has been so shamelessly promoted as the one on Gujarat riots of 2002.

We wrote a detailed article on the facts of the whole thing. (Source)

Godhra was a planned attack on Hindus by the Muslims in Godhra. They were planned to ensure chaos.

Here is the timeline, so we understand the context of the riots well.

  • February 27th, 2002: The train was set on fire and 56 Hindus burned by Muslims in a pre-planned way while the mob stoned them to prevent them to jump out of the burning train (source)

  • February 28th, 2002: The Riots started. Modi government called the Army and sent requests to three Congress governments – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan for an additional police force. Only Maharashtra sent 3 companies of CRPF. MP and Rajasthan did not send any. (source)

  • March 1st, 2002: Army began flag marches and shoot at sight orders (Source)

  • March 3rd, 2002: the Riots were brought under control (Source)

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted under the Supreme Court. They probed into the riots and gave their report – where the requests sent by Modi to the MP, Maharashtra and Rajasthan state governments on February 28th 2002 have been discussed. (courtesy – Guruprasad.net)

If one is not bigoted and thoroughly screwed up mentally, one can peruse the news reports and the timeline mentioned above and realize that something terrible and dastardly was done in Godhra.

In a state, which saw riots almost every year, such action was calling for an apocalypse type of reaction. Let’s just say that it was planned for such a reaction.

And it happened.

But Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister, jumped into action without delay. He sent requests for the Army and police force from adjoining states right away – on the very day that the riots started! Clearly, his own state police were not enough to handle the riots.

The riots were contained state-wide within 2 days. Across one of the largest states in India.

Just for context, Gujarat is larger than Pennsylvannia and South Carolina put together in the area and has a population larger than populations of the two most populated states in the US – California and Texas put together (37.25 mn – CA, 25.145 – TX in 2010 and Gujarat – 62.7 mn in 2013)!

That is why we urge you to watch this video below. Very well done and extremely informative!

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