A few days back on a news programme on NDTV, a moderate separatist representative slammed the anchor along with the whole Indian media for calling the young men on the streets “hooligans” and “trouble-makers” without understanding why they have taken to the streets. This has been the scenario throughout the mainstream Indian media. Local journalists from Kashmir are extremely careful about the vocabulary, completely opposite of the mainstream Indian media uses without pausing to think about the meaning.
It is not “peace” that ordinary people want; they stress they want a “resolution” to the Kashmir question. They want development and jobs, yes, but they also want a political solution.
The language used to describe those who protest in Kashmir is not just a matter of semantics. It is important because it places what is happening within a context. Thus, what is significant is not that people are using stones instead of guns, as some reports suggest, but that young people are daring men with guns, even at risk to their lives, because their anger and frustration cannot be contained any more. We need to comprehend this anger that fuels the “stone-pelter”.
I strongly believe that media is all about words and the use of words. It is about semantics. It is about the employment of phrases and their origins. I read somewhere that it is also about the misuse of history, and about our ignorance of history. Journalists no longer care about this element of linguistics.
The point I want to make is directed towards those journalists and media houses that are airdropped and appear only when it is all screwed up with major incident/s. It is a must for them to keep these things in mind, whether they cover Kashmir or any other conflict in India.