By Rashika Trikha : Guru-ship in India has long been playing a vital role in mass media’s record. On one side the philanthropic activities of the guru sects and on other side the debated image of the guru-movements by antagonists provides a good deal of subject matter for media’s exposition. The expression of devoutness, apathy and resonant speeches becomes a crucial factor in their popularity. So is it the psychedelic impact aggression shown towards the guru and antagonistic movements by the audience put forward operationalization of mass media. Undoubtedly, the strong contribution of gurus in sundry of spheres and sermons giving rise to their multifaceted persona and extraordinary potential to spring loud and of the guru or the mediaon public?
Admittedly,the potential of contemporary gurus is a high-powered one but would that beenough to proliferate the flocks of devotees toenormous counts without media’s contribution? The media as binding force between the gurus and their devotees, has come up acting as a catalyst between the intermingling of the two. The catalyst (media) is potent enoughto induce or even reverse the magical vibrations of guru, transforming the pleasant scene the other way round or vice-versa. Stardom achieved could be lost to defamation in a matter of seconds. Media’s potential is irrefutably terrific if not an unquestionable one. Now, this is one view as further outlook forwards new phenomena.
Jacob Copeman’s article “The Devotion of Attractions”, published in India Today’s issue of October 16, 2017, highlighted the inclination of guru-ship towards media’s launch.The guru-devotee relationship exhibits interdependence as devotees strengthen the guru-organizations by extensively assisting in their charity acts whereas the weaker economic sections of society benefit from the philanthropic activities of the guru-organizations. Media attention is plausibly the chief purpose of such humanitarian events, a typical situation of which could be sensed in case of Dera Sacha Sauda’s remarkable eye-screening event (2014) which broke into Guiness World Records was, as also suggested by Copeman (2017), partly if not fully, an effort to divert attention from the ominous dark clouds gathered on public picture of Baba Ram Rahim and the organzation then. This is just one way to seek people’s attention, there are multitudinous plans of action to influence audience in the large framework of mass media that provides access to even remote areas today when Satsangs are mediatized and contemporaneously rational thoughts find an open platform to be freely expressed. The purpose of this article is neither to laud nor to offend the public persona of a particular or contemporary gurus, but to understand the different effects beamed out to the viewers by media’s presentation of a guru.This catalytic feature of media causes the synthesis of public image of a guru and thus hinging on the paradigm of catalyzation, synthesis of modern guruship is produced.
By Rashika Trikha, BSc, MSc (Hons.),Panjab University, Chandigarh