This article purely is an individual opinion and does not aim to defame any organization.
There is a war where armies of two nations fight, and thousands of soldiers on both sides sacrifice their lives to keep their countries and their pride safe.
But there is another kind of war – a media war, that takes place when bullets aren’t enough. No example would be better than the media war between India and Pakistan.
In this article, I will be quoting/using quite a few statements/opinions made by Major Gaurav Arya, a retired army officer I look up to. For the complete speech by Major Arya at Indoi Analytics Conclave on Fake Narratives and its Impact on Uniform, please search for the same on YouTube.
What Are Media Narratives And How Are They Related To The Army
Major Arya said at the Indoi Analytics Conclave,
“We are at a state of war, hum par jung musallat kar di gayi hai. This is just war by other means.”
This “war by other means” majorly consists of using media of various kinds to spread false narratives.
We, the public of this country, for some unknown reason, have left all rationale and are now trusting whatever the news says blindly. I bet you get most of your news through Instagram and Facebook, than from a newspaper. Even newspapers are not less adulterated.
As rightly described in the song Baba Bolta Hai from the movie Sanju, “sources” will see a man taking a nap, and paint his picture in front of everyone as a drunkard. Something similar happens with the army when the media starts selling fake narratives. Just that the army depends on public not to spread fake narratives, but we do it anyway.
When a university student in North India shows several Kashmiri students a video of how a lady is crying about Indian Army shooting her 11-year-old son, when he was just playing cricket, it paints a picture of the Army as murderers of the innocent. The same was also stated by Major Arya in his speech.
An Army’s morale is as good as it’s country’s public having confidence in it. The support is all they feed off of, and sacrifice their lives for people they don’t even know. But when the same people make up their minds about a specific image of the Army, which is rather negative, we have already lost the war.
Pakistan And The Media
Major Arya says, that back in 1965 when we did not even have good media, Pakistani Army had already begun spreading a word that 1 Muslim soldier of theirs is equal to 10 Indian Hindu soldiers, and that they can crush us effortlessly as though we were mere rats. Funny how they believe that the Indian Army is all Hindus.
Another narrative against the army accused a regiment of raping women in a place called Kunan Poshpora and it was so wide-spread and so often repeated that people actually started believing it. Many will call me irrational for taking a stand with the Army in this matter.
Through manipulation of media in print and digital forms, Pak Army has very well managed to twist facts and produce stories out of thin air, lie to the general public, not only of Pakistan but of India as well.
In February, a Mig-21 Bison of the IAF shot down a mighty F-16 of PAF in a dog-fight and Pakistan still won’t approve of the same. They have invested a lot of thought and have shown everyone through Twitter and other social media platforms that the incident never occurred.
While in some instances, Indian media might be fair, Pakistani media has always been polarized and has shown what it’s Army demands to show, most of which is filled with cooked up narratives.
How Does This Affect The Indian Army?
Manipulation of media and fake narrative sometimes bites you as a common man living in a country run mostly by media and politicians. What we don’t know is that Pakistan is run by its Army, not by politicians.
The accounts presented by Pak Army to the world, mostly aiming towards Indian public have been successful unfortunately, in shaping a negative image of the Indian Army. Almost every day, I hear my friends or family speak of some negative aspect of the Indian Army. Where do they get these from? Whom do they hear these from?
Acts of ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations, the PR agency for Pakistani forces) like tweets on the Dawn Leaks, calling them outrageous and a national security issue clearly shows how well planned and secretive, the building of fake narratives is, by the Pak Army.
Get a hold on the imagination of the public of a country, and you can do wonders in terms of turning the direction of the wind in favour of negativity. There are two ways an Army attains a negative image. One is through negative acts, and the other is through Pak Army’s nefarious intentions. Indian Army is a victim of the latter.
The Indian Army is an army of morals and will never do anything to harm its own people. It is your choice to believe a narrative created by the media, directed by the Army of another country. Make the right choice and have faith in the Indian Army.
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