Neo-Cultural Custodians

Media for its own reasons has a fascination with festivals, especially cultural ones. Diwali, Onam, X’mas, Id – the fanfare begins a few weeks/months before the due date and offerings range from “50% off sale” to “attractive gifts/lucky dips”. If there is not one cultural festival in a month, they create one or borrow from the international ones – fathers day, mothers day, valentines day, friendship day, rose day – you name it!

I have no complaints with the advertisement and marketing going beserk at the time when people spend, actually, it is but natural that they do so.  But, what bothers me is the new trend of the “interactive media” or the “Media 2.0” per se (which I define as the “SMS Voting” on TV/Radio and “Reality Shows” genre) has latched on to. First it was “Friendship Day” and now it is “Rakshabandhan” – it is not a one-off advertisement that they air. These people conduct polls about  – “what will you gift someone on a friendship day?”, ” What do you want your brother to gift you on Rakhi”, “Who do you think is a good friend” and they go on and on for hours on days at end before the festival, repeating these questions – so one can not, not hear what they are saying, not so subtely! Buy gifts – go spend! I mean, if there is a festival ,

Given this, the question that remains to be answered is that has media, for its own reasons, donned the role of cultural custodians? In this era, of migrating workforce where people are no longer close to home all the time for the elders to tell us how a festival is celebrated, is media playing that pivotal role? Are they cognizant of the responsibility?

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