It seems that today’s polity has taken a leaf out of the book of the much revered Kautilya, also known as Vishnu Gupta, the Adviser to the King Chandragupta Maurya (340 BC – 298 BC).Although “Sam Dhan, Dand , Bhed” figures in our ancient Vedic scriptures as well much before Chandragupta reign. We keep going to history quite often for tried and tested methods of gaining an upper hand over rivals. How often that has worked in the past can be debated.
I wish to mention, whether one agrees or not it, that this method has been working for the last sixty years of Indian independence to the benefit for the all classes of people and they have gained tremendously out of it at some point or the other, in a good way or otherwise.
The case in point is how that is being used in the 2013 Delhi Assembly Elections needs to be scrutinised in depth for a better understanding. On one hand, the media which is considered the fourth Estate has been going around doing its job of disseminating information to the masses, without bias, or so it may appear. One would expect the Media to be unbiased in all democracies of the world. To a large extent it has been unfailing in its duty.
However, from recent events with regard to the Delhi Elections, it seems it may not be very long that the media remains unbiased. The sting operation related to AAP was shown by all the media houses; however, the subsequent Press Conference displaying the raw footage was conveniently ignored by most of them. One can definitely argue that the media decided to exercise restraint by not airing the views expressed at the AAP Press Conference, before the Election Commission had the final word on the Sting. This leads us to conjecture that media does appear to have preference over the information they think is unbiased.
Similarly, for the first time, AAP used the method of organising a concert for the general public to connect with them and to convey their message. This also appeared very fleetingly on most types of press-electronic and print alike. Every class of individuals and institutions has been using this Sutra of “Sam, Dhan (Dam), Dand, Bhed” whether it is for “Sting” or for “Sing”, to gain mileage for itself in whichever field they have been operating.
The bigger question is of the responsibility with which these classes of individuals and institutions are being entrusted and how they use the above Sutra very diligently and examine the extent of gain they would get vis-à-vis the damage they may inflict on the country as a whole. This is more relevant, as we are certainly operating in a more volatile world, where opinions keep changing and updating with every tide of information flowing in at an incessant pace.
By Dinesh Kandpal