India’s Soft Power

The recent tie-up of Prasar Bharti with Germany’s broadcaster Deutsche Welle is a welcome step in the arena of India’s ever expanding soft power in the world. The tie-up will pave the way for availability of Doordarshan channel with the name “DD India” to 120 million viewers in Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Australia. This marks our ascent on the world stage with international TV channels like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and Russia Today. These channels play an instrumental role in shaping international public opinion about various events that occur daily in the world. Often, they provide different and sometimes even conflicting views about the same event. Now, India has got a long due chance to present her angle to these events to the international audience and showcase her magnificent culture on the television platform for attracting tourists, investments, admirers, artists to Incredible India!

While we still have miles to go before we can reach the level of soft power countries like USA, Japan, Germany and China exercise on the world stage, one thing is clear: we are creating an ever-expanding imprint on the world. Yes, we do have hundreds of “Yoga centres” operating in USA, we do have “Bollywood” movies screening in countries like USA, Pakistan, Japan and Russia today and we do have our “IT training” and “spoken English” centres running in China; but we have our eyes on the level of influence some iconic pop symbols enjoy all over the globe. Some of them are USA’s “Hollywood”, “NASA”, “comics” and “TV shows”, China’s “martial arts”, Japan’s “Godzilla” and “manga comics”, Brazilian “football”, German “automobile industry” et al. Why does the world only know of Batman, Superman and Spiderman? Why mustn’t it read Chacha Chaudhary, Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle? The reason for American comic characters occupying considerable mindspace of an average kid is that Americans have used every platform available to promote them, be it comics, TV, movies, games, products and what not. And why mustn’t they! Its a great strategy to make yourselves attractive to the world!

Even we do have a gamut of symbols/icons that should be known to the world. For instance, ours is God’s own country, India is the land from where some of the major world religions propagated: Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism, etc. We have our Mughal legacy to show for, our Goan churches, our Kashmir valleys, our rich North-eastern culture, our numerous biodiversity reserves, our southern delicacies, our festivals, our IT cities, our 22 classical languages….wait the thought of “languages” actually gives me an idea. We can leverage our rich linguistic strength like France does. It is a known fact that French embassies around the globe proactively promote French language. Even I am a certified DELF A1 French communicator. Teaching a language to a foreigner does not just make him/her able to communicate in your tongue, rather it opens his mind to a whole new world of “your” culture, tradition, habits, philosophies, opinions, subtleties. It makes him/her understand why you(read “Indian”) live your life the way you live. In short, it makes him understand you, empathize with you. Exercising soft power like this helps a country remarkably in fighting the “anti-propaganda” leveled against it by other nations. To prove this, we have the classic example of North Korea. The country possesses a couple of UNESCO world heritage sites but it does not have the instruments to showcase them to the world nor is it able to explain the stance that it takes against S.Korea and USA to other countries of the world.

India does exercise considerable soft power in the world, but now is the time to really take it to a whole new level. With this I end my post and as a devout Indian wish that my country continues to rise like this till eternity. Jai Hind.



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