A mithai offered in the name of religion becomes "prasad" and anyone wearing a saffron robe is a "saint"!
The incredibly popular reality show Bigg Boss, in its 10th season, had self-styled godman Swami Omji Maharaj as a participant, until he was thrown out of the show following his outrageous act (he threw his pee on two other contestants).
With his infamous abusive behaviour (especially against women), the self-styled godman (who also claimed to be the biggest tantric ever) not just managed to stay put in the Bigg Boss House so far, but also generated enough TRPs for the show. Controversies and disgust apart, what is intriguing is the media portrayal of religion on entertainment and news TV.
Swami Omji Maharaj is one of television world's most disgusting discoveries who also has to his credit an old video (that went viral after he entered Bigg Boss House) in which he is seen slapping a woman guest during a live TV show.
Then came Bigg Boss which made Omji a household name with his verbal and physical abuse of women contestants. In between, Omji also managed to flirt with women contestants in the show with his lecherous tips on "yoga and flexibility of body".
In any sane person's world, Omji and his nauseating behaviour would have been considered an aberration, but not on Indian television. Indian TV needs him and other such obnoxious characters to survive and so do all those who watch it to survive the boredom in their bedrooms.
TV's definition of religion starts with superstition and ends at cult destruction. Why else news shows on TV bother to elaborately show rituals, traditions, ethos and behaviour which support the very thought of blind faith. They want to instill (read cash in on) fear to invoke devotion. The other way they represent religion is by showing a "godly" man in his "ungodly" avatar.
|TV's definition of religion starts with superstition and ends at cult destruction.|
The way the laymen see religion and religious communities, changes as soon as they are introduced to the religion depicted by the various means of mass communication.
The perception of a "saint" has changed. Persecution is the new reality. While books are still sacred, their interpretations have become flawed. Gurus are no longer just spiritual guides, but much more than that.
Any man/medium that represents religion must understand that their representation also holds a cultural value. Many established mores and values get maligned when a distorted version is presented.
TV surely loses its viewers due to its repetitive 24x7 cycle (showing the same content with different packaging). While the genre of mythology has lost its sheen, family dramas too have become passé. So, entertainment as well news TV started presenting religion as faith besides "promoting" superstition.
Bigg Boss and the channel (Colors) have every right to show things that would bring them TRPs, but not by altering or misrepresenting the image of any particular faith.