Propaganda can be defined as information without any formal objective or with skewed intentions. This form of information is meant to influence and affect a target audience in certain ways to further the goals of personalities or organizations. This is achieved by selectively censoring or twisting information to damage the credibility of chosen targets. With the improvement in technology, propaganda has morphed and birthed a new concept commonly known as fake news. The idea behind these two concepts is similar, deliberate spreading of misinformation and hoaxes.
Social media has not only eased access to news and information, but it has also raised the instances of fake news and propaganda. Studies have proved beyond doubt that there is an almost symbiotic relationship between propaganda and the interaction and integration of the target audience whether commercial (business) or personal. As more Indians opt to get their news and information through social media, real news and information are constantly being overshadowed by an influx of hoaxes. Already a very segmented society, these phenomena have further increased the rifts between castes and religions.
The Far Eastern Bureau
Propaganda and its use in India has a history as long as the country, when under the British empire, The Far Eastern Bureau, first disseminated propaganda through a weekly paper titled “Hamara Hindustan.” Newspapers were not the only medium used to spread this misinformation. Nevertheless, radio and leaflets were more common as they were more widespread. And this tactic was not only used by the Allies, the Axis and also Indian nationalists also tried to convince the Indian population.
Indian was struggling to gain its independence from the British Empire at the beginning of the Second World War. With numerous British Armaments in India, the Germans were cautious about dealing with India, but then help arrived for them in the form of a Nationalist, Subhas Chandra Bose. The corroboration between the Axis and Bose culminated in the creation of Azad Hind Radio (Free India Radio), a propagandist radio station. On 28th Feb 1942, Bose made his ideas known; it is here that he is quoted branding the British Imperialism as the “eternal foe.” That was the first of many broadcasts that were not only pro-nationalist but severely anti-British. Immediately after this, the Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, signaled the start of fighting on behalf of India against the British. Thus the use of propaganda was imprinted on the Indian community. Mein Kampf, a book supposed to have been written by Hitler, was translated into the major Indian languages.
Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere
Originally an idealistic approach to help liberate Asia from European colonial powers, this concept was later used for occupied Asian populations by the Empire of Japan. Nationalists thought it could be used to access resources to keep Japan among the top and those with military inclinations took advantage of the saw the same resources for arming Japan towards war.
Before Japan could take on the United States, Japan needed a pro-Indian organization in place, and this was to its geographically strategic location. It is Japan who helped in the development of the Indian National Army (INA) with Subhas Chandra Bose as it most likely leader. Through leaflets and radio, the Japanese encouraged the Indian troops to join up with Japan and rise against British while they were occupied with the Axis. In Saigon, a “Free India” radio station was set up with transmitters in Bangkok and Singapore,
Due to the Britain repression of the “Quit India” movement, launched by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, coupled with a sympathetic American public opinion that in favor of Indian independence, India League of America published pamphlets in opposition to British propaganda against India in the US.