- Propaganda serving valuable ends
- Propaganda in political, religious and social sphere
- Propaganda in trade and industry
- The dark side of propaganda
Propaganda is one of the most conspicuous features of modern life. Propaganda may be defined as the art and science of convincing others of the value of an idea, particularly a political or religious belief or a social concept. But there is hardly any walk of life these days into which propaganda has not entered.
Propaganda has manifold uses and serves several valuable ends. In the political sphere, propaganda can be employed to enlighten the masses and to educate the voters. All political parties employ propaganda in order to place their election programs before the public. At election time, propaganda reaches a fever pitch and becomes a hectic activity. Politicians rush from place to place, delivering speeches and trying to convince their audiences about the value of the political and economic programs of their respective parties. This propaganda is also carried on through the press and on the radio. Pamphlets are distributed free to the voters to win their support. But propaganda does not end with elections. It continues even afterward, though not with the same heat or intensity.
In times of war, propaganda is very effective in keeping up the morale of a nation. Hitler had a regular Propaganda Ministry. Even democratic nations have what are known as “Ministries of Information” which are really ministries of propaganda. The exploitation of the press during the First World War, and of the press, films, and the radio during the Second, for purposes of propaganda, contributed to the victory of the Allied nations. This kind of propaganda is necessary during wartime to counter enemy’s propaganda and to save the public from panic and fright.
In the religious sphere, propaganda is employed by various organizations to spread their faiths and to urge their acceptance more and more people. Christian missionaries have converted vast number of backward people in Africa and Asia during the last 150 years or so. These people were pulled out of their superstitions by being educated and enlightened by the missionaries. Such movements create an impression and revitalize the spiritual values, which they preach.
In the social sphere, propaganda may be employed to fight social evils, malpractices and abuses. Propaganda can thus become an instrument of social reform. Propaganda has been widely employed in our country to curb the evil of the dowry system. Propaganda by public-spirited individuals and organizations may even form the basis for parliament to pass certain desired laws. Propaganda can greatly diminish the evils of drinking and prostitution. In fact, in these fields, even legislation is less effective than propaganda.
In the sphere of trade and industry, propaganda is most important. Modern business is employing the technique of propaganda on a vast scale. No business, no trade, no industry can flourish without publicity, advertisement and propaganda. Here, again, wide use is made of the press and the radio. A glance through the pages of any newspaper will show the number and range of the industrial products advertised to boost their sale. Industrial fairs and exhibitions, which are held in world capitals and where a large number of countries display their manufactures, are nothing but forms of propaganda.
Propaganda may be employed even for the spreading of different culture. The “Alliance Francaise” and the “British Council” are, for instance, engaged in spreading the French and English cultures respectively, and their activities cover most of the backward countries of the world.
But propaganda has its dark side also. It is often used for evil and destructive purposes. Hitler carried on propaganda to spread a belief in the racial superiority of the German people in order to make them militaristic. He also used propaganda for the persecution of the Jews and their expulsion from Germany. The white Government of Rhodesia is carrying on propaganda in favour of its policy of apartheid. Indian propaganda that lays Pakistan is at fault in its dispute with regard to Kashmir and Farakha barrage. Narrow-minded nationalists and patriots excel each other in dividing nation from nation and in preventing the world from attaining some sort of international harmony. Propaganda is also employed to push the sale of quack remedies and medicines. Religious propaganda is often marked by narrow-mindedness leading more to division and strife than to mutual understanding and unity.