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The power of a single image to change the narrative
from “Lady Singham” to “General Dyer”?Or “Annadata” to “Anarchist”?


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The power of a picture !

It’s said that a single picture or a photo is more eloquent than a thousand words

There are some iconic pics that remain in our hearts forever – for me, the half buried face of a child in Bhopal tragedy, skeletal people of Bengal famine, Veer Savarkarji’s frail body, damaged eye, after suffering decades of torture, S!khs burned by hanging burning tyres round their necks after a “big tree fell down”, the dome of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel burning after 26/11 attacks .. these are some of the iconic pics of horrors in India

Yesterday, when permission was granted for the tractor rally, the picture that the organisers wanted to be projected was that of police brutality, how the Delhi police is attacking our poor annadata who are fighting for their rights, against the suit -boot ki Sarkar that’s in the pockets of Ambani – Adani

They wanted a repeat of Tiananmen Square where
Chinese govt sends tanks to “discipline” rogue students (weren’t our tanks also handy from the Republic Day Parade?)

But what was instead the defining image ?

Of a “protestor” scaling a pole in Red Fort & putting on a religious flag, insulting our national flag while doing so !

The picture was of anarchy; of “farmers on tractors” gone rogue, some people taking their rights for granted without remembering their duties or their promises

Now, let’s rewind a bit to an incident that took place a couple of months back – just 1 day before first phase of polls were to take place in Bihar assembly elections

There was a Durga Maa procession in Munger! The Election Commission was in charge !

The local police in charge was Lipi Singh who was known as “Lady Singham”

Now please note that Munger is a hub of illegal firearms in Bihar

The police was pressuring the Durga Maa procession to hurry up, even asking organisers to change the order in which the idols would go !

Now this was sacrilege ; it lead to a pandemonium & the crowd went berserk

The police allegedly fired some warning shots in the air (they claimed no firing was done on the devotees) & 1 youth was killed

Within an hour, social media was full of gory pictures of the youth with his skull cracked open, brain lying outside in a pool of blood ( a truly stomach churning sight )

Some social media right wingers started blaming Lipi Singh & called her General Dyer though she claimed that police never fired on the devotees but only warning shots in the air

Everyone was blaming Modi Sarkar & Nitish Kumar inspite of the fact that EC was in charge of law & order as it was election time

The EC acted fast – the very next day, they suspended Lipi Singh & District Collector & instituted an enquiry into the incident

But the defining picture of that day was the picture of that youth lying dead with his brains out, in that pool of blood

I noticed that a group of ultra right wingers who “love India” but find Modiji “weak” were amongst the first circulating these news & posting those pictures – just imagine how much they would affect the very important Bihar polls ( Also important from border security point of view as Bihar shares border with Nepal )

But thanks to EC taking immediate action, the bomb of public anger was diffused & the rest of election process went pretty smoothly

Now imagine if something like this had happened on 26th Jan? Protestors going berserk & police firing at them ?

That would have been touted as Jalianwala Baug 2.0, with the “Gujarati” Amit bhai killing poor
Sikh annadata like General Dyer, thus attacking our vulnerable regional & communal faultlines

SM trends would have run with hashtag –

AmitShah General Dyer

Modi Sarkar Kisan Virodhi

Ashamed to be an Indian

India’s Tiananmen Square

The media & newspapers would have been full of those pictures of slain “annadatas”

WaPo & NYT would have carried that news to the world

Now what are our news full of ?

Pictures of the protestors’ anarchy –
of a religious flag placed atop the Red Fort insulting the national flag;
. Of police being extremely sensitive in dealing with the farmers !

So next time you think Modiji is WEAK, think of the power of 1 PICTURE

It’s power is FOREVER- in the minds & hearts of people

Never underestimate it !

Always remember- A picture is worth a thousand words !



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