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Mass Media in India

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                        Narcos

                                            Mass Media in India

                                                                    Suchi Sandhu & Shivani Goliya                                                                  18th November,2016.

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In the last decade, a new sub-genre of soap operas focusing on drug trafficking has emerged in Colombia, and has garnered an international audience.These soap operas, also known as narconovelas, focus on the lives of drug lords and their involvement in Colombian society. Some of these shows base their narratives on real-life events and others completely fictionalise the world of drug trafficking. To capitalise on this trend, the online streaming service Netflix released Narcos on August 28, 2015. The description on Netflix’s official website reads: “The true story of Colombia’s infamously violent and powerful drug cartels fuels this gritty new gangster drama series.” In only ten episodes, director José Padilha attempted to recreate the involvement of the Drug Enforcement Agency in the pursuit of the Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, bringing an American perspective to a conflict that tainted Colombian history.

Columbia’s history with drugs.

The prime reign of Escobars rule flourished in the 1970s and when the time touched, 1980s . Columbia had reached the status of international notoriety and became the prime location for drug trafficking. Though the country’s drug history traces far back to Bolivia and Peru, where the indigenous people grew and chewed cocoa. But the cultivation of Marijuana marked the beginning of the the uprise (U.S library of Congress, 2006). Making a relevant means of livelihood from the beginning of the early 1900’s , during the world war II, with the routine experimentations with hemp, to increase war effort.

The real take off for the business of Marijuana, initiate din the 1960s, with the growing demand if it in the United States. Though the market was shared by Mexicans as well, the demand and easy trade by the US, was enough for the growth of both.  While 30,000 to 50, 000 farmers along the Columbian coast, came to depend directly on marijuana cultivation, where as another 50, 000 supported their livelihood from its logistics. (country studies, 2010).

The Columbian cocaine trade followed the footsteps of marijuana, in the United States, but not on such a large scale.  The smuggling was usually carried out by, individual carriers or drug mules, through commercial airlines. The large scale initiation was brought about by the exiled Chilean chemists, who approached the traffickers in Columbia, to begin cocaine production and supply in Columbia itself. With the limited raw cocoa supplied in Columbia, they were augmented from Bolivia and Peru, and refined in the ‘kitchen laboritories’ in Columbia, leading to the manufacture of the world famous Columbian cocaine.

In 1977, the US, noticed  the drug trafficking on a rise , and the DEA(drug enforcement administration) , took charge of the issue naming is ‘medellin trafficking syndicate’ , (country studies, 2010). With the drug having its sources and buyers in the metropolitan cities and the making its way throughout the country, necessary steps had to be taken to curb this menace.

The Medellin drug bosses knew their market, the supply and the demand. With this grew the violence, power, wealth and ruthlessness, to succeed in the business, and thus gave rise to the Medellin cartel. The war grew bigger.

The business also expanded since it became more professional, with bigger planes, boats, and sophisticated equipment with larger sums of money to bribe the officials. Cocaine also generated criminal acts throughout the country, with paid assassins, as the Columbian drug lords not only fought themselves, but also the local government and international threats.

In this process they effectively demolished the country’s system of justice, and eventually led many of the locals to shun the regularities of the country, and choose self imposed exile. These incidents also contributed to the ‘devaluation of life’ , as they turned murder, brutality and threats as a regular way of going about work and agreements.

The narcos corrupted the political and economic systems of the country, the trafficking of drugs endangered many lives and caused rifts between nations. It was a long ongoing war for about 20 years against the Medellin cartel, but the war against drugs is not over yet.

Why do we root for fictional characters ?

A few fictional characters portrayed in television shows, tend to draw our attention, keep us on our feet and feel their agony and happiness. Why do we respond to them as though they were real, like they existed right outside our doorstep, or we are somehow connected to them. The answer that, the makers of several shows, and writers of every fictional book, will give you is empathy.

This feeling is commonly felt through physical interaction, where we use ourselves as emotional yardsticks, by trying to read their expressions sense their tone and largely use our own internal experience as a gauge. As explained by Abby Norman (2015),the main reason we feel so is because we are trying to bridge the gaps in the details, which we don’t know about. Where as with fictional characters, this emotion sprouts so naturally is because, we are given so much more detail and intimate knowledge about them, which we would rarely know of someone in person. The viewers and fans, face a dilemma , when it comes to define what is real. Whether or not he characters are physically ‘real’, our familiarity with them renders them emotionally potent(Abby Norman,2015).

When a show is based on the history of a character, which the world is familiar to as a ‘drug lord’, the makers of the show , had to make sure to portray both the sides of the coin. This is exactly what the makers of Narcos have done. When the shows main premise is about a drug trafficker to eventually went on to become a terrorist, there needs to be a parallel drawn to support the true facts versus the background behind the reasoning of them.

The paradox portrayed through Pablo.

The paradox show in Pablo’s character is so evident, throughout the series, as the personality aspects shown are poles apart.

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