Naxals kill cops, Telangana protesters commit suicide, why bother?

News media has put severe limits on our external world. Here common, everyday people survive as an exception.

Akshaya Mishra March 29, 2012 15:34:36 IST
Naxals kill cops, Telangana protesters commit suicide, why bother?

The issue of Telangana statehood has brought Lok Sabha to a standstill for two days in the running. On day three, that is today, things don’t look any better. Back in Andhra Pradesh, supporters of the statehood demand have revived the agitation and two of them have committed suicide already. Two days ago, Naxalites blew up a bus carrying CRPF jawans, killing 15 of them.

In Odisha, Maoists continue to hold hostage the Italian and the MLA they kidnapped a fortnight ago. The Bt Cotton dream has gone horribly wrong for cotton farmers. Just half a decade it was introduced the yields have been shrinking and there are increased pest attacks on the crop. The result: cotton farmers are killing themselves. Elsewhere, ordinary Indians are changing lives around them through tiny, innovative efforts.

Naxals kill cops Telangana protesters commit suicide why bother

AFP

What’s the connection? One might ask. Well, none of them feature big in mainstream media. But the trend is worrisome.

Agriculture has stopped being news for sometime now — farmers become newsworthy if they commit suicide in large numbers; the environment barely exists — it is important only when a builder-politician nexus makes money off exploiting it; education is always a low priority area — it catches attention when seniors kill juniors in ragging incidents; and science, of course, was never important.

News media has put severe limits on our external world. Here common, everyday people survive as an exception, not a rule. You are of little use to the media if you are not in a scandal. To be in a scandal you need to be in position to influence matters. Given this criteria, a whole majority of Indians don’t make the cut. Switch off the television, stop reading newspapers and it is easy to connect to them, the real world.

The media would like to drill into us day in and day out that we live in a nasty world where the bad has squeezed out the good for ever. It is a world populated by people who come broadly in two categories: the victims and culprits. Those who don’t fit into the two categories are too irrelevant to merit attention. Most of us commoners belong to this category.

They have to create victims even when there are none; they have to imagine and manufacture crime when there is none. They construct a bizarre world for us where nothing goes right — politicians loot people, bureaucrats plunder the poor, anybody in any position is just bent on exploiting others, there are kickbacks and corruption in every deal and failure of moral standards everywhere.

It’s an overwhelmingly negative state of existence which survives on suspicion. Watch the 24x7 news channels the whole day, you end up losing trust in everybody. There are just too many criminals around you. They would fleece you, rob you whenever they get a chance. Chances are you end up feeling as a victim, someone with very low self-respect and a lot of anger against the world.

When was the last you watched a great heart-warming human interest story on television? Does not anything pleasant happen at all in our neighbourhoods and cities? The media won’t allow us to believe so. Should not it bother the nation that desperate people are killing themselves? They would have us believe that controversy-makers are the only people that inhabit the earth.

Ironically, they would also have us believe that their fight is for the common man. But pray, where is the common man on television, newspapers? Clearly, something does not fit in.

Switch off the television, avoid newspapers for some days, the world would look a normal place.

Updated Date:

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