Media vultures and a tale of two disturbing deaths

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

Last week was morbidly eventful, with two deaths at the opposite end of the prosperity spectrum, catching the outrage flying on Social Media. The mainstream media in both cases either dodged the really pertinent questions or went overboard.

Now, a week has gone by and the embers of rage fanned by the social media is almost dying. But, before we slip back into our state of constant numbness or constant fragmented outrage, I thought of elaborating on why we must not forget either!

In the year 1862, fresh from a bloody French Revolution and indeed waiting for the promised utopia to unfold, Victor Hugo (born on 26th February incidentally) –  a soon to be famous French author published his masterpiece Les Miserables or The Miserables. The book details the life and struggles of a man imprisoned for stealing a Loaf of Bread. He spends 19 long years incarcerated for the crime of stealing to feed a starving family. In fact, the trail of his crimes continues to punish the man even after his release and throughout his life! The loaf of bread in 19th century France was elevated to the status of God and a man’s life is traded for the crime of desecrating that God!

Juxtapose that 19th century stark story to this 21st century reality. Compare it to the brutal killing of a tribal man in “100% literate Kerala” for stealing a plate of rice. Kerala is a state that prides itself on its literacy and hosts a Marxist government, supposedly for the poor, and yet it is Kerala where a starving, mentally unstable man is forced to and then lynched by a mob of 16 people, for stealing a plate of rice to feed himself! One wonders what sort of bestiality is being mollycoddled under the great leftist government of Pinyari Vijayan and why is it that such a well-endowed state cannot afford to gift a plate of rice to a starving man!

To top it all the tragedy does not end there. If under a Marxist government a man is lynched for stealing a plate of rice, then under the gaze of the secular media that news is quietly buried. Mainstream media which in this case should constantly be questioning the ruling dispensation is trying to hide the crime behind the diverse religious identities of the murderers. Remember the long-lasting outcry against the Akhlaq lynching or the Gauri Lankesh murder? Yes, this was a secular crime committed by Marxists. Does it make it any less brutal or pathetic? Thank God for the comfort of secularism where one can find solace for all brutal crimes committed by leftist, left-leaning governments! Thank God for that wonder word that does not even recognize poverty, starvation unless it belongs to the right religion!

Moving on to the second death. The death of Sridevi. A death that poured into and continues to pour into our living room. That Sridevi was a most beloved star, a diva and that she died under mysterious circumstances does not justify the media circus unfolding on all channels on today’s date. News channels are in a race of irreverence and idiocy with sundry news anchors jumping into random bathtubs, bubble bath and all, in an effort to recreate the events leading to her death. By doing so they hope to solve the mystery before the investigative agencies can! It would be hilarious if it weren’t so disrespectful and morbid! The least one would expect from mainstream media in this case is a modicum of sensitivity and respect for the dead. Yet the media caravan rolls on, never mind who gets crushed under its churning wheels!

The only thing that stands out like a sore thumb, for a bystander looking at these two deaths together is the blatant insensitivity of media! They chose to ignore asking the questions which deserve to be asked and refuse to stop asking those that should not be. In their haste to gain viewership and TRPs, the great media act reduces us all to carrions and nothing more. Indian mainstream media is almost like a scavenger sifting through the refuse of other people’s misery, selecting those that suit their religion, power, money narrative and discarding those that don’t. The vultures have company!

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