Tuesday, June 06, 2006

India. Is That Really Bharat?

(I really don't know whether I want you to read this blog till the end or not. Ofcourse I want you to, but if you don't, then you prove my arguement correct.)

I am writing this blog on the day when the news of Rahul Mahajan's possible arrest is headline of all the newspapers and all the 24-hr news channels. Almost every media outlet packaged this tragedy in most 'informative' (read attractive) and we were forced to know each and every thing about toxicology and effect of drugs like cocaine and heroine on different parts of human body, that apart from hearing from Mahajan's family, friends, doctors, servants, neighbours and God knows who else! You will agree that this is nothing new. We have witnessed this mass-hysteria in media at the time of Amitabh Bachchan's illness as well.

I don't have anything against Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Mahajan as well. The question I want to ask is, why has media, or for that matter, policy and decision makers, very easily and very effectively as well, sidelined the other India. The 80% India that doesn't goto Malls for shopping, doesn't flaunt designer labels, doesn't fly in low-cost (or high-cost) airlines. I am not pointing finger towards Government, I am accusing media of not giving the real issues their due share in mind space.

Did you know that in about 9000 farmers have committed suicide in this decade (between 2001-2002 and 2005-2006) in four states namely Kerala,Karnata,Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. (More facts and figures on this issue). Worst affected are the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. So when Chandrababu Naidu Government was busy developing Hyderabad into Cyberabad (and really his effort is visible in the city and I am thankful to him for this), and previous Congress and later BJP-Sena Governments in Maharashtra doing effectively nothing to Mumbai (except making it ready to be deluged in coming years), the poor farmers were getting burdened by insane agricultural policies and corruption (Read an example of this).

The agricultural sector, once the leader in growth indices of GDP, has grown this year by 3.4%, thankfully much above last year's 0.9%! But these dismal figures are over shadowed by Services sector (9.4% growth) and Business News channel watching corporateizens are happier than ever before! Only time the rural India is considered, is when it is acting as a market.

Did you know about Plachimada? This small village in Kerala, once with abundant ground water is now facing not only water shortage, but is almost disowned by its own Government. Coca Cola has got a huge plant here and it has not only sucked its water (with pipes running deep upto 750-1000 feet) but also given in return a very poisonous sledge that is killing the villagers slowly. There have been protests in USA against Coca Cola's such exploitative policies, but state Government is on the side of Coke and supporting the plant fully! Why has media not covered this issue?

But why only media, look around yourself, you will see this disparity everywhere! In Hyderabad, most parts of the city are sufferring severe water crisis (Ameerpet gets water for 1 hour,every two days!) but come to Hitec City and Madhapur area, the grass on the dividers and 'HUDA Zen Parks' is as green as possible, courtesy daily watering by HUDA water tankers!

The reason I think is that most of these issues lack what journalist call as 'news value'. There is not much scope for drama and bytes that will grab the eyeballs. These poor farmers or villagers are no celebrities. There won't be a spurt in TRP by covering these issues. And honestly do we really care if such a news comes up?

We all are failing our country. The Bharat that is very different from India.


Abhishek said...

Aparna tells me (though she too is not very sure of it) that water HUDA tankers are supplying, is not usable for humans. HUDA uses this water for gardening purposes after purifying the drain water.

Rohit Rawat said...

I do agree with your statements...
But how much we(people) used to view the news about the person who is not a well-known personality !
This is not limited to any personality issue, it can be a cricket match,fifa world cup or else.
So Media is not bothering apart from these issues, so does we.
There are few channels which don't focus more on these news, but still many of us don't know about them, and use to view the same news again n again.
Media and we(people) are equally responsible for this.
I do think media shows what we(people) want to watch.

Abhishek said...

I agree with you Rohit, not only news, we can see this trend in movies as well.
The movies which have a middle or lower class background or story line, don't work these days (remember 'Haasil') but an insane lavish movie does and that's why real people have disappeared from cinema screens!

Neha Bhardwaj said...

really a good post... don't mind abhishek but what you have written is too good to be true (remember the movie Nayak?? it was a gud movie, but does this really happen in real life??) what you have written is what should really happen, but unfortunately it dosen't and I don't think that this is country specific(Ok, the condition might be worse in India than in other countries)... but certainly awakening is there among our masses... remember Jessica Lal or the recent reservation?? now, this awakening was also created due to our media... rang de basanti wasn't an entirely lavish film (no big bungalows, cars)... still it did extremely well and apart from that, it also, to an extent, awakened the youth (the Jessica Lal and reservation awakening is being attributed to the movie to a large extent)... again, yours is a very valid point, but i would like to agree with rohit also... the media is just showing what the people want to see... why do Ekta Kapoor's shows do so well, despite our knowing that this is not at all what happens in Indian middle class families?? but i guess the media's mantra is 'show them what they want to see' and this is what is happening... people don't want to see the bad picture... and so the media dosen't cover it all... again i am not saying that what media is doing is right... not at all... but guess, the world is selfish, the media just looks at its profit and you know where the profit lies, right?????????

Barnita said...

shush! If people hear you, they'll label you anti- development. ;)

This world we live in is bizzaro land, reality died with privatisation. So chill baba, keep ranting, thats all we can do now.

Yea, apart from getting ourselves labled.

I've been called everything from anti-establishment, anti-development to charsi, godless and anti-social because these conveniently selective development supporters think we hold back progress - just do the deals- don't drink coke, don't eat Macs, don't visit KFC, or Subway - read the label of every prodect you touch and do what you can do -selective consumerism - and encourage your friends to do the same. And yes - stay away far away from coca cola, pepsi and all other earth killing products. These so called intelligent MBA pansy pants treat all my farmer suicide examples as jokes.

Did you know that MacD and KFC are chopping down the Amazon to grow Soya for chicken feed? And poor marijuana farmers in the mountains (only source of income from them) are having their crops ripped out by cops cos of Rahul Mahajan's antics? He's sitting pretty in the meanwhile. And 5 years down the line, after the farmers are ruined, he'll probably venture into politics and rule full power.

Ignore me.

Abhishek said...

Very valid point! But remember "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"!

Media must look beyond profits and understand the responsibility now.

U leave me speachless!