DIWALI, MODI, GADKARI’S HELMET, MAHARASHTRA, BLACK MONEY AND MANY MORE. BUT THE FARM SUICIDE?

Diwali celebrations were in the air and are still continuing in many parts of the country. It made for news headlines and many shows. Understandable.

Narendra Modi was in Jammu & Kashmir on the Diwali day to spend time with the flood victims. He was there to show solidarity with the Indian soldiers in Siachen and the flood victims in J&K. He held high level meetings and announced fund from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. It contributed to the second largest chunk of editorial planning on the Diwali day. Understandable.

The Maharashtra political scene was not clear on two fronts after BJP emerged as the largest party in the state but 23 short of majority mark of 245 in the Maharashtra assembly. One, who would be the Maharashtra chief minister from BJP. Two, what price BJP would extract from Shiv Sena to oblige the Thackeray party as the ‘junior partner’ in the alliance. The newsmaking treadmill has continued unabated since then. Understandable.

Black money issue has been an evergreen fodder and was making for news headlines midst the reports that the government was about to disclose names in the court. Though a damp squib so far based on today’s developments, the issue has infinitely immense potential to oil the newsmaking machinery. Understandable.

A Shahrukh Khan starrer was to be released and it did roaring business in the opening weekend and made for loads of entertainment based content in media programming. Understandable.

Nitin Gadkari’s helmetless riding was caught on camera and transport minister of India along with his scooter became the talking point on social media and in mainstream media. Made for good visual story with scope for ‘sorts’ of debates on ‘moral and ethical’ issues over it. Understandable.

Communal clashes broke up in a part of Delhi and it threatened peace and harmony if not contained. A balanced newsmaking approach to it was required. Understandable.

All these and many other developments were adding to the foliage that makes for the fodder of the mainstream news media content. And the supply has been copious. And the supply to product conversion ratio has been in abundance making their outreach clearly visible.

On the Diwali day, news-reports came that said six farmers in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra had committed suicide within 24 hours. Erratic monsoon and the resultant agrarian loss forced them to take the extreme step. And mind you, these must not be seen as mere numbers. The region, like many other parts of India, has been facing agrarian crisis and farm suicides. According to the reports, the Vidarbha region has seen over 11000 farm suicides since 2001 and the figure this year so has reached to over 900. Yet, it did not make for the news headlines the way above-mentioned issues/developments were picked up.

And this has been like this. The question mark that it puts has been there for quite long. This time also, the trend continued.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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ARE WE A FAILED DEMOCRACY? ARE WE A FALLING NATION?

Thousands die but their lives are counted for some bucks and the buck is passed to be forgotten conveniently totally ignoring the fact that who died were the fellow human beings!

What sort of idiots we are or what sort of idiots we are made to look like or what sort of idiots we have been made to be fooled around so easily.

And resultantly and not so reluctantly we are forced to think about the question and the prospect, time and again, with an increasing frequency – are we a failed democracy? Are we a falling nation?

It is because ‘they’ have reduced the ordinary Indian to a mere living creature whose life doesn’t matter; the living creature, ‘the ordinary Indian’ who doesn’t figure anywhere on any priority list.

Instead, ‘they’ comfortably prey upon the developments to further their selfish agenda.

And even if ‘they’ look to come into some action, it is because ‘they’ see some political points to score in a particular case.

And who is this ‘they’ who has reduced us, the ordinary Indians, to such a state of human ruin?

This ‘they’ is the ‘group’ that defines itself from among us but places its members in a separate, superior class, pushing us to the periphery.

It is a ‘they’ that claims to be our representative only in order to claim the territory that rightfully belongs to us, the Republic called India.

So, who is this ‘they’?

This ‘they’ is a macrocosm of almost of the politicians, most of the bureaucrats, many of the business elite working in collusion with the politicians, the goons and the goons-turned-politicians. Sadly, the umbrella to cover the realm of ‘they’ is rapidly getting wider.

It is a ‘they’ that was once dependent on us and is now fast becoming parasitic on us, working day and night to reduce us to a life of ‘secondary and unwanted citizens’.

‘Their’ brazenness is in full fervour; is on full display!

And we, the idiots, the common Indians, are acting and are still poised to act as the mute spectators, allowing them to further ‘their’ class of superiority at the cost of us.

And it shall again be the case, in the coming months, when some important assembly elections and the parliamentary elections are slated to be held.

We, the voters, who don’t find good choices!

Or,

We, the voters, who can’t judge between a good person and a bad fellow!

Or,

It is the political con of cartelization to devoid us of an open atmosphere with more (and some better) choices!

THE LATEST: THE ‘OCCASIONAL’ CRY WHEN SUCH ‘REGULAR’ CRIMES NEED SUSTAINED ATTENTION

Isn’t it a conspiracy that the kids who lost their lives after consuming the poisoned mid-day meal in a government school of Bihar become the subjects of the political blame game that soon crosses all the limits of sanity?

And what about this characterized uproar every time whenever many of us, sometimes in thousands, become victims of a man-made systemic political apathy?

Why is it that we look to care for what caused the disaster whenever a disaster takes place and then forget it conveniently until next one happens?

In the case of the Bihar mid-day meal deaths, it is not even a week and the war cry that was there has died down. The chief minister of Bihar has not yet spoken. His colleagues and the political opponents have traded charges. Some more cosmetic measures have been announced and by the precedent, we can safely say, such measures would open more avenues of corruption.

And meanwhile, no one is talking anymore about the families who lost their kids. It is foolhardy to expect that we would see a campaign launched or follow-up stories pursued to get these families (and million other families in similar other cases) justice.

This silence, or to say more aptly, this ignorance, is a criminal negligence on part of all of us who are capable enough to raise the voice.

It was not a long ago, in fact it was in last July only when the nation had seen huge outrage over ward boys and sweepers performing minor surgery, dressing and autopsy, potentially threatening lives of the patients in Bulandshahr, Meerut and Balia cities of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous but India’s most digressive state.

For media outfits, it was a potboiler generating uninterrupted coverage of many valuable TRP hours spread across several days. There were high-pitched debates and rhetorical campaigns to cleanse the society of this malaise. The insensitive and shameless politicians and higher level government employees, who were initially, as usual, in denial mode, were forced to come forward. Yes, they did come forward after their characteristic delay but they didn’t own the responsibility, something that always happens, something that we recently saw in the course of the aftermath of the massive Uttarakhand flash floods. They just passed the buck.

In fact, they always believe that ‘we, the creatures, the voters, the ordinary Indians’ should get such treatment as it would keep us dependent on them.

And so they create such situations that force us to be in miserable condition and characteristically, whenever these ‘miserable’ conditions become fatal or epidemic, they first try to play down the scale or shift the responsibility and if not successful, they put a shameless face of concern promising the matter is being looked into and appropriate action would be taken.

Appropriation action! An alternative political catchphrase for it is ‘the toughest possible action’!

Now, see the toughness! In the very same Uttar Pradesh, where a sweeper was performing autopsy last July, a rickshaw-puller is filmed on camera this July, in a government hospital, giving an injection to a kid that takes the kid’s life. And it happens in one of the cities, Balia, that was in the eye of the storm last July for a similar medical negligence case.

See! This is how politicians see us – valueless, soulless creatures who exist only to serve the political masters and their cohorts.

Also, where were the media carriers, the activists and the aligned advocates throughout this period where they could easily see (and they have been witnessing it) that the rot was so deep and was getting deeper owing to the political callousness. In fact, they too, act vague it can be said. Whatever be the reasons and the considerations but the fact remains.

Why does it take lives of over 20 children to make a war cry on such a poor status of mid-day meal scheme in India?

Why this flood of reports now only?

Why not a sustained socially responsible campaign to put effective check on the system?

The rotten meal! It is an open fact that most of us know very well. Just step in any government run primary or middle (class 6-8) school where the mid-day meal is served and the first reaction, if you are from those of the metro middle class families, would be that you cannot eat it. Search for reports and one will come across regular reports of mid-day meal poisoning even from the metro cities like Delhi or Mumbai. The condition is horrible in small town India and hinterlands and the Chhapra incident in Bihar where 23 students of a primary school lost their lives after eating the mid-day meal represents that horror.

And most of them (excluding the political opponents here-they are the natural party to this crime) who are crying foul are aware of this open fact. Why not then a sustained campaign to pressurize the political class to act responsibly?

Like the horror of the mid-day meal, the ground reality of the government-run hospitals and health-centers is also an open fact. Anyone who can afford private treatment would never go to a government-run health unit. Government doctors, busy in private practice, using ward boys or sweepers as their replacement, is a commonplace thing and all of us and the groups crying over the Balia hospital incident are well aware of it.

Why don’t the groups looking and acting concerned at the moment run a sustained campaign against the politicians and their administrative bedfellows to pressurize them to take responsibility?

Acting only in spurts when the problem has already become chronic – the attitude is worrying. It is senseless.

It sounds more of the elitist concern of acting as and when it suits the tastes and needs of those who can raise the voice and not based on the needs of those who have been reduced by the politicians and their various colleagues as the silent majority at the receiving end of their every deed and misdeed.

It sounds like a sham! This façade has to be removed.

Chronic problems like the systemic political apathy and the political corruption need sustained efforts.

‘They’ who see us as lowly creatures need to be shown the mirror to make them realize that ‘they’ are from among us only!

‘They’ must not be allowed to make India a failed democracy.

‘They’ must not be allowed to make India a falling nation.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Incorporating the write-ups:

‘THEY’ & ‘WHAT SORT OF IDIOTS, WE THE INDIANS, ARE’?

MID-DAY MEAL KILLS CHILDREN, RICKSHAW-PULLER KILLS PATIENT –WHY THIS ‘OCCASIONAL’ CRY WHEN SUCH ‘REGULAR’ CRIMES NEED SUSTAINED ATTENTION

PRIMING OF INDIAN MEDIA BY THE POLITICAL CLASS

Like many other parameters of social importance, Indian politicians have started making efficient use of media, too, as a priming tool for their agenda setting.

It may be matter of a debate whether the media carriers being used are aware of it and have become comfortable with the practice to increase the profitability or they are still not reading the scheming of the political class.

There may be a mixed class of these two categories. But what is clear is the fact the media organizations are being used and manipulated by the political class to promote their agenda.

Compulsions to remain commercially viable and an excessive commercial approach to reap more out of the less to a socially-responsible profession is killing the longevity of the shelf-life of issues of social concern in the public sphere of debates, thus suppressing the spirit of the culture of healthy debate on social issue, a culture that has not even fully germinated in India. Media outfits are supposed to carry out a role of prime importance in promoting such a culture of debate.

Many such issues stand out. If we talk of the recent developments, after the deregulation of fuel prices, the periodic revision in prices of petroleum products like petrol, diesel and LPG is an issue of huge public interest with an effect that has capacity to burn almost the whole nation with it.

But no one in media is talking about it with such a proportionate urgency. That was not so, not so long ago.

Deregulation of prices of petroleum products was big, big news when it started filtering out first. The ballooning exercise by the government to selectively leak information on policy matters related to it made for marathon debates. The trend intensified when the prices were decontrolled. It graduated to a riot sort of spread with first few hikes. The steepness of the first few hikes only added to it.

The partial deregulation of the diesel had same effect in initial days because it opened the territory for multiple prices rises by directly affecting the commercial transportation charges. Political opposition to the issue only added more fuel to the fire.

But now, why don’t we hear that uproar, that unabated media commentary advocating for the concerns of the common man, that war cry of the political opposition tearing into the ruling political class, while the issue remains there?

Fuel and energy price rises still hit the masses rise as they were affecting them a year ago.

Why and how, then, the issue lost the importance for the media?

Aren’t they talking about it or no one is listening to them?

How the politicians could manipulate the media to achieve it?

How did they set their agenda and how the media became a party to it?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/