Akriti vs. Shanno: two faces of Delhi, India and Indian Media

1 05 2009

An individual has many individuals within. A city has many cities within. A nation has many nations within. A civilization has many civilizations within. And, a system has many systems within.

Delhi, India and Indian Media are exposed. A mediaperson myself, I should probably have refrained from using a word like this. However, without any malice toward anyone, I could hardly help myself from finally publishing this piece. For more than last 10 days I wanted to bring this issue for the readers of my blog. But, something or the other came up and the media was doing enough talking about it. I decided to wait till the reports are made official.

The report is official now. But, where is the JaagoRe generation? The ire against politicians is fine. But, it certainly is not the politicians alone who are responsible for the entire rot in the country. We, the people of India, with all our professions included, are equal culprits. Indian Media being one of the prominent parties to it.

Nearly two weeks back, Delhi witnessed two of the worst tragedies that exposed how Human Rights and Child Rights are disrobed in the country. If it can happen in Delhi, the capital city, the apathy of children in a remote district can hardly be even worth talking. India is different country. It treats its citizens differently.

We saw a girl from lower middle class background – Shanno – die due to the physical punishment inflicted on her by her teacher. The local school run by the municipal corporation, the teachers and the municipal body – they all disowned the poor child who passed away in the aftermath of her teacher punishing her hard. Please correct me if I am wrong, I learn that punishing children in schools with physical pain is a legally punishable offence.

Move on, within the next couple of days, another student of Delhi’s suave Modern School is declared brought dead to hospital from the school due to the said “negligence” of school authorities. In two days, the school administration finds hard to defend itself and its principal amid the attack by the high and mighty of the capital city of the country. The media takes side with the parents and the entire brouhaha was aired live with enough pinch of sensationalism. The school principal and the deceased child’s mother had a fight, covered through the lense and watched live by the nation.

This incident at Modern school was coincided with the developments at municipal corporation school and its teachers’ association coming together in the defense of the teacher who inflicted punishment on poor Shanno. Shanno or her representatives did not get a voice, no representation, no chance to win the sentiments of the nation largely comprising of the poor people.

With equal respect and prayers for both the deceased children’s souls, I would like to make one comparison (please pardon me). Akriti passed away as there was a delay in offering her medical aid. Shanno died because of corporal punishment. Yet, ironically, Shanno’s death couldn’t get even a smaller pie of the media coverage that Akriti got. While Akriti’s culprits may find it bit difficult to evade the consequences, Shanno’s detractors have already started believing that they are in safe zone now.

It is today only that some newspapers have on inside pages, given some details confirming that Shanno was punished, as refuted by the teachers, teachers’ associations and the municipal body till now.

This is no new thing. We Indians have grown up like this. Used to watching the news, information and legal processes being managed in the favour of high and mighty. Their poor cousins hardly get a voice. JaagoRe generation also doesn’t bother much about the poor counterparts. We have seen big politicians getting away easily, every now and then. This election is also witnessing over thousand of chargesheeted and proven criminals contesting for the peoples’ mandate. We saw the worst human-eater in Indian History Moninder Pandher and his accomplice Surinder Koli getting away and getting relieved from the punishment they deserved. Lawmakers and its practitioners may say that they haven’t been set free but, we all know, justice delayed is justice denied. For such crimes, when the justice is delayed and the media plays its role only for its own revenue and TRP calculations, the peoples’ morales are crushed hard.

Here, in this case, the timing is so close that managing the law and the media may not help either. It exposes the inner cracks in multiple systems of this largest democracy. I don’t know how much sense my write-up makes. However, it is definitely anything but spitting venom against the detractors. I find myself shaken from inside.

When would the majority of Indians wake up? When would we tell the majority of Hindi News channels that enough is enough? When should we expect the Indians and Indian Media act more responsibly? WHEN?

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2 responses

18 05 2009
no country for poor people

Mr. Deepak singh. what u have done is an excellent job. my hearty praise for u. many believe that only politicians neglect the poor. but the fact is the so called inclusive media also biased towards the poor. ur article is a case in point. at this moment i would also like to mention the aarushi talwar murder case. that was the headlines in almost all the english news channels for almost a month. these channels also ran their own investigation on who would have killed the young girl. so many poor girls are molested, tortured, killed everyday. those things would never reach the doorsteps of the news channels. i am little bit happy that there are some journalists left to highlight the plight of the poor. pls continue ur good job. i once again congratulate you for your service to the neglected people.

18 05 2009
Deepak Singh

Many thanks for your heartiest comments and the supporting what I wrote. Unfortunately, I had to wait for long before writing this piece. For the simple reason, I was waiting for the mainstream media to tackle the issue and make a case story. Sadly, most of the mainstream media missed out on it, except for some space here and there in print media. Yet, such a striking contrast at the same time, in the heart of the nation and the nucleus of media centers was mind-boggling. Even though I belong to the media fraternity, it is a pity to see how issues are killed for the simple reason of economics. Who is interested in stories of poor people anyway! Poor people do not make spicy stories.

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