Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bangalore’s bleeding hearts wrapped in newsprint

By John Cheeran
Bangalore is a wonderful city. I’m afraid t has the largest number of bleeding hearts and NGOs per square feet in India. It has ambitious Citybankesque civic agencies, including Janaagraha.
Newsmen and women, too, are a special breed in Bangalore. They empathise with readers, and espouse social causes to such an extent that often they end up tilting at windmills much in the manner of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
Living in Bangalore for quite some time now and occasionally reading newspapers, I have come across several cases of campaign/community/journalism in the city. It seems to me every evening, editors are waiting for an Aarushi or Jesicca Lall so that their bleeding hearts can be wrapped in eight columns of newsprint. So I have read campaigns blaming a city compound wall for the death of a college student, a drain for the death of a young boy, a pack of stray dogs for killing an infant.
How sensible are such kind of journalism? A compound wall collapses, and someone gets trapped and dies. On a rainy day, a boy, accompanied by his mother, falls into a an uncovered drain and disappears. An unattended baby out of a brood of six gets mauled by a stray dog in a hut. All these instances are unfortunate.
But in each case the media reaction has been to blame the nebulous, less than perfect system for the tragedies. You can rail at the system because it is the easiest way. You can hang a stray dog for maiming a baby. You can hang a compound wall for killing a young college girl. You can carpet bomb a drain for gobbling up a young boy.
I find this trend rather unsettling.
The system will be always less than perfect and one has got to work on to improve it. But at the individual level, don’t we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves?
Don’t parents have a responsibility to protect their children? When you have six kids, almost all of them one or two years apart, how much attention can be given to each of them?
Don’t you have a thought before bringing young lives to this inhospitable, cruel and chaotic world? Of course, the parents of the baby who was attacked and killed by a pack of stray dogs in Bagalur in Bangalore are poor. They deserve sympathy for their financial misery but not for going without condoms. Yes, when you are breeding like dogs, you end up leading a dog’s life. Tragedy becomes complete when the father mourns the loss of his only boy among the brood! May be would not have been so heart broken had the dogs killed one of his daughters.
It is utter nonsense to argue that society has to take care of children. It doesn’t work. The right to live sounds really great in a debating room but onus is on you to stay alive. All the editors who treated the story big time on their front pages and the politicians in the state assembly who shouted against stray dogs would not step forward to help the grief-stricken family to build a house with safe doors so that another pack of stray dogs won’t bound in.
It’s a world of iniquity and injustice but everyone has to fend for himself.

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