India lost some cricket match against some country yesterday. However, the cricket lovers of India have some strange affection to find solace even in loss. Incidentally, Sachin Tendulkar had completed his 50th ton in test cricket. (I may be wrong at this because I dont follow cricket neither do I have any inclination to find out its related records). However, the whole twitteraties and glitteraties starting buzzing with comments like “Sachin is god”, “He is not human…”etc etc. Here are a few gems:
A day before that two dalit women were lynched and killed by a ‘mob’ in Moradabad (perhaps only DNA carried the news).
Now one may argue that both are separate incidents the individuals endorsing or not endorsing any event have their personal freedom to do so. And, I am not denying this. Having said this, my question is: Why should this happen? In other words, why should the lives or rather brutal deaths of two marganilized women by a lynch ‘mob’ not occupy the co called media space? At the same time the loss in a game albeit with some ‘historic’ record of making ‘runs’ while playing cricket becomes cause for celebration?
The answer to the above question is quite simple. I insist it is simple. I have had enough of the rhetorical negation “oh, its complex”. According to me all it does is, it gives an easy excuse for the person saying that “it complex, you don’t know enough” But my question to such rhetorical naysayers is, if you know so much, why don’t you give us the answer/s, instead of giving us rhetoric.
Now, going back to media’s exclusion of the brutal death. Its known that the marginalized are not the clients of the mainstream English media channels such as NDTV, CNN IBN, HEADLINE NEWS, NEWSX etc. Their predominant consumer group is english speaking teen to mid 50’s clients, primarily urban Indian upper class and upper caste households. And, having this ‘client oriented’ programming inclination the mainstream media channels tend to cater their programming in a way that may ‘appeal’ to this group.
The most tragic presupposition these channels make is their assumption that covering news of the marginalized, be it killing and rapes related to dalits, or non inclusion of 90 million domestic workers working primarily inside the confines of homes will not be covered by the proposed Bill for ‘The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010’. This BILL (among other such important things) was suppose to be discussed in the winter secession of Indian Parliament was stalled thanks to the BJP and their supporters, who preferred to stall the working of the Parliament while still maintaining their ‘confidence’ in the UPA government. Interestingly even this aspect did find virtually no mention in the Corporate Indian ‘mainstream’ TV channels.
90 million may be a small figure, after all if the over 210 million dalits of India find virtually no coverage by these channels except they don’t forget to subtly mention somebody’s dalit background while covering contentious political issues. So much for the complexity of the issues and their understanding.
Lastly, Tendulkar’s cricket score may have been a ‘historic’ event but equally historic will remain corporate media’s systematic exclusion of comprehensive coverage of issues related to dalits in Indian society. A truly historic achievement!