The day was May 8, which also happened to be Mothers’ Day. In Bihar’s Gaya, a young boy of Class XII by the name of Aditya Sachdev was returning from celebrating his 19th birthday when he overtook an expensive Land Rover on the road. Unfortunately for Aditya, his act of intolerance had challenged the secular authority of Rocky Yadav, son of Nitish Kumar’s JDU legislator Manorama Devi. Rocky Yadav got out of his Land Rover and shot Aditya Sachdev dead.
Sweet sweet secularism in Nitish Kumar’s “sushasan”…
But today’s post is not about Aditya Sachdev. It is more about trying to understand the principles of selective outrage that govern the ways of the narrative makers in the mainstream media. For which we will compare the cases of three Indian citizens who have recently suffered violence, all three presumably equal human beings:
(A) Name: Aditya Sachdev ( Current Status : peacefully shot dead by bullets)
(B) Name: Prashant Poojary (Current Status: peacefully hacked to pieces by a mob )
(C) Name: Kanhaiya Kumar (Current Status: writhing in pain from the dastardly attack by 3 people armed with fists after which he needed multiple band-aids)
After some “bhakts” raised a ruckus on Twitter and the rest of social media about how India’s conscience keepers were ignoring the murder of Prashant Poojary in Moodabidri, India’s finest journalist (and internationally known boxer) Rajdeep Sardesai gracefully agreed to publish an article in Troll.in explaining why Prashant Poojary’s mourners should suck it…
“The killing of a Bajrang Dal activist in Moodbidri in Karnataka on Tuesday has sparked off the charge of selective outrage once again: why hasn’t the media covered Moodbidri with the same intensity as Dadri, we are asked…..when we seek to compare two instances without even bothering to examine the political context, we are entering dangerous territory…. Prashant Poojary was a Bajrang Dal activist in Moodbidri…. The Bajrang Dal has self-admittedly used violence as a weapon against minorities (don’t believe me, meet Babu Bajrangi in Gujarat or listen to him in a Tehelka expose). Poojary has been allegedly involved in cases of intimidation and violence in the region. …. Can his killing be compared to Mohammed Akhlaq, an innocent householder whose only crime was that he was the victim of a rumour that he had stored beef and belonged to a particular religion.”
Ah…that settles it beautifully! As DailyO would have put it, Rajdeep has delivered a masterstroke. Now, can we compare the outrage levels over the murder of Aditya Sachdev to the outrage over the beating up of Kanhaiya Kumar ? Can we ask why India’s intellectuals are not spilling out on the streets, or pompously returning their ill gotten favors from Dynasty sponsored Congress regimes of the past? Can we ask why not a compensation of Rs 45 lakh for Aditya’s parents along with expensive apartments in prime locations for each member of his family? Can we ask why our academics are not writing in the New York Times about Aditya’s murder? Can we ask Aditya’s parents haven’t been offered an aerial tour of the country in business class, with top politicians personally driving their convoy whenever they arrive at the airport?
Of course not! Because as Rajdeep explained, when we seek to compare two instances without even bothering to examine the political context, we are in dangerous territory. Aditya Sachdev was a teenager in Class XII. Teenagers have self admittedly celebrated their birthdays (don’t believe me…check out their Facebook pages). Aditya was allegedly involved in overspeeding his car and possibly even illegal overtaking. Can Aditya’s killing be compared to the brutal physical assault on Kanhaiya Kumar, an innocent Communist, whose only crime was that he was a leader of a political party that has mass murdered millions of people around the world?
Solved! Thank you Rajdeep.
Nevertheless, Aditya was an Indian, a fellow human being. He didn’t deserve to die. The forever fair-minded Huffington Post passionately followed the story and dutifully reported on Rocky Yadav’s arrest.
If you are wondering why the picture shows violent ABVP workers rather than the secular JDU leaders who carried out the murder, Huff Post editor Ms. Rituparna Chatterjee has a nice explanation:
Is this Modi’s acche din? A prominent media outlet like the Huffington Post does not even have the working capital to buy a picture of JDU workers or leaders… ABVP and BJP tweeps have only themselves to blame for having their pictures in the public domain. No wonder Huffington Post had no option to pick up ABVP pics and associate them to this story. For ABVP it is a matter of having basic streetsmarts …just look at this public domain picture which Huffpost used to illustrate the story of Kashmiri students threatening to rape girls at NIT Srinagar:
Now, look at this picture of the guy brandishing the blade. This picture can now easily be used by Huffington Post to illustrate the story from yesterday of the peaceful German guy who stabbed a man to death near Munich while chanting “Allah hu Akbar”...
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