Vantage point

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Time after time, I have been apalled by how insensitive the Indian media is towards the dignity and rights of the dead or the injured. In an attempt to sensationalize news and grab attention and viewership, they show the most grotesque visuals. AajTak pioneered this, and the image I am still unable to shake off is of Phoolan Devi's shattered head, which an Aajtak reporter snuck into the morgue to film and broadcast. Whenever there is a terror attack or riots, the Indian media shows scant respect towards the victims.

The Indian blogosphere has usually been very critical of these cheap tactics of the media. The dead and the mourning deserve respect and privacy. It is possible to tell news about them without encroaching on this privacy.

So it is unfortunate to see that one blogger - Shivam Vij, who could not have fallen from my estimation further than he actually has, has followed the same Aajtakian mindset. Under the garb of reporting the suffering of Dalits and proving his "enlightened credentials", he has plastered pictures of naked and half-naked blood-splattered dead-bodies on his blog. I wonder if he considers this Faustian decision of his to rob the dead of their last shred of destiny, a price worth paying for increased attention, more hits, and maybe a few more writing assignments.

Writing this is pointless, because knowing him, he will have a hundred justifications full of post-modernistic-jargon for what he has done. And in writing this post I know I have already fed part of his attenion-seeking-appetite which was the motivation behind posting those gruesome pictures.

Update: Greatbong's post is a good example of how you can blog about the incident, and express your horror and sympathy without having to depend on privacy-violating pictures. Of course, Shivam couldn't resist going there and shamelessly plugging his own post.

Update: As I logged in to my mail account from NY, I read a mail informing me that Shivam's fertile imagination has come up with a conspiracy theory for the link to his blog being wrong, which was due to a typo. In blogger if you forget to add "http://" before the blog, the link goes wrong. Anyway, I am correcting the link, especially moved by this comment. Don't be surprised if he clarifies "I was being sarcastic". By the way Aaj Tak watcher has to be the lamest pejorative ever. Even lamer than when he called me a Shivsainik. :)