Reading newspapers, listening to radio news, watching television news on a daily basis is a trait in the character of a typical Keralite. Being a Keralite, I feel, I am no exception. It is a well-known fact that we are all addicted to news even though it is not a delightful thing to read, listen and watch a major portion of news. Since decades, still the inclination to, sorry obsession to going thru ‘mind-numbing’ news items exists. We can’t imagine a day without keeping ourselves abreast of having our daily dose of news items.
Murders, rapes, robberies, scams, scandals, dowry-deaths, famine, unemployment, malnourishment, voyeurism, quotation gangs going on with their daily routine of hacking to death innocent human beings in cold-blood - all developments around us locally, nationally and internationally – in spite of all of these the urge to read listen and watch everything never recedes. We don’t like to lead a hermit like existence, we don’t want to go blind or deaf simply because we are social animals, otherwise part of the society. We can’t escape the truths whatsoever mind-boggling they are.
Since a year or so we are not hearing the dreaded news of honour killings on a regular basis from the northern states of our nation. The so-called khap panchayats deciding the fate of eloping lovers defying the dictates of the elders consisting of a number of ‘Gothra Sabhas’ –please witness the fate of all the eloping lovers who get married elsewhere. They are pursued with rage and vengeance by the family members of the eloped lovers ultimately to do away with them in the prime of their life. The sorrow and outrage we people feel against these inhuman acts are unfathomable.
Now let us go to witness another tragic incident in South India.
Any how this time such a tragedy occurred in our neighbouring State of Tamil Nadu. Two young lovers- both ran away from their parents and siblings as the latter were against the relationship, as it was against the custom followed by their community. The brother of the girl a man named Kanthavelu along with his friend trapped them by inviting the couple to the village to let them tie the nuptial knot in the presence of the relatives of the girl and boy. Believing him to be sincere and truthful both the couple went to the village delightfully and with high expectations. Kanthavelu and his friend within no time butchered both of them and surrendered before the police. No amount of outrage, no amount of sorrow would suffice to douse the indignation welling within us.
Now the third incident.
You might find it incredible. It was a shocking national news which happened in West Bengal. The most shocking thing was it so happened to a five year old student of Santhiniketan coming under the illustrious Vishwabharathi University widely known the world over. The little child was compelled to drink her own urine by her hostel warden, a callous lady called Uma Poddar for the innocent ‘crime’ of bed-wetting. The woman has since been arrested, freed on bail and suspended from the institution. The funny thing is that the whole India took pity on the child except a so-called social activist, a saffron clad Sanyasin Swami Agnivesh widely known throughout India. The gentle Sanyasin took the side of the hostel warden finding her to be not guilty of the heart-rending incident as she was in a way making the child ‘conscious’ of the innocent act not to continue this bad habit. The gentleman seems unaware of the fact that the child’s bed-wetting was involuntary act which happened while in sleep.
This is something international.
Timbuctu an ancient place in Northern Mali popular for its rich cultural heritage is being vandalized by a dreaded militant outfit ‘Ansar Dine’ (defenders of faith) just like Al-Quaida. The rich cultural heritage of Timbuctu is being reduced to a shambles even while writing this. The tombs of famous saints of yore are being hammered and reduced to a rubble and justify their acts by declaring before the world that the tombs are ‘haram’ as per Islamic faith. They have made it clear that they are set to implement ‘Shariat’ law in this northern part of Mali in the African continent. An ancient mosque Sidi Yahya of the 15th century worshipped by the people of Timbuctu since centuries, has also not escaped their wrath. The unfortunate thing is that despite desperate pleas by the inhabitants of Timbuctu no one is coming forward to make these religion fanatics flee for good or to do away with them mercilessly, ruthlessly.
I listed out only four incidents while umpteen such chilling news are pouring out daily from all parts of the world, still we are obsessed with daily news since we are all human beings, part and parcel of the society.