‘For Indian media, farmers’ deaths don’t matter’

SUGGI RAJ writes from Bangalore: As the Indian media shows an almost pornographic interest in the Brothers Ahmed, and their Glasgow plot that went phut, here’s a bomb that should blow a small hole in our skulls.

More farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka in the last 14 months than the number of people who have died due to acts of terrorism in the entire country last year.

# Why isn’ the media talking as much about those deaths?

# Why is all its attention focussed on a failed terror bid?

# And is death worth taking note of only if it is attained at the hands of an unknown, unseen terrorist?

The numbers are revealing:

# As many as 11,500 farmers have ended their lives in India in the last six years. Of these, 5,980 are from Karnataka alone. That means every other farmer who has walked into a death trap was from Karnataka.

# In the last 14 months, around 350 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka.

# The number of those died due to terror in all of India in 2006 was around 280.

These are not numbers pulled out thin air. These are some of the findings of National Social Watch Coalition, a Delhi-based conglomerate of voluntary groups, released on June 30. Yet while we collectively beat our breasts over what didn’t kill anybody in faraway Glasgow, we think little of what happens in our own backyard.

Equally disturbingly, our media, including churumuri.com, has no inclination to go behind these numbers. In the Glasgow plot which killed nobody, the media is hysterically probing the background of the perpetrators, their motives, etc.

Why isn’t the media expending even an ounce of the same energy on the farmers—in finding out who is dying, why, and how we could stop the flood?

Our political and administrative masters have no time except to mouth the usual cliches and platitudes. The Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who is also the cricket board chief, is more worried about the form of the Indian cricketers on the field than the farms of the poor farmers.

For the Indian media to join the gang and be so obsessed with sexy Glasgow is deeply disturbing.

1 Comment

  1. Agriculture in India is not only the most ignored but less priortised segment in annual budget presentation. I think setting up of an Anti-farmers’ Death Squad in both State and Central Government level might do some good for farmers.

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