Death of a 14 Year Old

A kid in Noida is killed, and the media is having a field day. It looks like Aarushi (the child) was murdered by her own father. NDTV is going an on an overkill approach – a panel discussion, a peep into the kid’s school project, the clothes she bought for her upcoming birthday. The ticker on TV is showing SMS opinions from the audience. A sample –

- Aarushi’s murder is a case of Indian society going the sameway as those in the west.
– We are slowly becoming a morally bankrupt society, we are forgetting our values.
– These kind of incidents will keep on rising as parents leave their children to maids for care
– Aarushi’s case is an effect of the growing trend of adapting the western attitude in our metros.
– The world has changed, but I could never imagine it has worsened to this extent.
– I hope it’s now how the Indian society shapes up in the days to come.
– This is a true picture of urban metros, but not a picture of whole India.

If the death of a child didn’t make me so sad, these messages may have baffled me even more. For some reason or the other, there’s this grand assumption that childhood in India is perfect. That it is full of doting affection from relatives. That children in India, especially those in financially comfortable homes are always happy. That only Indian parents care for their kids. That malls, brands and television have corrupted parents. When in fact, children have always been vulnerable in this country. Except that the ones in lower economic classes don’t get all that much attention.

But an upper middle class kid being killed hits home. And people scurry around looking for answers. Hoping to blame anything they think is an “outside” influence. Make statements about how the world is getting worse. Or how only urban centres are violent. (And rural areas in India are pastures of peace and dignity.) Apparently people are shocked that an Indian parent could do this. As I type this, a panel member on NDTV is insisting that working parents must put their children in hostels.

In sum, a fourteen year old kid is dead.

18 Comments

Filed under India, Media

18 Responses to Death of a 14 Year Old

  1. kh

    so what are you trying to tell?

  2. Gigi

    How convenient to label it as “society going the (evil) way of the West”.
    Aren’t we perfect?

  3. Everything is blown out of proportion by the Indian media without any concern to the gravity of the issue. It’s nothing but simply selfishness. The news channels want as many viewers as possible, the newspapers want readers, the people involved want publicity. To each his own. And somewhere we completely lose the issue in hand. I say, ‘we’, because we all do suck up to this. We watch these panel discussions with interest, we watch reruns of Dhoni lifting the cup, we watch interviews of Preity Zinta and SRK again and again. The channels play them every half hour. If only we could bring a written regulation on the Indian media and some adopted regulation into our own lives. And I used to think only the Indian media is like this but to borrow the cliche, they ape it from the west too( I don’t agree with that SMS though, whatever evil western culture means). The English media is known for over publicizing everything from football to Diana and so does American news channels.

    May Arushi RIP.

  4. maheesha

    Its really a sad thing that happened. Media or public, for everything that faulters in India, its becos of the western influence, as though there were no crimes, no xtra marital affairs,or teen sex before. Its out in the public more now and what a hypocrisy, im not sure whether a father would have killed his son if he was spotted with another women in a compromising position.Im not saying what the kid did is right/wrong, but it has to be dealt by the family, killing cant be justified.

  5. dipali

    It was so sad, and of course the media is having a field day with every one trying to add their mite to a sordid tragedy.

  6. Adithya,

    The next time you use ‘we’, please add a foot note that says you mean yourself. Or, possibly, every one North Indian.

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  8. Silky

    Adithya,
    What doyou expect from news channels? They are in it to make money. I used to work in the Indian media and I have seen people in high positions tell camerapeople to take shots of women focusing on their cleavage or legs. One can’t blame them anyhow, because they want TRPs. It’s just a business, they aren’t in it for the higher objectives of journalism. I’m not saying I agree with their point of view, just telling you how it is.

    Nilu,
    The North Indian comment wasn’t fair.

  9. Silky,
    With a name like that, I don’t think you deserve fair.

  10. Would this be the same NOIDA where several poor people’s kids went missing and were not deemed worthy of media attention until their bare bones were found buried in some ‘businessman’s’ house?

    Last week I attended an event where a person, who has recently launched a high profile magazine in India, commented on what drives reportage in India. He said that although journalists had good skills in the use of the English language, they are not classically trained journalists and were diffident and rarely had critical insight and original enquiry skills. He said it makes them fabulous workers but not leaders. He also said that fact-checking particularly suffered in the shoot-first-aim-later approach of Indian media. He did not spare the audience. He said Indians are very curious. They want to know everything about everybody. Perhaps this sort of coverage panders to that voyeur in the Indian audience? Perhaps this is the only coverage the ‘journalists’ are capable of? Either way when it is an eco-system with several components, any one element can not be singled out.

    Sad as it is, outsourcing the motive behind every action to the west is not going to cut it.

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  12. Nilu.

    Yes, I did include myself. That’s what I said. I don’t get the “North Indian” part! ???

  13. My point is lost out in the post perhaps. The media does whatever it can do to sell. We prefer scandal and gore – so they focus on it. Can’t blame the media really. But what bothered me were the SMSs that were probably sent by people who aren’t involved with the media. This obsession with portraying ourselves as some hyper-virtuous people who are vulnerable to moral corruption (which incidentally always originates from the “West”).

  14. Neha, it is not lost at all. Not in my reading.

    Anyway will write you re the garden tour. For after June the 12th. :-)

  15. I think comments on Rediff are (apart from being a great source of entertainment) a disturbing reflection of what urban Indians think of India, and these SMSs are just another manifestation of the same trend. I’ve seen so many innocuous discussions change into ‘moral’/’immoral’, east/west debates…

  16. Mohit Singh

    My vague recollections of the event tell me that there were two murders.

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