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The Vicious and the Virtuous
G Swaminathan Bookmark and Share

A recent abduction of two school children from an affluent family of Coimbatore by their car driver and the subsequent gruesome murder of the girl and the boy have been flashed without any restraint with gory details by the South Indian media and had sent shock waves among the public especially the parents. Many comments like ‘the culprit should be hanged in public’, ‘the justice should be done’, ‘swift action is needed by the police and courts’ were mouthed vociferously by many through the media. Soon after this incident another kidnap also took place in Chennai where the kidnappers released the hostage, a school boy, was released after receiving a ransom of Rs. 1 crore. But soon after the boy was released the police had successfully descended on the kidnappers who are none other than the relatives of the boy young, educated (one is a MBA from UK and another is a B Tech) and also equally well off. 

Similarly, in the past few years a host of un-cracked cases like murder of lone aged people, housewives in their homes etc were appearing the media. Some of the cases where they have identified the culprits are mostly their servants and relatives who visit them regularly. In case of elders it is mostly for the sake of money, jewels or wealth. Servants and housemaids these days have become mostly undependable. When such news are quite shocking and creating a terrible sense of fear among the parents and elders I am just at a loss to understand the psychology of the media as well as the parents. 

Generally, our media depicts the poor and under privileged as a virtuous lot and show them as servile, obedient, honest, sympathetic, empathetic, virtuous and very sincere to their masters. Most of the occasions, according to our media, the masters or employers only harass them and ill treat them but the drivers, cooks, servant maids and gardeners and baby sitters invariably swallow the insults and insinuations because of their financial and social status and pathetic conditions. In such an atmosphere how such sudden turn of events can happen? Is it not the responsibility of the media and the police to see what prompted that drivers and servants to indulge in such terrible acts? 

In my own personal experiences, the young car driver employed by me and whom I treated as a family person cheated me to the tune of Rs.10,000 but stopped coming to the work abruptly even without proper information. The water boy who fills our can wanted advance always but never bother to return the same. But, he told his friend he stopped from work since I refused to pay him a pay hike of Rs. 500 which he demanded. Apart from being a cheat he also turned out to be liar. A casual worker in our office created a lot of hullabaloo when his services have to be terminated because of the office procedure. But he had taken loans from everyone in the department but never paid them back. 

An young girl who has been taking care of my ailing sister and doing household chores is so honest and sincere till today and proved to be most dependable. Similarly, the housemaid who works with us for the past two decades is basically straight forward. 

It is absurd to jump into any conclusions based on shocking incidents like these. It is more the responsibility of the employers to understand the servants and their behavior in a better manner before they employ and entrust work to them. That is the lesson one should learn. Apart from this, the Indian Media should restrain themselves from projecting such false images of the poor as holy lot and the employers as villains of peace. While Chennai is notorious for the fleecing by auto drivers, the auto driver who came to my rescue when I met with a terrible road accident two years back vanished even without taking any money for immediately taking and admitting me in the hospital. But my own educated student who was with me never bothered to visit and see me later how I was progressing; those who hit me by drunken driving also were students of a local private engineering college and never met or apologized to me for their act. Recently, a poor (then) old student of mine (now he lives abroad and very affluent) for whose education and development I helped met me accidentally in a common place looked terribly embarrassed and awkward and left me in a huff while a very rich old student who greeted me happily in another public function though I actually did not notice him or extended any special help to him. 

Most of the social evils emerge from poverty and the media tries to cover it up with the non existent virtuous nature of the poor and downtrodden which is not true. There might have been a time when the landlords and rich people would have harassed and ill treated the servants and the poor. But, today virtually the tables are turned. You cannot expect honesty from the so called poor or underprivileged also. They are always dishonest and try to cheat the employer at the slightest opportunity. And most surprisingly, India is the only country which glorifies poverty and the poor in a positively queer way. 

‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ are part of every human being and belong to their basic qualities. The Indian media always tries to magnify certain things just because there are certain set rules prevail in India; like the rich are vicious, poor are virtuous, women are sensitive and men are treacherous. But, according to the present day television serials, the women folk are the most dangerous species on earth and can go to any extent to wreck vengeance. To be precise, these conclusions and generalizations are highly preposterous, absurd and nonsense.    


11/03/2010
More by :  G Swaminathan
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