Man, Animal and Media

When I lived in India, I was appalled at the lack of respect for a livable life we all displayed. I was confounded by the attitude slums dwellers had towards living ' mindlessly producing one child a year, with no thought to where the next meal for the ones who lived would come from. I was hurt at the apathy towards the beggars in the streets, I was angry with the government for not addressing the issue. Today, I am still angry, but more than anger, I have a scorn for pseudo and sometimes pseudo-human interest the media has in issues that haunt India.

Methinks it is ridiculous for Western media to express shock at the 'untimely and tragic death' of some uncared-for tigers in an Indian zoo. Do they express a similar angst at the daily reports of human deaths who were living in abysmal conditions in Indian slums? Do they express their distress at the increasing number of homeless beggars in India? Do they express fury at the lack of focus on issues that need attention in India? 

It's interesting how the West operates. They train countless mammals (including dolphins) to perform for recreation purposes in amusement parks. Not half of this training is subtle and kind.

The animals are put through all sorts of torture for years before they are fit to be made a spectacle. Many are reported to have died in these rigorous training camps. A couple of them catch the attention and are blown up by media hype and the animals are 'saved' and returned to their natural habitat. For me all this animal love is sham and media hypocrisy. It's like the Elian Gonzalez case that seems to have excited the scribes' fancy and of the general population as well. Give me one reason to create five thousand meters of footage about a child caught in a swoop down on infiltrators, who should be returned to his father and I will take back all my arguments. 

For the West, talking about issues they do not comprehend is a prospect for passing otherwise highly unoccupied time! This self-righteousness, this bilious holier-than-thou attitude not only amazes me, it saddens me quite a bit too. What makes the West feel that they are in a position to complain and bicker about issues that do not even fall into the realm of 'real' for developing nations becomes their prime concern. And when it does not become ours, they rant and rave some more. Hollow is the only word that comes to my mind. 

Can you recall that incident about the 'mal-treated' elephant in India which made all the Animal Rights activists in the US stage a dharna outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC and the Indian Consulate in New York? There was a barrage of emails and letters and protests by the Western Media and activists alike. What was the charge? Indian authorities were maltreating an elephant! Facts of the case actually were, that there was this elephant who had apparently gone on a rampage and trampled a number of villagers under his feet. So then the forest officials went on a mission to chain the rogue. And inevitably the elephant was hurt in the battle that ensued between man and beast. And an out-of-work animal rights activist saw the resultant injuries (which according to independent investigators were negligible) and went on a rampage of her own. 
What does one say to this hypocrite tribe? How does when tell them to look within themselves first, their own societies and then start pointing fingers at others who are guilty of crimes of a much lesser scale? 

Anyhow, after eight weeks of incessant blabbering the animal rights activists found another animal to chase and this time it was the Chinese Panda. The Indian elephant, the hero of our story is however, hale and hearty and is adapting well to his captivity and new habitat. 

I might run the risk of sounding insensitive, but I fail to comprehend the much ado about 11 tigers dead. What has the world been able to do about containing the poaching that takes place to make aphrodisiacs out of tiger bones? And the tiger balm everyone so sportingly sports ' even in International level tournaments? 

But I must say this one thing for the media ' they can sway mass opinion. And in a hurry too! Had one of these journalists tried to give the counter point, the antitheses ' well not actually the antitheses, but the other story that I have been at pains to point out, all of India would be screaming at the West for phony values, or International monetary help (interest free) would be near its destination ' RBI. 

So consider this an ode to the power of the written word, if not an ode to 11 dead tigers. Nonchalantly, I would like to mention while I am still on the subject, that I want the perpetrators of this mindless carelessness should be punished so bad, that all others in India learn a lesson for life! Now that's what fair journalism is all about. 


More by :  Deepika Singh

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