Saturday, July 30, 2005

Can Somebody Tell Me Why?

This is a post that I am writing after 3 days of resting my ass off at home after the huge deluge in Mumbai. All I have been doing for those 3 days at home is sleeping, playing “max payne 2” and whatever time left (if any) to think to myself. This thinking has brought me to this post. Actually there could be another post on max payne 2, but I thought this was more important. I am in a confused state of mind, which I am always… let me be frank with this. The confusion is on a very important issue “The Value Of Human Lives”… read ahead…

This question popped into my mind after the deluge in Mumbai. It rained for approximately 48 hours (2 days) non-stop in Mumbai and brought the commercial capital of India to a stand-still claiming some 150 odd human lives, destroying livestock, and money worth crores of rupees actually “going down the drain”. This deluge has been the content for continuous media coverage for almost all the channels and this coverage extended beyond 120 hours (5 days) and is still being on air.

Just sometime back, there were floods in some parts of Gujarat, where it rained for more than 4 days claiming much more than 500 lives, destroying livestock and again humungous amount of losses. What I fail to understand is the fact that why does the rains in Mumbai, get more media coverage? When the effect in Gujarat has been more devastating than here, why does the news out there get aired for just a few hours and then *boom*, its over. Is it because Mumbai is the commercial capital of India? Is it because people in Mumbai have more “value” than the people of Gujarat? Is human value based on geographics?

I guess it’s the media that decides what “sells” and what doesn’t…

This extends not just to rains but a lot of other incidents too. Lets take an example of the London bombings… all in all 100 people may have died (that’s an overstatement in terms of count)… and that precisely is the number of people who die in Iraq in little skirmishes on a daily basis… Why isn’t the deaths in Iraq given air-time. Aren’t they human beings… are they devaluated because of their location…

This in-turn makes me think, at this rate, someday human beings will be commoditized. We will have over the counter trades, futures, options and derivatives in human beings. We would invest in human beings and their valuation will move up and down like the sensex. That day, the guy from bangalore, the gal from new york, the guy from syracuse etc would be termed as “blue-chip” human beings… the others... dunno much abt their valuation...

Looking forward to such a day… wonder what will be my valuation then?

adios…

PS: That brings me to a point… that the person with the media coverage is the most powerful person today… but that again is a different post…

4 comments:

IdeaSmith said...

The thought occured to me briefly but right now...its too close, too horribly personal an experience to be able to think objectively about it.

Yes, but the questions you raised are valid. We're still hearing about 9/11, regardless of the thousands all over the world who've died due to terrorism.

We don't really care unless it happens to us, do we?

abhi said...

Can Somebody Tell Me Why most of Iyer's post titles have word Capitalization ON?

Besides that ... good post iyeree ... but we're still mad at what you did yesterday

APOO said...

LOL! Blue Chip human from Syracuse, NY writing in.

Everything goes as per ranking. No one covers Juhu-Galli cricket. the world cup is on ESPN/Star.

Oh well, my analogies are always screwed up. But there are a couple of things which get attention.

1. If it is unexpected.
2. If it is important (as per media)

Summed Up: If it sells.

SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP said...

It sure is a bitter truth regards media favourism all the time. when we have disasters in developing countries coz of calamities we have to potry the figures lower than the actual but if we have something tht hapens in glamorous counties, god knows wht makes wht glamorous but its hyped.
Excellent example is the Bomb blasting and rains or tsunami. Media plays the number game n discriminates, are we giving them the liberty to do so?