If you thought Michael Jackson was mad, then…

20 December 2007

When Michael Jackson dangled his youngest baby upside down over a Berlin hotel lobby five years ago, it resulted in an international uproar, followed by the pop star’s apology. A German newspaper called the act “foolish”, a British tabloid called it “lunatic”, and yet another labelled him the “mad bad dad”.

What will the world make of this video, courtesy Eenadu Television, which shows what a wealth of stories there is in the rural countryside that our market-driven newspapers and TV stations do not tap?

Mahesh V. Shetagar reports that in village Indipatna in Karnataka’s Bijapur district, 162 were thrown off the 20-foot tall temple balcony as part of the Sadguru Shanteeshwara village fair yesterday, in a bizarre ritual that is said to usher in good health for the infants between 6 and 8 months of age.

The babies are caught in a trampoline kind of ring that relatives and other devotees hold below. Babies born after this year’s fair will qualify for the ceremony next year. The custom has apparently been followed for generations.

Madness? Ignorance? Superstition? Devil-may-care desi tradition?

A wake-up call for the media?

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