A grand total of 80 people died in the serial blasts in Jaipur last Tuesday. A grand total of 134 people have died (so far) in the hooch tragedy in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the weekend. If you take Bangalore and Kolar together, the toll stands at 75.
How do we react to both, as human beings and as media persons, notwithstanding the fact that the former walked into death and the latter bought it, willy-nilly?
A terror attack sends the nation into a furious spell of breast-beating and finger-pointing. Sketches of the culprits, debates on POTA. Pakistan or Bangladesh? OB vans roll in, correspondents file tear-jerkers. NRIs and other pseudo-patriots break into a sweat over “minority appeasement”. Vasundhara Raje finds the time to Walk the Talk with Shekhar Gupta. Compensation of Rs 5 lakh.
Get ready for a candle-light vigil.
A hooch tragedy is just the bad news before the break at dinner time. The hospitals are only slightly better than the slums the victims live/d in. No stories of kids cruelly orphaned by the killer brew. Politicians and officials play a game they have played before—hide and “speak”—with alacrity. Sonia Gandhi won’t be making a visit. Rs 10,000 in compensation.
Is there a preferred way to die, post-9/11?
Does death not count if it isn’t due to terrorism?
If we can’t stop a homegrown hooch tragedy, you bet we will stop international terrorism.
Photograph: A panoramic shot of pristine D.G. Halli, where most of the victims, hailed from (Karnataka Photo News)