"Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer the problems of spirit. There is only one question- when will I be blown up?" Said Faulkner in his Nobel prize acceptance speech.
As the news of deads in now infamous Vyapam scam float over the unfeeling television screen, the pronouncements made by the famed author seems truer than ever. The number of deads vary between 27 and 45. Some channels have even started counting hapless people who where selected through the process of Professional Examination Board of the state of Madhya Pradesh as casualties of the scam. There, of course is no logic to it. But then sensationalism overwhelms the logic. Deads make a good story, and more the number the better the story is.
27 however is in no way less ghastly than 45, especially when most died soon after getting linked to the scam, either as a witness or victim. What is most tragic is the disinterest with which media treated the story till one reporter from audio- visual media died couple of days back. The guardians of social conscience suddenly woke up with new found righteousness. Those who were found much wanting in the case of a journalist who was burnt alive in UP a fortnight, found the lost camaraderie and a meaning in their profession.
Even the political vultures who where silent and invisible in the UP case descended around the dead body, searching relevance in the death. Candles are lit and outrage weighs heavy on the humid weather. The cynicism is back and the helplessness of a non-newsworthy citizen is more pronounced than ever.
At moments like this, it is easy for everyone to polish the intellect and pretend to be a detective. What should the media do at the moment? It is at times as such that the society must rise as a unit to reject the false sympathies and show the failure of media in upholding the truth to their face. If is also the time that one should rise above party lines and seek to put an end to this chilling horror story. It was a scam which ran for around twenty years since 1995, as fake candidates sat for exams and must be by now practicing medicine or engineering or such professions. It is a dirty river which ran through many shores and it must be investigated in entirety.
But then, soon another flight will get delayed and the media will forget the dead and start screaming about it. Or maybe a tweet will come linking the erstwhile aristocracy and the story will become too hot to handle. “The job of a journalist is to amplify the voices of the marginalized. To do that, you have to hear those voices in the first place.” - Allison Kilkenny wrote. But how many of our journalists running prime time entertainment channels can hear those voices and even if they do, as Faulkner said, it is no longer the problem of spirit.