Swine Flu and the elitist mask of India
The media has hit the panic button and the public has been terrified. Indian cities seem to be under a swine fly hysteria , if the news reported in the TV channels have to be believed.
Finally , even I am fortified. My wife has asked me not to visit movie halls for my movie review mission. So , no reviews of the running hit “Kaminey” and probably for few more weeks. *sighs*
I read an interesting article on TOI by Swaminathan Aiyer on Swine flu and media coverage. It made an interesting and thoughtful read. He criticizes the hype and panic created by the media on this swine flu issue. Agreed that swine flu awareness is needed but making it almost a 24/7 coverage and creating a hype makes it unwarranted. In India every day on an average 3,753 people die of respiratory diseases and infections , 1,973 of diarrhea and 1,479 of tuberculosis. Are this death of less importance ? Compared to this , the death reported and probably would be reported in months to come out of Swine flu would be miniscule. Why is media relatively silent on this issues ?
The reason according to Swaminathan Aiyer and I to agree with him is simple. Most of the death that could be attributed to respiratory diseases and infections , diarrhea and tuberculosis are reported from the poorer half of the India and the media targets the upper half of the India. Appalling ! The millions who die from the above mentioned comes from the bottom half of the economic scale , who lacks proper medical support , medicines and doctors and their deaths in large number is almost no news at all as if it is taken for granted.
Swine Flu , on the other hand , is a “new” disease to hit the market. So makes a good TRP rating. It is also supposedly an “elite” disease as it is carried into India from the “phoren” returns. The richer half is confused , terrified , agitated , freaked out too coz even money cannot guarantee safety. When they hit the panic button aided by the TRP hungry media , the bug panic bug catches the lower half of the society too !
Elitist diseases and poor man’s disease ?!
Of course Swine flu should be a reason for concern but it is a fad news after a while this flu too will disappear from public memory like the SARS scare few years back. But who will hit the panic button and highlight the medical negligence bestowed on the millions of poor who lacks proper medical treatment ? Who will report and take the medical battle to the lower rung of society ? Will Health ministers , PMO and media show the same state of emergency in attending the crying medical needs of the bottom half of society ?
Poor of India are rightfully Indians too and they need every care and attention by the government , media and society in general.