This Nation No Longer Wants to Know: A 15 Year Old Hits Out At the Media
GUWAHATI: Indians! Yes, that’s what our identity is. We belong to India and work in India. From a farmer to a business tycoon, everyone is working for their country in their own way.
Every zone has its importance, so does North-East. Every zone has its set of problems and so does North-East; but there is a major difference. The difference is of reaching the people for help when you are in difficulty, but whom to blame? Media? No way!
I recall an incident when a media person told me that the media industry is not your property or the property of the government that you will ask for your rights. It is a business minded industry with ambitious people who are working to earn money and be successful. I didn’t understand the entire meaning back then, but now I do. I would like to break it down to you with what we, the people of North East have faced over years.
Whenever I turned on a leading national media channel, I admired how boldly many of the journalists described the pain of citizens and fought for the people of the country with the help of non-violence. I admired the national print media for bringing up issues and facts that were buried under the dust of doubt but then came a time, when I saw my own people, the people from my zone suffer.
It all began when I was fourteen years old. Almost entire Assam was flooded. My parents were worried, so was I. Thousands of people were homeless and hundreds of animals and human beings died. I switched on my television and turned to a leading news channel. It was showing how well Shahrukh Khan’s movie did in the box office. I was disappointed.
The next morning was same too. No newspaper gave proper coverage to the matter. Rather what they did was amazing! The newspapers had pictures with cleavages of leading models and actresses. The ‘spotted’ trend was new back then. I don’t remember exactly but I think it had Saif and Kareena spotted together in a party.
It was really disappointing and shocking for me to see the stereotyped way of looking at the matter. That was the first time; I was ashamed to have been a media fan. I hoped someone would report the floods devastation our people, Indian citizens, but no! I was wrong, very wrong.
But now I am more settled. I know what to expect from the big ‘national’ media and what not to. The North-east, for those who don’t know eight states together, get a annual media coverage of 0.2 percent and that too is not what people need to see. It is basically what they want people to see.
The entire media did a primetime show on Indrani Mukherjee and the murder mystery, but no one cared when there serial blasts in Assam in 2008, or when the Brahmaputra overflows taking away thousands of lives. Even when there was a attack in Paris, Indian media was live telecasting the incident, but when it came to the Manipur earthquake, no one cared.
I know they did cover it but how late too matters. Kashmir and Chennai got prime time shows too, making people aware of the situation there, but the floods in Assam never got that. I feel Northeast has never been, and is is not a part of the map that the so-called national media follows. I hope it changes someday.
It moves me from deep within, as I write this. It might look harsh, but it is that bitter truth that we must accept!
I mean who would care about the people who look different. And yes they were provocative clothes too, which titillates some louts who attack and abuse people from our region even in the capital of India.
You don’t keep us on your map because you love us or feel for us, but you are rather forced to do so! Other than in maps, do you even remember the names of the North-Eastern states? Have you ever tried to understand why we look the way we do? The answer is no!
You might have been thinking how I am saying such revolting and harsh things. I don’t know how but I can tell you why I am saying such things! When it was the Paris attack or the Chennai floods, everyone changed their DP on Facebook to support peace and the victims. We too did the same!
But where are you now, when lakhs of people are homeless and many thousands died already! You all were bashing the celebrities for not helping Chennai but what happened now? Eighteen lakhs people are affected by floods in Assam. Bade aaye youth desh badlenge! First go and change the Atlas where north-east is not a part of India. Just think about it. You want us to be Indians, but you treat us like step progeny.
The national media thinks North East is like that child who stays in boarding school and has a relationship with its parents (India) only to meet his or her expenses. They don't share any bond other than that. The family (other states) too do not care about them.
I am very sure the media would have jumped to cover us if it could find some under clad glamour perhaps, as it likes such sexist stories. You know what, the Indian national media is just amazing! It is the media industry where a leading newspaper publishes a photograph, clicked by the paparazzi, of Kate Middleton; and where a news channel in order to get TRP exposes the name of a rape victim within a few hours of being raped. What else can we expect from such thekedaars of News? I am sure, they are waiting for cleavages of girls and women in the flood.
If that is the case, I don’t want the nation to know or have a talk over it on Sunday too. At least we will have some self respect, unlike you, though we will be destroyed.
(Rishiraj Sen is an Indian novelist, poet, Content writer and Scriptwriter. He has written a novel, several hundred poems and is working with Northeast Diaries media as a scriptwriter. He has also worked as a freelancer with several print media groups and also worked with Government of Assam as a Creative writer. And he is just 15 years old, in school in Guwahat)