In his essay, “Why is the Indian media so negative?”, former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam argues that the Indian media is full of negativity. It does not celebrate our successes but highlights all the gory details and negativity.
I agree there is not much to celebrate on these gloomy days. Moreover, news in itself isn’t positive or negative. Thus, reporting should be as objective as possible and should give us a picture of reality. However, is the Indian media showing us the complete reality?
Take any major publication and all that we see is pictures of burning pyres While I agree that it is a grim reality and every death is unfortunate and in this case, certainly avoidable. However, what about the people who are recovering? Where are the stories of people who have fought their way out?
Now, people may be tempted to call me a ‘Bhakt’ or a ‘Sanghi’ etc. who is attempting to salvage his supreme leader of any accountability. With a pinch of salt, I will say I am a Deshbhakt and I believe in Sangh or the company of people. Hence, the nation comes before anyone. However, my argument is not for the government, but the patients.
Ask any doctor and they will tell you that more than half the battle is fought by the patient. And this is a mental battle. Every day, I read stories of people who fought their way out of this horrific disease. Personally, a cousin of mine who was infected a few weeks ago said that mental fortitude is the key to fighting this infection.
Back in 2012, my mother was infected with a severe bout of Pneumonia. In the OPD, the physician who was treating her said, ‘I agree that the condition is serious. However, try to motivate her. I have seen people bouncing back out of near-impossible cases, by their sheer willpower. ‘
If the media keeps flashing pictures of crematoria, imagine the state of mind of the infected and about to be hospitalised. What would their relatives go through? How can the doctors motivate patients? Humans are visual animals. If all that the patients see is death, it will break their will to fight.
Lastly, look at the practical repercussions. This fear is leading to the hoarding of essentials like medicines and Oxygen. Black marketing is on a rampage. Thus, this obsession with sensationalism is pushing India into a vicious circle.
This article is an answer to Shekhar Gupta’s claim in this episode of Cut the Clutter. Originally published on ThePrint.in