Lesser Lives

  • SumoMe

How important is your life?

Will you squander it over a dead Icon?

The hysterical mass suicide over the death of a prominent figure is not a new phenomenon. Upon the death of YSR, a multitude of so called loyal fans chose to follow suit. Was that really loyalty? Were their lives of so little value to themselves that they could give it up for an unrelated outside entity? Did all their lives have no meaning save as an attachment to Ramachandran’s?

I accept the sense of loss people feel upon losing a beloved star, as indeed I fully understand the loss of YSR Reddy’s constituency and the whole country must have felt the same upon losing a significant political figurehead. We can all sympathize with his family’s grief. Does it then make sense to end your life in order to have it synchronize with his? Should the fact of his premature death provide a reason for you to waste yours too? Surely the twenty three lives lost to suicide was the most flagrant waste possible!

If the report concerning the number of deaths due to heart seizures caused by news of Reddy’s death is true, it heavily reduces my faith in the common sense of the populace. Perhaps it’s the media turning hysterical on us. Conceivably atleast part of the suicides and a significant portion of the other deaths are largely unrelated to the event, some of them being the normal toll the state faces but which goes undetected when not under the glare of an ‘important’ event. This wouldn’t be all that surprising considering that incidences unrelated to important personnel often tend to go entirely unnoticed. The last helicopter crash which wasn’t fortunate enough to be carrying a VVIP wasn’t discovered until three months later and that too by chance, while the recent one had everybody in the nation working overtime to seek it out. When the helicopter crash had been confirmed, the news mongers went hoarse announcing the death of YSR Reddy and four others. The “four other occupants” -to quote from a popular daily- didn’t even deserve to have their names mentioned when in the company of a much superior being.

Possibly all lives really aren’t equal. Maybe its fair to splash the headlines with a single name while leaving the rest of the lost lives to crowd one short sentence forgotten somewhere in the passage. Perhaps the 122 deaths were really just 122 deaths. If the ones dying valued their lives so little who are we to treat them any different?

We shall know when we reach the other side, whether there’s a separate golden gate for the important lives and a small wooden one for the insignificant unnamed ones.

It will serve us right if that does indeed prove to be the case.

Pragya Mukherjee

[Image courtesy: http://news.bixee.com/tmpmedia/?url=http%3A//static.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/05_2009/ysr-factor-313.jpg]

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