For the last 15 days or so, almost all Indian news channels have been talking nonstop about the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput, a Bollywood actor who committed suicide in the month of June.
Throughout the day and well into the evening all you will hear on national TV is host after host talking about the actor’s suicide and interviewing the so called ‘experts‘. Then there will be debates—verbal diarrhea and verbal spars and jabs—on live TV. Hosts and participants will verbally duel with each other and almost come to blows. Except for throwing fecal matters at each other, most of them will behave like primates on prime time television.
In the last fortnight, various news channels have interviewed almost everybody, starting from Sushant’s bodyguard to his ex-girlfriend. Now, the only entity they will probably try to find a way to interview for some ‘Breaking news‘ is the late actor’s dog, Fudge. In order to take sensationalism to the next level, one of those channels will surely try to find a dog whisperer and have him/her ‘talk‘ to the dog to find out what exactly happened on that fateful night.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide: A terrible loss
Please don’t misunderstand me and don’t get me wrong. Sushant’s suicide is unfortunate, and I empathize with his friends, family, and fans. I am sorry for their immense loss. I am not trying to downplay his death, a precious life lost too soon. It is a real tragedy for those close to him. I am only trying to understand why suddenly all Indian news channels are so focused on his suicide at the expense of so many other important events and news— local, national, and worldwide.
Sushant Singh Rajput supposedly suffered from depression, which probably made him forget to live a little. I know how debilitating depression is and can be. It can eat you up from the inside, and you will neither have the courage nor the strength to seek help. All you will want is for the pain to end.
I have experienced those feelings. It takes superhuman strength, resolve, determination, and willpower to overcome depression. In my opinion, the most common anti-depression medications—Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)—do more harm than good. In some cases, SSRIs increase suicidal thoughts. And Sushant was supposedly on anti-depressants.
A cover up?
Although the initial report was that he committed suicide because of depression, numerous theories, conspiracy or otherwise, have been floated since his unfortunate death. Some say his girlfriend was responsible for his suicide by aiding and abetting; while others say, he was murdered and powerful entities in Bollywood are trying to cover it up.
Then there are others who think a few directors and power brokers of Bollywood sabotaged Sushant’s career thereby forcing him to take his own life. Lately, some very powerful politicians have jumped into the fray demanding a CBI probe. ED has already initiated a money laundering probe against his girlfriend, who for some strange reason is maintaining a stoic silence. Probably under her lawyer’s advice.
Although I haven’t watched any of his movies—I don’t watch Hindi movies anyway, too boring and predictable—it seems he was a talented actor with a lot of potential. For this reason, Sushant’s suicide is shocking, mind boggling, and perplexing to many. Therefore, they feel, his unfortunate death needs to be properly probed.
Fine, investigate all you want to get to the root of the issue. I have no problem with that. Truth should prevail and the guilty should be booked and punished.
Firstly, if his girlfriend abetted his suicide, try her and if found guilty, she should receive commensurate punishment.
Secondly, if he was murdered, find the murders and hang them.
Finally, if there is indeed a cabal in Bollywood that does not allow newcomers to gain a foothold and flourish there, then break up that cabal, destroy them totally to end their stranglehold. I am all for it.
However, for all the Indian news television to solely focus on this issue for the past 15 days is simply nuts. They have talked about his death ad-nauseum. Except for three days, July 27-29 2020, when the coverage was only on Rafale jets, it has all been Sushant’s suicide nonstop. During those three days, it was all about how Rafale will now enable India to kick Pakistan’s derrière and crush China’s cojones.
After watching this media madness for the last two weeks, I fail to understand one simple thing. Are there is no other pressing issues facing the country today that the sole focus of most of Indian news television is on the unfortunate death of this late actor?
Here, to make it easier for the bloviating talking heads, let me list down a few critical issues the nation is facing currently.
India and the world is under the vice grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. India is currently third in terms of number of people infected by the coronavirus. It is fifth in terms of number of deaths due to COVID-19. However, all the news channels have virtually stopped talking about his crisis. They make a passing mention and it is back to Sushant Singh Rajput.
Everyday, the number of infection is increasing by >50,000, but nobody wants to analyze and discuss this issue.
As of 16 July 2020, 99 doctors have died in India due to COVID-19, and 1300 have been infected with the disease while treating patients. Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued a red alert saying, ‘If COVID-19 mortality has to be lessened, it has to start with doctors and hospitals.‘
However, nobody is discussing this issue in depth. Not a single TV channel has investigated the deaths of frontline warriors such as doctors and nurses. Why have so many died?
Nobody has even bothered to interview the family of those doctors to see what they are going through. We don’t even know the names of those brave doctors and nurses who gave up their lives while saving others.
India’s economy has been devastated by the pandemic-induced lockdown. Job losses have been immense. S&P Global Ratings have predicted that Indian economy will contract by 5% this fiscal.
Do you hear any news channel covering this? Not me. Nobody is asking the government about their plans to handle the GDP contraction.
India is facing Chinese aggression in Ladakh. Although the troops have disengaged in a few locations, the PLA is not moving back from the heights surrounding the Pangong lake. Suddenly, this is off the Indian news television radar. A brief mention during the day’s top headlines and then it is silently buried. Makes me wonder why?
They were all over this issue a few weeks ago, where day and night all they could talk about is the Chinese aggression. So, what changed suddenly for them to stop covering this issue? A gentle tap on the shoulder?
Floods due to monsoon is wreaking havoc across the plains and Northeast of India. However, nobody is asking the government any tough questions. Why year after year, floods wreak havoc and nobody does anything to alleviate the pain and suffering of the poor and the downtrodden?
Now, if you look at media’s fascination with this suicide from the periphery, it seems as if ‘some entity‘ wants us to be distracted from the real issues that are of national importance and focus on Sushant’s death entirely. And the media is playing its part handsomely.
Watching all this, I can’t help but think that the media in this country has been purchased lock, stock and barrel. The more I see all this, the more I am reminded of passages from the book Propaganda by Edward Bernays, who is known worldwide as ‘the father of public relations’.
Living in a Potemkin Village
The older I get, the more I can’t shake off this feeling of living in a Potemkin village—although this country is, and the countries around the world are, in ‘trouble‘, the powers that be wants us to believe that ‘all’s well.’ It is akin to rearranging the deck chairs while the Titanic is sinking.
Hence, everything is being managed, manipulated, and controlled, so that the society can be pushed in a certain direction. We were, anyway, never told the truth, lest we panic and behave like crazed animals. But, this is taking propaganda to a new level.
Media controlled narrative
Media in India is and was always under the thumb of the government in power. Because once you control the media, you can control the narrative. And controlling the narrative allows you to control the sacrificial lambs. In other words, the plebes.
We are so easily entertained
Do you know the reason why India could never and will probably never achieve its true potential? It is because we are so easily entertained. Psychopaths in power know what to do to keep us entertained.
- They give us red meat rhetoric to keep us distracted with trivial matters while they go about looting us.
- Get religion involved and we will go after each other’s throat.
- Give us cricket and the entire nation is in a trance.
- Give us silly Bollywood musicals and we are totally enthralled.
- Cheap comedy shows making sexist jokes, fun of disabilities or indulging in double-entendre are what tickles us.
- Give us bloviating talking heads on TV. They will shout and scream like primates while discussing any topic, and we think they are intelligent, of sound mind, and logical.
- Tell us investing in SIPs are a sure way to prosperity. Next, we will put our hard earned money in the manipulated stock market and lose most of it when the market takes a dive.
- Tell us owning a house is a sign of prosperity. We then take a 30 year loan to buy that dream flat. In the end, we buy one house for the price of three—one we keep, the other two we give to the bank in the form of interest payments.
Maximus was probably right when he screamed at the crowd. ‘Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?‘
Are you not entertained, my countrymen? Enjoy the s**t show, keep on believing their lies and jumping to their tunes. For truth is an extremely bitter pill to swallow.
I have screamed enough; it is probably time for me to just shut up for now.
However, ‘I’ll be back!‘