Beautiful women, designer clothes, opulent settings, flashy cars and celebrity film stars come together to make a very heady cocktail. Way more seductive than the story of some poor cotton farmer. For the producers as well as the consumers of media, sex and money always triumphs over almost everything else. Karan Johar, Shobha De and TOI rule!

Is it any surprise, then, that skimpily clad women walking the ramps of the Lakme India Fashion Week were all over the media - in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and on the internet. You could not have missed, nor the Sensex hitting 11,000 mark. However, you were very likely to have missed the news of the 400th farmer committing suicide in Vidarbha (in the western Indian state of Maharashtra) which happened during the same week as these other two events. According to the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, there have been more than 450 suicides among farmers since June 2005.

I subscribe to the newspaper, The Hindu, which carried P Sainath’s editorial ‘India Shining meets the Great Depression’, and still missed the story. Fortunately, I stumbled upon it online.

I don’t know why, but I get reminded of the pop cliché from my childhood, of the corrupt king and his courtiers drinking themselves silly and enjoying the ‘mujra’ while the poor ‘junta’ suffered and waited patiently for a glimmer of a benevolent act.

Link: I searched for the original article at The Hindu web site but could not find it. They are perhaps the only readable English daily but some one needs to tell them to carefully reevaluate the user interface as well as the overall design of their website.

First published on May 3, 2006
#comment, #media