Sunday, July 31, 2011



Santosh Kumar (28) of Coimbatore, a young married man, with a little baby might never have even thought that his brutal death would invoke such little response and compassion by his city’s citizens. While he was being brutally thrashed and murdered at a traffic signal on July 10th, an event recorded by a hidden CCTV camera which led to the culprits being hauled up, nobody but nobody stopped to help him. People stopped at the signal and as it turned green sped off to their destinations, turning a blind eye to the horrific incident happening in front of them.

This tale makes me sick to my stomach. How can someone see somebody being so cruelly murdered in front of them and not even try to help? Is this what our people have become? Insensitive and numb to all sorts of horror so nothing effects them anymore? What is responsible for such numbness?

One reason could be the increasing openness with which news channels run gory, bloody pictures and videos of murder sites, bomb blasts victims, riots etc. The Hindu, a nationally acclaimed newspaper, put the photograph of the mangled remains of Rajiv Gandhi’s body after his assassination, which was a gruesome sight. When chided for this act, the Editor defended his decision by some valid arguments saying it was a true incident and so there was nothing wrong in presenting the truth to the public, and that the people would be aware of the barbarity of this assassination only through such hard hitting visuals. However, over the years, the media has not shied away from showing any grisly photograph or any ghastly video. While it hits the viewers/ readers and shakes them up to the reality and brutality of the world around them it has also led to a certain numbing of emotions. People are now so used to seeing such horrific sights that nothing shocks then anymore. Their threshold for tolerating such horrible scenes has increased manifold thanks to the desensitization process by the media.

Even the excessive violence we see in films today, with no holds barred, is responsible to an extent of numbing the people. This is a major cause of concern because if compassion and humanity are allowed to disappear, it can possibly spell disastrous consequences in the future. People will no longer be shocked by anything and would not realise the gravity of horrible occurrences.

Such a case brings to light the dire necessity for the media to exercise restraint on itself in showing grisly scenes and photographs. While truth must not be compromised but a sensitive approach must certainly be in place for every event. Otherwise what happened with Santosh Kumar, could happen on a larger scale tomorrow and I do not think anyone needs to spell out what that would result in eventually! (Please feel free to suggest what measures can be taken to prevent such desensitization and numbing of emotions from happening!)

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