Monday, October 31, 2005

Indians, Diwali and the Messageboard Mystery


How should Delhi tackle terrorism?28 message(s)

Will Sachin's return lift the Indian team's performance?128 message(s)

That Messageboard was from NDTV at around 5:40 PM, today! The stark contrast in the number of messages that the two topics have evoked should come as no surprise; but it definitely reflects the state of affairs in India. Or, does it?
Sachin's return is definitely great news in India. But terrorism doesn't seem to have moved people much. Would Indians care more about cricket than what they care about the lives of Indians themselves? Or is it just that there is too much of terrorism and violence these days that they have failed to evoke the response that they should? But then, there are too many matches being played these days, as well! Or, perhaps, I'm reading too much into a mere coincidence! What if it had to do about the scale to which people are affected personally by the two issues? Could it be a statement of the priorities of the needs of mankind in general, or of Indians in particular?
I wish I knew what this snapshot says of India! Whatever it means, Im sure we are capable of condemning terrorism, adoring cricketers and enjoying Diwali crackers, all at once! Wishing every Indian a great Diwali!!!
In Picture: A Diwali Rangoli


Mridula said...

Thanks for posting this number of messages. The example of 'chalta hai' (anything goes) taken to extreme in my view.

krish said...

Hi Mridula, 'Anything goes', yes! 'As long as Im not affected, anything goes.'

I didnt understand the "Thanks for posting this number of messages" part of your comment, though.

Mridula said...

28 vs 128 or soemthing for the cricket. Those numbers.

krish said...

Alright :-)

arZan said...

Frankly all that this statistic proves is that

a) cricket fans have more access to the internet and are more interested in commenting about it.
b) discussing current affairs and politics over the internet is not something that everyone likes to do.
c) Its easier to discuss things that have a happy ending.

In light of this, I dont get the basis of your arguement. What are you trying to say ?

krish said...

Hi arzan,

Insightful. But, I do have some reservations about your points.

a. What makes you say cricket fans would have more access to the internet?

b. and c. Given that they are your opinions, they could be right (I'm not judging here - its just my opinion, again)

There is no argument. My view is this: I was trying to see what could make people get so indifferent to some bloody bombings a couple of days back, that they flock to message boards that discuss some futile issue (compared to the other one)? The world talked in one chorus when a couple of planes flew right through a pair of structures - it is no longer referred to as WTO attack or something else - just 9/11! Thats the impact that it had when US the Great was under attack!

To me, it doesn't make a difference whether it's one life or a thousand! It's terrorism; the innocents are targetted. The dreams and the lives of people are trashed. And no one has the right to do that - no matter what the cause!

And when such a brutal crime as the one in Delhi evokes such a luke warm response, it could mean something is terribly wrong with the damned mentality of people. An attack in Delhi, the capital of India in the eve of Diwali, the most popular of Hindu festivals! Add Ramadan to it - some secular folks may wake up!

This attack is a stab at the heart of India! And if people don't respond to something as grave as this, something is definitely screwed up! I was wondering if this was indeed the case or could there be any other reason behind the numbers - as you have pointed out.

I hope you get the basis of my view.

Having said all this, there is news now. At 11:00 pm IST, the same site has different numbers.

Terrorism: 94; Cricket: 141.

Looks like people do have something to say about the attacks and ways to tackle them. And there isn't as much reason to be wary about, as it initially seemed. Good news that, in my view.

However, you may now have to have a second look at your points, in the light of these developments.

PS. I never based my case on the basis of mere numbers; a lot may lie beneath. However, I was merely wondering of the possible implications of the numbers, if they may indicate to something being fundamentally wrong.

Pheww...if Im having so much to explain about my post, it's high time I revised my way of expression! Does seem to leave a lot to speculation, doesn't it?

Thanks for your comments, arzan. :-)

Mihir said...

I tend to agree with Arzan here. Its hard for people to post political views and solutions to terrorism in an online forum. Especially if there are any religious connotations to the debate.

In contrast expressing ones opinions on cricket is just too easy.


Tarun said...

it's really sad people are more interesting in Cricket as well bollywood than that terrorism news.

krish said...

Hi Mihir,

That is true: expressing opinions on cricket may be easier. It involves no complications. But "religious connotations" is just a part of the issue, just one of the angles. People from all walks of life can speak against terrorism; but as you rightly pointed out, cricket definitely is easier.

One more thought struck me - that of the mix of people who surf the net. Internet may not be at its infancy in India but it definitely has a long way to go. The major chunk of people may be surfers for entertainment, who may not be really used to expressing serious thoughts over the net. They may have been looking for news about cricket and might have stumbled upon the site, or they may be regularly browsing just for entertainment. That could skew the proportions, I would think.

All said and done, a bomb blast, I still feel, doesn't make as much of an impact on the society as would a century in cricket. Cricket reaches right into the drawing room and is an entertainment that is extremely involving, while bombs blast miles away (for most people)and people watch the aftermaths - not live pictures as in cricket. Bombs are not entertainment and the sufferers happen to be strangers.

Thanks for the link.

krish said...

Hi third eye,

Yes. People are more interested in cricket and bollywood than on terrorism. But that is only natural. My case was that of the impact that terrorism must have created, considering the bombings just a few days ago! I don't expect people to forget everything else and keep talking only of terrorism. But I definitely expect the folks to be moved when the blood strains are still fresh on the roads, tears still flowing from the eyes.

Mridula said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BangaloreGuy said...

9/11 was different because it was live coverage. you cant do that to a bomb blast. Neither the repeated bombings in Iraq, or London can create that impact.

Not can anything else, unless its televised live and its a slow event. I remember it taking half an hour or so.

My overriding thought then was that the USA and by extension the west now knows the fear of terrorism too. Too bad, that even after so many years they have little to show for it in action.

krish said...

Hi bangaloreguy,

Yes. 9/11 was different - the way it was executed, the scale of devastation, and its coverage. And so was its impact; None of the bombings can create that, as you pointed out.

But a major part of that impact can definitely be ascribed to its having occurred in the US, and its having been the World Trade Centre.

But my focus was not on the comparisons of the relative impacts. It was about the impact that these bombings in Delhi were supposed to have created; that which I'm not sure if they really did create, among Indians!

LAK said...

Here is the impact the blasts created in Delhi---
a) a little shock,
b)a lot of 'no emotion' ,
c)a fair amount of "there but for the grace of God go I!"i.e., relief, for not having gone to those areas that day--everybody goes to SN(Sarojini Nagar)at some time or the other.
d)Relief, thankfulness and wonder that the roads were almost khaali on a saturday evening---how covenient for those making the rounds disbursing their quota of Diwali gifts! Callous, but true.

krish said...

Hi Lak,

Your version of the impact was callous indeed! One can only hope it's not all true!

LAK said...

I'm sure all Delhiites didn't feel that way, but the above four reactions were what I observed. Plus, "the business as usual" was portrayed as a message to the terrorists that we will not be cowed down, and will enjoy Diwali and Id despite all this. Couldn't that be a excuse to go ahead with the festivities anyway? It is like when someone dies and the relatives do whatever is convenient to them, and say,"So-and-so would have wanted it this way"

krish said...

I understand. And your observations definitely have an element of truth. And it is this lack of sensitivity and empathy that acts against the journey forward - in every sense. You have summed it all very well.

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