Saturday, September 5, 2009

Southern mania

More than 60 people have died following YSR Reddy's demise in Andhra Pradesh. Some of these due to shock, others due to suicide. So much that YSR's son had to make an appeal to people to stop taking these drastic steps. One channel in fact reports this number as a shocking 122 people.
I can understand the feeling of sadness following the death of a leader. I felt it myself when Pramod Mahajan passed away. I had never seen him, leave alone knowing or interacting with him. Still.
But suicide? That's a different matter altogether.
What is it with South leaders, that they are able to whip up this frenzied support from masses? Or does it have something to do with South Indians as a whole? Political figures becoming colossal icons in the minds of people is not rare in South. MGR, NTR, Raj Kumar, Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi... the list is endless. Chiranjeevi is the latest addition to this I presume.
Or is it something that is a very Indian trait? But I don't see such frenzy in other Indian states, it is too pronounced in South. I am sorry if I sounding parochial, but there seems to be more to this than meets the eye.
How does culture influence the way we see our leaders? Did something similar happen after the demise of Gandhi, Nehru or Patel? I was not born when that happened. But I clearly remember Indira Gandhi's assassination and its aftermath. I don't recall so many people killing themselves (they killed others, but that's a different story). Now, Indira Gandhi was a national figure, unlike YSR or anyone else mentioned above. There surely were people who grieved her passing away, but not many took the drastic step of ending their own lives.
So instead of it being an Indian trait, is it a Dravidian trait? And if it is, what part has cultural upbringing played in this trait becoming so pronounced? Or is the loud media that plays a part in this sordid drama?

5 comments:

soulsez said...

It is true and sad...

However, I would say that this whole 'suicide-coz-my-leader-died' is a new and dangerous trend indeed.

I didn't hear of any suicides when tamil leaders died. MGR, one of the greatest leaders, did not leave suicides in his wake.
This new trend is alarming indeed!

Pushkaraj said...

@ Susan - Are you sure the media has a miniscule contribution in South? I don't follow the media there, but I would imagine they are as adept at histrionics as their counterparts elsewhere.
@ Soulsez - If that is so, then what do you think has changed in these years?

PAPPU said...

MGR did not leave any suicides in his wake? Soulji, you need to do a bit of history refreshing.

And Pushkarji, the media plays a big part in the south. Especially the media that reaches the masses, the DMK and AIADMK both have their own media vehicles - their own newspapers and TV channels.

As far as the suicides go, there can be a few fanatics who do crazy things, maybe one or two. You may ask how to account for the rest of the deaths? That the newspapers and channels take care of. Just take any suicide case and add it to the list of YSR suicides!-Zimble as that. Ha!

sm said...

i heard about it on television,
it just shows how much progress india needs to make.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Susan, Soulsez, Pappu and SM - Hey, thanks all of you for the comments. I was away from the net for more than a week and saw the replies just now.
Pappu - Your words became prophetic. Headlines Today has reported that most of the deaths reported were actually fake. That's not all, the families of those people were apparently paid 5000 to keep their mouths shut. Sick...