April 27, 2009

Aakriti vs Shanno

Posted By:
Two incidents in two schools happened recently, leading to the death of two girls. One died due to the alleged lack of medical attention and other, due to an alleged punishment that went too far. Both received due media attention but it is the first case which evoked the candlelight protests and visits from politicians.

Aakriti was a 17 year-old student of Modern school who died of an asthma attack, and her parents allege that it is the school's untimely response which killed her. The media hype was enough to have Sheila Dixit and Renuka Chowdhury visit Aakriti's parents. Now, the parents are planning to take the case to court.

On the other hand, Shanno was an 11 year-old child studying in a nondescript school who belonged to a poor family who could hardly make ends meet. She clearly died from brutal punishment at the hands of a teacher who has not even been implicated so far. No one has come to Shanno's aid, and no one is taking up her cause - forget candlelight protests. Not wanting to send her siblings to the same school, her parents have instead admitted them into an orphanage.

It's not that I blame Aakriti's parents for having the muscle to create a noise, but what happened is unfair. The poor girl's plight has no takers, except for 2-3 days that it received coverage. Her parents don't have the time or money to buy a place in media. They don't have visits from politicians to show for it. Most probably, the teacher/school authorities paid off the doctors and police to make Shanno's death look like an epileptic attack. Even if she did suffer from epilepsy, did the teacher not bring it on with her brutality? But nobody will answer these questions, because nobody's interested.

As for the other case, reports lead us to believe that the school did all it could to help Aakriti and most schools dont have a doctor on location. She was apparently ill before joining school and her parents could have taken extra precaution given her condition.

Whether it's media bias or a reflection of our own prejudiced society, we knwo how this goes. The poor man's daughter has no sympathizers but the rich man's daughter has plenty.

April 2, 2009

TOI falls for it!

Posted By:
The Times of India has fallen for an April Fools joke! On page 15 of the Delhi edition today, it published a report on navigator shoes (here's the link). This actually a joke, and here's the original site where people have already caught the trap in the various comments.

In fact, even the authenticity of the second piece of this page is debatable, about the touch screen phone for the blind!

Somehow this is not surprising. I am sure a lot of papers who don't believe in doing their research would have fallen for stories like this.

Here's a great list of all the jokes that were placed online yesterday. I personally like The Guardian's Twitter-only announcement, The Economist's theme park and Gmail's autopilot!