Tag Archives: suicide

The Priya Vedi Suicide: Diwas Raja Kc and Alston D’Silva

This is a guest post by Diwas Raja Kc and Alston D’Silva

Image Courtesy: www.pardaphash.com
Image Courtesy: http://www.pardaphash.com

On the 18th of April this year, Dr. Priya Vedi of AIIMS tragically ended her life and left a Facebook note incriminating her husband—fellow doctor at AIIMS Dr. Kamal Vedi—for “torturing” her mentally, clearly implying that his homosexuality was the reason for her suicide. Her distress is apparent in the note as she recounts the lack of intimacy in her marriage and her discovery of the husband’s sexual activities as a gay man before and during the marriage. At the end she includes a plea to all gay men to not “marry to a girl to save yourself,” to not play with the emotions of a girl and her family. It should not be surprising that some condolent commentators have placed the blame specifically on Kamal Vedi’s alleged sexual orientation, even calling for legal action. Even within the LGBT community, the tendency has been to first put culpability on the man’s opportunistic participation in the institution of marriage. There is a sense that this incident ought to serve as a teaching moment for gay men, who are argued to require an ethical code, who need to fixate on the deliverance of their conscience, and whose rights—as Sandip Roy pointed out—”mean nothing without responsibility.” But despite Priya Vedi’s strongly felt sentiments, must we proceed as if the case of her fatal end is a logical and natural consequence of gay men’s irresponsible intrusions into the sanctum of marriage? After all, such intrusions are routine, and the ensuing heartbreaks are sometimes even known to be productive of powerful empathy between straight women and gay men.

Continue reading The Priya Vedi Suicide: Diwas Raja Kc and Alston D’Silva

Gajendra’s Tragic Death, Media Spins and the Indignation Industry

Gajendra, BJP and the Propaganda Machine

The tragic death of a farmer from Rajasthan occurs at a rally organized by the Aam Aadmi Party on 22 April 2015. The farmer, Gajendra Singh, hangs himself from a tree in full public view of the demonstrators, the media, the police. The electronic media had till then been barely covering the event, generally holding forth instead, in studio ‘debates’ among the opponents of AAP. Once this happened, the media spin doctors swung into action, and as Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted later, they seemed to work on an already decided script. Sardesai’s tweet said that there were clear instructions from the BJP to the media to focus only on the hung/ dying (or dead) man, and forget the rally. It seems, on a closer look, that the the second part of the instructions had perhaps already been given in advance – not to cover the rally and if at all, to attack it in sponsored studio debates. And of course, the BJP, which is the architect of the new Land Acquisition Ordinance, is an interested party in this game.

It is not entirely irrelevant to the overall politics of the media-BJP spin doctoring  of ‘reports’ that the AAP government in Delhi was perhaps the first in the country to announce what is without doubt the highest compensation to farmers suffering crop losses – Rs 50, 000/- per hectare for all farmers who have suffered damage. Nor is it entirely irrelevant that the Delhi government had lent full support to the anti-land acquisition struggles and Kejriwal had himself joined in the rally held by Anna Hazare and had now taken up the land issue in all seriousness.

Thus it happens that between the BJP and the big media propaganda machine, which has on at least two previous occasions completely blacked out AAP, the stage was set. Also at work in the media-AAP relationship over a longer term now, is the role of Mukesh Ambani’s media empire, given that on a range of issues AAP has directly challenged the latter. As an aside, let me add that a very senior journalist told a friend at the height of the Delhi election campaign, that in CNN-IBN/ IBN7, clear instructions had been issued to the staff not to give more than 20 seconds exposure to Arvind Kejriwal under any circumstances. If AAP swept the Delhi elections despite that, it must say something about the limits of the media game, at least as far as the majority of the population is concerned.

Gajendra singh being rescued, image courtesy Oneindia.com
Gajendra Singh being brought down. Image courtesy Oneindia.com

This time round, there was another constituency that was waiting to move into action – the Delhi elite, especially the radical elite whose hatred of Kejriwal is simply visceral, but which had been just about tempered by the presence in his team of People Like Themselves, darlings of the media. The latter had, to use an old Maoist expression, ‘wormed its way into the party’ and was intent on fighting an ‘ethical battle for inner party democracy’ against the ‘fascist Kejriwal’, a battle in which they were fully backed by the Ambani dominated media.

Continue reading Gajendra’s Tragic Death, Media Spins and the Indignation Industry

Young Women in Kerala : Between Empowerment and Death? — Part II

[With inputs from Sudeep K S]

Are there honour killings in Kerala? No, perhaps. However, like in everything else, Kerala has a way of telling the world that things can be done differently. Well, it appears that we can continue to claim another kind of exceptionalism — in national evils. Kerala has its own special way of ‘doing’ caste and patriarchy as well, which researchers and activists have forcefully argued recently. It is possible that the deadly consequences of stepping out of community-ordained boundaries in love and marriage can visit Kerala in  ways that we cannot really detect with our usual instruments.

Continue reading Young Women in Kerala : Between Empowerment and Death? — Part II

Young Women in Kerala : Between Empowerment and Death? — Part I

[This was a note titled ‘We Still Need Feminism’ which I wrote on March 31 on my Facebook page; I thought it relevant to re-post it here as it appears that an ‘honour killing’, of a sort — an ‘honour suicide’ — may have actually surfaced in Kerala. More on that in the next post]

In JNU, last week, some of us were noticing how there seemed to be a notable increase in the numbers of students, both women and men, from the Hindi heartland. It is interesting, said one of my friends, that the deterritorialised university spaces in Delhi can no longer back off from directly confronting the tensions through which these societies now live through. “Look at that girl,” she said, pointing to a sprightly young woman, a bright student who I’d briefly met earlier,”she comes from a family that’d kill her if she married out of her gotra. And she is involved with a young man who’d not even of her region. We must fear the worst and prepare to confront evil.” For a brief moment, in my fright, I thought, well, at least we don’t have honour killings in Kerala. Honour kidnappings, yes, but I haven’t heard of too many honour killings. Maybe honour killings are still on their way here (like dowry deaths were, in the 1980s, when I was growing up into a young woman). We have some time to rally against them. Continue reading Young Women in Kerala : Between Empowerment and Death? — Part I

Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti

Or, when suicide threat becomes political strategy

Guest post by ANANT MARINGANTI

I am witnessing a bizarre phenomenon in Andhra Pradesh which I can at the moment only call Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome. That this is pathological, and that this has to do with the media I am certain. But it is difficult to pin down what the pathogen is.

First, in the days and weeks following the then chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s (YSR) death on September 2nd, 2009; over 450 people were reported to have died either of heart attacks or suicides. Newspapers kept a daily tally and the numbers kept mounting. Being in Singapore at the time, several thousands of miles away from Hyderabad during those weeks, I had no first hand experience of the mood in Hyderabad. I dismissed the reportage as a silly political gimmick. It was easy to surmise that vested interests had simply been collecting daily death reports from various government hospitals in different towns and attributing them to grief over YSR’s death. The largest number of these deaths – 227 occurred on the day of the funeral and the following day. Continue reading Media Induced Morbidity Syndrome: Anant Maringanti

To Sharad Yadav

Respected Sharad Ji,

Namaskar.

I read with great interest your statement, as reported in the print media, on your likely future course of action in case the parliament was to go ahead with reserving 33% seats for women in the legislature.

One has been following your arguments against this proposed legislation over the past decade and more and has come to develop grudging admiration for your stand. Continue reading To Sharad Yadav