An Irish tragedy and India's double standards
Indian media is a conjuror that continues to create something big from anything or nothing. The self-certified moral guardians of the Indian media, particularly those hailing from the electronic background, have been dragging on a human tragedy in a way that the human rights records of their own country are always in order. In fact, the behaviour of the greater Indian society in general was shocking.
Activists, politicians and all those who are more interested to show their faces to the camera and speak nothing but hollow words are found going overboard on Savita Halappanavar's tragic death over maternal complications in Ireland and the media, which is largely a representative of the urban elite, has found a golden opportunity to push it high on the viewership rating list.
What was surprising with the Indian media did not care to investigate the matter, as it generally does with great interest when an Indian politician is netted, and instead allowed some activists to tear into lone representatives from Ireland who are actually anti-abortion activists. There was no voice present to represent the hospital and authorities concerned.
In one of India's popular news channel, a human rights lawyer was seen levelling racist allegations against the Irish authorities for 'ignoring Savita Halappanavar's plea' and allowed her to die a painful death. The anchor, quite supported the viewpoint. The very next day, the same anchor of the channel was seen charging at another Irish representative on the issue.
Media, politicians indulge in double-standards
This entire matter shows the hypocrisy of Indian psyche. The shameless political leaders with all feminist enthusiasm jumped into the fray and said it was a case of violation of human rights. Left's Brinda Karat said: "... they preferred to sacrifice the young woman's life rather than to do something which have gone against their religious belief."
The BJP also brought out a rally and protested in front of the Irish embassy in New Delhi. Party leader Smriti Irani said: "This horrific death of a pregnant young Indian woman should be an example for all of us to stand united and ensure that even a small, middle class family will get justice when India stands united."
There are even calls that Ireland's abortion laws should be liberalised. It is understandable if the grief-stricken kin of Savita make such demands but how can formal political and diplomatic establishments raise such an unrealistic demand?
Why don't we see an equally strong voice in favour of poorer women in India?
My question to the political and media establishments is that why don't they devote as much time and energy and assume a moral high ground when several thousands of women die under pathetic medical conditions in this country? Why don't they care to look away from the air-conditioned doctors' chambers of the metropolises to the distant rural areas where a pregnant mother has a high chance of succumbing midway to a primarily health centre because of the huge distance or delivers on the corridor of a health centre or even in the open field?
Just because Savita Halappanavar belonged to the well-off middle-class, considered today as India's face and identity, that made her agonising death more saleable? Pseudo-feminist leaders like Smriti Irani and Brinda Karat are never found addressing the real woes of the women in the country but eagerly take up an issue abroad without actually knowing what had happened on ground.
We are pointing out at Ireland's maternal mortality rate?
India's maternal mortality rate is multiple times of that of Ireland and our esteemed leadership has begun challenging even the latter's sovereignty just because of a one-off tragedy? Why is the Indian mind so shameless and thought so full of hypocrisy? Some sections of the media call the Halappanavar death as a murder committed by Ireland.
Why are India's moral guardians invisible when a foreigner is raped in India?
If that is the case, then what about those several foreign tourists who are targetted while they come for holiday in this country? The case of Scarlett Keeling is still a fresh one. The family of the poor soul, who was allegedly raped and left to die on a Goa beach in 2008, was devastated. And there are many other similar incidents. Why don't we find the 'morally superior' activists and mediamen from India addressing sentiments left wounded by the crime. We call the Irish racist, but what is our credibility to show to the world as a non-racist race?
Does the projection that poor woman pleaded, saying she was not a Catholic, has any solid base? Or did the doctors really refused to help Halappanavar, saying it was not possible for Ireland is a Catholic country? Are these too Indianised versions of what actually happened?
A foreign article has rightly asked: "...why the Indian Ambassador to Ireland has decided to weigh in, adding his voice to the pressure of the abortion lobby/Labour Party/media consortium who have been pressing for years for legalisation. Why is the Indian Ambassador suddenly so interested in Ireland's abortion laws? Is it really normal practice in modern diplomatic circles to join in partisan demands of a sovereign country to change so fundamental a law?"
The same article has raised questions that lie outside the medical domain. It says: "...the connections between the Halappanavar family and the abortion lobbyists and the rabidly pro-abortion media remain unclear. How exactly did the Irish Times become aware of the case? They quote Praveen Halappanavar extensively, but did he contact them or did he speak to someone in the abortion lobby first?..."
Why are we confusing ourselves?
There are two sides in the Savita death case, one purely medical and pertains to an individual while other, politico-religious and more concerned with the community/society. On the medical part, even a doctor and Catholic Church in Savita's home state Karnataka said that septicaemia was the precise reason for her death and that doctors failed to anticipate such a fatal outcome.
The other side of the story, which reflects the inner tussle in Ireland over changing its abortion laws, has really nothing to do with India. It is their internal matter. If the Indian media is feeling elated to see those rallies in Ireland in favour of Savita, it is mistaken. The truth is that Savita's tragic death has been used up in Ireland's internal political games over abortion and even if the rules on abortion are changed in the future, it will be more effected by the compelling political equations than by Savita's death.
If Ireland is bad, we are worse
Applauded as an emerging global power often, we Indians tend to overestimate ourselves. But the fact remains that we are a post-colonial state no matter how much we pretend as an advanced nation and have a long way to go before we put our own house in order. Going overboard with hollow feminist and nationalist assertion makes us look a laughing stock. Ireland at least practices what it preaches, do we follow the 'sex determination is illegal' principal that we preach? There are a million Savitas who are dying more painful deaths in their own country. Let's take care of them first.