Thursday, September 3, 2009

Forest Infestation

TV news channels appear to have learned little from their coverage of the attack of November 26, 2008. For twenty-four hours starting 10am yesterday, they focused exclusively on the story of Andhra Pradesh chief Minister YSR Reddy's missing helicopter, even though there were no developments to report. During the 26/11 coverage, they had trained cameras on three buildings, hoping to catch sight of something when it happened. In the helicopter incident, even that was missing, meaning coverage was reduced to speculation and waffle. Other news items, meanwhile, were blanked from the screen, as if nothing else happened in India and the world on September 2.
The area where the helicopter went down is a stronghold of Maoists, as is pretty much any isolated, underdeveloped region in central India. The press thinks of the militants as akin to lice or rodents, judging from the automatic use of some variant of the word 'infest' in connection with Naxals.

Times of India: YSR's chopper goes missing over dense Naxal & tiger-infested Andhra jungle.

Indian Express: Almost twenty-four hours after losing contact with his helicopter over the Naxal-infested Nallamala forests in Kurnool district, hopes of finding Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy began to fade.

Associated Press: A massive search was quickly launched, focusing on a densely forested area infested with Maoist rebels.

Hindustan Times: The reason why Reddy's whereabouts are not being disclosed is because the area is heavily forested and Naxal-infested.

This is similar to the now universal practise of calling Bangladeshi migrants (at any rate the Muslim ones) 'infiltrators'. The term was first used by right-wing parties, but has been adopted by the supposedly neutral, independent press.

Update: Hari Kumar in the New York Times: Andhra Pradesh is infested with Maoist rebels and Dr. Reddy was credited with reducing the level of violence.


Jabeen said...

According to the Times of India, even tigers "infest" the jungle! Some cheer for the naxals there :)

Space Bar said...

What made it even funnier was that some TV journalists (used to, I suppose, covering swine flu stories) kept using 'infested' and 'infected' interchangeably.

shivani said...

And now they are screeching about there not being enough security men on the flight ! How would that have helped? Especially as neither the naxals got him nor the tigers.

albruno said...

Well, I guess this leaves us to never forget that life is short
and we must prepare for the life hereafter.
Do we know where we will go after that???
(I know...but I'm just asking u)

Girish Shahane said...

Space Bar, true the infected variation is hilarious. Shivani, screeching about security guys is a bit like clamping down on wifi connections after terrorist bombings.
Albruno, if you've read my posts about religion, you know where I believe we will go after death. Nowhere.

Anonymous said...

apart from the irony of security mad vvips choppering abt in bad weather like they're safer when not on terra firma, i cannot comprehend 60 people committing suicide. are some indians so hungry for "saviours" that their lives are meaningless without them.
s anand
ps: its probably crass considering the context, but i found this post terribly amusing!

Girish Shahane said...

Unfortunately, most politicians seem to believe astrologers but not meteorologists. The warning, "Don't fly during rahu kaal" is heeded, but "Don't fly, there's a storm coming" ignored.

DS said...

Everyone in this country seems to believe astrologers more than experts. Patients believe in them more than their doctors, stockbrokers believe in them more than the ground level reality,film makers believe in them more than their script or talent, and politicians, of course, much much more than anyone else. God help,how could they trust the people they serve?

Makes me wonder why there are such few courses in astrology being offered. Maybe, should suggest to Jnanapravaha ? They would probably have a full house for the first time.