Dear fellow countrymen and women,
I am a Malayalee, for those of you who do not know, the word denotes a person belonging to Kerala, one of the southern states in India. A state that the National media seems to have forgotten the existence of lately. The context here is the current situation in Kerala, where almost the entire state has drowned, due to the continuous rains. The shutters of about 35 dams have been opened for the first time in the state’s history. But the rise in water levels has not reduced, large areas of the state are still left at the risk of floods.
With water having reached the second floor of the houses; there are innumerable people trapped on their rooftops or top-floors; with kids, pregnant women, and the aged, waiting and crying for help. Confined within these spots, with every possible shop drowned under ever-increasing water levels, all hungry and frightened, they are left with no option but to only hope that help will reach them.
To be honest, 10 more days of downpour and the entire state will be submerged. People of Kerala, expect the media at the national level to report the devastation and try their best to help spread the message by sharing helpline and emergency contact numbers, urging our fellow Indians to provide help, monetary or otherwise. But sadly, our national news channels would rather talk about Bollywood gossip, latest movie reviews and all the crap one could think of, than actually focusing on a national calamity, a state is facing.
As a Keralite working in New Delhi, the capital of India and home base to many of these news channels; with her whole family in Kerala; I feel devasted to not have the slightest idea if my family members are safe or not. Without any electricity to charge the devices, all their phones have died and there is no way I can reach them. As a Malayalee who takes a lot of pride in being an Indian, today, I wonder, if we as a state are even considered a part of the country? I feel betrayed.
Do our lives matter? The fact is that kids have been missing, newborn babies are trapped in houses without any food, there are pregnant women pleading for help, more than 100 people have drowned and died and many have been reported missing. Why Does this not affect the national media at all? Are we not a part of this country?
Half of my North Indian friends aren’t even aware of the extent of destruction or suffering that is taking place in Kerala right now. Why? It’s due to the failure of the mainstream media to cover the news as a priority issue should be! Kerala could be erased from the map, and people wouldn’t have a clue! This country isn’t limited to any particular region. And we are a part of the nation like the rest. At least that’s what we still believe.