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Opinion: Does Too Much News Make Us Desensitised And Numb?

“A good newspaper is never nearly good enough but a lousy newspaper is a joy forever.” – Garrison Keillor

We are living in that joy nevertheless. There were times when a small news would make people think, introspect about society, the country, the people in power, and their role in it. People used to take a newspaper, read, and talk about it, and after that, sometimes makeup their minds about a certain issue. However, with changing times, this also has changed.

Now, in these times, no news is big enough; and even if it is big today, tomorrow there will be bigger news. These can be true or false depending upon various factors, but yes, the magnitude of the news keeps getting bigger by the day. The worst part about this is that we, the people, have stopped getting affected by them. We might talk about it while sipping our tea or at the dinner table, but as soon as we are done with tea or dinner, we forget the news and makes ourselves ready for the next bigger news. It is like erasing a hard drive everyday, sometimes twice a day, so that fresh new data can be stored and used.

There is so much of everything- scams, unethical election practices, internet frauds, internet bullying, incidents of sexual assault, and corruption for that matter that we do not pay heed to them or give them the attention they deserve. We feel that all is good around us and we are able to take a good night’s sleep. I see no other reason for humans to behave in the way they are doing. We are not empathetic, we are unapologetic, we are not sorry for the mess that is around us and we do not feel its burden on our shoulders. All we care about is ourselves, and still at the end of the day, call ourselves social animals- something we have ceased to be.

We used to hear “Too much light can make you blind”. That is what has happened to us: too much of news has made us numb to the news. Representational Image.

We are being bombarded with so much of news (or rather, data) that we are not even able to absorb it, let alone analyse and think over it. Let us take an example for that matter. I believe that the most gruesome act that can be committed by a man is rape, and we are not even talking about it, because we get so many news of rapes everyday. As per government data, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has said to have reported around 80 incidents of rape in a day. That is quite a number. Now, out of these 80, even if we get 10 in the news everyday, we are so overwhelmed with the topic that we stop discussing about it, since it feels awkward to talk about it everyday. And when we stop, somewhere in our hearts we acknowledge the fact that nothing cannot be done about it and we accept it as normal, thereby leaving it to the law and order to solve our problems, until of course we ourselves become a part of that data, and when we do no one else is talking about it.

This is just one issue, but the logic applies to all. We, as a society, have become numb. We used to hear “Too much light can make you blind“. That is what has happened to us. Too much of news has made us numb to the news.

This does not mean that society is clean, but we simply choose to not see the mess, because we are afraid or reluctant to see it. We decides to see and talk about celebrities and big shots, instead of real issues. We keep discussing what they wore, what they ate, what their pet’s name is, and even who they are currently sleeping with. We take our time out of the real news and invest in all this, believing everything to be as glittery as their social media accounts.

We need to wake up, as a society. We need such talks in the households. We should not believe anyone who says that we must not involve our families in such discussions and spoil the environment of the dining room. We need to empathize, much more than we do. We need to stop believing that we are living. We might be living physically, but morally and ethically, I believe we are all dead.

In the end, this all reminds me of a couplet from Nawaz Deobandi saab:

जलते घर को देखने वालों फूस का छप्पर आपका है
आपके पीछे तेज़ हवा है आगे मुकद्दर आपका है
उस के क़त्ल पे मैं भी चुप था मेरा नम्बर अब आया
मेरे क़त्ल पे आप भी चुप है अगला नम्बर आपका है

Wake up, before it is too late.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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