Two days ago, in Rajasthan, in an act of revolting violence, a man was hacked and then burned to death. The accused justified his actions by saying that it was a case of Love Jihad. While this particular case and the politics around it is utterly disturbing, we want to focus on another disturbing fact associated with the killing. Someone filmed the entire incident and then posted it on social media. And now the video is ‘viral’.
If my understanding of a viral video is correct, then people are watching and sharing the said video with others. The fact that it is a video of someone’s death only adds to its sensationalism. We no longer feel the pain of others suffering, as for us it belongs to a virtual world far away from us. Videos of brutal accidents and mishaps keep appearing on our networking walls, and we keep watching them. We forget that by continuously sharing and watching a video of someone’s death we are robbing away his or her dignity. So, there is no difference between us, and those who share and watch videos of women being molested, or worse, raped.
Our schadenfreude not only adds to the misery and humiliation of the victim, it also encourages perpetrators and makes them feel like celebrities.
Be it news and media, or the common man, the obsession with capturing something which will garner millions of views and evoke a public reaction is becoming an epidemic now.
This is depicted perfectly in the 2014 American thriller, Nightcrawler. In this movie, the reporter’s obsession with capturing gory crimes and earn from them, kills the humanity inside him. He starts looking at the victims of violent crimes as a mere news byte. It goes to an extent where is starts tampering with crime scenes to make them look better on camera. In one scene his colleague gets into an accident. But instead of helping him, he films it and lets him die.
Today, the reality is not dissimilar to the fiction. People are choosing publicity and money over humanity and ethics.
But we cannot blame our greed for likes and fame for this apathy entirely. The constant exposure to violence, in cartoons, in news, movies and via such videos on social media also plays an important role. A person cannot go about saying that this violence does not affect him or her. Deep down it numbs us towards others pain and suffering. We find it so commonplace in our lives now, that we have forgotten a world without violence. As a generation, it is our failure because we no longer care about each other. All we care about is likes and re-tweets.
Picture Credit: theconversation.com
Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.