Where is the outrage over the killing of the e-rickshaw driver who opposed public urination?
The beautiful people who took out candle-light vigils for a model shot dead for refusing to serve a drink have gone missing. Hashtag #JusticeforRavinder, anybody?opinion Updated: Jun 02, 2017 23:13 IST
Does the name Ravinder Kumar mean anything to you? Less than a week ago, on May 29, he was on the city pages of many newspapers and on the front pages of others, including Hindustan Times. Even if you remember reading about an e-rickshaw driver allegedly killed by friends of two Delhi University students for stopping the duo from urinating in public, do you recall how old he was or how he looked?
In the age of social media outrage and manufactured dissent turning into slanging matches on television, do you remember any socialite changing their display picture to Kumar’s or candle-light vigils seeking justice for a nameless 31-year-old son of a retired Delhi Police constable?
Hashtag #JusticeforRavinder, anybody?
Within a few days of being battered by 20 young men with bricks wrapped in towels, Kumar has already been dehumanised and airbrushed out of the canvas of the popular psyche. He has been reduced to another cold statistic and stale headline notwithstanding the symbolic ex-gratia compensation from the government and the ephemeral lip service to an anonymous soldier of the Swachh Bharat movement.
One reason why the murder is not breaking the Internet or causing keyboard Ninjas to burst a vein is because Kumar’s one-room jhuggi near the Guru Teg Bahadur Metro station is as far removed from south Delhi and Lutyens’ media as TV hosts who hold forth on prime time about ‘national interest’ from the increasingly utopian notion of objective journalism.
At least the political class is making a pretension about caring for the family. Kumar’s pregnant wife, who has never gone to school, has been offered a job by the civic corporation as a daily wager. Local leaders, including a former actor and veteran netas, are providing photo ops with the relatives of the deceased.
Where are the beautiful people who took out vigils for a model shot dead by a politician’s son for refusing to serve him a drink? Or those who threw their weight behind the intriguing murder of the teenage daughter of a dentist? Why can’t they fathom that someone would ever get so pissed with them over public urination or trivial matters such as civic sense as to kill them with bricks?
Sociologists may theorise this as the power asymmetry and the privilege to outrage being available to a select few. But I think I am as responsible for the apathy towards Ravinder Kumar’s killing. So are you.