Why Should Death Be A Good News?

Media-persons, including this writer, have the habit of prioritizing news stories/reports on the basis of how many people have died or are adversely affected, which is actually necessary to structure a news bulletin, always a tough job doing justice to the stories, selecting them and giving the prominence a story deserves. When a reporter comes in to the newsroom stating that an accident or any kind of such tragic happenings has occurred in which 2-4 people have died the news editor would just grimace it away and most often would ask it to be included in the scroll. If the fatalities are around 10 it normally gets into the bulletin as an important story, and when the toll is more than 15/20 then it becomes a headline news story. Well, this is unfortunate indeed; but in a hyperactive newsroom it becomes unavoidable. However, such stories are never taken as a good news story.


Deaths are always unfortunate whatever be the number, because for the person who succumbs in an accident or is killed it signals the end of the world for him/her. Yes, death is a very normal and inevitable part of human existence as we live with deaths all around us till our turns which always seem to be unreal and elusive. But dying unnecessary or avoidable deaths always hurt the most. If there is an outbreak of a disease or an endemic or a pandemic people die in varying numbers; but the question remains as to why at all should they die. Why such deaths are not preventable in the age of the most advanced modern medical science and amenities?


What has suddenly prompted me to write these words? Well, in a very well-known private news channel in India I had the misfortune to watch and hear the anchor reporting a few deaths as a ‘good news’! The anchor was narrating the Omicron-led COVID-19 pandemic spread story in Mumbai that more than 20,000 new cases were reported in the city in the last 24 hours which is the highest ever of all the three waves, and then said ‘but the good news is that there are only 4 deaths in the same period’. Sure, the anchor said this while making a comparison with the disastrous second wave. But, terming the fewer deaths as a ‘good news’ is extremely unfortunate. Recently, in the same channel, one sensitive doctor echoed my thoughts by saying that if the country is fully prepared to face the third wave why at all people should die, whatever be the number.  


Death can never be a cause for celebration even if one of your deadliest enemies dies suddenly. Some perverted and sadistic souls may rejoice within themselves, but it just can never be made official before the general public. During the pandemic years it has, most unfortunately, become a habit with the governments or authorities boasting of reducing the fatality figures and thus bringing the virus under control. I must emphasize again that even though only one person dies unnecessarily it is the end of the world for him/her and for his/her family.


Of course, it is also true that most ignorant or careless people do rush to their deaths by throwing all precautions and norms out of the window. Governments or authorities can only issue the rules and regulations, they cannot force all citizens to follow them. Finally, it is the duty of the citizens to take care of themselves and their kin, particularly the elderly people in their families. In India people of all religious faiths believe that their heavenly protectors would always protect them and, in that spirit, they throng to the temples or any places of worship in large numbers to offer their prayers and get the blessings, even if it amounts to blatant violations of the norms. All the true saints and preachers have said since times immemorial that Gods or your protectors live within you and all around you, and you can seek the blessings from the confines of your heart, it is not at all necessary to rush to the places of worship, stumbling, stampeding over each other. 


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