Thanks to advances in communication technology, we read or hear about events happening 24×7 (and also not happening in reality) anywhere on earth instantly, often in real time, as claimed by the professionals practicing the technology. The two irresistible habits of the land’s people at large, namely rumour-mongering and gossiping, may still be holding fort in the matter of spreading what is heard, particularly scandalous matter, virtually outpacing the speed attributed to communication technology. Is that why the phrase it spread like wildfire took its birth, God knows how long back. Even the land’s episodes drawn from its epics Ramayana in Thretha Yuga of 10,000 years vintage and Mahabharatha in Dwapara Yuga of 5,000 years vintage reflect events in which what was heard was far from reality. We are talking of the case of Lord Srirama subjecting His consort Sita’s banishment to the forest and to be tested by fire as it were after hearing the scandalous remark by a citizen of Ayodhya and also the case of Lord Krishna announcing falsely the slaying of Ashwathama, son of Dronacharya while blowing his conch Panchajanya to drown the fact of the death of an elephant, namesake of the Kourava warrior.
Saying that the urban literati, and more so the chatterati in cities, including Mysuru, is addicted to their favourite dailies, found rushing through their columns to get that kick at day-break out of sensational reports in flowery language jointly executed by the wandering reporters and the gifted copy-writers at the editorial desk is not only saying the obvious but also an understatement. The day of the readers of dailies is not done otherwise.
The players in the never-say-die profession of journalism are often called upon to adhere to the practice of reporting facts, apart from avoiding sensationalising, just to enlarge readership of their publications. That advisory applies in equal measure to every citizen in the land, specially in these days of finding people in all cross-sections of society deriving vicarious pleasure in spreading rumours, particularly those which stoke excitement and mob fury, on a steadily rising scale. The politicos, indulging in intra-party swabbing and inter-party mud-slinging are doing all the damage of hurting mature conduct on the part of the land’s diaspora. The netas of our times are a law-unto-themselves, which is there for all to experience.
When it comes to issuing false public statements about various issues affecting people’s life, even the sources in the government are not lagging behind. Just one example of the often officially declared statement that inflation in the country is under control, while the common experience of shoppers at large is otherwise, says it all.