It is widely believed that violent behaviour and looting are two occurrences that immediately succeed political disor der; or the downfall or death of a leader. But, these are not mere beliefs, sometimes they are hard realities too. Although we have witnessed such incidents of violence in certain parts of the world and across the country including Tamil Nadu in the past, the situation following the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa presented a different picture. Despite huge public grief, no incidents of large scale violence or looting were reported in the wake of her death -unlike during her mentor and three time TN chief minister M G Ramachandran’s death in 1987. MGR’s death on December 24, 1987, had sparked violence and looting in various parts of TN including Chennai. Irate mobs targeted commercial establishments and even private property . Many died in the violence that lasted for several days after MGR’s death. Many people also committed suicide in a show of grief.
Psychologists use the term `sui cide clusters’ to explain such multiple suicidal behaviours or a series of suicides that fall within a short period of time and sometimes within a geographical area. They say when the media gives intense publicity to such suicides, particularly when they have been glamorized, the deaths have a contagious effect on others, provoking imitation. This phenomenon is called copycat suicides which are seen usually in the wake of a celebrity’s death.
In her article published in Indian Journal of Psychiatry (Vol 49(2), AprJun 2007), Lakshmi Vijayakumar of suicide prevention centre SNEHA and VHS Hospital says that in countries like India where film stars enjoy an iconic status and people look up to them as role models, copycat suicides become a serious problem.I believe the media should be sensitized on covering such issues. Luck ily, unlike MGR’s time, the number of suicides following Jayalalithaa’s death was less.
Large scale riots were witnessed in April, 2006 in Karnataka following the death of popular Kannada film star Raj Kumar. However, in November 2012 when Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackerey died, one saw only mourning masses and no violent mobs. It was said that the Mumbai police, anticipating violence, had taken enough measures to control any untoward incidents.A similar kind of situation prevailed in Tamil Nadu following the death of Jayalalitha. Several reasons can be attributed to the praiseworthy act of self-restraint shown by the public this time.
The state in the past 25-30 years has witnessed a series of rapid social, economic and political changes.The literacy rate in Tamil Nadu too has seen a substantial rise from 54.39% in 1981 to 80.33% in 2011. The increase in literacy rate paired with the swift expansion of both print and electronic media has significantly increased the level of awareness among people on various social, economic and political issues. As a result, people, by and large, prefer engaging in discussions and debates rather than indulging in violence. The role of media in providing platforms in this regard is commendable.
ஜெ இறந்து பல மாதங்கள் ஆன பிறகுதான் வெளி உலகமே தெரிந்தது. இதோ அந்த ஆதாரம் பாருங்கள் முடிந்தவரை ஷேர் செய்யுங்கள். தெரியட்டும் அனைவரும்..
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