Celebrities and Ordinary Persons

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 9 Apr 2018

Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

9 Apr 2018 – Most Indian newspapers carry full page accounts of what celebs, as they are called for short, are doing, where they have gone, whom they have met, etc. These celebs are usually film actors and some millionaire sportsmen. Sometimes TV anchors also enjoy this celebratory status.

A budding female actor has a picture of herself with the caption reading “I want to tell gossipmongers that I am not pregnant “. Other female stars often from overseas, posing in the skimpiest of dresses with attractive captions inviting readers to find out more of these stars.

If the news is not about these superstars, they are nevertheless on the newspapers endorsing all sorts of products and services. Some people complain that they feel sick of watching these superstars day in and day out. But who cares for such people since the products of endorsements sell well. But how much do the fees of the endorsements lead to hike in prices of the products, is never indicated.

Recently, a male superstar from India was granted bail for a criminal offence he had committed some years back and all the social media was replete with stories surrounding him and what films that he was acting in would again start production. So even if a celeb commits a crime he becomes the darling of the social media. But he must have a horde of trained and articulate lawyers on his payroll so that he may get bail expeditiously.

Fortunately there are some journals and magazines that are devoted to literary or political issues and are free from this celeb mania. Thank God for these specialised journals.

How does an ordinary person react to this invasion of his privacy? Not to speak of the poor and the downtrodden and haggard masses, who cannot think of buying the expensive products, even some sensitive and educated persons feel overwhelmed by this mania. Moreover this adds to consumerism and to environmental degradation, global warming and climate change. It also increases social and economic inequities. While the number of billionaires is increasing, the number of impoverished people without adequate nutrition, education and health care is showing no signs of decline in India and neighbouring countries. These poor people look at the photos or hoardings with awe and wonder why the Gods are so kind to them whereas they cannot even feed their families adequately.

The tragedy is that despite obvious inequities and environmental degradation that is being promoted, one cannot only blame the celeb mania. It is part of the neoliberal world being endorsed by the World Bank, WTO and other similar organisations.

Let us think of our future generations and the future of our planet.

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Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University.  ravipbhatia@gmail.com

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 9 Apr 2018.

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