Dr. Rajkumar died today. Despite him being almost 78 and severely sick, apparently the death has come as a shock ot most people in the industry. The last time I’d seen the guy on TV, he looked pretty sickly and about to die. Wonder why the shock then!
Anyways, the incidents following the death are fairly interesting. Quite a few celebrities are going on national and state television expressing their grief, and talking about how great an actor Dr. Raj was. Quite expected, I must say. The state government has gone against its earlier policy of not declaring holidays following deaths, and has announced tomorrow as a state holiday. The cabinet met this evening to express its grief. I’m surprised an assembly session hasn’t been called for.
The worst of all, however, has been the behaviour of the crowds, the so-called ‘fans’ of the late actor. Earlier this afternoon, I spotted a bunch of them going all round 4th block, forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters as a mark of ‘solidarity’. The same gets reported on national TV later this evening saying how the shopkeepers voluntarily shut shop!
No one talks about this one lost day of business for them. No one talks about the fresh bread ‘Iyengar’s Bakery’ would have baked this afternoon and was unable to sell because some goondas forced the shop shut. No one talks about the fact that half the city had to walk back home from work tonight, because the buses weren’t running.
Scenes on TV were even more shocking. A bunch of goondas, under the guise of “abhimaanigaLa sangha”, overturned a police Innova and set fire to it. Police just watched the thing burn. I also happened to see a bus near my house with not a single window pane intact. Then, there were a thousand people who clambered on to every inch of space available in Raj’s house. Pity his family. And another thousand who wouldn’t let the ambulance with the corpse move.
Yeah, the news channels did report this. They called it “effect of the grief of thousands of raj’s fans” or some such crap.
So in our country, you express grief by destroying public property. You express your love for a departed soul by flinging a few stones heavenwards, hoping some glass is shattered on the way. You express your solidarity by forcing people to express solidarity.
Oh my darling, yeh hai India!