Andhra Suicides and YSR Reddy

September 6, 2009


The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh died in a helicopter crash this past week. Our heartfelt condolences to his family. It is a sad moment when life suddenly comes to such a tragic and untimely end.

Rest in Peace, Y S Rajashekhara Reddy.

As always, this event got converted into a huge national crisis, and the media went into overdrive with the frenzied zeal that has become synonymous with news coverage these days.

And then they took it up a notch.

At least 60 persons either committed suicide or died of shock after hearing the news of Chief Minister YSR Reddy’s death in a chopper crash.[link]

As much of a charismatic and visionary leader he may have been, it is hard to stomach the fact that grief stricken people are going around committing suicides because of his untimely demise.

We Indians sure are crazy, but this crazy? Somehow, in a state that has seen almost 3000 suicides in the past 5 years this claim rings hollow.

Sample these news reports from the time when YSR was alive and well.

Even as Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy admitted there had been 20 suicides by farmers in the state in the last 40 days, yet another case came to light on Saturday. [link] – 16 Aug 2009

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today admitted that 2,890 farmers committed suicide in the state since May 2004 when he took over reins for the first time.[link] – 10 June 2009

Why must we attempt to squeeze every ounce of marketing points out of even a tragic event like death? Why must death be made into a complete circus?

Is it a fair assumption that any deaths in the state following YSR’s are out of grief for the fallen leader, or is it just propoganda by overzealous party promoters?

Also read this piece by Sandeep, who points out that YSR may not quite be the god that he is being proclaimed to be.

(Image courtesy: indianexpress)

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12 Responses to “ Andhra Suicides and YSR Reddy ”

  1. 25BAR on September 6, 2009 at 3:32 am

    I didn’t know that he exist until I heard of his death.
    But looking into all of his efforts, he wasn’t a bad dude at all.

  2. Kavi on September 6, 2009 at 4:08 am

    I wont go into whether he was nice or otherwise. For one, i firmly believe we will never know. The media circus has enough noise and power to hoist or bury any person of any stature.

    I dont buy this 60 odd people dying either. Deaths will happen in AP. And everywhere else. And to link it to YSRs demise takes a keyboard and a creaky mind.

    Whats important is to realise that news carriers have a vested interest in the news that they carry. And so to treat all that they conjure up as ‘news’ with a pinch (actually ‘bags full of’) salt


  3. smiatha on September 6, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Local media reported the total toll rose to 342, of which about 295 are shock deaths. As far as I know, belonging to the same region of Reddy’s district, he was extremely popular for his courage throughout his 2 decades. He was supposed to become CM as early as 1990, but for PV Naramsimha Rao’s power politics.

    His unique ability is to rally around his supporters, going to any extent, one time he visited a jail to meet his murderer friend at the peak of his career. His friendliness and fondness endeared many of his followers to become even more loyal. ON top of that he was one politician whose ears are always plugged with the downtrodden. He never distinguished liftboys to IAS officers, the testimony of several bureaucrats crying inconsolably verifies his immense popularity among various sections of populace.

    However, there are numerous corruption allegations which were never proven. But he ensured, all pro-poor policies are corruption free and reached them without fail, which further enhanced his image to the likes of Indira Gandhi.

    He was a true mass politician, who worked for their welfare and was never arrogant being chief minister. His loss was not just a congress party, but for the state of Andhra Pradesh.

  4. Vinod Sharma on September 6, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Sakshi TV, a start-up that has grown faster than Playboy ever did, is owned by YSR’s son. This propaganda is designed to put pressure on Sonia to make him CM. It looks like any one who died after YSR’s death due to a heart attack or committed suicide for any reason has been included in the statistic.

    Swaminathan S. Aiyar had, in 2004, given chilling details about the of YSR and family. Early this year, the Satyam scandal was quickly hushed up because it had the potential of uncovering the mother of all corruption scandals involving them. With so much at stake, expect a lot more in the coming days.

  5. Smitha on September 6, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Seriously. These shock deaths are a little difficult to believe.. We had the same doubts.. surely, we as a people are not that crazy!

    As for YSR being portrayed as a saint.. I was surprised too.. But not knowing enough about Andhra Pradesh politics.. Will check out the link that you have included.

  6. Mahendra on September 6, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Competition in TV News channels is lowering the bar of quality rather than raising it.

  7. Reema on September 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I too find it hard to believe that so many people died for a politician!!

  8. amlistening on September 6, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Glad you brought this up. We nowadays just raise an eyebrow of disbelief when we hear/read such news, may be discuss the abysmal misery over dinner table and then move on.
    I remember speaking for the motion in a debate on subject Media is the voice of the people.
    News goes on record….in minds of society and especially children. No matter how much we might deny but what you hear leaves an impact and becomes acceptable in future.
    Media needs some critics and auditing to be in place

  9. amreekandesi on September 8, 2009 at 9:44 am

    @25Bar – Welcome to Amreekandesi!

    @Kavi – Very true. You can never take anything you read at face value these days. There’s always some vested interest, some bias, something fishy. How do we trust anything anyone says anymore? I dont know.

    @Vinod – Thanks for those additions. Going back to Kavi’s point, we can never take anything we hear without a pinch of salt.

    @Smitha – I agree.

    @Mahendra – That’s a very interesting, and rather unfortunate observation that completely defies conventional economic logic. I suppose that in the quest to become popular, the channels went for sensationalism and down the line it just stopped being news and became a circus.

    @Reema – As do many other people!

    @AmListening – Thanks. Yes, we people are a naive bunch, and can never find out what really goes on behind the doors. I have always believed that what reaches the common man is news that the powers-to-be want us to know, which might not necessarily be the real stuff.

  10. The Quirky Indian on September 9, 2009 at 5:14 am

    We are such a crazy nation……abhi beta CM nahin banega to aur g*******i hoga!


    Quirky Indian

  11. amreekandesi on September 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    @QI – Very curious what that censored word is, though i may have some insights there!

  12. surendra pulagam on October 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    At least 60 persons either committed suicide or died of shock after hearing the news of Chief Minister YSR Reddy’s death in a chopper crash.

    We Indians sure are crazy, but this crazy? Somehow, in a state that has seen almost 3000 suicides in the past 5 years this claim rings hollow.

    Never think it is crazy. Most of them are fan of Mr.YSR. Please do not write this type of messages.

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