There’s much that is wrong with tabloids not only in India but all across the globe.
They exaggerate news,give it a personal colour and it is a cliché that they give views instead of news.
But one look at the Mumbai Mirror dated February 1, 2016 should remove all such distortions and biases from the mind of the purists.
The front page of the tabloid carries the story of Dadarao Bilhore, a vegetable vendor by profession who has made it a mission of his life to fill up potholes that he finds single –handedly, without waiting for the government to help.
His motivation- he had lost his son Prakash in an an accident on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road last July who died when he lost his balance trying to negotiate a pothole which was submerged in the monsoon rains. He was travelling on the pillion of the bike of his cousin Ram after filling up the forms for admission to Navjeevan Education Society’s Politechnic College in Bhandup. Prakash had bled so much by the time he reached the Holy Spirit Hospital that doctors could do nothing to save him while his cousin survived with stitches on his head.
But the change that his death brought about in everyone who knew him is the most amazing part of the story. Later last year, his cousin Ram managed to save a man who was about to come under the wheels of a truck after his bike tripped on a broken road.
However, Dadarao Bilhore is a man possessed.He collects broken pavers and debris from construction sites in a sack and every time he notices a pothole he puts all that material into it, stomps over it with his shoes to level the spot and moves on to the next pothole.
In one month he has already filled up more than a dozen such pot- holes that could turn into potential killer spots, especially two wheelers, as happened with his son Prakash. His spirit and dedication has also transformed many of his neighbours to who collect debris and pavers and hand it over to him as he moves from one place to another.
In a scenario where many normal people have started avoiding looking at newspapers in the morning because it makes depressing reading such prominent display to a development really uplifts the soul.
And such stories need a front page display to assure people that there are rainbows about which they may not be knowing but they do exist.
Many people like me, for instance, if I had not read the Mirror story would have thought that the story of Dashrath Majhi the labourer from village Gehlaur near Gaya in Bihar who created a road by breaking a mountain using only a chisel and hammer for 22 years after he had lost his wife who could not be taken to hospital,was a one of its kind story.The story was also turned into a film directed by Ketan Mehta, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
There are many votaries of news without views who think that opinion pieces are meant only for edit pages.But if slanted news is what I just read I would any day prefer that over cold, impartial, unbiased news that makes us give up hope.
By Amitabh Srivastava