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Sania Mirza controversy: Why Media going gaga over trivial issue, ignoring real concerns

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Sania Mirza appointed as Brand Ambassador of Telangana.
The mainstream media is abuzz over unnecessary controversy when the BJP opposed Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's (KCR's) decision of appointing tennis star Sania Mirza as the ambassador of the state. But, hardly anyone found worth discussing about the death of 25 students who were killed when a school bus was hit by train at an unmanned railway level crossing in Medak district of Telangana.

At a time when whole nation is going gaga over high speed bullet trains, it is shocking to see precious lives are being lost in such incidents. It is appalling to see that the nation is still witnessing deaths at unmanned crossings, in this present age of communication.

25 students died and several others were seriously injured when a train rammed into their bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Masayipet village of Telangana's Medak district on Thursday. Police said the toll could rise as some of the children were critically injured.

Instead of debating over the serious issue of such gravity the mainstream media is busy discussing about a particular leader's objection on making Sania Mirza a brand ambassador of the state. The media hoping to attract more and more eyeballs quickly picked up the matter and associated a particular leader's statement with entire party.

Is TRS's decision an attempt to woo minorities in Telangana?

Senior BJP leaders quickly distanced from the statement saying "Sania is India's ambassador not only Telangana." This perhaps must have put an end to the unnecessary furore but that is not the way present day media works. Resultant, the matter was stretched and over stretched.
Coming back to the tragic rail accident that came from Telangana, according to Inspector General Kripanand Tripathi Ujela of the Telangana Government Railway Police (GRP), 12 boys and the school bus driver were killed on the spot after the bus was hit by Nanded-Secunderabad Passenger train, which was passing through.

Unmanned level crossings a matter of concern:

As per a Railway Ministry data on an average 72 number of accidents occur per year which results into loss of an average 176 number of lives (all road users). This accounts for 46% of total fatalities.

In the year 2012-13, out of 206 accidents reported in the Indian Railways 90 were level crossing accidents.

As per a Railway Ministry data, of 16500 manned level crossings, just 6600 are interlocked and provided with signals. It is envisaged that another 2000 gates would get interlocked in next 10 years.

Hence, there is a dire need for debate into this matter and the responsible media should bring it into public domain.

What's the use of brand ambassadors?

A pertinent question that crosses one's mind is that will appointing ambassadors do any good to the state? Well, the answer is it helps the state's upto a certain extent by helping in promoting tourism in the state. But for a state like Telangana which has just came into existence after decades of struggle and which is facing a challenge of providing basic amenities to its people it's not helping in anyways. It is to be understood that these are all politically motivated moves. And it could be considered as a move by the TRS to appease the Muslim vote-bank in the state.

Appointing celebrities as brand ambassadors hasn't done any good to several states. Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan was the ambassador of Uttar Pradesh during Mulayam Singh Government but it did no good to the fortunes of the state. Although Mr. Bachchan's appointment as Gujarat's ambassador helped the state government to promote its tourism sector but it was the tourism ministry's planning and good work that helped the state not just the actor's face.

Similarly, Sania Mirza's appointment as state's ambassador would do any good to the state, will be a matter to be seen.

Has Sania raised any significant issue after her appointment as Telangana's Brand Ambassador?

But, what shocks one is that Sania was "hurt" when some politicians and media were wasting time over a petty issue of her being appointed as state's ambassador. The tennis star even came out with a series of tweets explaining her century old association with Hyderabad.

But the "newly appointed brand ambassador" hardly made a mention about the tragic rail accident which took the life of innocent kids in her own state. Is it not expected from a state's ambassador to at least offer her condolences to the families of those killed in a tragic rail accident, on a day when she was honoured as Telangana's ambassador?

I expected a humble tweet from Telangana's Brand Ambassador that would have justified her appointment. There was hardly any need for Sania to taking to social media justify her roots.

It is time for the mainstream media for behaving in a more mature manner. Neglecting real concerns while raising petty issues doesn't suits the fourth pillar of the democracy.

Story first published: Thursday, July 24, 2014, 18:29 [IST]
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