Friday, March 2, 2007

A quick and dirty guide to whipping up sentiment, illustrated by West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi

First: Pick your tragedy.
(For GG, the death of 10-year-old ragpicker Susmita Sarki, who died while she was sifting through garbage and a landslide of filth buried her.)

Next: Dig up your purplest prose.
(According to The Hindu, "Mr. Gandhi regretted that a 'rose like life' had been 'smothered under a load of filth generated by humans.' The girl ... was 'martyred to our callous excesses and neglect.'" Later in the same store, he adds, "We live for the present moment ... and leave this beauty spot having drawn everything Darjeeling has to offer, but giving nothing to it in return. Except empty packets of crisps and gutka, apart from the water bottles and other plastic containers.")

Then: Wait for newspapers and bloggers to parrot your story.

Finally: Smile in smug satisfaction that you have safely skirted actually addressing the problem by talking about martyrdom and introducing similes equating life to some thorned flora.

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