India: Aishwarya Rai's Baby and Media Madness

Some Indian media have long been accused of using sensationalism while reporting about celebrities. The latest hype in the media is the pregnant Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her impending child birth.

Rumors were abound that Aishwarya will undergo a Caesarian-Section in order to have her first child on the auspicious date of 11/11/11. According to a bookmaker over 1.5 billion Indian Rupees were riding on whether Aishwarya Rai will deliver the child on 11/11/11. The Broadcast Editors Association has finally issued guidelines to restrict TV channels from aggressively covering the birth of baby Bachchan.

Aishwarya's father-in-law, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, tweeted:

SrBachchan: T 555 -Getting congratulatory messages on Aishwarya delivering a boy !!! Guess they know more than even she does !! False and incorrect news

Aishwarya Rai in a poster. Image by Flickr user Melanie M. Used under a CC BY License.

Aishwarya Rai in a poster. Image by Flickr user Melanie M. Used under a CC BY License.

Here are some tweets on the media madness:

cricketwallah: State of The Nation: India on tenterhooks at the impending birth of Aishwarya Rai's first baby and Sachin Tendulkar's hundredth century

@comicology: Satish Acharya's cartoon page shares it hilarious take on the Mass Media Attention towards Aishwarya Rai's Labour!…

@nandukarekar: are TV, Internet, Print etc etc media claiming their fatherhood stake for Aishwarya’ baby. Have sent offer to family for news exclusivity?

@jhunjhunwala: Time has come for Aishwarya Rai to file a restraining order against India TV.Those guys will cover that baby's birth like Jesus's birth.

@Terracedrinking: why media is acting like will know when aishwarya would deliver a baby.

@JiGoswami: Is Aishwarya Rai child is of national interest, there r so many coming everyday, Why the hype is there. Wake up India look for better…

Bangladeshi exile writer Taslima Nasrin was drawn into controversy when she tweeted that she wished that Aishwarya would give birth to a girl child:

@taslimanasreen: I love Aishwarya Rai. But when I said ‘I wish she would give birth to a baby girl’, people asked me, ‘Why do you hate Aishwarya?’

@taslimanasreen: Some people are unfollowing me because I want a baby girl for Aishwarya. Twitter version of female foeticide!

The reactions against her showed clear bias over boy child against girls. The odds were high in the bookie rates for boy child:

@vaidehisachin: The rate was set at Rs 8,500 against Rs 1,000 if Aishwarya gives birth to a girl and Rs 1,200 against Rs 1,000 if she gives birth to a boy.

Even the media has further fuelled the controversy:

kausikdatta22: W loaded phrases, @ZeeNews engaging in manufactroversy over @TaslimaNasreen's comment wishing baby girl for Aish! #FAIL

Twitter users were quick to join in the debate:

Nanha_kabootar: if #aish baby is a boy , taslima nasreen will accuse the bachan's of being anti femnist and supporting male dominanace

@Srehari4u: How does it matter if Aishwarya delivers or not deliver a baby. It is yet another baby. so much of hype for no benefit.. .

@amitjain123: Why is Taslima Nasreen commenting so much in other people's lives.. esp the glamour world? she seems star struck.

@anjanpmandal: @taslimanasreen I am a #Aishwarya fan and want a baby girl for her.. Only a girl can carry forward the grace nd sensuality of her genes. :-)

In an interview Taslima explained why she wished for a baby girl for Aishwarya – “having a daughter can encourage millions of couples not to kill their unborn female babies”.


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