India has multiple faces, and what we portray to the world is based on convenience. But how inconvenient was it to represent Aparna Kumar in mainstream media? The lady became the first ever Indian woman IPS officer to successfully climb Mount Vinson Massif, the tallest peak in Antarctica. It was a feat worthy of finding front page space.
This is what we get to read… The Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district doesn’t allow people from entering the temple sanctum. Ironically, the centuries-old tradition allows only a few men who donate money to the temple trust.
A couple of days back, nearly 500 women and men from Pune, Kolhapur, Latur, Nashik, and other parts of Maharashtra travelled to storm the Shani temple in case the police prohibited them from entering the chamber. The police detained the volunteers of Bhumata Brigade in Supa, some 70 km away from the temple. Trupti Desai, the woman who led the people, was released soon, and the incident picked up feverish momentum in the Indian media, attaining all sorts of attributes: religion, politics and feminism. The rhetoric was all too common, yet spicy.
Social media battled as to why and how Desai was right or wrong, some people claiming that she was an atheist and was campaigning to gain media attention. Political parties joined the bandwagon and lent their voices to the cause.
While this played out, news of Aparna Kumar, an Uttar Pradesh cadre Indian Police Service officer emerged.
The daring mountaineer finally scaled the mountain on January 17. Mountains are not new to Aparna Kumar. She has earlier scaled the highest mountain peak of South America and the highest mountain peak in the European continent, Mount Elbrus. She has scaled five out of the seven most challenging summits in the world. On reaching the peak of Mount Vinson Massif, Aparna unfurled the flags of India and Uttar Pradesh Police Service. The adventure-loving woman braved temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees in the process.
Only a few news portals found her achievement worth mentioning. The rest looked for juicy ones and lived up to their reputation. Unlike Desai, the crusader of the Shani temple, Aparna’s success has been consigned to almost oblivion.