Ever heard of the Vyapam Exam Scam?

Vyapam

Then you’re not alone. I barely know anything about it, and weird Asian shit is my speciality.

Basically, a bunch of professors, doctors and bureaucrats in Madhya Pradesh were letting pretty much any idiot pass official medical exams in return for bribes.

Normal for India, you might say. And it’s a fair point, although few of these scams lead to over 2000 arrests, including of VIPs.

And then the people involved started dying suspiciously. Again, this isn’t entirely unusual. What is unusual, however, is that it didn’t stop. The official toll is in the 20s round about now, but most people say that really it’s well over forty. These include suicides, accidents, deaths that have been officially attributed – under somewhat iffy circumstances – to illness and, in one dramatic incident, the immolation of the former Dean of NS Medical College on his own lawn. Just recently they appear to have nobbled a journalist whose only crime was interviewing relatives of a previous victim, it being this particular incident that got me thinking about the coverage of the affair.

Obviously, if this was happening in the US or Europe, then we’d hear about nothing else on CNN, morning, noon and night. However, I’m not attributing the lack of coverage entirely to ethnocentrism. There’s also the fact that China and India are so huge and so chaotic, that they can maintain a relatively high level of Gross Domestic Strangeness without any of it necessarily being picked up upon by the rest of the world.

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