Another Mumbai blast, but do we really care?
While we still have not come to terms with the last mass murder in Mumbai,we witnessed another one. 13 July will now be another famous date: 9/11, 26/11, 7/7 and now 13/7. The media has run amok with stats and analysis, govt with the usual – “we know it is Pakistan, but we can’t do anything much about it, than harp in international forums”. The so called champions of democracy and global security can do nothing about it, than feel sorry for us, for Pakistan is a partner in the global fight against terrorism. It is like an online security company creating a virus and then giving new antivirus solution. The opposition would want the head of our home minister, security forces claim lack of resources and this would continue, for an Indian this is nothing new, we have seen this before and we are sure this is not the last one, so there is not much to miss in this entire tragedy.
What made me think, and kept me awake in the night is a statement that president Obama made as a part of his condolence message.
…….During my trip to Mumbai, I saw firsthand the strength and resilience of the Indian people and I have no doubt that India will overcome these deplorable terrorist attacks. Barak Obama
The words strength and resilience of Indian people, kept coming back to me. Is it our strength and resilience or general apathy? Does death of an innocent bother us for more than a day? Is it just a Facebook and Twitter status update and topic of heated conversation over a drink of fine scotch? What bothers me is,How are we able to go to office the next day as if nothing has happened, while there are families that have been devastated and lives broken, most of which will never heal.
There has been a 9/11, a tragedy similar to what we have often seen in our cities, but it paralyzed that country. People really mourned the death of their fellow countrymen, I guess because they believe they are part of the country- a common identity, something that everyone shares and loves to be part of. United States is as multi cultural as we are in India, but we did see a unified country. Even an incompetent president took some decisive actions,we will not debate if the actions were right, because actions were taken, while have seen couple of attempts, but no major terrorist act on US mainland after 9/11.But we never see anything like this in our country. We analyze, we debate, have a drink, go to sleep and wake up with an amnesia in the morning.
We live in a fantasy, a self created cuckoo land, we feel, emote and cry during the 3 hours of the movie but when it is over, we go back doing what we are really good at : being another brick in the wall. We are in a constant state of denial that it is no going to happen to us. Be it a train accident where people die, innocent shot dead by police in a fake encounter to get a medal, a building or a flyover collapses and lives are lost, this is not our problem till it involves us or our loved ones. But what we fail to realize that these are Radom events and we can be next in line.
Over the hours that has kept me awake I have realized that life is not a scarce commodity in India, we have a billion people, a few deaths here and there would not make a difference to the national resources. I was appalled by a comment from a friend who said ISI should be renamed Department of population control of India, it does us a favor by helping us control our population. While he thought it was a witty statement, it actually brought out the underlying sentiment, life has no real value in India.
Is it not true, while we have tons of food grain rotting, we still have people dying of hunger. We all know it and our elected govt. is more than aware of it, but we never did anything about it.Our grain continues to rot and our people continue to die. If I remember correctly, our agricultural minister at that time said it was not easy to give grain for free, and would have a bad impact on economy. Does that mean that we will let these people so that the country can show a robust growth. What is it worth for.
There was an incident of a police officer from Kerala who met with an accident and was left to die on the road. There were ministers in the caravan and they did nothing to help him. This was national news, we have a video clipping of the same on all social media. It is a painful video to watch, and everyone there are guilty of inaction. But the guy who took the video is appalling. It is criminal to watch a dying man, but to actually take a video and upload to YouTube, I think is insane, pure evil.
Recently, we saw two train accidents in north India, scores died. The going rate of railway callousness is 500,000 rupees per life. We don’t remember the name of the train or how many people died after a week, neither do we ask, why are there no rail accidents in china where the trains travel at the speed of the bullet. Our elected representatives don’t ask that question either. we are the fastest emerging country we need to concentrate in freight routes, so we do not have time to maintain our tracks and trains. Couple of accidents a year would not make a dent to the railway coffers, it is cheaper to pay for lives lost than do a infrastructure overall for the railways.
We have also conveniently forgotten the mother of all industrial disasters- Bhopal. while most of us have forgot the date 2/12 when 60,000 people had perished in their sleep, more than half a million were effected by the disaster. The government claimed a 3.3 Billion Dollars as settlement from union carbide, but settled fro a paltry 470 million usd. The average compensation for dyeing in sleep was 62,000 and 25,000 for personal injury. While the govt. of India let the company go for a measly 470 million it made Indian public pay 1265 cr as aid package, we paid out taxes and never asked the question why did they have to die? when BP is made to pay billions to save fish and coral ecosystems why could we not make a company pay for the death of 60,000 people. The answer is we just do not care.
While we sympathize, discuss, tweet, blog we do not take any concrete action. while we have drama dev to fight against corruption we do not have none to fight for the lives of people. we still elect the same people who have been blundering all these years. we support the same parties that have over the year criminalized the parliament. it is our inaction that has lead to the current state of Indian social environment. we are to be blamed, not ISI, not Railways, not the ministers, nor union carbide. We the People, of India are guilty of apathy…WE JUST DO NOT CARE!
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. -Albert Einstein