E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: How is it that our towns and villages are happily ravaged by floods every monsoon? Or rumour of a landslide can result in a stampede at a shrine?
How is it that bus drivers can race against a moving train at railway level crossings? Or a busload of school children can meet a watery grave? Or a whole classroom can be roasted alive?
Most of these ghastly incidents are avoidable. But looking at the sickening regularity with which they dot our newspapers and television screens, you have to wonder whether we learn any lessons at all.
I doubt it.
On the other hand, what is our reaction most times?
1. Chaltha hai: We are a developing country; these things happen because we are not disciplined and the administration is slovenly and has a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude.
2. Karma: You can’t avoid death. People pay for their past deeds in earlier birth and we can’t do anything except await our own turn.
3. Corruption: The fitness of vehicles; the validity of licenses; overloaded vehicles; coracles bursting with tourists run by kids who themselves can’t swim. There is no rule that can’t be bent for a price.
4. Rules are not for us: Be it the rich kid who gets drunk and nonchalantly mows down people with his Land Cruiser™, or students who go out on a weekend ignore the ‘Dangerous to swim here’ sign and go for a swim only to get drowned.
There could be many more reasons and explanations but life itself has become cheap with death lurking around the corner for school going kids in a bus, for a marriage party in a maxi cab or villagers, and for women and children crossing a swollen river without lifejackets with caution thrown to winds.
We are not even talking of terrorism or communalism in these deaths.
Are we mocking at fate at every given opportunity?
Most of the incidents cited have occurred over the last couple of months. They will happen again and again till something is done about them. How can we stop the countless loss of innocent lives that were out doing what you and I do daily—attending to their chores?