This is a guest post by my friend Sriram. (Edit: he now blogs here.) He is sending it to NDTV. I was not sure they would actually publish it though. So, I got permission to publish it on my blog. Mail him (and me too if you want to), with comments and feedback.
Thanks to the storms that ravaged in Tamil Nadu, I was marooned in my house through the latter part of the past week. This in fact gave me enough time to become a couch potato. I had been sitting glued in front of the proverbial idiot box as things unfolded at the three places as also the programs in the after math of the incidents.
In a sense I was taken in by the moving comments of Prannoy Roy and that of Vikram Chandra. I also concur that some thing needs to be done. But what?
Where do we start was a question that kept coming back to me. I guess, we were posing all the right questions at the right time but who was asking, mattered the most.
Will the Home minister take the responsibility?
Now at least will we have reforms in the Police?
Will we have reforms in the home land security?
All these were on air, for the most part of the week end. Let us stop here for a moment to think over these questions. Are we on the right side to question the Central ministry? I guess not. Here I am putting myself on the frying pan and try giving an answer this simple question.
I guess I am not. The mere fact that I exercise my franchise does not give me the right to question the top most authority. I have also exercised the same franchise to elect the local governance. Do I stand up for my rights, when I am affected? Here I mean, Power cuts, water logging, etc. which affect my life on a daily basis. Sincerely, I don’t.
Then when such a ghastly act of such magnitude happens how can I pose questions like these? The truth is we are all caught up in our own rat races in life? And as Shekhar Gupta put it in your channel – Let us see if we carry on in this same vigour two weeks from now. It is not only for your media channels, it is the same for any common man. The simple truth is – Life must go on.
Having said this I am not meaning we should take this lying down. Yes we need to do some thing. Most of the times we expect the government to do everything that we desire. Let us face it, it is impossible for any elected government to always fulfil every dream of every citizen.
What we can do is, start taking over a few things that we expect the government to do on ourselves. For example, have mock drills similar to the fire drills in all places of employment. Highlight the importance of saving a injured soul, an invalid, aged persons who might be caught unawares. In cases of such hotels please invite the guests to go through the drills by highlighting the importance of such drills. Have experts come on television and talk of the importance of staying focused on what has to be done in such situations. These should be made mandatory in all offices, Places where there can be a mass movement of people.
On normal days, How many of us stop and help people who have met with an accident. All we need to do is call a toll free number and state that a person needs help. But do we do that.
We should look at organizations similar to that of St.John’s ambulance Association in India and get those organizations to train common people in First Aid and help in Trauma care. These kinds of measures will mitigate or in the least try to mitigate knee-jerk reactions by the people affected. We can at least save a few souls, rather than mourn for the colossal loss of human life.
This would at least help the agencies of the government who take over the control during such situations carry on with their work and not get overloaded.
I guess this is an important lesson that we have learnt by being a citizen of this glorious country. This is only the beginning, everyone who has been affected by this incident will learn a lesson and the question is how we put that lesson into practice in the most objective manner is what matters.