Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Indian life- Evaluated

An average Indian perceives life as a gift of God. The references from Geeta, Quran and Bible on life, act as supporting documentation. And, considering their rise in numbers, atheists considers life as a product of fornication between a male and female member of any eukaryot and the resultant meiotic cell division, or, result of an asexual mitotic cell division in lower species, which is "the wow thing" for them(I guess, being a believer is easy and short to explain!). Any which way, life , and the existence thereof is a source of amazement and awe for us. Because we know that life is important, we spend half our fortunes on quacks who enlighten us with the knowledge of life, salvation and even afterlife.  And for the same reason, used by the crime syndicate and terror organizations to hold us at ransom, to give us grief and sorrow ,and, at times, make us vengeful. But, has life's importance been put at stake only by criminals(of all kinds of course) ? Think again.

The United Kingdom, prides itself on being home to multi-cultural and multiethinic communities, and on the social securities it provides to its citizens. It also understands its responsibility as a global power and being one of the five permanent members of the UN security council, it has sent its troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. It has also been providing aid to rebels in Syria to fight against the atrocious president Bashar-al-Assad. However, 93 years ago, in a small town of Punjab province, Amritsar, near Lahore, a group of Sikhs and Hindus had gathered to peacefully protest the British rule in India. But some Mr. Dyer viewed this gathering as a gathering of extremists, aged 1 to 90. He ordered his troop to shoot down all the terrorists irrespective of the age. Following the orders of their master, the troops shot down all the 'terrorist'. Even by official statistics, at least 500 people died in that incident. The General showed no remorse for his actions and was duly 'punished' by the British government. He was transferred back to Great Britain to continue his remaining service from there. He really got a severe punishment, didn't he?

In 1944, 320 African-American sailors(While reading, remember that Afro-Americans still did not have equal rights) were killed in port chicago,California in an accident, when the munitions, which were being loaded in the cargo, exploded. Such was a hue and cry raised about the accident, that the Navy insisted on giving each sailor a compensation of $ 5000. But since it was pre-Martin Luther era, the senate settled on an amount of $3000 for every dead sailor. The eighteen non-defense seamen who died in the accident, got a total compensation of $390,000, which comes roughly to around $21,666 per person. Some 42 years later, a bigger tragedy awaited the world. The biggest nuclear accident which the world witnessed occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine(erstwhile USSR). It was a clear 'hollywoodish' case of science experiments going terribly wrong(only that no mutants were produced as a result). The load testing of the reactor, with lack of preparation, resulted in (even by the lowest counts) 4000 deaths and 100 thousands more being affected by cancer or other severe disabilities. A fully functional city(Pripyat, city housing workers and other people near Chernobyl) had to be completely evacuated and deserted. The economic impact on the already messed up Soviet Union was huge, However, even after the disintegration of the union, a compensation of around $10,500 was paid to every single person who was evacuated, along with consistent medical amenities being provided to them all their lives.

While all this was happening in the world, 2 years before the Chernobyl accident, the biggest industrial accident which the world ever saw occurred in India. On the cold winter night of 2nd December, 1984, while the residents of the lake city were in a cozy slumber,  a human error lead to the leakage of Methyl isocyante gas from the Union carbide fertilizer plant. This accident resulted in immediate death of at least 4000 people and injured around 550,000 more. The first thing which happened after the accident was not the relief effort for the affected, but the doubtful escape of the CEO of the company Warren Anderson, right under the eyes of chief minister Arjun Singh(Former HRD minister, who introduced Quotas in IITs and IIMs) and the MP police. What followed for the survivors and the relatives, was an ordeal for justice. 56% of the people got lucky, after struggling for the appropriate compensation, the relatives of the dead got a 'justified' compensation of $1211, while those who were disabled got a compensation of $ 454 in 1992. The rest 44% were yet to be even examined for an eligible payout. The US federal court went on to comfortably quash Indian appeal for a compensation of $3.3 billion, citing archaic laws. DOW chemicals which purchased UCC in 2001, was a proud sponsor of the London Olympics, which India only threatened to boycott, but did not have the will to.

Its not just the dead(Indians) who are given a short stick. You, who is reading this, and anyone around you who uses a foreign product, had his/her life devalued by this world. Some years ago(and some years before that as well), BIS raised the issue of the quality of water being used in manufacturing of soft drinks in India. It found pesticides in the water, which was way above the permissible limit. Amir Khan, of Satyamev Jayate fame, promptly came to the rescue of the said manufacturer by appearing in a TVC, proclaiming the safety of the product he endorses. Some people claim, that the water used in colas is the same water we drink daily, hence we should not have a problem, point duly conceded. However, ask any Indian who is returning from the west, about the difference in taste of the colas there and here, the prompt reply for the Indian version would be that it is way below the western standards. Ask any west returned Indian about the pizzas and burger retail outlet there and here, the answer would be no different than the one given for colas.

Many of you who have read my post this far may come to think that an Indian life is really taken for granted, but really, is that so? Nobody takes us for granted until we allow them to. An Indian life is taken for granted because we move on, we are considered to be the people with great spirit, because no matter what happens, we move on, however, moving on is not a choice, its a compulsion . Try suing a company for faulty product and you will realize that the cost of transportation incurred for travelling to the consumer's court is more than the compensation which you actually get. We forget and forgive too easily for our own good. If we have to make ourselves counted, then stand up, wait, and do not move on until you get what you deserve to. Because, life, as taught to us, was always 'Amulya' (Priceless).


F3liX said...

we all run after jobs , jobs which pays you negligibly ... we try to live our life around that paycheck... and the best part is our whole country is either working for international clients so that 'They' can enjoy more time of their life or for selling and servicing their products so that 'They' could earn more money... If we grow up to work for others then why would anyone value your life ???????????

Shivani Shastri said...

Dunno y, but there's this strong urge to answer the above comment first... Dear F3liX, before this so called "outsourcing" boom happened, half the India was jobless... We dwell in this comfort zone of "every engineer gets placed somehow somewhere, coz of that only... Before cursing that i guess, we need to strengthen our infra many a times...that dream is still waiting while swiss bank accounts boast of huge loots...

Abhishek, Bigger mind boggle-er than any single episode of Satyam-ev-Jayate...I still love Aamir Khan tho... ;) ...
You have narrated facts effortlessly...and related them to a bigger question...Amazingly done... But I really hope, against hopes, that the way my life has become more important than that of my grandparents(combine the effects of medical facilities and stronger media in case of crime happening to general masses)... One fine day, my grand-children's life would be considered "priceless" for my state...
What do I say??? Amen!!! Tatha-astu???

n yeah... getting the "Amulya Jeevan" insurance done...courtesy, life insurance corporation of INDIA... :P

Abhishek said...

Hey Shivani...I think our Grand parents led a more valuable life than us, because they valued the freedom they got. We don't...We run after American dreams...Till that keeps happening, we will be devaluated

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