LIFE ISN’T BUSINESS TO RISK IT

Apart from Good morning messages with very inspirational quotes, WhatsApp groups serve a lot of purpose than what meets eye.  In one such conversation with my childhood friends on WhatsApp, a friend shared this picture (actually this marked the beginning of our conversation, an important one)

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This conversation followed a fire incident that broke in a coaching center in Surat (Gujarat, India) claiming the lives of 21 students.  Many students died while jumping from a two storey building to escape the fire.  That was heartbreaking.  It was the scare of fire that killed more than the fire itself.  Lack of basic conformities and awareness as to how one should act in such tragic situations caused more damage. And that’s when I have decided that this is something which needs my, in fact, everyone’s attention as to Why, Who is responsible and How to do our bit to avoid or at least minimize the losses incurred.

Here’s a list of recent fatal fire accidents claiming lives of many and leaving charred memories for many more (all accidents happened in 2017):

  • Kamala Mills – Mumbai – 14 lives claimed
  • Plastic Factory – Ludhiana – 13 people (including 3 firemen) killed
  • Snack Shop in Saki Naka – Mumbai – 21 lives crammed and charred together
  • Rohini hospital – Telangana – 2 lives claimed 
  • Scrap market – Kota – 2 killed and 15 severely injured 
  • Cracker Shop – Rourkela – 1 killed and three injured
  • Illegal cracker unit – Jharkhand – 6 killed and 11 injured 

Special mention:

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Source: Google 

And then there are incidents exclusively where the property loss is humungous.  This is a pity picture which requires a lot of introspection – Who is responsible for this after all?

Electricity short circuit is the most prominent reason behind the majority of fire accidents. Cylinders or explosives going off comes next in line followed by other miscellaneous reasons that normally don’t find any mention in the list of reasons.  But does it absolve the “human hand” completely of its responsibility? The reason that was mentioned above are the ones that are apparent but the responsibility completely rests with people.

Non-compliance with the fire security rules, illegal constructions – squeezing and cramming of buildings in small spaces, No up-gradation / maintenance of fire fighting systems with time to keep them in working condition, No proper fire drills to the staff in offices.  Basically many “NO“s.

And the reason behind every “NO” that I have mentioned above is Greed and carelessness. People want to save every possible penny they could even if it means putting their and others’ lives at risk.  Complying to rules, training, purchase of requisite material everything involves cost and it’s something that’s loathed.  The greed to make quick and more money is the mother of illegal constructions, skyrocketing matchboxes (read apartments) where safety measures barely or rarely exist. And the basic attitude of “Jab hoga toh dekh lenge” (we will see when it happens) is something that must be done away with. “If caught for non-compliance we will pay something and buy our freedom” something that lingers on the mind (read habit) but not for once people plan future (in reference to fire accidents) with an apprehensive approach that we need to be careful and prepared for the worse.  And this approach is not just of the people coming from lower strata of the society with no awareness. But people with many sources of awareness at their disposal wait for the worse to happen before they realise and awaken.

Even with all the possible measures are taken unimaginable can happen, no denying to that.  But we lack the basic awareness to plan an escape in such situations (the first photo proves the same).  Probably because of not much attention given to this subject.  Parents and schools are constantly busy in ensuring that their children score highest possible grades and they don’t miss extracurricular activities too but subjects concerning their safety and security, be it self defense or otherwise  (escape plans in case of accidents like that of fire) are of trivial to no importance for them.  Hence no place in the curriculum, not even a chapter, workshops are a distant dream.  Companies/ industries are busy improving their profit margin every quarter whereas both employee appraisals (😁) and safety are not in compliance to their policies.  Can you tell me when was the last time you had a fire drill in your office?

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A photo doing rounds on Facebook. This is what I was talking about – carelessness and a bid to save a few bucks people are risking their lives.

These things seem inconsequential or immaterial but should definitely be a part of learning at different stages. If we are paying for fire insurance for our properties then some heed must be paid towards the safety of our lives too, isn’t it?  Talk about the safety measures to near and dear ones including children, use the social platform to spread a word, check if builders are completely complying to fire security regulations before moving in, yourself adhere strictly to all the regulations for safety,  electricity conformity is a must for every housing unit.  These are a few things in a bird’s eye view.

Remember: Your Life Isn’t A Business To Risk It.  Read, Talk and Spread the word for Awareness is the only key.

THE ADULTERATION OF VALUES

Sugar was found mixed with fine plastic crystals that naked eye can’t see. However, if sugar with crystals is added to cold water, it will not dissolve and settle at the surface of the container. If this test is done with milk or tea, the result may not be conclusive as even adulterated sugar gets dissolved.

White chilli powder is dyed with ‘sudan red‘, an artificial dye to turn it into an expensive red chilli powder. Whole red chillies are adulterated with coal tar to enhance their appearance.

Adding glucose, dextrose, molasses, sugar syrup, invert sugar, flour, corn syrup, starch, or any other similar product, other than floral nectar to honey, adulterates it.

Adulterated milk is what we end up drinking these days. Other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose, formalin along with detergent are used as adulterants. These adulterants are used to increase the thickness and viscosity of the milk as well as to preserve it for a longer period.

When we hear the term ‘adulteration’, the imagery that immediately appears before us is that of adulterated food products. The word ‘adulteration’ comes from the Latin word adulterare which means corrupt. More than any other thing, the word ‘adulteration’ aptly applies to a degradation/corruption of value systems.

Civilizations have become advanced. Technological know-how is on the rise. Awareness levels have increased. Independence has increased. Economy has shot up. But, the latitude of acceptance has come down. Tolerance levels have plummeted. Conditions have taken the place of trust. Virtual relationships have taken the place of real-world relationships. With dysfunctional and single-parent families on the rise, the definition of family is gradually getting skewed. Lust has replaced love. Corruption has become a part of life – shell out money and your work is easily done without delay.

A group of teenagers came to me with the question, “Do values and integrity matter in this day and age?” I paused for some time before answering them, thinking that we are living in times where the very existence of values and integrity is being questioned! The information explosion at the click of a mouse, the lure of reaching heights of accomplishments, settling for mediocrity in place of excellence with a ‘chalta hai’ attitude has diluted the desire to conform to existing values.

We are living at times where a substitute can be found for almost everything. Live-in relationships as substitutes for families, internet games in place of the sweat and laughter of playing on playgrounds, extra-matrital relationships in place of the warmth of one’s own spouse – you think of it and you can list the gross adulteration.

Not that such things never ever happened previously. While the rarity of such occurrences in the past made people startle, the rarity of such incidents not occurring today, makes one marvel.

No matter how powerful the pull of the world may be, if our equation with the Almighty is strong, the likelihood of getting sucked into this whirlwind of adulterated values will be lesser. Yes, we may end up being victims to it all for the stand we take, but our conscience would remain clear of not victimizing anyone or ourselves of such dilution.

IS THE MOB JUSTICE JUSTIFIED?

Hello Everyone,

Recently I saw a news clipping which brought forth the news of a mentally ill woman lynched to death by village people on the basis of suspicion that she has kidnapped a child. I emphasize on the word “suspicion“.  There was no proof whatsoever.

This is not something out of the blue.  Such lynchings have become more or less a routine.  People get killed by the mob because of their eating preferences (read beef), their religious beliefs, their voice being voiced (example: a young auto driver killed because he asked two men not to urinate in public, Reference: Times of India news site).

Reason behind this brutality:  Being hurt!  Yes people get brutalised by people because the later set of crowd gets hurt, I mean  when their religious sentiment gets hurt they don the robe of anger;  when their ego gets hurt on being pointed out they let their emotion flow with the blood of innocents.  And suspicion plays a pivotal role in such atrocities. People are losing their confidence in the slow judicial system; patience is pedestal.  Under such circumstances a slightest streak of provocation leads to news headlines for the next day which says “Mob lynched…..”.

Saddening part is that the ire of mob vanishes without a trace when it actually matters.  When a girl gets molested or eve-teased or a defenseless is being troubled in full public glare no one bothers to raise a voice because everyone is worried about the fury of few preparators of the crime.  But they forget if few can be powerful then how much more power they collectively as a mob would have.  If suspicion can motivate a mob to kill someone then why not a mob be motivated enough to take a right decision to oppose something which is evidently wrong and something not based on suspicion or instigation. Note: opposing doesn’t mean killing here.

My question:  I understand very well how sentimental one can be when it comes to sensitive issues like religion especially in a country like India but agitation based on clueless accusations leading to brutality can leave a family devastated and sobbing for life.  What if there is a fallout of the very base of suspicion that led to the fury.  Can lives be given back?  And why no one is feared of law and order and thinks twice before taking it into own hands.   Is it the failure of governance that they are assured of the mob power.  How justified is it?

As my friend Kuljeet mentioned  two days ago in her article “Salad Bowl Folks!” we have many more issues to deal with  collectively rather than passing verdicts in a fit of rage under the disguise of “Mob”.

BE ‘JUST’ WITH LOVE

A couple of days back, a colleague of mine fell victim to a purse-snatcher. She lost her mobile phone, tab, internet dongle, wallet with a lot of money and some other things – all of which were in her handbag. Her handbag was grabbed by bikers while she was returning from work in an auto rickshaw in the afternoon. Shaken by the incident, she approached the nearest Police Station to lodge an FIR. To her utter dismay, the police personnel hardly bothered and she was made to wait for a long time for no good reason before she approached them and requested them to lodge the complaint soon as she had to return home to her little child. Finally, a complaint was lodged and she was told that this was not the complete FIR and that some other details would be taken in the coming days, before the FIR was formally lodged. As she narrated the incident, she made the statement, “I don’t expect any justice from this system.”

A friend of mine who is currently pursuing Ph.D from a University in North India shared several stories of how upper caste male professors sexually exploited the lower caste female researchers who were pursuing their Ph.D under them. Is this just?

In many Indian homes, the boy child gets to study in an English medium private school, whereas the girl child has to be satisfied with being educated in a vernacular language government school. The boy child gets a major share in the goodies, whereas the girl child has to be satisfied with the crumbs. I heard a lady say a few years back that her brother (who was the youngest among the siblings) was given non-vegetarian food everyday – at least an egg, while the two elder sisters were contented with vegetarian food. The sisters didn’t mind it at all, as it had been ingrained in their minds that a boy ought to have better nourishment than girls! Is this just?

As we look around and see injustice in various forms, the question that arises is – “Where is justice?” The idea of justice has been badly mutilated by prejudices, preconceived notions, stereotypes, cultural biases, parochialism and a lackadaisical attitude not only by those in power but also by the common man. And no, it is not always the poor who are at the receiving end of injustice, but those with the ‘means’ and the ‘contacts’ also face injustice in various forms.

It makes one squirm in helplessness to see outrageous atrocities being perpetrated in the name of religion, caste, race, ethnicity and gender. Is it a sin to belong to a particular religion? Is it a sin to belong to the lower caste? Is it a sin to belong to a particular race or ethnicity? Is it a sin to be born a female? The so-called makers and guardians of justice quote religious scriptures and ancient legendary accounts to justify their acts of horrendous injustice without any guilt or regret?

Lives are lost. Families are broken. Society is in utter chaos. There is hatred spreading everywhere. Emotions are converted into numbness. Who cares? Ideology, honour, prestige, selfish interests gain predominance over and above all other things. Those with might, think that they are right.

Are stricter legal reforms, the answer to the prevailing injustice? Would sentencing the perpetrators to jail, put an end to various forms of injustice?

Hardly!

What is needed is ‘awareness’. Awareness that all human beings have been created in the image of God – irrespective of race, colour, gender, religion, caste or creed. Believe for a moment that the colleague sitting next to you, your domestic help, the vegetable vendor, that neighbour from another religion/caste/race have all been created in the likeness and image of the Almighty God. Would you still dare to be unjust towards them?

The diversity among human beings ought to be a reason for celebration and not discrimination and injustice. Have you ever pondered over the fact that the billions of people on the face of this earth are so unique? All normal human beings have a pair of eyes, ears, hands, legs, a nose and a mouth – yet each person looks and behaves so different from the other. Isn’t it amazing? The differences among us give us the opportunity to marvel at the creative potential of the Creator God. When that is learnt all is learnt!

Knowing well that some of his handmade human beings are perpetrators of injustice, God still deals with them with love – so that they would turn from their unjust ways. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’. It’s a mystery to fathom the love of God, but a necessary realization to abhor injustice. God is patient and kind to all now, but won’t remain so forever.

Every unrepentant injustice will be brought to just judgement. If you have been a victim of injustice and there seems to be no hope for you to get justice while on earth, remember GOD IS JUST. His justice is not always meted at our time and in our way. But, always comes to pass – without fail. If you have been the perpetrator of injustice in any form, small or big – whether in your family or on a larger scale, it is a humble plea to repent and turn back on your ways before God deals with you with a heavy hand.

Let the numerous sagas of injustice turn into remarkable examples of justice!

CLEANLINESS AT A GLANCE

Let’s watch few videos that have been made by some brilliant minds to create awareness.