Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tragic Hypocrisy


Tragic Hypocrisy

The Dussehra or Vijay Dashmi celebrations on October 19 turned out to be an avoidable tragedy in Amritsar in which more than 60 people were killed and more than 100 seriously injured on the rail tracks by a speeding train. The unfortunate, mostly poor migrant workers, crowd watching the burning of the effigies of Ravana and his associates or the Ravan Dahan near the rail tracks got involved in the tragic accident. Such incidents are repeated reminders and wake-up calls to both the administrators and the society that we are
still to go a long way to become a sensitive and a civilized society. There is no point in bragging about our claims of a glorious past unless we transform our present to at least a dignified and sustainable standard. We are yet to pay due attention to these realities of life.

An immediate provocation to write on the subject is the demonstrated and visible hypocrisy by the elite in the administration, concerned outfits, politicians and the media. The law and order authorities and the civil administration have no time and mind to think and plan the public events to ensure public safety and security. They remain busy in catering to the VIP led requirements. The agencies which provide public utilities and services, railways, electricity, public transport, fire control, first aid among others, are awfully negligent and dismissive of public concern. It seems we have mastered the art of blame-game to wash our hands. Politicians are self centered to the extent that they are alive only to their limited agenda of vote banks. The media, both ‘the Sarkari and the Durbari’ i.e. the government controlled and the pliant ones, is totally lacking commitment to public concerns and interests. Unfortunately, with every passing day, things are getting worse. It is a matter of deep concern and worry. We cannot afford to be oblivious to these ground realities, if we want to see our polity and society to stand up and face the challenges of development and progress.

I don’t feel like closing this without mentioning a very disturbing element which has surfaced, of late, in the functioning of our media, particularly the mushrooming TV channels. It was dismaying to watch the Amritsar incidents of yesterday on some of the TV channels, the Bhagat or the Durbari channels. The worthy anchors, while pronouncing that these incidents should be above political considerations, they themselves were busy in politicizing the matter by naming and blaming Navjot Kaur Sidhu wife of a Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu of the Congress party for the incident. The surprising element was that the script of their presentation was identical as if it was handed over to them by some other vested agency. Who that agency could be, it is anybody’s guess. It is a matter of shame and is the bane of our democratic system. The so called fourth pillar of our polity has failed us.

There is no point in blaming the innocent crowd who went to see and join the festivities of Dussehra. They need to be educated and informed by the concerned authorities of the “Does and Don’ts” of such gatherings. The administrators and politicians should be caring and sensitive. The media should be vigilant and not pliant to the power centers. But unfortunately they crawl where they are asked to bend and still they pat themselves to be called free and fair. We are to go a long way.

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