Every woman who loses her husband to needless violence knows a level of pain which the rest of us cannot imagine.(HT File)
Every woman who loses her husband to needless violence knows a level of pain which the rest of us cannot imagine.(HT File)

Random Forays: Lost lives are not merely numbers

Each person in the world has a unique life and a special role to play in this magnum opus that is the never-ending global human drama.
By Vivek Atray | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 07, 2018 01:27 PM IST

When we, the people, read the news in the morning or watch it all day long on various screens, we tend to be cold to the number of persons killed in mishaps. We gaze transiently at a headline such as ’32 killed as bus driven by 16-’year-old conductor plunges into river’. Then, though we feel low, we move on to the entertainment section.

Is it our fault, though, that we feign concern but are actually impervious to death? Every day brings up at least one gruesome story. And the mood is made more sullen by sundry other items from here and there that add to society’s daily burden of crime.

Human beings tend to be unruffled by tragedies which happen remotely or in other lands. They are more impacted by those that occur at close quarters. Yet, and this is but natural, each tragedy is soon forgotten along with yesterday’s newspaper. Only those who have to directly bear the brunt of the calamity actually feel the resultant pain.

The result is that the global milieu, particularly communities in developing countries, become jaded by the talk of death and very little is done to control such incidents.

A 16-year-old driving a bus is an indicator of lawlessness. An unqualified electrician doing a shoddy job of repairing a local power wrangle is another such sign. An untrained attendant administering an injection to a patient is yet another untenable ‘adjustment’.

Any or all of these can lead to death and destruction but our system allows, with impunity, such digressions from propriety. And we who are armchair critics and morning-walk analysts, look the other way.

Agreed that most of us cannot do much about such systemic flaws, and even those in position and power have to really exert themselves in order to rectify the ‘chalta hai’ malaise that afflicts almost all of us. But can we not resolve to create awareness among those who are more prone and susceptible to such nonsense that they should not permit it?

STANDING UP TO CALLOUS ATTITUDE

The passengers in the aforementioned ill-fated bus clearly knew that the young lad was underage but they were loath to stop him from playing with their lives. When we notice an ill connected, dangerously dangling, piece of electrical wiring, or a rag-tag-bobtail arrangement for looking after patients at a public hospital, should we be looking the other way? Can we do something at least? In my view, various stakeholders could attempt the following: the government must be stricter and more rigid in preventing flouting of laws, the media can be more insightful in studying the lacunae that create such dreadful situations, and the common man can refuse to take things lying down when he must raise his voice.

It is by persistent knocking at the door of collectively callous attitude that a dent can be made and perhaps some lives can be saved.

But what of organised crime and suicides, which also result in unnatural and avoidable deaths? Such transgressions against civilised living have never been missing from the world, but as Yuval Noah Harari notes in his admirable book, Homo Deus, wars have been virtually eliminated by mankind. Can we hope that crime might also be minimised in the years to come?

Unemployment is one major factor which is responsible both for crime and self- inflicted harm. Focussed economic development with more meaningful governmental efforts can increase the number of jobs and reduce both these abhorrent ills.

Each person in the world has a unique life and a special role to play in this magnum-opus that is the never ending global human drama. We cannot allow a mother or wife to grieve forever at the loss of a life which could have been saved.

Our soldiers and paramilitary personnel who die at the border are gallant icons of humanity who mock at death for their country. Every young lady who loses her husband to needless violence knows a level of pain which the rest of us cannot imagine.

It’s time to value more the lives of fellow citizens and ensure that we don’t lose human beings whom we should still rightfully have in our midst.

vivek.atray@gmail.com

STRAP Each person in the world has a unique life and a special role to play in this magnum-opus that is the never ending global human drama

caption: Every young lady who loses her husband to needless violence knows a level of pain which the rest of us cannot imagine.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
There are bound to be glitches — a power breakdown that ruins some doses; delays in the vaccine reaching some remote corners of the country; at least, some jumping of queues. But this is an exercise that India will manage well. If all goes well, a month from now, the country could well have more people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine than any other country (AFP)
There are bound to be glitches — a power breakdown that ruins some doses; delays in the vaccine reaching some remote corners of the country; at least, some jumping of queues. But this is an exercise that India will manage well. If all goes well, a month from now, the country could well have more people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine than any other country (AFP)

In India, the story of Covid-19 vaccines

PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:16 PM IST
India has done well. The rollout of the vaccines, despite a set of concerns, is a scientific milestone. But the State must, now, plan ahead
Close
Since its inception, WhatsApp has claimed security and privacy as its core DNA. With its new “take-it-or-leave-it” policy, Whatsapp essentially threatened users of deleting their accounts, unless they accept the new terms before May (AFP)
Since its inception, WhatsApp has claimed security and privacy as its core DNA. With its new “take-it-or-leave-it” policy, Whatsapp essentially threatened users of deleting their accounts, unless they accept the new terms before May (AFP)

Making privacy a mainstream debate

By Prabhu Ram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:09 PM IST
While messages remain secure and encrypted, as Facebook seeks to build more tighter cross-platform integration across its ecosystem, the user data on WhatsApp could fall prey to it through data sharing or targeted and precise advertising
Close
When Sitharaman weighs up the short-term political consequences of following the advice she is receiving, I’m sure she will be aware of the longer-term political consequence of getting the arithmetic wrong (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
When Sitharaman weighs up the short-term political consequences of following the advice she is receiving, I’m sure she will be aware of the longer-term political consequence of getting the arithmetic wrong (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

Budget 2021: Balance economics with politics

By Mark Tully
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:03 PM IST
With the budget just over two weeks away, economist after economist is calling on finance minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman to spend, spend and spend
Close
Outlawing smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, cinema halls and bars is something we have accepted (AFP photo)
Outlawing smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, cinema halls and bars is something we have accepted (AFP photo)

Where the State should step back

PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 06:55 PM IST
I can understand bans on smoking in areas or circumstances where others who are not smoking get affected. But when an adult smokes on his own, the government has no business to intervene
Close
The incoming Joe Biden administration will avoid many of the personality-related pitfalls of its predecessor, and the presence of a core group of advisers in key security agencies suggests that coordination may be better than the first Obama term (REUTERS)
The incoming Joe Biden administration will avoid many of the personality-related pitfalls of its predecessor, and the presence of a core group of advisers in key security agencies suggests that coordination may be better than the first Obama term (REUTERS)

All the President’s men and women

By Dhruva Jaishankar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 07:02 PM IST
The incoming US national security and foreign policy team looks, on paper, to be one of the most experienced in history. How it translates into outcomes is to be seen
Close
While such incidents have raised issues of institutional discrimination, there are constant attempts, as was also done in Vemula’s case, to evade institutional accountability by attributing these instances as being incident-specific. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
While such incidents have raised issues of institutional discrimination, there are constant attempts, as was also done in Vemula’s case, to evade institutional accountability by attributing these instances as being incident-specific. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

The modern form of institutionalised casteism

By Anurag Bhaskar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:44 PM IST
India needs to move beyond tokenism of having one Dalit chief justice or two Dalit presidents, and ensure adequate representation to its Dalit and Adivasi citizens in all fields
Close
Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol Building, January 6. (REUTERS)
Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol Building, January 6. (REUTERS)

The psychology of Trump’s supporters

By Yashwant Raj
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:35 PM IST
As President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the United States (US) Capitol on January 6, I wondered if a man I had interviewed at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania was among them.
Close
There are many common problems in smallholder agriculture, such as low productivity, investments and market access, which keep farm incomes low across India (PTI)
There are many common problems in smallholder agriculture, such as low productivity, investments and market access, which keep farm incomes low across India (PTI)

Farm laws: What India can learn from Kenya’s agri experiment

By Swati Dhingra
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:38 AM IST
Recent research at the London School of Economics examines a decade of high-quality farmer-buyer data from Kenya during a period when it introduced radical farm laws to encourage agri-businesses to determine impacts on small farmers
Close
At the heart of the conflict is an acute trust deficit, a deepening mistrust of the nexus between untrammelled State power and big business (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
At the heart of the conflict is an acute trust deficit, a deepening mistrust of the nexus between untrammelled State power and big business (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

The anti-corporate texture of farm protests

UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:38 AM IST
It is symbolic of a wider discontent against emerging market monopolies and fears of this being replicated in the agricultural sector
Close
Countries concerned about China’s dominance are likely to prioritise strategic implications of investments over India’s economic inefficiencies (AP)
Countries concerned about China’s dominance are likely to prioritise strategic implications of investments over India’s economic inefficiencies (AP)

Weaning away foreign investment from China

By Manoj Kewalramani
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 07:29 PM IST
Capitalising on emergent geopolitical trends entails working with like-minded partners focusing on sectors with national security implications
Close
Despite all efforts, the gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a fraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined from 0.8% in 2010 to 0.6% in 2018. It has been hovering around this level for more than two decades. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Despite all efforts, the gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a fraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined from 0.8% in 2010 to 0.6% in 2018. It has been hovering around this level for more than two decades. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

To truly become self-reliant, invest in research and development

By Rahul Mazumdar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 08:30 PM IST
India has always been found lacking in terms of academia-industry linkages. This is a bedrock in developed economies.
Close
The British Raj responded as it did in Champaran 104 years ago. Swaraj must do likewise and enter its 75th year with the glow of the health and happiness of farmers on its forehead. This is its “indigo moment”. (Sameer Sehgal/HTPhoto)
The British Raj responded as it did in Champaran 104 years ago. Swaraj must do likewise and enter its 75th year with the glow of the health and happiness of farmers on its forehead. This is its “indigo moment”. (Sameer Sehgal/HTPhoto)

Champaran to Singhu: A tale of two satyagrahas

PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 07:47 PM IST
To assuage the protesting farmers, the Centre must suspend the Acts indefinitely, refer demands to the Inter-State Council; and call a Parliament session
Close
When Facebook gains the data on a billion Indians, it will be able to hold the Indian government hostage too. It didn’t dare to pull this stunt in Europe because of the General Data Protection Regulations (AP)
When Facebook gains the data on a billion Indians, it will be able to hold the Indian government hostage too. It didn’t dare to pull this stunt in Europe because of the General Data Protection Regulations (AP)

At the mercy of big tech billionaires

By Vivek Wadhwa
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 07:46 PM IST
India needs stringent data protection laws. It also needs to encourage its tech industry to develop competitive social media products
Close
Data as a beneficial good is also covered in the Economic Survey 2019, which proposed that data gathered by governments on issues of social interest ought to be democratised in the interest of social welfare, or made a public good (Indranil Bhoumik/mint)
Data as a beneficial good is also covered in the Economic Survey 2019, which proposed that data gathered by governments on issues of social interest ought to be democratised in the interest of social welfare, or made a public good (Indranil Bhoumik/mint)

Data can be an asset for governance, growth and public welfare

By Amitabh Kant and Desh Gaurav Sekhri
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 08:16 PM IST
Data is a critical component for measurable and actionable governance and policy perspectives, as well as for triggering innovation and growth
Close
Experts say preventing bird flu is not possible as little research has been done on the virus-carrying capability of migratory birds in CAF (Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Experts say preventing bird flu is not possible as little research has been done on the virus-carrying capability of migratory birds in CAF (Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Handling the avian flu crisis | HT Editorial

PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 08:00 PM IST
2021 has started with an unprecedented bird flu epidemic in India, causing the death of thousands of wild and poultry birds in 10 states and bleeding the fast-growing poultry industry for a second time over the past year
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP