Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mumbai Blasts - Resilience and Mourning

MUMBAI BLASTS - The Resilience and Mourning

Any tragedy throws up its own angels and demons, bringing out the best and the worst in the human society in which it happens. They also provides an occasion to ponder upon ourselves, for it forces us to face ourselves in all the starkness. The Mumbai serial blasts (pet named '7/11' by the media) is one such moment.

It was a virtual scramble for images and news in the beginning with all the channels vying with each other in 'breaking news'. (Even hours after the event, the channels were not unanimous about the number of blasts. While some channels claimed 8 others went on with 7. So much for our metro channels and their professionalism) Then started the first person accounts and survival stories about official indifference, rages at the lack of a disaster management system, the fate of the Mumbaikars to take charge of things, their courage and camaraderie, followed by stories of their instant but imaginative and deeply humane rescue operations. After all the gory images and the chaos that reigned everywhere was a sudden shift to praises about the 'resilience' of Mumbaites; their ability to get back to 'normalcy', with the trains back on rails with the usual crowds and congestion, and the commuters crowding them is as if nothing has ever happened. It seemed we were celebrating our ability to forget.

If one looks beyond 'resilience', one is outraged and shocked by the ability of a society to attain 'normalcy' so soon, which in other words, is only an indicator of our insensitiveness. It is inhuman to be normal so soon after such a tragedy. What is forgotten in this is the helplessness of those commuters (those 'victims of resilience') who have no other way but to catch their daily trains the very next day to earn their daily bread. They can neither afford to mourn nor force the system to do so. Even when one is overwhelmed by the courage of the average Mumbaite to face such situations, one should also not forget the fact that if he or she is risking his/her life everyday, it means they can't afford to stay back; for them, staying back means loss of daily bread. Nor are they capable of forcing the system to put mechanisms of public security and accountability in place. As a result, in our country, tragedies have become crises to be managed and overcome by the victimized and the affected themselves. And, a terrible event like this becomes a mere collection of 190-odd personal tragedies, to be faced, suffered, mourned and experienced solely by those affected by the death or injury of their dear ones. It is a 'resilience' that cannot literally afford to mourn. To mourn is to remember and pay respectful homage to the departed. More importantly mourning is not to dwell upon the wound and call for revenge, but an essentially social and personal process of internal and external healing and overcoming. But our society does not seem to have the time or patience for public mourning, to create social occasions of remembering the dead and raise human/e memorials for them – emotional as well as real. We only wait for another tragedy to occur to wake us up to yet another celebration of resilience.


Blogger mks said...

Great blog Venkity!

i've p(a)osted a few lines from this entry and created a link to it, in my blog entry.


11:32 AM  

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