Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Monday, May 26, 2008

disastrous news

Recent weeks saw yet another spate of disastrous cyclones and earthquakes hit parts of our planet. Huge loss of human life, destruction everywhere. Like everyone else, I watched the images flash on the TV screen and newspapers. Many made emotional statements. I watched with horror and waited.

As expected, the images soon gave way to fresher and more interesting news. It's as though the world needs new images of horror on a regular basis. And of course the media is ready to procure these and oblige.

Doublespeak and crimes against humanity has occured through the ages and encomapssed all races. Today heart rending images are flashed and changed for our benefit. It is calculated to sway our emotions and make us react without pausing to rationalise.

Yes, Hitler mass eliminated Jews duirng the War.

But such cases of genocide have occured many times. Natural disasters, too, can happen at any time and anywhere. They spare nobody. Why is it that some tragedies are remembered again and again and universally condemned.

Why do we choose to downplay the millions of deaths in the man made Bengal Famine?

Why does the world choose to deny by a resounding silence, the existence of Darfur?

Why have we already almost forgotten the cyclone in Myanmar or the bomb blasts in New Delhi's Sarojini Nagar?

There are many such instances . We cannot be selective in our condolences and condemnations, and then move on to the next disaster as though seeking variety and novelty. What today's media needs are more voices of clear reason and objectivity


Pradeep said...

The worst part is Burma (Myanmar). There is the administration is so restrictive, that a number of people have died by human callousness. China is far different now, they allowed outsiders like never before... When such tragedies strike, the only way out is to accept it, and carry on with life...

monideepa sahu said...

You're right Pradeep, about accepting and carrying on. what I wonder about is why we are made to remember certain terrbile events like the Holocaust and 9/11 repeatedly, while other disasters are forgotten.

rajiv said...

Thanks for the article/post Moni. Some of your Ideas are controversial, but I like it.

"I wonder about is why we are made to remember certain terrible events like the Holocaust and 9/11 repeatedly, while other disasters are forgotten."
You have got a strong point here.
One essential difference is that these were perpetuated by men who acted upon ‘certain belief’ -on the other hand the present tragedies were due to unforeseen natural causes.

A few days back I was having a discussion with no less then a giant of hindi literature, and topic veered into Gandhi and Tagore. Me at the defense as I was defending Gandhi with the excuse that I will choose the moral and forgiving over the obvious and commonsensical if asked to choose among the two views.
Well to my surprise he closed the line, and I had a hard time convincing that it has nothing to do with superstition or divine punishment, but rather it asks us to manifest order, Inner order to be precise, and there is no other way to bring oneself upon it.
I don’t mind fasting for a day for the suffering and the dead.

Here I want to share a story narrated by Richard Wilhelm who lived and wrote extensively about the Chinese culture.

He writes “When I was In china a certain region was experiencing a great drought The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result. Finally the Chinese said: We will fetch the rain maker. And from another province, a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day clouds gathered and there was a great snowstorm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rain maker that I went to ask the man how he did it.
In true European fashion I asked: "They call you the rain maker, will you tell me how you made the snow?" And the little Chinaman said: "I did not make the snow, Its not possible that I a mere human can make such things." "But what have you done these three days?" "Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordnance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I am also not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao, and then naturally the rain came."


monideepa sahu said...

Good anecdotes, Rajiv. Thanks for dropping by and sharing