Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tragedy

I was out of station for GATE exam. duty when the news of Pune blast broke. Our immediate reaction was to find if our relatives staying in Pune are alright. Yes, they are safe. A sense of relief descended. It is ironical as if the tragedy belongs to somebody else, family members of those nine who died in the blast. India is vast country. Everyday somewhere or the other there is disturbence and people die. Can we take notice of each one of them? After all, we also have a right to enjoy life! That goes the logic. We don't realize till our own house is set on fire! Somebody from our own family or community gets hurt. We feel frustrated, angered ... others remain indifferent as usual...ultimately, it becomes a personal tragedy and there is no collective, conscious, cohesive effort to address why this is happening, what is needed to solve this, what role I can play. Patriotism is now placed to history book which is not to be taken seriously as competitive exam. have different syllabi. Independence Day and Republic Day are now marked for shopping festivals. The handful that attend the ceremonial parade are more concened to get their attendance recorded in teacher's register and leave at the earliest opportunity. Community service, to work for the underprivileged, to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots are not well explained, neither one tried to understand that - Me as a parent, Me as a teacher are only concerned about how well my ward are making good career progress. It is least of my concern how well he is integrating with the society at large. In some cases I as a guardian would like to keep him centred around few things and limit his interest in other things ... saying, it is a selfish world, my child!

If above is the analysis of my sense of relief after the phone call, we were surprised yesterday evening on reaching IITkgp campus after completing our outstaion job. It was a hectic schdule for all of us to conduct a national level entrance exam. at state capital, many of us had to skip formal lunch. A silent candle-lit procession of students stopped our vehicle. One of my collegue in the bus started wondering. Is it the anniversary of the student who died last year? The other said - No, it was not on Valentine's Day. The third said - Could it be a new expression for V-Day? But they would be anything but silent. As we descended from bus one Prof. of our Dept. told - Do you know ... it was in memory of Ankik Dhar, our E&ECE student graduated last year. Nobody can forget Ankik, that smiling face .. now in first page of many newspaper, flooding internet sites. That is the time we felt terror at our door step. Checked our E&ECE faculty mail. Members of faculty mourning the death, HOD calling a condolence meeting. In our residential complex, one faculty griefed, lashed out that so much need to be done. Went to Ankik's orkut profile. Checked his photo album. Read the Scholaravenue obituary, and other write ups of his friends. Remember Ankik. Taught him in the class, lab. Watched his BTDS performance. Debated with him on various issues. The entire IIT community feels grieved.

The question remains unanswered - where do we go from here, why we remain oblivious till it hurts us personally?

5 comments:

मनीष कुमार said...

Respected Sir, you've expressed the same view-points as of mine. Since I'm weak in English, I didn't dare to write about Ankik. But after reading your blog, I can say, these are exactly those points, what I was thinking to write. We are not concerned unless our own house is set in fire, and that is TRUE in every sense. And this is the only reason that these few hundreds of people (coward terrorists) are ruling over 120 crores of Indians. Because we don't react unless our own family member(s) is one of those innocent victims. And at a time at most 100-200 families are there, rest of India is busy in enjoying their own lives. If we're going to behave in this manner only, the only way left out is to wait until our turn comes. Why not we (who are really concerned) start something (whatever that could be). Once we'll start, lot of people will join us. In today's date, people don't want to tak initiatives (at least in such social issues), but they are ready to follow once you start. This is what my experience says. Of course, I am a small child before you. Now only my family members would be the next victims, who are more closer than Ankik for me :(

gs said...

Thanks Manish for your comments. You may check two subsequent posts of mine. IITs have great potential as well as responsibility in ushering a change. Together we are a great force of immense reach. In our journey we can take along, work shoulder to shoulder with students of other colleges which try to emulate IITs. SF, Kshitiz, Shourya are fine. Why not a National Meet on this line where young India meets, shares experiences, debates, take affirmative actions and remains networked.
Yes, we all have a role to play. Two year mandatory NSS, NCC programs can be reoriented. You can find Major Sxxxx's view in the post titled 'Reaction'. I'll be happy to discuss with you activities already started by present batch of IITkgp NSS volunteers and the future ahead where we all seniors, alumni, teachers can contribute and work together towards a great wave of national resurgence.

मनीष कुमार said...

Respected Sir,

One of my friends said that nothing will happen even if we protest. But in my view, nothing will happen if we DON'T do anything. But if we react, WE WILL BRING THE CHANGE. I'm also planing, what WE (IITians and other such class of people) can do on this matter. I agree with your proposal. We must form such a group in all Institutes.

As I said earlier, many people are ready to do something, but they don't have any such platform and very few people have the guts to take initiatives. Once we'll start, I'm sure thousands of youths will join us within few days.

I'm ready to whatever will be possible for me. We must start something to give a positive direction to anger of youths before it cools-down and remains like this till next blast.

gs said...

Dear Manish,
I wish your friend reads this... appeared in today's newspaper published by Times of India group. The mobile mechanic could remain indifferent as many of us do and many more lives could have been gone. Every citizen has a role to play and need to remain alert. At the same time, it is the duty and responsibility of the privileged class (read IITians) to reach out to them, give them respect, work for their development and treat them as partner. The following link shows what an ex-iitian, and a ex-BESU are doing - an interaction with them when they visited IITkgp.
http://gskgp.blogspot.com/2008/03/afternoon-with-vinayak-our-alumnus-and.html
We have to scale this up. Outside IIT, the so-called ordinary youth are working in hundreds with full dedication. Then, why wont't we ... the most capable, the most resourceful. Check the link.
http://gskgp.blogspot.com/2009/12/abvymcamp2009.html
Now excerpts from today's newspaper
-----
Thank God for FM & a mobile mechanic

THE Rajasthan government has beefed up security for the first one-day international cricket match between India and South Africa here on Sunday following intelligence inputs confirming a terror threat to the match.
The threat of a possible terror attack follows a tip-off from a mobile mechanic of Gharsana in bordering district of Sri Ganganagar. The mechanic reported that he had overheard two people conspiring a terror attack in Jaipur during the ODI on his radio set when he was tuning in an FM channel. The mechanic rushed to the police station and informed officials about it. Senior officials from Border Security Force, Army Intelligence, IB, RAW and other intelligence agencies sprung into action and interrogated the mechanic thoroughly before confirming the report. There is possibility of overlapping of radio frequency as Gharsana is near the Pakistan border. We are looking into every aspect of this, said a senior intelligence officer.
-----
Salute to you, the mobile mechanic, the so-called common man of India!

Sujay said...

Gautam,
I understand your agony very well...teacher-student is also one of the most vibrant human relations. One has the dream, other has the experience to guide that dream to a destination. A successful student is also the teacher's success. News like this means a dream shattered. One more point, even it is not a teacher-student relation, news like these are quite unsettling. I remember an incident occured about a year back. As a daily passenger from my Howrah residence, I shared the journey with another person who too got down at UIuberia. One morning I was shocked to see the news that a railway acident occured not far from that residence where the person has been killed. I was shocked to see the photo even we did never even exchanged a word. This makes us awre how uncertain & unpredictable the life can be........