Life is Precious to All...

Jun 1, 2010

It is generally said ‘there are lies, damn lies and statistics’.   But statistics do give an insight into a number of issues concerning all issues that deal with our lives.  With two major accidents in the month of May, one air and one train, one is bound to get sickened when discussions repeatedly hover around accidents and deaths.  At the same time it has to be accepted that one cannot run away from reality.  Now you will know why I talk about statistics because numbers are a better way of putting any risk into a perspective. 

Statistics tell that at least 13 people die every hour in accidents on Indian roads.  An equally large number of people die in railway accidents, some of which are accidentsl and some sabotaged.  Accidents, to say in other words, are common to all means of transports, road, rail, water and air in which precious human lives are lost. Then there are killings, tragedies arising out of natural calamities, terrorist activities and violence bigoted by secessionist groups like the Maoists who have been unleashing a series of violent activities these days aimed at inflicting a crushing blow to the country’s security forces.  I cannot help but recall the gruesome killing of 76 security persons a cold blooded attack by Maoist in Dantewada district on April 18 this year which was soon followed by killing of another 30 special police officers and civilians following a landmine blowing of a civilian bus in Chhattisgarh on May 17.  Now the bus tragedy in Chitradurga has claimed another 30  odd precious lives. But these killings did not stir the consciousness of the people like the way the Mangalore air crash tragedy did. 

The recent train derailment in West Bengal causing loss of lives of huge magnitude is one such example. In the month of May alone nearly 250 people have died in train accidents alone.  Unfortunately, while the plane crash in Mangalore that killed 158 people triggered panic all over the world leaving a question mark on the air travel safety in our country there seems to be no hue or cry following the train tragedy in West Bengal that resulted in the death of almost similar number of people killed in Mangalore air crash.  One fails to understand why this duplicity when in comes to the question of death?   Why that air crash is invites international and national attention and creates so much hallaballoo. 

While my condolences are with the families of the air crash victims and with due apologies to all I just want to ask whether we were over reactive or over sensitive with regard to the air crash in Mangalore.  Of course the awareness and media coverage created a panic kind of situation and people are more sensitive to risks which are calamitous where people are killed all at once in a moment of few seconds than when it comes to where deaths are spread out.  This also applies to the recent train accident of West Bengal or the Dantewada killings, which did not elicit the kind of emotional outbursts witnessed during the air crash from the media as well as from the general public.  The Chitradurga bus accident where 30 people were burnt alive is again viewed as something normal. 

While the plane crash was an accident, whatever might be the causes, the other two incidents that resulted in precious lives being lost, were acts of sabotage.  The Security forces that were killed in Maoist attacks were involved in the sacred duty of defending our country and paid with their lives while on duty.  But how many of us cried over their death or shared the grief of their families.  The news of their killings did not even deserve a second glance in many of us leave alone creating any sympathy or grief for the bereaved families.  No politicians lined up to visit the sight of the killings  (except P Chidambaram offering to resign) and knowing exactly what went wrong resulting in such a tragedy.

In this backdrop I am just dumbfounded by some of the views expressed by so called expert, frequent fliers and the general public.  The Mangalore air crash was a major air crash in almost a decade and people find fault with everything from the runway to the table top airport to pilot error and every other conceivable error that led to the crash.  And people are talking about the need to shift the airport, creating a new one and deciding not to fly by Air India Express and such other inane talks which are more of emotional outbursts  and immature.   There was someone saying that some pilots and airhostesses were refusing to fly to Mangalore which is considered to be a difficult terrain by them.

Suppose we apply such logic to soldiers refusing to go to the battle field for fear of death.  Imagine what would be the fate of a country if that becomes a reality.  What if Indian soldiers refuse to go to Siachen Glacier or to Jammu and Kashmir because of the risk factor involved?   Imagine if our soldiers had refused to fight in the Kargil war fearing death or if NGS had failed to carry out operations in the 26/11 Mumbai attack.!!!

We all know that every job comes with the risk factor and before choosing the profession one is aware of the dangers involved.  Refusing to fly to any particular terrain after obtaining a secure job is an act of cowardice and opportunism. Just come to think of it.  Can we stop using transport service because so many people in India die in road accidents? Should we suggest shifting of all the railway tracks involved in accidents?  Will people stop using cars or two-wheelers which are prone to more and more accidents?

I think all lives are sacred and one cannot claim immunity from death.  As it is said ‘there is only one certainty in life.  But those who fly by air are not justified in creating a situation as if only their lives are precious.  Every death, be it by air, rail, road or sea brings about loss of precious lives and grief to the surviving families. People do everything just to live.  Agreed!  By putting forth this view I might be dubbed as being insensitive to the air crash tragedy, which is not true.    I am just being reasonable by saying that we should at least be practical and rationale.  While reacting with grief and shock it would be a greater disaster if we let that overwhelm our good sense and reasoning power. 

Opinion by Florine Roche
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Comment on this article

  • Lavin Noronha, Paladka/Bahrain

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Mr. Ayyub, Mangalore: Qatar, why did u just pointed out only USA and Israel, why your finger didn't point at our immediate neighbor Pakistan, which is the cradle of terrorists. Let's have same yard stick to everyone.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    With all the bad news of plane crashes due to many reasons, still flying is far safer than any other
    mode of transportation. death per billion passenger kilometers.

    Air 0.05
    Bus 0.4
    Rail 0.6
    Van 1.2
    Water 2.6
    Car 3.1
    Bicyle 44.6
    Foot 54.2
    Motorcycle 108.9

    Death per billion passenger hours.

    Bus 11.1
    Rail 30.00
    Air 30.08
    Water 50.00
    Van 60.00
    Car 130.00
    Foot 220.00
    Bicycle 550.00
    Motorcycle 4840.00

  • adshenoy, mangloor

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Reality of life- well narrated Florine.

  • Esty, kinnigoli / Kuwait.

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    More technology unearthed!! the more bodies earthed!! Its directly proportional.

  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Excellent article. Thought provoking i can go to the extent to say a paradigm shift to our thoughts. Many days back same views i expressed to one of the article, i dont know how many have read it. Media covers mostly negative things,which can attract the attention of the masses. Its high time to think the ripple effect.
    I strongly recommend people who always speak the negatives to read out books by Nepolean Hill, Norman Vincent Peal, Dr Wayne and of many such great authors.
    While we speak about 158 deaths in the air crash we forget 8 of them survived, We condemn the Airways, Runway and even the pilot. Remember even if its the mistake of the pilot still his family lost him! He too lost his life! What do you think he was not serious about flying?
    Many a times we dont have control over everything. Thats where the religion gives the answer.
    By expressing negative thoughts, speaking and writing negatives which can only effect our life and also creates a panic situation.Let us learn to face the reality.
    One more thing, Please dont underestimate our country there are so many weak points to mention at the same time its a country which is progressing at rapid speed.
    Only when we are proud about our own nation we develop the positive thoughts. lets start sharing positive things and critisize constructively.
    Once again million thanks to you Florine.

  • Ahmed, Mangalore / Doha

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Excellent article!! Very Very Sensible!!!! This article reminded me of my conversation with my aunt after the air crash. She was telling me that air crashes are becoming frequent in recent times, so i better use railway for commuting. Couple of days later, this train tragedy. Bottom line is, your death is written when you were born including the time and place of death. Mowth Kheech Laati hai!!

  • chethan nayak, mangalore

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Others Life is not at all precious to politicians. Our life has no value and all of us are surviving only because of luck. We can read in the news papers many deaths are due to accidents , terrorists, natural diastures,public systmem failures but ultimately Govt is counting componsation money.The moment they visit the site and componsation and presss conferance will be the value for human life. The Govt will never think about public life. Recently Many Police people, military soldiers are died in India due the negligence of Goverment in maintaining Internal and external security and no preventive action from Govt. The entire story ended with one press confernace ,photo session and decalring componsation (out of common mans tax money not single ruppe from thier pocket)and allegation on other political party then it becomes cold. Again it repeats and same story starts. Our politiacal system never allow strict action on any tragidies due to its own reason and security of human life has no importance at all. May be increase in population has resulted in more supply than demand and no commodites.

  • James Dsouza, Mangalore / Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Very true, life is precious to all, Ever since the homohabilis started 3 million years ago, humans have never looked back, they have gone to moon,built space station in spite of space shuttle disaster, measured the and studied the life under the oceans, there is nothing which can stop human progress, no disaster - no tragedy life must go onlearning the lessons from the horrific tragedy that struck mangalore and keeping the departed in our prayers and memories- they gave their today for our progress tomorrow. Let us control our anger and conquer our fear to change the course of life.

  • Antony Herbert Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney,Australia

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Couldn`t agree with you more Florine Roche - so true, what you say! Enjoyed reading your aticle, as always best wishes and regards.

  • Janet D'souza, Mangalore/Abu Dhabi

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    I couldn't agree with you more Florine. Brilliant thoughts about the precious life of one and all. I admire your rational and bold thinking. While some saw the negative angle of the recent air crash in Mangalore, you tried to remain objective about this. Excellent write up. Keep writing. I am your fan.

  • Ayyub, Mangalore: qatar

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    Florin Roche, your 200% correct, if you ask me I would say that travelling through air is the most fastest and safest. If you look at the statistics, the percentage of death by airborne accidents is much less than Road or Railways (if India has any records for that matter). Yes air borne accidents are increasing now a days but all of them cannot be claimed as accidents, a terrorist strike on a airplane should be termed as a murder and not accident
    Well I cant blame all on the radical groups, bcos they were not born as terrorist, but some nations like US, Israel are indirectly resp for thier existence.

    thier attrocities towards poor nations have given birth to these evil minded radical groups which we call as terrorists groups.

    But I still feel that air travel has been and will be the best medium of transportation for long distance journeys.

  • Dass, Dubai

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    One fails to understand why the Indian govt is so soft on Nexalists even after so many loss of lives,

  • Ozee, Bellore, Dubai

    Tue, Jun 01 2010

    I am not a good writer So, waiting for someone to write this reality! Florine, you have done this great job! If someone critisize you for this article, face it because some people are not ready to listen to the truth!

    It is really sad to observe some of the strange comments on AIE Crash in Mangalore (I too lost my loved ones in the crash) - one of them was blaming expatriate pilots. Guys, have you forgotten that the expatriate pilot who died in the crash, served the airline industry for several years like an angel? Didn't he command the aircraft and carry thousands of passengers from one destination to the other for all these years? Emotions are sometimes uncontrallable, which agreed and accepted but let us not behave illiterate when we know to write English! The world community is watching us and may are reading all these comments. Do not become a reason to bring unpleasant behaviour between the races at the cost of air crash victims! God bless.

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