Is Moral Responsibility at its Lowest Ebb Everywhere?
By Florine Roche
Daijiworld Media Network
Nov 13: The murder of two youngsters in Mumbai last month while trying to defend their girlfriends from sexual harassment by rogue elements, is still fresh in our the minds for a number of things that are wrong and reprehensible. The brazen or the cold-blooded manner in which the youngsters were mowed down in full public glare has led to an anguished public debate on the prevailing trend of people’s insensitivity, indifference and the ‘who cares’ attitude. Such an attitude has become commonplace in today’s society dominated by the consumerist and greedy culture. This is true not only about our country but also of other countries which have an emerging and burgeoning middle class and an ever growing list of millionaires.
The Mumbai incident is no doubt unfortunate and the entire nation shares the grief of the families who have lost their brave sons who were on the threshold of a promising life ahead. There have been messages galore in Facebook and Twitter as many youngsters used them to convey their anguish, frustration and grief over the incident. Newspapers and news channels also covered the issue extensively to stir people’s consciousness. The fact that hundreds of people were watching this incident of Mumbai as if they were watching a movie and none coming to their help has stirred the collective consciousness of this nation.
It is easy to express anguish over Facebook/Twitter and other modes of modern communication. While it is easy to criticize the bystanders who witnessed this incident, people need to ask themselves before criticizing others, how willing they would have been to go to rescue the boys who were attacked risking their own lives in those prevailing circumstances. Life is the most precious things that people value and imagine trying to intervene into the gang of 20 something weapon wielding youngsters. No doubt death is certain to everyone and any one would prefer an instant death to becoming a vegetable if given a choice.
Nevertheless, nothing is certain especially in a gang war and those who criticize and try to preach (including me) should ask what would have been their response if they were to be bystanders to the Mumbai incident? Some soul searching is needed in a situation like this especially, if we are to consider what would have been the fate of the person who intervened and suppose say got injured in the process? Who would have taken care of him or her or their family if something were to go wrong? It is also true any of us might face such an insidious situation and we are bound to get a similar response because today’s society does remain what it was. We have to be prepared for it. When martyrs like Gajendra Singh, Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Tukaram Omble, Hemant Karkare and many others have paid with their lives in the Mumbai incident to save the public and are almost waning from our memories, what would become of ordinary mortals or brave hearts that might have risked their lives and intervened in that Mumbai incident?
However, it does not mean to say I concur with what transpired or approve of the unfortunate events or the loss of lives in the recent Mumbai incident. I am merely trying to be practical under the given the circumstances. It also does not mean to say I am not affected by the insensateness regnant in our society, which is becoming more and more nonchalant and apathetic on issues like this, which is a cause of concern to all of us. As a citizen, it does concern me that people are become quite self-centric and insensate.
In the recent past there have a plethora of incidents in our country clearly demonstrating that we are becoming a selfish lot, too preoccupied with our own lives and events. There may be a dozen or more reasons for us to justify or to condone such a tendency. The television picture of the policeman in Tamilnadu who was brutally assaulted by a gang in broad day light a few months ago seeking help is still etched in my memory. Even a politician whose vehicle passed that policeman ignored his entreaty for help and so did the general public. Here the assailants had run away and there was no risk of life for those who would have come to his help but it did not happen.
Another brutal incident which exposed people’s insensitivity is the one that occurred in Coimbatore in July this year. Santhosh, the victim, was done to death when four men who had argued with him in a bar and had followed him out on the street, ran the two- wheeler over him and kicked him repeatedly before smashing his head with a stone. The incident was captured entirely by CC TV and the police who saw the footage revealed that many passersby were spectators of this gruesome incident but none had come forward to rescue this young boy in his early 30’s. Here too, it was a fist and leg fight and there was no danger lurking to the public if they had intervened collectively because the drunken youth did not have weapons and a group of few people could have stopped that mayhem and a precious life could have been saved. This incident clearly exhibits the waning insensitivity of our society, especially among the educated and the affluent sections of the society.
Take another incident closer home i.e in the IT city of Karnataka, Bangalore. In September this year 28 year old Arjun Hari Nair who was waiting for an auto one late evening was hit by a high speed taxi driven by a rash KSTDC taxi driver Dasharath Singh. Neither the driver Singh nor the high profile passenger of the taxi Kiran, an IBM employee, who was returning from a business trip to Europe, stopped to check on the victim, or call the police or ambulance service and admit him to the hospital. Unfortunately for Arjun struggled for life on the street and bled to death as even the passerby cars failed to take notice of him. Though an ambulance finally took him to the hospital, he died as it was too late by then. Doctors had said that timely medical help would have saved his life. Imagine an educated man (is such a person fit to be called educated) did not have the sensitivity to make a telephone call to the police or to the ambulance service. What worth are education, money, wealth and high profile jobs when people fail to be at least humane and considerate to a fellow human being?
While talking about our indifference I can’t help but write about the incident that occurred in China last month which has created such a furore not only in China but the world over. A two-year old was left dying in a hit and run case in broad day light in Southern China. The incident which was captured by a surveillance TV shows the horrifying incident in which more than a dozen people ignore a critically wounded two-year old Yueyue when she was lying in pain and agony in a busy street market in Foshan, Southern China. The passersby included many riders and pedestrians including a woman holding a small girl by the hand walking around indifferently, leaving the two-year old in a pool of blood which shows the moral decadence of the society everywhere.
This video of this incident which has been watched by over 1.5m times clearly shows that the toddler was first hit by a van driver, who stops precisely for a moment that moves on crushing her again under the rear wheels. The apparent indifference by passersby led to the toddler hit by a truck again. After almost 7 minutes it was a rag picker (not a well educated or someone with a high paid job) woman who screamed for help looking at the toddler in a pool of blood. The girl died as a result of the injury in the hospital later and even if alive she would have been in a vegetative state. But the Chinese people wondered why other well placed people in the society other than the rag-picker woman did not show minimum human courtesy towards the injured child? In this incident too, the risk factor for any Good Samaritan was least because there were no gun or knife wielding assailants.
Despite saying this, I must say this is more of an urban problem and rural populace still has that compassionate concern intact in them. But this urban decadence where money-mentality rules the roost is something we need to assay and act upon.
China Accident - Watch Video