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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

17 July 2003

“The language of pain, like the language of smile, should have no boundaries.”

I couldn’t help admiring the sparkling wisdom behind these words. And the gentleman who uttered them is Dr. Shetty, CMD, Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital. Yes. Yes. The same hospital where the little angel from Pakistan had her open heart surgery. Thanks to the resumed bus service between Lahore and Delhi, the little girl, Noor Fatima, who came down to Bangalore for the surgery caught the media attention and subsequent public sympathy / goodwill in a big way. Dr. Shetty was quoted in Hindu, making his point about the importance of relaxing visa formalities at least on health grounds for needy patients.

It is often mentioned that the people to people vibes between India and Pakistan are always good and that it is murky politics, which is playing the spoil- sport in otherwise warm bilateral relations. One doesn’t know how long the prevailing bon-homie will last – but the girl has certainly generated lot of good will in India and across the borders in Pakistan as well.

I feel crisis has always brought out the best in us as human beings. I felt similar kind of good will was generated during the Gujarat earthquake three years back. People pitched in help from everywhere and every one tried to his or her tiny bit to alleviate the sorrow of those who lost kith & kin and home & hearth. I agree that there were lootings by unscrupulous individuals and management of the disaster was not exactly perfect. But by and large the tragedy brought out the humane side of us Indians.

Personally, when we were worried about a close friend and his family who lived in Ahmadabad, we caught hold of a contact found in a website. This person who lived in that city, had volunteered to assist anyone with the information of their relatives and friends by checking them up in their places. I sent an e-mail to him immediately to locate our friends. He visited that locality personally himself – all the telephone lines were dead – and wrote to us back the same day that our friends were safe. Amidst the chaos of collapsed buildings and debris, people went out of their way to help each other – irrespective of cost & creed.

But what puzzles me still is the way the same state was torn to pieces in communal violence just an year later, after the Godhra massacre.

What a contrasting image the state provided between these two instances of tragedies? Where did all the humanness disappear?

Do we always need a natural disaster to invoke the goodness in our collective consciousness?


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