Tragedy Business Post 26/11

Tragedies are business for some. With the hyper media jumping over every tragedy the game gets big. Every natural and human created disaster are blow over by the media. Of course it is discharging its primary responsibility. But its limits are crossed. The next big media blow will be 26/11 tragedy. The media will run blitzkrieg for a week starting tomorrow. What is wrong with this? Except perpetuating the bad memories media cannot play anything constructive on this issue. Those who have lost their precious near and dear ones get their sad memories back. There will be music shows, candle light vigils, interviews, floral tribute on the tragic spots and many more events will happen to recollect last year’s serial shoot outs. It is better to ignore the past bad ones and concentrate on the future security and social preparations to avert the mega tragedies. The Times of India writes on 24 November 2009 A year since 26/11 happened we as a nation are faced with the difficult question of how to deal with the terrible events of that day. Do we commemorate it as a day of mourning – as has happened with 9/11 – or do we make peace with the past and move on? Such questions are not easily answered, and the response will vary from person to person. For those who lost someone close in the terror attacks or those who were front-row witnesses to the carnage, 26/11 will remain imprinted in their minds for a long time to come if not a lifetime. But for those who followed the events on television or through newspapers, their relation to the Mumbai terror attacks is likely to be much more distant and detached. Arguably the Indian perspective on negative events, such as 26/11, is quite different from the rest of the world. The West has a long tradition of observing negative anniversaries. This could be traced to the Jewish philosophy best summed up by the phrase, ‘lest we forget’. Thus the Holocaust is such a central part of Jewish identity and being. There are many such negative events, including 9/11, which have a special place in the western calendar. In contrast, Indian philosophy lays a far greater emphasis on the dictum, ‘lest we remember’. That is why Indians have a low social memory when it comes to dark deeds and violence. We like to believe that our past has been one of non-violence and peaceful coexistence even though this is palpably untrue. Our histories tend to elide over the violence perpetrated by kings or negative aspects of their character, whereas revisionism is such a rage in the West. This makes the art of forgetting, and indeed forgiving, easier for us. This attitude has perplexed outsiders, particularly Europeans steeped in traditions of recording events from the mundane to the extraordinary. The British would often complain that Indians had no sense of history and set things right by documenting every aspect of Indian life and society. But it’s not that we don’t have an idea of history, only that it is liberally infused with mythology. While forgetting and crowding out negative events is in our DNA, that is of course something not applicable to the government. Instead of commemorating 26/11, it’s the government and the security agencies’ responsibility to remember and act on the lessons from the Mumbai terror attacks. By better policing and intelligence gathering they must ensure that a 26/11 isn’t repeated.


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