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Heartless City & Its Callous Police
The TV interview of the companion of the rape victim, who died in Singapore, doesn’t cover the city or its citizens or its police force with glory. As per press reports, he said: “We didn’t have clothes, we were not able to stand and there were people passing by... They could have taken us to hospital, given us clothes in that crucial one and a half hours. For a dying person, every minute is important,” he said, adding that even when the police finally took them to hospital, “no one even brought us a blanket”.
Take, first, the metropolis of India.
Delhi is notorious for being a cold city. No, I’m not referring to its current bone-numbingly chilly weather. It is really cold in terms of relationships and fellow-feelings. You’ll understand me if you’ve ever lived in Kolkata, compared to which it is a soulless city. (Remember Dominique Lapierre and his novel City of Joy dealing with the rural farmer, Hasari Pal and his search for a better life.) India’s metropolis has a stand-and-stare-but-stir-not culture if you’re in need of help. Ask any accident victim or a stranger.
Delhi Police is not only curt and gruff but can be positively hostile in dealing with citizens in distress. The country’s police force was created by the British to strike terror among the ruled, perpetuate the raj and create a class of most obedient servants. In the post-Independence period, they have, basically, continued with the same outlook. The public perception is – and there’re good reasons for it – that the two main functions of the force, today, are VIP protection and hafta collection and, if there’s still some time left, do whatever possible to throw their weight around. Your first reaction on sighting a policeman is to avoid the creature as for as possible.
Next, why don’t citizens come forward in case of accidents to help the victims? Our hopelessly dated criminal-legal procedure makes people reluctant to offer help. They are worried that they would be harassed by the police, would be repeatedly asked to visit the police station and the courts. Hence, they avoid getting involved.
Time to Say Goodbye
You must have, like me, wondered of late what on earth fiscal cliff is and what, in God’s name, does YOLO mean? By excessive over-use certain words and phrases tend to get on your nerves. Yes, both literally and figuratively. Good that Michigan's Lake Superior State University prepares every year a recommendatory list of words to be banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.
Rahul Baba’s Silence
The one question exercising every Delhite in the last few weeks was ‘Where is Rahul Baba?’ There have been such ghastly developments and he hasn’t breathed a word. Such tight-lipped stance is unbecoming of the heir-apparent. Won’t his carping critics – and there’s no dearth of them – construe his silence as callous unconcern with what happens around us.
There was earlier a school of thought that believed in leadership theorem of ‘lead from the front’. Some experts now advocate it’s better to lead from behind. That’s what Rahul Baba is seems to be doing.
Slippery Uncle Sam
We are, come to think of it, an excessively emotional people. Our attachments are deep-rooted and we treat human interactions as sacrosanct. But the tragedy is we transpose this trait in the ever-changing, highly volatile area of foreign policy where yesterday’s friend may be today’s sworn enemy and today’s adversary, tomorrow’s bosom pal.
Public Service Journalism
You must have wondered at times if public service journalism can survive in these times and in this age. Yes, it can. And also play with good luck a formidably powerful role.
Secret of Healthy Aging
New Scientist tells us “Japan leads the way in healthy aging.” Life expectancy at 82.6 years is enviable indeed. It’s not just the life span but healthy life expectancy too. So what’s their secret? A University of Tokyo team made a study and found availability of antihypertensive medicines and reduced salt consumption appear to have played a role.
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01/08/2013 23:00 PM
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