Children dying of negligence: Is indifference our common trait?

Children dying of negligence: Is indifference our common trait?

Not a week goes by when we don’t lose a child to an open or abandoned borewell, well or a lift shaft. You have had a Darawath, Kirtan, Amit and more recently Mahi and Nakul.

Gujarat to Kolkata, Kurukshetra to Bangalore, no state authority or construction baron seems to be taking serious measures to keep children away from these jaws of death.

It is clearly amazing that we as a nation seem to be afflicted by a disease called gross negligence. What then could be the reason for this abominable apathy? Does it take much for the authorities to take action on abandoned or defunct borewells? In February 2010, the apex court had directed all the state governments to cap all the abandoned borewells and fixed the deadline as three months. Subsequently, in an order passed in July of the same year they had made the chief secretaries personally accountable for failure to implement the norms. Two years thence, some of the government authorities seem to have woken up from a long slumber only after young Mahi became the latest in the ever growing statistics in systematic lethargy.

Closer home, little Nakul fell into the lift shaft of a semi constructed building and died after drowning in  a 6 feet water collected in the same. He had a miraculous escape just a few days earlier when he was rescued from the same lift shaft in which he had fallen. But the second time around, it was not to be. Such an unnecessary waste of a precious life!  Why did the builder not take immediate action after the first accident or why did the parents not press the case?

In June 2010, young Sanjana lost her life when a semi constructed wall of veterinary college collapsed on her. Two years on, the prime accused in the collapse case is still outside the purview of any investigation, the newspaper reports claim.

Different place

It is indeed sad that the culprits don’t lose a single day’s sleep over purported crime but for the family there is no closure. There was a time when many lived by the adage, ‘once bitten, twice shy’, but today the world is a different place.  But is it only today? The lorries which has rods sticking out precariously do so on a regular basis causing major accidents on road. I remember witnessing a gruesome accident during my youth and now a couple of decades later, my friend’s daughter succumbed to similar such accident.

We as a race are indifferent with many of the things which should be taken seriously. We feel so invincible until the unthinkable happens to us or our dear ones. We don’t hesitate to travel in a rattle trap of death which goes by the nomenclature of a bus particularly when we are travelling in remote temple towns. The religious fervour in us may make us feel invincible as we are on our way to see God! How many times young parents bemoan the fact that they had witnessed the driver of the school van driving fast or that the school refused to hire a help to help board the little ones?

Using of mobile phones while driving, toddlers being seated in the front seat without a baby seat and packing children like sardines in mini school buses are all common everyday sights with most of us doing next to nothing after witnessing such everyday hazards. Why are the authorities and common man not raising their voices loud and clear when they see things that are not right happening?  The other day when the suicide of the live-in help of an affluent family made headlines, you have a ‘well-meaning’ neighbour who says that “he thought things would settle down but alas she paid with her life!”
Excuse me why did he/she not do anything about the same when he/she could? Why wait for unfairness to give some sound byte?

A builder who has been grossly negligent in not having proper fire escape system in place in one of his commercial buildings in Bangalore is constructing more and more while the victim’s family is still trying to come to terms with their loss. All the above speaks sadly about vested interests given priority over conscience governance. There is no clear law laid down be it in traffic, construction, infrastructural disorder and more importantly punishments in place for those who break the law.

The list goes on...

Napolean once said, “The world suffers a lot. Not because of violence of bad people but because of the silence of good people.” I think we can safely rephrase and say that we are suffering not only because of lack of effective governance but because of the silence among the citizens against poor governance and wrong doers who cause more accidents to others by their actions or lack of it.

All the above is because many of the infractions happen because many of them allow Mammon to rule them instead of letting conscience take predominance over self. It is high time we let some passion, sensitivity and compassion to permeate our lives.

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