Saturday, August 19, 2006

Shorter memories and growing resilience

Despite what all the psychoanalysts (and psychologists, in case they are a different set) say .. I am firmly of the belief, that public memory is generally shortlived ...

There are innumerable examples, right before our eyes ... issues that had taken us all by storm- made front page news for days together - taken up valuable (ha !) Parliament time ... just gone .. POOF .... vanished into thin air !

Whether it is the scams, the rackets, the burning social issues, the natural disasters, the infrastructural failures, exposed corruption ... whatever the issue, sooner or later, we have forgotten them, moved on and claim to have become "wiser" and more "resilient" with the experience !

I think there's more to it than just that. I feel it's a way of insulating ourselves from the "bad" things that have happened. Much like having an attitude of "Let's put all this behind us and look ahead and move forward ..."

Sure, one must always keep looking forward - but as it has been wisely said, "Those who forget History, are condemned to repeat it !" Not that we need to keep looking over our shoulder, but what amazes me is the way in which we "bounce back"(pretty much like the Sensex, that crashed to sub-9000 levels and then is back at 11500 levels to smash the Cassandras).

Look at what we've been through .. and honestly, ask yourselves ... do you really know what eventually happened to .... the Harshad Mehta Stock scam ... the Fodder scam ... the Telgi Stamp paper scam ... the Tehelka scam ... the Kargil Coffin scam ... the Diesel adulteration scam ... the Milk adulteration racket ... the post-26/7 Disaster management plan ... the actual benefits of the plastic ban ... the great Bombay First plan ... the Dance Bar-girl rehab plan ... the Ghatkopar Bomb blast case ... the call-center girls' security issue .... the list is endless !

I wonder if any one of us even remembers (as far back as) the 1984 riots ! ... and I don't even want to venture further back ... into investigating Subhash Chandra Bose's and Lal Bahadur Shastri's deaths !

Another thing I have noticed is that the moment we have a scam that breaks out into the open - we immediately, as an official response, get a "committee" to investigate into it !

Answer me these ...
- How many conclusive (or for that mater, inconclusive) reports do you recall having seen or read ???
- Why aren't these reports made public - after all it IS in the Public Interest, right ?
- Why doesn't the Government post these on the Internet ?

There is just no accountability ... we have had 7 blasts less than a month back across the city, great big brouhaha .. big noise .. VIP visits (which upset the administrative framework even more) and then what ?? ... an investigative committee (or ATS, whatever), which is still struggling to get leads !

Look at the British intelligence ... Hat's off to them !

They caught the guys BEFORE they blew up the airplanes .. and here we are .. 6 weeks later .. and still sifting for clues ! It's probably no wonder, why James Bond is such a cult figure - after all he was (is ?) a British agent !

I read Shobha De mention that the less said about Mumbai's spirit of resilience and ability to bounce back, the better. She's right ! We need to be really angry at what has happened to us ... and not sleepwalk around saying .. "Well, this is life .. and we need to get on with it !"

The general public likes to get over things quickly especially if they are negative thoughts (a good thing in a twisted way, though). But it seems to be more of a question of "mind over matter" ... if you don't mind, well .. it doesn't matter !

Well ... and that's how I feel ...

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