The Age of No-Sense
AASHA MEHREEN AMIN
It is a generally known fact that a part of the aging process is cell destruction including the one that occurs in our brains. But to counter that, age is supposed to bring with it invaluable knowledge based on the vast experience that young ones do not possess. This may well be the only redeeming feature of having to live with progressive loss of hair, cartilage, muscle, bone, mental peace etc for the rest of one's life. It also means knowing simple things like when to cross the road, when to use footbridges when not to stand or sit on rail tracks. In the case of political leaders who are supposed to mentor their supporters and claim to have dedicated themselves to the masses it means that they at least do not endanger the lives of their potential voters.
So is it sheer naiveté or total disregard for human life that would make a leader who is popular enough to get thousands of people to come to listen to her speak, hold a rally dangerously close the railway tracks? With the usual blaring of microphones spewing out the ear-splitting speeches and the crowds spilling into the tracks, it was a tragedy waiting to happen. Eyewitnesses of the Sirajganj train tragedy have said that the express train did give the warning horn and the guard did wave the red flag. But who cares about those few whose lives or limbs were cut short in just a few seconds? Who cares about the scores of innocent passengers who were injured and looted when the train was attacked and then torched as an expression of public outrage?
Instead, our venerated leader chose to turn this tragedy into a political shenanigan claiming the whole thing was the government's attempt to foil the rally. The fact is she could have saved these lives and prevented the destruction of public property by holding the rally at a safer venue. It is hard to say whether such negligence comes from deteriorating brain cells or just the way we do politics here.
But disappearance of wisdom in grownups has become a bit of an epidemic lately. It would explain why people would decide to stand or sit on the rail tracks in the first place knowing full well that the train may come at any time. Drivers of assorted vehicles from rickshaw pullers to private car drivers to bus drivers everyone possesses this lethal, brainless bravado that makes them sneak through closing gates and when the warning alarm is ringing. People, and these are all adults, behave as if a railway track is a park where they can stroll about, sit and have a cup of tea and a cigarette or two, discuss the weather patterns on the cell phone and even take a short nap. Thus every time a train comes it seems to them to be the biggest inconvenience which makes them wonder 'why now'?
Vandalism, another sign of deteriorating brain cells, has become the national sport for easily enraged adults. Strangely enough, the victims of the violence triggered by some kind of moral outrage will have nothing to do with the actual incidents. Thus when garment workers get mad because of unfair wages, they will throw bricks at glass buildings that house banks, hospitals or factories that actually pay fair wages. University students, when their fellow student gets run over by a bus, will destroy every car that had the misfortune of being parked in that road. Political 'activists' or the mob in general will set fire to a train, injure and rob innocent people because the train ran over other people who were sitting on the tracks absorbed by political speeches.
The disturbing part of this trend of acting illogically is that grownups are also forgetting one of their primary jobs: To be role models for the young ones. Thus it maybe a little unwise for a politician to appear to be callous and unfeeling and a university student to be brandishing a machete or torching a private car. It's hardly the kind of example to set for the young. Moreover it indicates degeneration of what we humans value the most: our minds.
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