Tuesday, 29 December 2009

In Memory of people who build our Bridges (or जो पुल बनायेंगे...)

It's time we paid a little more respect and attention to the people who are risking their lives to build India. 

On December 24, 2009 a bridge that is under construction collapsed on the Chambal River near Kota in  Rajasthan.
  • I can-not find a list of the names of the people who died.
  • The death toll will only mount - as divers recover more bodies from under the rubble
  • The lives of these people was a story that had a shelf live of under 24 hours for the news media. 
  • I am sure there would have been a candle-light vigil and endless panel discussion on prime time news if a handful of those who died had urban middle class connections.
  • A tweet from @ShashiTharoor attracted more empathy than the deaths of these labourers. 
  • Measured in terms of air-time, column width and media-attention, why is the value of their lives any less than other incidents?
Labour on Indian infrastructure projects works in difficult conditions. Most of the time they work without basic insurance and any safety cover. Liberalization is fine. Reform of labour laws is good. Do not forget the the labour class in the process.

जो पुल बनायेंगे,
वे अनिवार्यतः
पीछे रह जाएंगे
सेनाएँ होंगी पार
मारे जायेंगे रावण
जयी होंगे राम
जो निर्माता रहे
इतिहास में
बंदर कहलाएंगे।

'अज्ञेय'  |

सच्चिदानंद हीरानंद वात्स्यायन 'अज्ञेय'

Loosely Translated -
People who build bridges invariably get left behind.
Armies will cross these bridges. 
Demons like Ravana will be conquered and Ram will be declared a victor.
However, the people who built these bridges will be remembered as monkeys in the pages of history.
- Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan a.k. 'Agyeya'

This poem is based on a part of the Ramayana where an army of monkeys build a bridge of stones for Lord Ram to cross over to Lanka. The Bridge is referred to as Ram Sethu

PS - I was reminded of this poem by Ageya after reading a poem penned by @gyanban on the Girhotra case.

1 comment:

  1. Agree cent per cent.

    Take yesterday's coverage for instance in the Indian media: a drunk woman's road thrills killing 2 is the lead; while 16 dead in a boat capsize in interior AP is the second lead; in many TV channels, especially the one in the rashtra basha, the latter does not even get a mention.