Tuesday, September 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Rajdhani Express accident & the media

THE ghastly accident of Rajdhani Express was the most tragic event in recent memory. When the news reached the corridors of power there was a mad rush to encash the event for political gain. Mud slinging started in earnest. The Railways said it was sabotage. The state government blamed the old bridge.

The media too reached the site at a commendable speed. By afternoon pictures were made available to TV viewers followed by interviews of survivors. One correspondent asked a passenger as to what was his reaction to the accident. I wonder what answer was he expecting from her?

Another one asked an injured passenger didn’t he think that the government was not doing enough for the victims? It appeared as though passengers were being provoked by journalists to speak against the government and officials.

One correspondent went so far as to ask an injured lady for her comments as her husband had not been seen yet. Highly distressed, she broke down. This certainly was callousness personified. One gets a feeling that there is something wrong with the way we act and react in this country.

We live in the world of commerce where everything is packaged and sold. However, the media must act with restrain. Commerce or no commerce, death cannot be packaged and sold. Politician bashing is another hobby of our journalists these days. By saying this I am neither condoning the politicians nor am I justifying occurrence of such accidents.


There is so much that we can learn from the way Americans reacted after 9/11. The whole nation stood solidly behind the government though they had realised the terrible lapse on part of their security agencies. The immediate reaction of the people was to look for survivors at the accident site, provide emotional support to the families of the victims and later hold an inquiry and fix responsibility. The media in that country played a phenomenal role in uniting the country against the main enemy i.e. terrorism.

The media in this country tends to lose its focus from the main issue for that piece of news. Sensationalising an event may catch public attention for a while but fails to impact people’s mind. Death is the most painful aspect of human life for which people like to grieve privately. The media should only report the event impartially without being jingoistic or personal. Let the people of this country decide as to who deserves a stick, who a carrot.


Watching breath

This refers to Janina Gomes “Still the chattering of the mind” (Sept 12) in which he says, “Sometimes, just quiet breathing and concentrating on our breath can calm us down.” Watching the act of breathing while lying on the bed with eyes closed is a yogic technique of inducing sleep.

When we talk of sleeplessness, the first thing that strikes to mind is that while sleep is natural to man, insomnia is not. Sleep is something that happens when we retire to bed for rest. It’s not something that we have to make efforts to come to us. It comes of its own accord unless something obstructs its way. The common miscreants that obstruct sleep are noise, light, excessive hot or cool room, lack of ventilation and personal illness causing pain and discomfort. A quiet, dark room with comfortable bed is conducive to restful sleep.

Insomniacs complain that they are worried because they can’t sleep whereas the fact is that they can’t sleep because they are worried. Real harm is not done by staying awake in the bed. It is the tossing and turning, and worrying that causes insomnia. It is, therefore, a good habit to go to bed at the same time each night regularly to enjoy the easy sleep that we desire.

If we occasionally miss sleep for a few hours or a few successive nights, it does little harm to our health unless we worry too much about it. Insomnia has never killed anyone but sleeping pills have caused many deaths, often through misadventure.

A.K. SURI, Chandigarh


Bathinda Shatabdi

The new Shatabdi train between Bathinda and New Delhi should be made to halt at Nabha, Kurukshetra and Karnal also. This will not only add to the convenience of travellers of these cities, but also add to the income of the Railways.


Toll tax barrier

A toll tax barrier has been installed at Tunu Hatti instead of Katori Bunglow which is the entry point on the Pathankot-Dalhousie road. When one has to visit a place between Tunu Hatti and Katori Bunglow, one has to face the toll tax collectors. While coming back, it becomes difficult to convince them that the visit was within Himachal territory as nobody would agree to it and there is a lot of unnecessary harassment to vehicle owners. They have to part with money also.

The authorities are, therefore, requested to install the check-post barrier for toll tax at the entry point i.e. Katori Bunglow, to avoid harassment to the public.



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