DUB Speak

Too Little, too Late

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Isaac Newton found enlightenment when an apple conked him on the head into action and he discovered gravity and formulated the laws of motion which literally form the building blocks of physics. However, Newton’s laws are applicable in almost every field, even beyond physics. His first law talks about how a body continues it its state of rest unless acted upon by an external force. Basically, it says, in a way, that everything tends to be a little lazy unless it is jolted into action. And I’m sure that almost everyone is familiar with this sentiment.
It seems ample time is something we do not want to work towards something. We want that time to laze around, yes. But we do not want to use that time to comfortably finish the task at hand. Only the impending doom of deadlines serves as impetus enough for us to pull together a show at the eleventh hour. However, the protracted inaction and procrastination sometimes proves too costly. Every subsequent effort, more often than not, seems way too little way too late. Take for example the Commonwealth Games. It has been common knowledge for quite some time that we will have to put up a huge show for the world. Every branch of the government and bureaucracy knew for several years now that in October of 2010, Delhi will be the cynosure of all the attention of sports fans all over the world. The heat was especially on India after Beijing played host to a spectacular Olympics. Every branch of the government and the bureaucracy was congratulating themselves over their successful bid to host the Games that we actually forgot that the bid alone isn’t going to build our stadia, fix our roads and provide accommodation for the thousands of people expected in the city. And now, just 8 months from the Games, workers are literally burning the midnight oil with work on the projects going on round the clock. Such urgency has led to overlooking safety standards and several mishaps, as was the case with the Metro construction. It took almost three years and a visit by a delegation from the Commonwealth Games Federation to make the authorities hear the ringing alarm bells. It is because of this tardiness that a very large portion of Delhi-ites are actually preparing for worldwide humiliation.
New Delhi isn’t the only epitome of this lackadaisical attitude. The entire country is testimony. It is only now, when a mere 1411 tigers are left in the country, that such a massive campaign to protect these big cats, formerly the pride of our nation, has been launched. Tigers have been fast disappearing from our forests and from within protected areas like tiger reserves and sanctuaries. Poaching has posed quite a predicament for many years now. But until now, it did not seem a big enough problem to put in place and implement a disincentive mechanism to stop poaching. Now, that tigers face the very real threat of extinction, have we woken up. Only time can tell how effective or ineffective this campaign is going to be.
The government is often the bull’s eye of opprobrium for their lethargy. But let’s not forget the judiciary. There are nearly 1.7 lakh under-trials languishing in jail for committing petty offences. A large number of these under-trials have actually stayed in confinement- without the privilege of the freedoms ensured by our democracy- for a period longer than the term they would have had to serve had they been convicted! It is only when this number took on such alarming proportions was some relief guaranteed to these victims of severe miscarriage of justice.
But this article would be incomplete if we didn’t look closer home. How many of us actually start studying for exams when we have the time? How many of us actually start working on assignments and tutorials when the assignment is given rather than waiting for the last moment? Not many. But it seems a rather unintelligent thing to do. It is not like we are apathetic towards our exams, or the commonwealth games, or the tigers. We just are apathetic when the time is right, when the iron is hot. It’s as if we’re waiting for something to shock us out of our stupor. The inertia seems just too much to overcome otherwise. Sometimes, at least at an individual level, last minute efforts do pay off. However, when a large number of people have their staggered awakenings, things may not go as planned. Why does it always have to take Jessica Lal , a Ruchika Girhotra to cozen us of our complacency. The grind of the judicial machinery, seems to be getting a few illiberal lubricating drops but a lot is left desired . And it seems one such mishap is what is needed to make us get rid of this inertia. But do we ever really learn? Why does a Priydarshini Mattoo have to be followed by a Ruchika Girhotra , Delhi blasts by Jaipur ones and then the infamous 26/11. Take the case of Aakriti Bhatia , a student from a posh South Delhi school who allegedly died due to the school’s lack of medical facilities while suffering from an asthma attack .The expected hullabaloo was created but what really comes of it other than the school in questioning sprucing up its medical facilities a tad . What about other educational institutions in the country . Take our own varsity for example, a microcosm of the much bigger macrocosm .The lesser said about on campus medical aid in most colleges, the better. In the past week , during the sports day of a certain south campus college , little assistance was given when a few students collapsed during march past. The store keeper who coincidentally doubles as the college nurse , seems poorly equipped for facing emergencies of such a small magnitude let alone dire ones. Have we become used to sitting on time bombs , waiting for one disaster to strike after the other
.We need to disprove Newton, at least outside the realm of physics.

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