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The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

The 'new normal' at social level


-UNB file photo -UNB file photo

According to sages and wise people, life remains haunted by death. The moment one is born, a universal countdown begins. It records how long a path one has traversed before being caught in the clutches of death. In that sense, a man's longevity doesn't increase; it rather keeps shortening. People believing in fate and the pre-destined time of exiting from this world generally subscribe to this dictate of nature. They believe this is how the species, the humans in particular, have been operating since the beginning of complete life forms.

The so-called modern man, however, doesn't recognise the pre- set structures of birth and death. They will be interested in raising the issue of the seeds of irregularities in human life-spans. The theory of pre-set lives goes awry when a life-form fails to see even the faint ray of light of this earth. In mundane explanation it might be called a foetal death, or one a fully mature foetus experiences before coming to this earth or immediately after its birth. By not resorting to the now-in-vogue theory of symmetry in anarchy, many would feel inclined to cite the instances of accidental deaths. It at times negates the peaceful journeys of human lives --- from cradle to grave. Many a human being drops dead in the course of life, otherwise pre-destined as being fit to complete a moderately longer life-span. The mystical school will view these premature deaths as also being a part of the great design determining the length of lives on earth.

Notwithstanding this chiaroscuro of life and death, few people are prepared to accept accidental deaths. At this point, the death of a low-income but happy middle-class man pops up in mind. As the person came out of his house in the morning on way to office, a loosened electric cable fell on him --- just a few steps into the neighbourhood lane. To their debilitating shock and horror, a mother and her teenage daughter watched the man collapse on the ground, his face and body distorting in electric burns before becoming still. It took quite a few moments before the stunned mother and her schoolgoing daughter could realise what had happened. How could one explain the deaths of the members of a family in raging flames after a cooking gas-filled room became an infernal nightmare? A simple matchbox and a single stick used to start the gas burner emerged as the culprits. Fatalists would like to conclude that the hapless family members had been destined to die this way. A similar conclusion may have been drawn by many after the tragic and agonising deaths recently of 27 persons engrossed in saying their prayers for peace in the after-life. The venue was a mosque in the Narayanganj town not far from Dhaka.

People having a semblance of scruple and the faculty of rational thinking cannot be lulled into accepting the deaths as a mere accident. Reports of gas pipe leakage and sloppily laid out lines, lack of maintenance etc have become rife. The authorities concerned do not own up to their negligence in these cases. Things will continue this way, like they have in the past, until another such orgy of death and injuries takes place at another venue. Admitting one's responsibility for doing something wrong is near-anathema in this society nowadays. It will lead to seemingly endless occurrence of avoidable mishaps, many being deadly. A dangerous culture of getting away with grave offences has veritably become the 'new normal'. It has to be reined in. But a vital question is how we should explain the recent deaths in Narayanganj.

shihabskr@ymail.com

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