We live in the era of war and tragedy and accidents and some mayhem.
So usually, when we hear of the gallantry of a fire fighter who fought and saved people from burning to death, or the man on the border, who fought an attack from the enemy, or a bus driver who rescues passengers from the bus, even while risking his life, we do find ourselves applauding these brilliant acts and the people responsible for them.
And rightly so.
And yet, there are possibly many many more who need to be acknowledged, but who don’t get the same (or any) credit.
Let me give a few examples:
1. Recently there was a fire in a commercial building in Mumbai, causing a lot of damage, injuries to many firefighters, and even the death of one of them. This is the incident I refer to:
Most certainly the fire fighters did a commendable job. Perhaps against a lot of odds. And they ensured that damage was restricted to the minimum, even at the cost of their own lives.
Think however, if there could have been another bigger hero.
The building inspector maybe, who spotted inadequate fire fighting facilities, or some changes made in the building which made it a fire hazard, etc. and who orders those to be fixed, much before the fire happened.
The building secretary maybe, who against all odds of the clout of the owners, who insist on having their way, manages to get changes done, so as to make the building a safer building for fires.
And ensures that the fire does not even happen!
Will such people even be acknowledged?? They will, in fact, be hated because they cause inconvenience, and force changes, and cause discomfort and expenses!!
2. War heroes or security forces who fight terrorists, are always celebrated. Those who combatted the insurgents in Kargil and won the war for India. Or those who fought off the terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.
Absolutely deserved heroes of our times!
How about the ones on the border who day in and day out, look for the gaping holes from where enemy could sneak in. And keep covering those gaps. Keep ensuring that an enemy attack does not even happen. Perhaps risking their own lives, as they expose themselves to risk out there.
Or in case of the terror attack in Mumbai, what if a Coast Guard had identified a weakness in the system, ordered for fixes, ensured that some new equipment was ordered and installed, and fundamentally prevented an attack of this sort. We’d probably be thinking of the large capital expenditure, and whether there are kickbacks involved!
Leave alone giving him any due, for potentially preventing a Mumbai terror attack of that quantum, from happening!
3. This post was inspired in fact, by this story about an Air India plane that averted disaster,on account of some quick and smart thinking from the pilots on board.
With 315 passengers on board, we could have been staring at a major disaster. Which thankfully, did not happen, due to the adept handling by the captains on board.
But as the article says, there was little or no mention of this heroic deed. As against that, if there had been a crash, God forbid, it would have been all over the papers!
That is the sad situation where a lot of heroes who ensure that disasters don’t happen, remain unsung heroes in society.
There is a certain apathy around those who are process oriented, who are finicky to the detail, who seem to have an eye to spot mistakes and alert.. they are not celebrated, but in fact, made fun of. Little realising that, these in fact, are the bigger heroes in our lives.
Let’s learn to respect processes, respect these individuals who work at it, relentlessly..