Asian Life & Times - SALT
This is a celebratory
issue of Everest turning 60 and Indian cinema turning 100. On 29 May 1953,
Hillary and Tenzing became the first humans to stand atop the tallest
mountain on Earth. Since that momentous day, sixty years ago, thousands have
stood on top of the mountain that had eluded dedicated and skilled
mountaineers for long. The past two decades have seen a rapid rise in
commercial expeditions to the world’s highest peak. Summit days are busy
days on the mountain with long lines of climbers and ‘clients’ often causing
traffic jams at The Balcony and
Hillary Step. At times, delays have
resulted in deaths on slopes that are already littered with corpses. The
SALT feature on Everest, referenced from many respected and credible
sources, is all about the best of climbers, the Sherpas, and the surreal
experience that begins with the terrifying icy madness of Khumbu Icefall.
We have brought you conversations with people who
are like Everest in their own right – Satyajit Ray – the cinematic giant; Dr
A T Ariyaratne – the giant of empowerment; Ashok Vajpeyi – the intellectual
giant; Lt Gen Jack Jacob – who stands as tall as Everest in his
forthrightness and duty; and Tara Bhattacharjee - the gentle giant crusader
The heart-breaking news from Boston and
Bangladesh has left the world stunned.
Plaza – a grandiose name for a building that housed five garment factories,
where workers earned as little as $40 a month stitching clothes – was a
ready script for disaster.
Three illegally added floors, unenforced
building codes, heavy machinery placed in a structure made of substandard
materials, non-existent regulatory monitoring - an endless list of
complacency, gross negligence, and corruption as a result of which, over 900
people died in Savar, the textile suburb of Dhaka
the country’s worst industrial disaster. Unfortunately, the disaster script
is a template of what has happened before and will continue to happen time
and again in all societies where corruption and moral degeneration have
become inherent in the psyche of those who wield power. In this instance,
the safety of the weak and marginalised was compromised for personal gains –
yet again an oft occurring situation in our societies where many are forced
to work for a living in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.
activists, artists, film makers – the collective conscience of any society –
have addressed exploitation, corruption and oppression – and we’ve had
several able administrators and police officers with spotless careers who
have taken steps in the right direction.
it has not been enough - our societies need more of the latter. Speaking on
disintegration of ethics, Satyajit Ray once said, “Films cannot change
society. They never have. Show me a film that changed society or brought
about any change…. You are attacking people who don't care.” So true the
words “Don’t care.”
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