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Archive for the ‘Tsunami’ Category

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To many it came as an unbelievable shock. For some it was an eye opener while for the rest it was a mere revelation and demonstration of the bitter reality that refused to blink and stared right back into the face.

To me and many others who had seen the environment deteriorate and the institutions, state and system ( if any ) to crumble to an extent whereby the echoes of a failed state were beginning to make regular noises, all the indicators were nose-diving whilst there was a continous hue and cry and red flags raised by the think tank and various experts, it was a prospect of a possible vibrant new beginning. It was at that point that sucked in by the state of chaos and uncertainty, the middle and affluent educated urban class was jolted to come out of its slumber and hibernation to wake-up to reality.

Whether the deck had hit the rock bottom, the only survival lied in the prospect of a change. Ignorance or avoidance wasn’t a choice any more. For survival, action was the only option. When the grounds of Minar-e-Pakistan were swamped and swarmed by the families, women, children, old and young by an electrified crowd of hundreds of thousands that cut across entire cross-section of society on Oct 30th, 2011 it was a flash point. It marked the eruption of lava from within that had been boiling for decades. Many of us who had been pulled to the venue by the mere realization of need of the hour had nothing to do with the active politics and were hence participating in our maiden political rally _ what emerged as a result was an unusually rich and unprecedented demographic, cultural and social mix that glued together into a cohesive whole for a selfless and common cause. Every soul was charged up and every one, young or old, man or woman, wanted to be counted.

For some it raised the alarm bells but for most it brought heaps of hope. It was a clear sign of a living nation who refused to budge and, if not over-emphasized, signaled a rude and rebellious awakening of a nation willing to stand and fight for its survival and rights that was put to a tranquil sleep for the loot and plunder to go on unabated.

Whilst the volcano had exploded, the aftermath and repercussions had to be enormous. The jaw dropping event and a series of others that followed shortly sent shock waves through the circles at helm. Sooner than later, it came as a bitter realization that non deliverance wasn’t an option any longer. Thus thoroughly threatened and under enormous pressure, the provincial government that had been sitting on its haunches for nearly four years ran into a state of panic that accounted for many of the gimmicks and questionable projects and initiatives that were forced down our throats while the elections were fast approaching.

But the winds of change continued to blow setting unprecedented examples and unsettling the competition that found itself more and more at loss with each shift. What we saw progressively was rise and formulation of a party structure from bottom to top on purely democratic principles; a mini revolution in this part of the globe in itself.

So when the captain stood in the shadow of the Minar-e-Pakistan once again on March 23rd, not alone but accompanied by thousands of elected representatives of his political party belonging to all walks of life, some of them hailing from very humble backgrounds, facing an endless ocean of people and waves of fluttering national as well as green and red party flags and declared with a beaming smile that the ‘change’ had arrived, he was stating the obvious. Below the stage, the emotionally charged crowd roared in frenzy waving flags and chanting slogans in sheer passion. Many of us were those who had ridiculed his intent and motives when he had started his unorthodox political movement as a novice in the same city about sixteen years ago. But it was his sincerity to the tune of devotion, determination, boldness, truthfulness, enormous love for his homeland and leadership qualities that convinced us to part ways with political inertness and rally under his flag. Most of all it was his consistency and habit of winning against all odds repeatedly and belief in himself, his God and the youth of his country that made the nation absorb new rays of hope.

Battling against the inertia, status quo and traditional politics the movement of justice continues its dynamic journey unabated. A mere morsel that began to roll down the hill many years ago gradually assumes the giant proportions of a snow ball that takes everything along in its fold. The challenge and erosion it poses to its competition is immense and grows with its dynamism and continuity progressively. Innovative and setting ever higher standards for the nation to guage, with a towering and gifted leader at the tip with a character to fill potential leadership void that has existed, it promises a better future to Pakistan and its citizens. It is a gradual process that demands decades for its materialization and consolidation. But the signs of challenge and evolution are significant. The will and determination is there. It is for the same reason that awash with rain, as if baptized and cleansed, amidst the soaring and unwavering tides of fluttering flags when the tsunami of impassioned enthusiasts listened to its leader, every soul and mortal stood its ground soaking up all the energy and verve in the air to imbibe the currents of the impending and inevitable change.

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There must be something in their blood or strewn in their culture that brings such enviable discipline, tolerance and patience that is hallmark of the champion Japanese nation. Imagine a small isolated country comprising series of islands fraught with rugged mountains and rough terrain combating triple disaster posed by the natural and human intervention.

A country and a nation probably most exposed to the frequent deadly earthquakes round the globe, Japan is arguably the most equipped and trained nation that responds to such a disaster. But horrifying even to think what it is pitted against right now!

An unprecedented earthquake (of the order of 9.0/9.1 on Richter scale) unleashing tremors of the magnitude that have NEVER been recorded in the history of the country before. These waves triggered not only a series of aftershocks but unleashed monstrous tsunami waves as high as 10 metres that swept away vehicles, installations and settlements like toys and doll houses in their rage as the heavens wrecked fury. As if it was not sufficient, the problems compounded a great deal by explosions in the nuclear reactors releasing radiations to the atmosphere and even generating a possibility of a meltdown according to certain quarters. According to latest update, the gravity of the situation has worsened and surged to level 6 on the international scale of safety operating on a scale of 0 to 7. The radiation leak is and may cause serious health hazards within its domain of influence that has a potential to spread gradually.

As the mother nature disgourged all its wrath and the disaster continued unabated, element of human intervention to natural course added a catastrophic dimension to the overall imbalance making one really wonder if the artificial and technological breakthroughs, in a holistic sense, are bringing any sustainable betterment to the mankind or potentially bringing it to the verge of destruction and elimination?

Leaving that argument aside, what is exemplary is the way the nation is responding to the disaster. Even if we talk of the nuclear reactors, the structures have sustained the tremors and conditions much beyond their design capacity. It is the operational failure engendered to devastating conditions that is causing all the havoc.

In spite of depleting supplies, no electricity, fuel and even water, the survivors reportedly wait in long lines for the basic utilities. There is little anger and no loot. Four days after the major catastrophe, the community is responding in a most responsible manner by sharing food with neighbours and cutting back on electricity supplies to diminish blackouts. The disrupted transport systems are forcing many to stay overnight at the remote cities and the people have opened their homes to others. To quote abc News “”I heard someone say they had two bottles of water and gave one to someone else.”  

Japanese are a caring nation known to be hospitable and courteous to their neighbours and community in particular. This is the kind of spirit that is developing all the unity, bonding and interlocking enabling them to stand as an iron wall in the face of sheer adversity in this hour of need.

The Japanese prime minister in his speech to the nation on Sunday night declared that they were confronting the most serious crisis since the second world war.

True the prospects of a potential disaster still loom large and there is still a lot to worry about and deal with. But then he knew, he was addressing a nation that taught the world what rebuilding was all about_ A nation that despite all odds against it, rose from the rubbles of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to emerge as the third largest economy of the world within a matter of decades.

Be it the quality and conformity, Kaizan , productivity, efficiency, motivation, organizational behaviour, loyalty, commitment , emergency response or disaster management there is a lot to learn from these superhumans from the land of rising sun. With the massive flood devastation hardly behind us and a lot of rebuilding to go for, time to take a leaf out of their book!

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