Sunday Magazine Mail Bag

Published - April 02, 2011 05:43 pm IST

Sufferers walk through a devastated urban area in Minami Sanriku, Miyagi, northern Japan Sunday, March 13, 2011 after Friday's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)  MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING ALLOWED IN CHINA, HONG  KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

Sufferers walk through a devastated urban area in Minami Sanriku, Miyagi, northern Japan Sunday, March 13, 2011 after Friday's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING ALLOWED IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

Lessons from Japan

“Dignity in the face of tragedy” by Brinda Suri (March 27) conveyed well the intensity of the disaster and the capacity of human race and the Japanese in particular to leave behind tragedies and move ahead. The Japanese people have in the last 70 years accepted more than their share of natural calamities and man-made devastations and proved that they have an in-built ability to survive crises and move forward and they will come out of the present crisis also. But the world conscience which has been showing only pedestrian apathy to man-made tragedies should at this point of time introspect as to how much of the devastation and future risks arising out of nuclear radiation are avoidable. Such an introspection can be made meaningful by a World Conference at the United Nations to consider, among others, a review of the present stock of nuclear arsenal with various countries vis-à-vis their likely use and possibility of reducing it to an acceptable (read manageable) level and safety measures to prevent potential threats including radioactive leaks from the present stock of nuclear arsenal. The present crisis has shown how helpless modern science is, before the angry nature. The after-effects are more tragic and long-lasting because of our greed and haste in making the rich and the powerful enjoy more comforts.

M.G. Warrier


This refers to the various articles, painting the devastation besieging Japan in recent times and how well the Japanese are recuperating to rebound from the ashes. Among the many lessons that can be learned from the behaviour of the Japanese during their hour of distress, one appealed to me the most. The eyewitness account by Capt. Ashis Dutta shows how well the Japanese have redefined the meaning of hospitality and expanded its horizons. In sharing the concerns of an employee who is a foreign national and sanctioning timely leave travel assistance, his Japanese bosses have added a tinge of humanity to hospitality, which has become a far too commercialised term in modern times. The November 2006 suicide of Mr. Lee Ben, project manager in Kuala Lumpur-based PATI company , executing a multi-crore World Bank road project in Kerala, due to delayed payment of dues by the Kerala government and the consequent mental turmoil, should serve as an eye-opener as to how well our corrupt policies affect foreign professionals working in India. Our behaviour during an emergency towards foreigners, let alone our own country men, when law and order situations break could be disastrous.

Thomas Boban Mattathil

New Delhi

The article reveals the determination of the Japanese to bounce back and come back with more dignity. Present day Japan was built out of determined hard work and discipline from vacuum created out of the Second World War mishaps. The admirable thing is that there is no loot, arson or any other breakdown amidst the distressing situation, as happens in many countries including India. The Japanese, prone to quakes and eventual tragedies, never lose heart and perhaps this is the most prominent factor of their success.

C.P. Velayudhan Nair

North Edapally, Kerala

It was amazing to see the calmness and will-power that Japanese exhibited during the time of recent earthquake and tsunami. Natural calamities are almost routine for the Japanese and they seem to have the survival instincts ingrained in them. The personal accounts of Captain Ashish Dutta and Anuj Jodhani gave insight into the fact that the Japanese follow rules and regulations even at an hour of crisis, thus helping to reduce the human tragedy. Don't we all have a lesson or two to learn from these Japanese people?

Deepa Nagaraj


When placed in a most critical situation, man displays his essential inherent characteristics. The selflessness or the concern for others one witnessed in the deluge that devoured the Japanese city would have been the manifestation of this altruism. But one thing is certain. The nation shall soon emerge like a rising sun from the debris.

N. Sadasivan Pillai


Nature's fury swept away every safeguard in place to counter such eventualities and it was horrific. And the unprecedented havoc happened with entire properties washed way, thousands dead and many thousands rendered homeless. But when we see “Dignity in the face of tragedy” we salute this wonderful people for their character, will and wisdom. There is no loot, no blame. With discipline, dignity, decorum, calm, collected and care for the neighbour they move forward looking at the future. Japan will bounce back. As we lathi-charge our people who come to purchase tickets to see the cricket match, can we learn from and copy an iota of their character?

Jacob Sahayam


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