11th March: the day to bow our head to remember the loss of lives and subsequent (and on-going) adverse effects on our people, agriculture, environment and economy due to Japan’s triple disaster of 11.3.2011. I think of unfulfilled dreams and hopes and joyful moments of the victims and the affected people.

A year back, I received a comment on Japan after the disaster, forwarded by my respected research guide who liked what his former student in Canada sent to him:

<10 things to learn from Japan>

Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.
Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.
The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but did not fall.
People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.
No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.
Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?
Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.
The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.
They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No sensationalizing. Only calm reportage.
When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly

My reply on 28.03.2011:

…The disaster has affected employment of lots of people and lay-off and down-grading the pay/expected contract hours have been a common feature at many industries and services. There were a number of faceless heros and heroines who sacrificed their lives by giving Tsunami warning door to door for their neighbours, searching for the missing people around, assisting to fetch those who were left behind, working till the last minutes just to save others.

If your student still believes that there are as many as ten things to learn from Japan, I would like to give a reply to him/her:

<10 things Japan should do after the disaster of March 2011>

1. Stop nuclear plants

2. Change life style accordingly and know our limit

3. Insist on referendum if there is any project being implemented in the locality where the life of local population would be in danger

4. Decentralize the big cities

5. Revitalize small towns

6. Evolve the system to let the people work from home/nearby places from their home

7. Encourage alternative technology which can be dealt with by common people

8. Review emergency relief and rehabilitation system completely

9. Utilize the international sources of experties and resources timely at the time of disaster

10. Be humble and learn from our mistakes

Japan has high productivity and technology, but behind that is a number of people who have been working for hours after hours, sacrificing their family life, commuting long hours to come to their offices/factories/schools/colleges, etc. investing our precious years after years of our life. Many such people have been just left totally stranded, some almost at the age of their retirement from their jobs–or even retirement from their own lives.

I just sincerely hope that our government and all decision makers have the sanity to prioritize the safety of the people.

We are in a great crisis.
This is a crisis even for a human history.

But I hope that our tragedy will encourage people in other nations to push their governments review their own policies in their own countries–including India.

I really appreciate that you did share the inputs from your student.

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I thank for the fact that I am on this earth and share my moments of life with dear and near ones. Great loss made me realize the beauty and meaning of authentic relationships as well as the value of what I have already received in my life.