Superficial words seldom prove relevant: let the people grieve their loss.

Whenever a devastating tragedy transpires alleging the presence of dereliction on the part of concerned administration, instead of demanding answer our nation starts diluting the gravity of situation, most of the times terming the perished souls martyrs.

This young man lost his life to an unknown disease surviving a wife and four children. His loss to the family came as a bolt from the blue given his young and in fact stable health. As per tradition, some of the relatives coming for funeral and in an attempt to offer console to the lamented family started admonishing about self-control, caution and restraint to prevail over the pain. In other words, they asked them to get control over the bereavement terming it against Islam. It was an unintended, harmless effort to mitigate the hurt of the brokenhearted family, only not anticipating the snap coming in the form of the rage by the deceased’s daughter asking them to go away and let them wail their father who just had breathed his last breath. For a while, people were quick to bite their tongue and even some of them rose incensed with the girl’s audacity to address them in such a manner. What prompted that girl to response wrathfully, seemingly to an earnest approach aimed at soothing their pain can be explained well by the five stages of grief proposed by psychology.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, an American-Swiss psychiatrist in her book On Death and Dying writes about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance- afterwards redefined to seven stages including shock and testing- driving criticism and admiration correspondingly. According to Kobler, grief is a universal phenomenon and being human we all at one point of our life bump into experiences that might transcend our capacity to handle them, consequently tossing us into the five stages of grief. Every distressing encounter, for instance, losing a loved one, though inadvertently, elbows a grieved person to undergo these stages.

According to Kobler, grief is a universal phenomenon and being human we all at one point of our life bump into experiences that might transcend our capacity to handle them, consequently tossing us into the five stages of grief.

Briefly penning it below,

-Denial; It’s the first and most common reaction, here the person rejects the being of the incident out rightly assuming that it didn’t transpire at all.

-Anger; Denial leads to anger, impelling person to ask why it happened to that particular person.

-Bargaining; in bargaining usually the grieved person makes a deal in an attempt to bring God around i-e saying that if God recovers the unwell relative, one would give away one’s earning in charity.

-Depression; passing three stages, the person finally starts accepting the reality of the occurrence opening the door to the episode of sadness and distress. 

-Acceptance; eventually the grieved accepts the happening and in ways begins learning to overcome the distress.

However, these stages do not necessarily happen to fall in the exact same order; some people owing to individual differences and various other explanations might experience them in a varying degree while altering the stages or in some cases overlapping them, still proving them to be the most commonly observed experiences so far. More often than not shock and anger come out as a most common and immediate reaction; a natural and normal response what should be given sufficient time to overcome with, what many people, however, don’t appear to agree with.

On May 22, a PIA plane carrying 99 people including the crew, plummeted into the houses of Karachi reducing the entire plane into debris while surviving only two people, sent the waves of alarm across the country. People lost their loved ones just two days before Eid, a terrible and an out of proportion calamity en mass. In any civilized nation, when a catastrophe like this, alleging dereliction, befalls, the first response from the government and people should be offering solace to grieving families, not sugarcoating words but a convincing assurance to find the “Why and How” of the incident, and take strict action if culprits were found. It was the time when those poor souls were battling to reconcile with whatever happened to their loved ones incorporating denial and concurrently driving anger at the certain failure of PIA; any attempt or word to deflect from establishing an inquiry would have backfired. In APS-debacle we had the same experience when Imran Khan to visit the lamenting mothers was dragged off his collar calling him a hypocrite and whatnot. Why? The answer is the anger, the second stage of the grief stages which was totally normal.

In any civilized nation, when a catastrophe like this, alleging dereliction, befalls, the first response from the government and people should be offering solace to grieving families, not sugarcoating words but a convincing assurance to find the “Why and How” of the incident

Now as a survived nation, we should have mended our ways to buy the time for grieved to overcome their shock but as expected, arrived the guiding brigade of our nation demonstrating an indifferent approach. Instead of demanding an inquiry for alleged evidence against the plane crash, those people started misplacing their sympathy and appeared to deflect from the real subject. Some of our renowned leaders and scholars even surfaced on social media citing Hadiths and narrations terming those perished souls to be Martyrs and all the other stuff dissipating the grim condition of the episode. Well, there is no doubt in the veracity of those Hadith and narrations about the predestined or sealed fates of humans, being Muslim we are required to keep firm belief in them. However in time, when those people just lost their families to a crash, when they were running from pillar to post just to find a minute leftover to identify the identity of their relations, coming out and shoving those narrations down their throat is totally ludicrous and extremely apathetic to their plight. Those people did not send their loved ones to war, nor were they planning to sacrifice them for a national or religious cause; they were simply coming to meet their families on Eid after months. The unfortunate plane was not carrying people only, there were dreams, hopes and promising future of a journalist, a doctor, an inspiring actress, a military person and so on so forth. For those people, words, narration and every other thing demanding them to commemorate suppression of their misery is just a dysfunctional attempt, aiming to alienate them even more. They need to be offered support, simply promising support.

Further, such an attitude not just dilutes the gravity of the situation but also helps the criminals let scot-free. The more this incident is accepted as an inevitable tragedy without conducting a proper investigation, the more often it would relieve the in-charge from the burden of their responsibilities setting a precedent for generations to come. People in their misguided judgment would start pointing fingers towards God but not the ones responsible in the first place making it feasible for corrupt and snollygosters to commit misdemeanour with impunity and without any fear of accountability. While on the other hand, fighting the God- which is impossible- would further dispirit them, pushing them into the edge of mental collapse while in other cases, physical disabilities. Fatalism aside, even God has circumstanced the nature in a gyratory cycle of cause and effect. Obviously, this is an essential design to keep the balance of the universe. In October 2019, a Pakistani train caught fire killing almost a hundred people while leaving countless hurt, what should have been the immediate response? An Inquiry, dragging the concerned minister to dock? However, it was likewise brushed aside amidst the clashes between Tablighi and other groups until the next happens.

People in their misguided judgment would start pointing fingers towards God but not the ones responsible in the first place making it feasible for corrupt and snollygosters to commit misdemeanour with impunity and without any fear of accountability.

A man doesn’t commit a transgression because God has asked him to do so, but he does it for his own pleasure with his own volition. If giving up every effort while carrying belief “Tawakal” in God were a plan, why would he even consider the struggle/ striving to be the ablest job? “God helps those who help themselves” rings a bell? A nation with a vague sense of justice always stays the slave of the power that be. That authoritative mindset not just enjoys the power but also conditions people with such notions to keep them from raising the voice against injustice. To hold the corrupt accountable, this nation has to be taught to start venting its anger, instead of suppression and finding peace in the wounds will have to be motivated to put up with grief stages and start questioning people who are behind such events only then we can see our people not butchering by the plane crashes and meeting their families on Eid, simultaneously holding the corrupts in the public-court.

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