Vantage point

Friday, February 28, 2003

Felt like writing about something that happened in class today.

The 'Personnel Management and Industrial Relations' lecture was going on. The Professor was talking about legal aspects of the topic, like labour laws etc. On one slide, it said

"Companies can be closed down only on these three grounds - act of god, enemy action or state decision"

The Prof said, explaining this, that a company can not just be closed down unilaterally on the grounds of a huge loss. Government approval is needed even for closure. Only in the event of an act of god, like a flood or earthquake, or in the event of enemy action, like a wartime bombing, can the company be closed down unilaterally.

Now I thought of all the shops, restaurants and factories destroyed last year in Gujarat during the Hindu-Muslim riots. So I asked,

"Ma'am, If a factory is destroyed during riots, what would the closure come under?"

"It would be considered as an act of god," she said. "At least in the insurance sector, destruction caused by riots is counted as an act of god."

The humour in this irony struck me and I smiled. I could see that almost half the class shared my amusement and there was a bit of commotion as some of them started laughing. The Prof too smiled and started teaching the next part.

Very sad irony this, but to a great extent true. Is this a reflection on the lack of ability of human beings to follow the right teachings of religion? Or is it a reflection on the god-religion based belief system? Exactly what is responsible for the continuous self generated strife that mankind faces? The system itself or components of the system?

I don't know, but I do know one thing.

In the eyes of the law, a communal riot is an "Act of God". Mull over that.