Cyrus, a martyr . . !


THERE’S enough that’s been written about the car crash that took the life of billionaire Cyrus Mistry, and I’m not going to wade into those already muddied waters. However, something that struck me as I read our transport minister’s statement after the accident, was the sudden focus on using seatbelts in the rear seat! The ones who wear rear seat belts in our country can be counted on one’s fingers.

When you buy a second hand car, the one unused item, that’s still as good as new, are those rear belts. But suddenly, when a man whose net worth is over twenty nine billion, who should have been one of the most protected people in the country dies, because he did not buckle up, leaves the whole nation realizing how a life was lost through sheer negligence, but more importantly now, we’re going to see how that same death is going to save hundreds of thousands, as focus shifts to the need to buckle up in the rear seat!

A few weeks ago, at a get together at the Taj in Mumbai, I met a polished young man, who introduced himself as the grandson of the Late Bal Thackeray. I was certain he was not Aditya the young politician, and asked him if he was the son of the Thackeray who died in a car accident on the Bombay Pune highway, which used to be literally a treacherous death trap.

He replied he was. “Nihar,” I told him gently as we chatted, “because of your dad’s death, thousands now travel in safety on the newly built Mumbai-Pune Expressway!” He nodded, as I continued, “Your dad died a martyr for the many who have been saved because of a safe expressway built due to his death!” There are hundreds of such martyrs, who through their tragic death drew attention to safety needs we’d brushed aside.

A tiny girl I know, developed a huge campaign in Maharashtra for helmets being mandatory after she lost a close friend in a motorbike accident many years ago. That death has saved thousands of lives. And as I think of Cyrus Mistry and the late Balasaheb Thackeray’s elder son, I wonder whether every catastrophic death that happens can be used to champion some lifegiving succour?

I remember a man who lost his teenage daughter to cancer, who started a fund for those who could not afford cancer treatment. He told me, that through those saved lives, his daughter lives on, and I believe if we all could do this with every tragedy that befalls us, that the dead will never die! Think about it, even as you grieve for a loved one, about turning that grief to a cause mighty, forceful and powerful through which your loved one will always be cherished and remembered as a saint, as a martyr who lives on, in the minds of a grateful many..!


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