May God be with Japan
Like everyone else I am deeply concerned about what is happening in Japan. I have always been a great admirer of the Japanese people and their sheer determination and resolve in overcoming difficulties and enormous challenges that have cropped up during the course of the 66 years since the end of World War II. I am sure they will come out of this huge natural calamity that has caused enormous destruction in several cities of the country. A story where technology and scientific advancement appeared to have totally been overcome by forces of nature. A story which should serve to remind humans that there are forces that are greater than those we all think and science and technology may have made great advancements but there are limitations we have to recognize.
The Tsunami and the earthquake has devastated Japan but one must not forget that this big setback will not come in the way of the resolve the Japanese people have to make their country second to none other in this universe.
I had the only opportunity to visit Japan in 1999 and came back with memories that have stayed with me permanently. I went to Hiroshima, the city destroyed by the Atom Bomb, which exploded in August, 1945 in what the Americans described at that time as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbour. Anyone who has been to Hiroshima can never endorse nuclear warfare. The stories, which one got to hear, shook my very being and it was extremely disturbing to know that years after the bombing, the effects of radiation had left their scars on every survivor. In hospital, many struggled to live and heart-rending accounts of what happened that particular day brought tears into the eyes of even hardened people. It was the most senseless bombing. The Americans had subsequently even bombed Nagasaki and these two cities continue to be the only ones, which have experienced the direct impact of a nuclear explosion.
But the Japanese were not the ones to give up. They not only rebuilt Hiroshima but today it is amongst the most modern cities of the world. No one can believe that the resurrection happened so swiftly and with so much of precision. I marveled at the way the Japanese had transformed this war-ravaged town into a metropolis.
I have been a great believer in the strength of the Japanese. It is for no reason that their products have become a household name all over the world. Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Honda are not just names but a tribute to Japanese excellence. Similarly, Sony, Cannon etc are brands, which have no competitors. In India we share a special relationship with the Japanese people and their goods are in many homes.
Japan is perhaps the only country in Asia, which has developed as much as any western country. China maybe coming up in terms of creating infra structure etc, but Japan is as good as the rest of the developed world. But what is amazing if you visit that country is that people are totally focused on what they do. There is no ‘Tip’ culture in Japan meaning the bell boy who takes your luggage to your room or other service providers of similar genre do not and will not accept a payment for the services which they believe are their duty and fall in the domain of their job profile.
There is total honesty and even a Cab driver in Tokyo will always take you by the shortest route to your destination and give a receipt of the money he charges. Trains run with precision punctuality and unlike most western countries, there is an air of security even in the dead of the night. Well I am extremely sad that this tragedy has befallen such nice and brave people. May God be with them during this hour of reckoning. My good wishes are with the people always.