Thursday, January 17, 2008

Live in Fear, die anyway

According to a New York Time article, American's are probably worrying themselves to death. The cause of worry? Terrorism!

But worrying about terrorism could be taking a toll on the hearts of millions of Americans. The evidence, published last week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, comes from researchers who began tracking the health of a representative sample of more than 2,700 Americans before September 2001. After the attacks of Sept. 11, the scientists monitored people’s fears of terrorism over the next several years and found that the most fearful people were three to five times more likely than the rest to receive diagnoses of new cardiovascular ailments.

Living away from India and getting the news that there has been a terrorist attack in Mumbai or Hyderabad worries me a lot. I make frantic calls to friends and family to make sure they are okay. But the response to any of this call is a very casual, "Don't worry about it.".

Major shopping centres and tourist places do have mandatory security checks in Hyderabad and no Hyderabadi would blink before letting someone else grope you for possible bombs. In effect, they just grin and bear it.

But the wonderful thing about all this is, there is no fear or worry that they might be attacked. I am no psychologist or a social-worker to find out whether people really are afraid, but one look at the way people congregate at various exhibitions and no one in the family raises any concerns about security when planning to go anywhere, it is evident that the attitude is definitely positive.

Be resignation to fate about death ('When your time comes, you go') or the immense and pervasive faith ('God will do right'), Indians are definitely better off in this area. They might not be enjoying the benefits or comforts of a first world country, they are not hindered by first world fears.