Dodging death, fearing fate
Editorial

Dodging death, fearing fate

The current medium age of India’s human population is officially stated as 25 years, meaning that age accounts for half the total headcount of the country. The figure for life expectancy of the nation’s people at large, accepted as 68.35 years (2015), is a statistical measure of the average time a person is expected to live, based on year of birth, current age and other demographic factors including gender. However, the life span for human beings is conceded to be a full 100 years, although in reality, the actual proportion in the total population of human beings who last the full span is short of 100 per cent. Genetic factors as well as afflictions, particularly the life-threatening ones, suffered during life’s journey, seem to play a major role in people departing at an age far below the figure of life expectancy. It is the excuse to invoke these factors behind one’s death commonly talked about by lay people, who dodge death and also fear fate. Knowing the cause of death is made much except for subserving the provisions of law in cases of unnatural deaths. To be informed by doctors that persons past the age of the biblical four score and ten died due to age-related issues of health may help the near and dear ones of the deceased to feel complacent.

We owe it to the dailies for providing their valued column space to carry the news of demise of persons irrespective of their status in society under the obituary column in bold, eye-catching font, invariably stating the age of the departed soul at the time of death and other features. The memory of the event involving every person, mercifully, fades over time, sooner in case of some than the rest. Call it a frailty of the human mind, death, particularly of kin and friends, is not accepted despite its inevitability.

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If in the extremely unlikely happening of whoever was born all over the earth from Day-1 attained immortality became a reality, there are no words to even imagine the fate of the planet. On this one paramount count, we are obliged to accept death as an inescapable end to one’s life taking anyone attempting to dodge death to the region of extreme absurdity. When asked about death, even Lord Krishna is believed to have replied that nobody can steer clear of fate. Fate is portrayed as an agent of death and while it is feared by all it is given only to a distinguished class of persons with spotless clarity profound philosophy and perception of the connect between life and death not to fear fate but accept its hand unequivocally.

An occasional report in the media that someone died after living to the age beyond 110 or so has its news value and nothing more than the inference that death can be dodged upto a finite limit. For those who fear fate, one is obliged to quote the Roman Philosopher Seneca (died on 12th April 65AD): Life is like a story, not how long it is, but how good.

June 2, 2018

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