Can we learn something from the Titanic that sank 100 years ago?
ship in history has captured the world’s imagination like the Titanic -
once dubbed the greatest ship on earth, a product of man’s superior
engineering feat of the early 20th century. It was built with the kind
of solid workmanship that was noted back then for British or Irish
manufactured goods. Of course, today thanks to our computer based
technology we know that the iron used for the building of Titanic was
flawed but they did not know it at the time. For the passengers and the
crew, it was considered an honour to be on the ship.
Yet, within a few days, it all collapsed. Hit by an iceberg, the
Titanic sank with 1,500 on board. It had never occurred to the ship’s
owners that there maybe a need for lifeboats. They did away with the
exact number of lifeboats needed because it was thought the boats may
spoil the design and aesthetic feel of the ship. In the end, The Titanic
did not have adequate lifeboats for everyone - even the lifeboats that
were loaded were half full as they were lowered to a devouring sea by a
confused crew, who did not have the time to engage in a lifeboat drill
before the disaster took place.
The great ship
As the world remembers the 1,500 that perished - men, women and
children - there are many lessons the great ship teaches us, lying as it
does beneath the ocean. The movie based on the ship directed by James
Cameron brought the tragedy closer to millions of people across the
world - and highlighted some of the things that may have gone wrong for
the passengers who perished, many of whom were in search of a better
life. The irony of the Titanic was that the mega rich died or survived
side by side with the poorest of the poor - the ocean was indeed a great
The biggest lesson Titanic teaches us is never to trust wholly the
works of man - be it a machine or a plan. There are bound to be faults,
points where no matter how good or solid it seems, the toughest will
still give away at the most unexpected time.
- once dubbed the greatest ship on earth
No one ever imagined at the time that a ship built so strong, with
such luxury, among whose passengers were the world’s wealthiest, could
sink so soon. Things can and do go wrong. Expecting everything to work
100 percent, even in this technologically advanced world of ours, is not
There needs to be a Plan B to fall back on. The what-ifs will always
be there and it just might be good to think of alternatives.
The Titanic was too busy being important and doing her much
publicized sailing to bother about the small things. The telegraphic
operator was too busy sending out the social telegrams of the VIP
passengers that he could not be bothered about the iceberg warnings sent
in by a smaller ship. They were so confident of their position as the
world’s most prestigious ship that they did not have the time to listen
to the advice of a smaller, insignificant ship. In life, that happens
often. The bigger the better; the smaller things that are often small
yet significant is often ignored with disastrous consequences.
Many of Titanic’s passengers were rich but money had little relevance
once the water started seeping in. The movie Titanic shows one rich
passenger trying to bribe an officer with fistful of cash - only to be
told that the money was useless to people trying to survive a sinking
ship. Money is important yes but sometimes is not relevant to some of
the situations we face in life. Throwing money in the face of such
circumstances will get us nowhere.
The clear class divisions that were present even as people fought for
their lives, did not do good to anyone. How could anyone watch as
hapless children and women perished merely because they belonged to the
third class - the poor who were travelling to America in search of a
better life? Many women and children of the first and the second class
were directed to life boats but the third class or steerage as they were
known, were simply not considered important enough.
The rigidity of class difference shocked the world in the aftermath
of the tragedy. The Titanic disaster helped ease class differences to an
extent, when the inquiry held into the accident revealed many more class
differences that actually led to terrible consequences.
It was a world today’s generations cannot understand - there were
classifications that set people apart. These were the days when human
dignity, equal rights and protection of the vulnerable were not
considered key issues in the civilized world.
There were male passengers who disguised themselves as women to
merely escape on life boats and were later, when found out, shunned for
their cowardice. It was a time when women and children were strictly
given preference over men and to hide in a woman’s clothing and escape
while women and children from third class languished on the sinking
ship, was considered unforgivable.
The Titanic continues to hold our interest as the original movie
comes out in 3D and the world continues to hold in fascination the
story. The lessons however are there for us to learn and hopefully abide