The visuals chill our bones, the heart rending survivor tales squeeze our heart. Looking for the gods it seemed paradoxes that how people were put through the hell.
The Uttarkhand tragedy is said to be a manmade disaster. But the sheer failure of our systems to predict in advance such a catastrophe is a national shame. Natural disasters are not uncommon. It happens to every country but only it differs when it comes the preparedness of that country to deal with it.
Haven’t we heard of ravaging hurricanes in the United States? Check the death toll and it will be in few hundred or less than a hundred. What we find out of this is the prediction and preparedness in dealing with a such a disaster.
Here in India we have a Chief Minister who comes on a national news channel and shoots a question back to the journalist ‘will you evacuate Delhi if tomorrow there is a prediction that it is going to rain heavily in the capital?’ If the lifeless systems had failed to predict exactly then at the least a man with little intelligence and sense of responsibility to his people should have acted. In this case both have failed and the people in the heavenly abode were drowned into hell.
In India disaster management starts after a day or two after the tragedy. The most visible form of that is on the news channels where disaster management takes a political colour and then the heart wrenching disaster turns into a shameful tragedy.
Whom to blame for what happened, for the thousands who were not even allowed even for such a dream before encountering an ocean of water gushing towards them? Is it the Meteorological department who failed to give a more precise and early warning? Or is the Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna who cold shouldered the warning of the Met Department? Or is it the bureaucracy and the mafia who were instrumental in unrestricted construction of large scale dams leading to deforestation leaving behind no forest to hold the earth (and which is why such large scale landslides resulted)?
The noted author Chethan Bhagath made a very meaningful observation in a national TV debate. It is on the apathy of the people who take everything into their strides, the bad roads, unhygienic facilities that await them en route this difficult journey to their God’s abode. No one raises a question on the non-availability of minimum facilities even in such hot spot tourism centres.
So, in India when such horrific disasters happen, we speak of failure of governments, we curse the politicians and talk of coming change in the name of a new political party or a pressure group. But do we ever think ‘what is my responsibility in what happened to my fellow beings’?
I wouldn’t have raised such a question if India was being ruled by any other form of government than what it is now. India is the largest democracy on the planet earth. We boast upon that. In my country we all have a voice. And if every one of us raise a voice and lend a hand in whatever minute way possible in such and similar times, one day, we will cease to be as shameful as we are today.
In the meantime let us send our heartfelt thanks to all the IAF, ITBP men who braved such odds in rescuing lives of thousands of people. A salute to all of them. They are the real heroes of our nation.
I hope every soul alive be rescued and for the remaining families the bodies of their loved ones be fetched and returned. And I pray the almighty to be a lot more sympathetic.