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Double Trouble

August 31, 2008


Two headlines dominated the news this weekend. One, the apocalyptic floods in Bihar. Two, the burning of an orphanage and other Christian institutions in Kandhamal, Orissa . The situations prevailing in the two eastern states represent the sorry state of affairs in India. These are stages we have stood at before, got scarred, but yet not learnt anything from. They depict two of the biggest issues facing the country.

Bihar Drowning

More than 27 lakh people have been displaced due to the unforeseen flooding of the river Kosi. 12 days after the disaster 2 lakh people have been rescued. Seeing the situation grow from worse to worst, the Central Government has woken up and decided to proclaim the floods to be National Calamity. These calamities have become a feature on an India calender. All said and done, in this case we cannot deny the fact that this tragedy could have been avoided had timely action been taken.

Seeing the news on TV is one thing, being in the middle of it is another. I only realised how difficult is it to last even a few hours in these situations when I was caught in the floods last time. Had it not been for the residents of the localities who helped me, I would have perhaps been pulled down a drainhole.

Now the point I am trying to make is, if you cannot do it, at least teach us how to do it. Are we not capable of learning first aid? Can’t citizens not be taught how to handle natural disaster situations better? I am not saying that the Government departments don’t work, but let’s face it, our population is too large for the number of rescue workers which the Government can provide. So why not make the cause of the problem  our strength?


Orissa Burning

A high position leader of the VHP was murdered under mysterious circumstances. Agitated Hindu Extremists set ablaze an orphanage run by Christian Missionaries because the suspect Christians had a hand behind it. That was in addition to the churches, residences and missionary schools that were sabotaged. Let me reiterate why again? Because they thought Christians were responsible for their leaders death.

It is uncertain whether what the VHP things is true. In the event it is, then too, how does it justify killing people who had nothing to do with it? If a Hindu commits a murder, do we burn the homes of all Hindus? No, these same people say that’s against the secular spirit of the country. I don’t see why do we not apply the same logic to similar situations. Rationality is a dead quality.

I being a Hindu don’t consider the VHP to be the representative of the voice of all Hindus. I think a lot of our Muslim friends feel the same way about SIMI or the Indian Mujaheedin. We want peace but these people don’t let us be.

The Similarity

In both places, innocent citizens are dying.

The Difference

While it is the lackadaisical attitude of government officials that is causing the damage in Bihar, it is the hard-line pro-one-religion mentality that is causing the deaths in Orissa. Now if the latter had so much time and energy to inflict damage, imagine the amount of good they could do if the VHP sent its workers to help people out in Bihar. Just imagine… But it is saddening to see how over-whelmed are we with our petty differences that we cannot see what we can truly do.

We need to learn our lessons and learn them well. We don’t want a Godhra again. Nor do we want to see deaths like we saw after the floods of 26/7 in Mumbai. Nothing is more valuable than human life and we must preserve it.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2008 6:20 pm

    a really nice post…yes we need to learn our lessons…:) and people should be thought the reason why such things are committed and what damage it has done to us and how we can rectify them… 🙂

  2. September 1, 2008 7:51 pm

    Good post. This unreasonable and misdirected tit for tat is not going to do any good for anyone.
    “While it is nature that is causing the damage in Bihar,” Actually it isnt so. Due to building of dams on the river, the river is changing its course and the flood condition has been precipitated by torrential rain.

  3. creativerajat permalink
    September 1, 2008 10:44 pm


    My thoughts on the Bihar issue is different, while I agree that people should be taught on managing natural disasters better, I read in TOI, that the cause of the problem is lack of vision and timely planning among the engineering team who built the dam and planned for the water management in the Kosi origin in Nepal region.
    Bottomline is :we need more visionary engineers /leaders like E Sreedharan.
    For the Orissa issue my thoughts..only proper education and movement like Teach India when spread to every village of India can help to reduce such painful reality…..

  4. September 2, 2008 11:57 am

    Thank you everyone for the inputs. Excuse me for the gaffe as far as the facts are concerned. I have made the necessary corrections.

    The reason for the floods was the barrage of the dam had exceeded its life in 1986 and needed to be upgraded or renovated then, but not much attention was paid. The result is we have 3 km wide gap which is the cause of the floods! God help those people.

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