The Mayhem at Uttrakhand this June of 2013
First, they feminized rivers.
Then they said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"
Then they forgot to connect the obvious dots.
Recently, rains, followed by a cloudburst or two, caused a major havoc at Uttarakhand, a Northern state in India. UK, as I fondly call it, is a beautiful place. It is also a Devbhoomi, a land of many Gods, temples, pilgrimages and also the place where Holy Rivers are at their very best. The rivers mainly being Ganga and Yamuna. It is here in UK, where the Britishers built the hill station of Mussoorie. Again, in Rishikesh, another district of UK, many foreigners like Steve Jobs and Rock Bands like Beatles come to seek nirvana or learn Yoga or just to do what tourists do. Technically speaking, each Hindu has to land here for upon cremation, the ashes have to immersed here in Haridwar, another place in UK popular amongst visitors.
The list goes on and on. Basically, you can stay there for months and discover yet a new place that would wow you. But it is a part of India, and Indians form the bulk of its tourist trade. And this mayhem exposed yet another shameless side of Indians. People were stuck for days before the administration woke up to do something. That also, when the army came into the scene. The chief minister, elected by the people, was busy in decision making like deciding, whether to go to Switzerland for vacations or not? Given the nature of Indians and kind of leaders we elect, this was indeed a major decision for the CM to make. A great dilemma indeed.
Then came the news from the survivors. We Indians, if you are listening, always blab about athiti devo bhava. Guest are God. So they got to be treated well? Right? So the wonderful hosts, charged more than 50 bucks for half an hour charging of phone. And the pilgrim (most tourists at this time of the year are pilgrims) will pay for he has to call home. Someone told about overcharging of biscuits, someone had a story of water being sold at an exorbitant price. Blogger Pooja, in her post on these floods, writes about how rescue helicopters, were demanding jewellery from pilgrims stuck in the region. A reporter on Aaj Tak I guess was telling the other day about some Sadhus caught with loot that they had got from hapless pilgrims. Reports of molestation, robbery, etc are coming to light every now and then. What a shame.
What does all this say for India as a country? It says a lot. And so does, the fact that most of the destruction could have been avoided by the magic word called common sense. Yes, that thing that we Indians often sell in the open market for a commodity called greed. See, you know this area is a river bed. For hundred of years, the river has been following this route. Now, just to make quick bucks you put up buildings on the river bed. So destruction will happen. River won't take the expressway just because u make it 8 lane or 6 lane. It will follow its route only. If you want to stand in front of it, you got to risk your life.
And then their is the whole thing about building hundreds of dams and power projects at the cost of environment. Just because Nehru got away with violating every environment concern when he built the dams (which still provide most of our electricity) does not mean that you have to slaughter every jungle and every river in the country.
Now to the good news. yes, something good always comes out in a crisis. However bad it might be. The media won't tell u this, and only an online media thing has reported this news. It is about how the Gujarat CM for three days sat down in Dehradun to save his deer Gujratis. Those who always vote for him and probably, reading how they were saved by him, they will always vote for him. Of course the Congress savvy media, which is more pro Congress than pro India, scoffed at his in their words "politicization of issue." Hence, they showed the Congress President, flagging off relief material as if she is distributing her own wealth. And it is not just Modi. The leaders of the BJP in MP too have been at the forefront, collecting money, mobilizing resources etc. The Akali govt in Punjab too sent off buses and forces to help in relief and get citizens of their state back, safe and sound. Caught off guard, now the UK govt has learned (it is a Congress govt.) something. It is a great lesson, which will be great for Indian politics. They have issued a diktat that all states will help the UK govt and not the pilgrims. Meaning, stop rescuing pilgrims from your state. Be good boys and do as UK govt asks you to do. Oh, but we were discussing good news. One good news is our technology is doing more wonders than plain voyeurism and idle chit chat. Yes, google came out with some amazing tools to make people reach out to their known ones. It was a great idea.
Yeah, the best news is, the ITBP, Army, Air Force, etc people still know how to do their job. And boy are they good at their jobs. They outdid themselves I guess. They have told the people of India, that they are good at more things than just VIP protection. So what, if these Indians have little regard to their colleagues in Kashmir, who are having their heads chopped off just because Indians have gone sissy?
They are harboring no animosity it seems and doing a perfect job at UK.
To learn from our mistakes, will be too much to ask for an Indian. We will give up our lives or souls, but never learn from our mistakes.
Here is a quote in tribute to Ganga, the holiest of the rivers and all those who died in its bosom, seeking blessings of the divine.
“The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible, and infinite, only the material body is factually perishable, therefore fight O Arjuna.
- Bhagavad Gita