PHAILIN VS STAMPEDE: NATURE’S FURY VS HUMAN GREED: WHAT SHOULD WE SAY ON THIS IRONY?

What should we say on this irony?

Nature’s Fury Vs Human Greed

Double whammy! Triple whammy! Or whammy of nth order!

Yes, there was reason to feel good when an alert Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and its scientific community played the pivotal role in assessing and warning about the Cyclone Phailin, a super-storm category cyclone, capable enough to bring catastrophe, and thus minimizing the loss of human lives. The state governments of Odisha, the most affected state, and Andhra Pradesh, the other state in the path of the cyclone, worked overtime to evacuate people.

The result was remarkable. Once equipped with required technological advancements, the Indian scientific community performed well Phailin told us. And thought the present and the past of Indian politics give us reasons to believe the promptness with which the political class acted was more due to the concerns of the upcoming parliamentary polls than being the call of the humanitarian conscience, still, it was a commendable (though rare) promptness.

But the same day, the irony struck.

Over 100 people lost their lives in a stampede during a religious event of a temple in Datia, Madhya Pradesh. The same Ratangarh Mata temple had seen stampede in 2006 killing many. A probe was ordered then. Its report is still not in public domain. A judicial inquiry has been announced in the latest mishap. What is the relevance of such probes?

Any probe report cannot do anything unless the human greed is checked.

Reports say the stampede took place due to the greed of the local police. The police was busy in collecting bribe money from vehicles to let them pass through the bridge that was the main passage to the temple. Some other reports say the stampede began after police lathicharged the devotees to control the crowd. Lathicharging a religious crowd of tens of thousands! Unbelievable!

Stampedes, sadly, have become a common occurrence during religious events in India and are result of the mismanagement owing to the human greed.

These man-made calamities tell us how irresponsible the governance in country has become.

Yes, we do come across ‘feel good’ examples like in case of Phailin but the share of good is simply outnumbered by the ‘feeling shocked’ examples of the man-made disasters.

While a small part of the governance acted in time and correctly to avoid what could have been a much bigger loss of life, its other, and majority counterpart, created a tragedy that killed 6-8 times the lives lost in the aftermath of Phailin.

Nature never kills us. It is us who come in its way.

So, the nature was gauged and its might was respectfully given passage so that we could have the safe passage for us.

But what about the human element!

It is the human element that creates disaster after disaster – the man-made disasters killing the man.

We see it every time whenever a disaster happens. The stampede deaths in Datia are example of it.

We saw it in Uttarakhand in June. Even if we agree to make the role of the scientific community (IMD and the likes) debatable (though it was not as clear warnings were issued at various levels), the scale of the Uttarakhand flash floods disaster, killing thousands, was certainly man-made.

Warning signals were ignored. The situation only got worsened with irresponsible infrastructure development in ecologically fragile areas. The human greed was complicit in the crime. Polity and bureaucracy, supposed to keep things in order, added to the chaos by nurturing their greed shielding behind the greed of the masses to survive a day peacefully somehow.

Equally pathetic has been the response to the rehabilitation process. Compensation cheques of even Rs. 100-200 are getting dishonoured. See it in context of the reports that say the Uttarakhand government has spent over Rs. 22 crores in advertisements in the last four months to drumbeat its (largely ineffective) rehabilitation efforts.

Man-made! Horrible! Detestable!

Add to it the polity of the day. Politicians have probably a unique gene that turns most of them into (a political gene, so the politics in play even here!) insensitive, shameless and selfish creatures.

Their brazenness inspires them to switch onto the warpath of the dirty politics to exploit the mileage as soon as a disaster starts its killing machine.

Bigger the output of this killing machine, bigger is the display of the dirty politics over dead bodies – and so bigger is the brazenness.

We saw it in Uttarakhand. We are witnessing it in Datia.

Horrible! Detestable!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/