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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The wrath of the Gods!

Is it not ironic that Dev Bhoomi suffered the wrath of the gods and people, most of them devotees suffered like no human should be allowed to?

Uttarakhand the newest state of the republic went through one of the severest natural catastrophes the nation faced since it came of its own. Hundreds have died as per official figures though the number is expected to go up many times once the disaster relief and restoration efforts, hampered by the terrain and extent of damage, pick up in the right earnest. Sad it is that this catastrophe happened enroute the abode of the Lord Shiva!
Trying times for the new state and the nation, the episode would definitely go down in the annals of history as one of saddest that the nation ever faced. Our heart goes out to those who perished and those who suffered. At such times one indeed looks forward to a humanitarian touch and an efficient handling of the post disaster scenario from the authorities. Is it indeed asking for the moon?

While there is absolutely no doubt that extremely heavy rains and perhaps a cloudburst led to a massive flow of water causing this catastrophe, it is also amply clear that haphazardly mushrooming growth of housing and commercial structures, both authorized and unauthorized in the mountain state have hindered the natural flow of water down the hills. Had the pristine nature and ecology of the mountain state been preserved, the extent of damage would have been far less. This failure to preserve ecology borne out of rampant prevalence of unethical practices in the governance machinery of the nation is a sad yet true scenario.  

The rank inability on the part of the administration to efficiently deal with catastrophes, the disaster and its aftermath generally stinks. The sloth and the rot in the sarkari tantra that lies at the root of the reasons behind such catastrophes in the first place also envelops disaster relief efforts. Restoration works thereafter also leave much to be desired.

Good governance is indeed the answer to all such issues and one eagerly hopes that this sad incident would indeed push the state and its mandarins to provide the much needed good governance. During one of my recent visits to the capital city of the mountain state I was aghast at the extent of infrastructural rot and deficit besides the widely visible symptoms of a city allowed to decay. With its various hill stations also bursting at the seams, it is apparent that the pressing need to develop newer ones has perhaps failed to find acceptance and also the will of the powers that be.

The images of the abode of the Lord Shiva, the holy shrine of Kedarnath both before and after the catastrophe present a sorry picture. The area around the holy shrine that earlier buzzed with a mushrooming growth of ill conceived shanties now looks like a devastated settlement. Perhaps the incident is a way of the gods conveying their unhappiness with the way ecology was being treated in the area around and leading to their abode. Ecological balance would indeed need to be maintained, even at the cost of the so called developmental and political compulsions.

While the extensive loss of lives and damage to infrastructure and property is an irreparable loss, the need of the hour is to take steps to plan and implement a balanced growth of the entire affected belt. The surroundings of the Kedarnath shrine, the approach road and Gauri Kund, all should be developed in an organized manner in keeping with the divine environment, pristine surroundings, need for hygiene and comfort of the devotees. Perhaps the establishment of a shrine board on the lines of Vaishno Devi would mark the perfect beginning of restoration efforts.

The opportunity for a proper positioning of the shrine and the welfare of hordes of devotees should not be allowed to wither away. 


  1. Respected Sir,
    A cash award of Rs 50,000/- is available with you for further distribution among your staff. While the staff is in no trust to hand over the amount to the union people, I suggest you to donate this amount for the relief work through some agency that really work for the betterment of the society. Donating to PM relief fund is not a good option as the amount is not certain to reach Utterakhand. Our honest and capable silent politicians and capable and hard working wide heart bureaucrats may divert it to Swiss bank.

    1. It would not be wise to donate the money that one holds in trust. Charity should invariably be out of one's own pocket and also anonymously and that is what one should do.

  2. Good Governance - its really important but not only in state affairs but also in railways. JUST keeping yes men around oneself does not ensure the good Governance.

    The only way to know reality is to break the circle and realise the ground position as anonymous.

    Merely forwarding the paper down level for comments/ early action etc. is not a good governance.