|I, like many from Bihar in different part of India, have been kept on watching and switching the news channels on TV and scanning pages of newspapers to know about the latest on the devastation of Kosi. It is all shocking and immensely painful. Naturally, some questions pertaining the rescue operation after the deluge crop up.
I have very little experience in disaster management. I did some work as a member of draught relief team in Bihar in 1966 in villages around Noorsarai near the famous Nalanda. We were working for an organization headed by JP Narayan. It requires a lot of management skill to make the rescue operation effective and efficient, otherwise even with all the inputs available at hand, the affected population gets disenchanted and starts feeling cheated.
Why did it take so much time in getting the team of disaster management in action this time? Why can't some self-motivated in each department of the government be trained as expert in various skills to manage and tackle disaster such as earthquake, flood and drought? If India's defence forces-army, navy, and air force, are the only to take up the major job in such disasters, why can't the decision for deployment be entrusted to the chief of the zone for prompt response? It is almost after 10 days that the deployment could be completed in required number for the size of the task and in the mean time, many suffered. It was a huge task. Evacuation is still not complete, particularly from the remotest villages. Hardly any assessment appears to be correct, be it of loss of lives, cattle, crops, or dwellings. A lot is required to be done at the relief camps. A clear road map for the total actions involved and an organization is necessary.
I wonder why one of the very important institutions of the country is not at all visible in this time of major crisis covering a large number of populations. Perhaps all Indians including the poorest ones contribute or donate something in cash or kind to temples and religious institutions all over the country during the pilgrimage or otherwise as essential characteristics of Indian life. Some of the temples and its trusts are extremely rich. Even many religious gurus are very much affluent with a lot of funds and followings. However, except for the news of Ramdev contributing Rs 2 crore, I didn't come across any other news about the religious institutions coming forward for assistance. Why can't the temple trusts inspire the young men and women of the faith to join a volunteer force for helping the society in need instead of organizing yagyas and kirtans in extravagant ways? I am amazed that even organizations such as RK Mission and Swaminarayan have not come out to help the flood victims in Bihar.
India Inc keeps on talking about corporate social responsibility (CSR). Even after the appeal from the CM of Bihar, hardly any news of significant assistance has come out in media. The Kosi deluge would have certainly damaged and swept away millions of dwellings of all those who constitute the bottom of the pyramid of our society. The affected population in the region that is the poorest in the world needs preventive healthcare, medical help, and medicines beside safe drinking water. Can't big corporate houses of the country help the unfortunates?
PM has come out with an appeal for donation to his relief fund surprisingly today (Why is his office so late?) in national dailies. The appeals from Lalu and CM already appeared in newspapers.
Lalu is still trying to cash on this misery as an opportunity to defame Nitish. I wish Lalu through Railway catering organization had distributed litti and chokha, got some water-filtering systems at the relief camps, and arranged temporary toilets. Instead of doing everything for media to cover, why can't he be a little sincere in such a serious situation? Nitish appears to be serious but sometimes helpless against the politics that got reflected so badly when the PM preferred Lalu and his men in his plane during his visit of flooded area instead of inviting Nitish to join him. The PM would have worked through the chief minister of the state Nitish instead of Lalu.
I wish Lalu and Ram Vilas shun poor politics for the shake of the people of the state.
Water will soon subside. People will return home but will Bihar get the right help from the center and organize its own machinery to do something positive to get over the curse of Kosi forever?
I came across this disturbing news about Dalits being discriminated in Kosi relief operations. They are last to get rescued, if rescued at all, and denial of food and shelter.
Please see this article published in BCC.
There is nothing new in atrocities and discrimination against Dalits by caste Hindus. Probably Kosi flood is just another reminder.
I am sure several people will counter the claim of BBC, branding it as Christian conspiracy.
In the aftermath of 1934 earth quack that devastated Bihar, Mahatma Gandhi called it God's punishment to the people of Bihar for practicing untouchability. Sadly after 75 years, not much has changed.
Arizona, United States
Our education system 'generates' good students, not good citizens. That is why self-motivation and decision making capability, which are the two most essential requirements for the betterment of lives, are still missing in our lives.
Long time back I wrote an article in Bihar Times… it was revised and published entitled role of decision making in development. Here is the quote again…
“Society expands through marriage, the most important turning event of one's life. Majority of us can't decide whom to marry, leaving the decision on families or society whose influence matters most. Female, in general, have no right to participate in this process. A person who is unable to make decision in his/her own life at this stage, can not think of doing good for others. That is why everybody is engaged in earning one's own wherewithal with a satisfaction of having a settled life.”
This is one of the reasons of these “surprising absentees”. Lets Chant: Bachha Bachha RAM ho..( a good decision maker)
Here is my answer for your outburst: “Perhaps all Indians including the poorest ones contribute or donate something in cash or kind to temples and religious institutions all over the country…”
I have never found anywhere in the book that River Kosi is known as “Sorrow of India”, Unlike Huang Ho river, a Sorrow of China. Since River Kosi is known as a “Sorrow of Bihar”, it is the duty of us (as Biharis) to find solution. Whatsoever we are getting help from others, we must acknowledge them. We should not make hue and cry and show our greedy teeth. Look at the Union (?) Health Minister, Dr. Ramadoss who is still ranting that epidemic, is nothing new in Bihar. What is so fuss about the ‘current’ Bihar flood? Are you (Mr. Indra) still expecting?
Third, Country India, more specifically her impoverished son BIHAR, has large population very lazy, and the lazy people are always demanding. That is why they are always being blackmailed by those who offer them Railway Wheel and Coach Factory (Mr. Lalu) at Chapra and Madhepura in Bihar, Zonal headquarters (Mr. Ram Vilas) at Hajipur, Bihar…. and many more things. Hundreds and thousands of projects, some of them are the best Engineering marvel, have been completed across the world without much fanfare. None of the projects started or completed in Bihar (or India) losses political impudence of one-up-man ship, including the great Nuclear Deal (The Congress). This is ‘the’ most unfortunate quality that we possess, and thus for example, digging pond also gives opportunity to those who are continuously aligned to blackmailers. Does it not the ‘survival of the best fit’ serve opportunity to become ‘rich’ out of relief operation? I believe, it is the toughness of the Chief Minister!
hampering relief and rescue operation that too at the tune of more than 1000 crores.
I am also surprised to note that PM of India is thinking for Bihar and appealing for donation. Probably he might have learnt lesson from “Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti”. It is his Water Resources Ministry under the supervision of Prof. Saifuddin Soz who did not work properly in maintaining the dam developed under 1954 Indo-Nepal treaty. It is his ministry brought Malthusian Catastrophe to Bihar.
Last but not the least, the fallout of our “way of life” is the no exuberance for community service. And, so the INDIA INC. and their corporate social responsibility…
Dr. Suhdir Ranjan, Pittsburgh, USA