My mind is flooded with so many thoughts about the flood affected people. Eight Indian states are in pain, lakhs of villagers and thousands of villages are under this catastrophe. Man and beast are looking to get hold of one piece of dry land to cling on. No water, no food, not a match to light a fire, not a dry faggot to be kindled, panic stricken faces of little children but their faith of clinging to their parents that all hope is not lost. I see a painful and pitiful sight. 70 years on things haven’t changed.
What triggered this article was the minister of Information and Broadcasting was informing India through some news channels that I am with the people of Gujarat where as the elected people of Gujarat are not with the Gujarati’s. The minister even mounted an inflatable dingy to be the first one to reach out to the flood stricken as a future representative of Gujarat. The Rajya Sabha ticket is at stake I believe. Suddenly the “cloud burst” of emotions of mantriji came flowing to show solidarity with the people of that state. Well, every vote counts and matters. Floods will come and go.
What pinched me most was the first bite given was against the MLA of that region. Politics which should have been kept far away was not to be. What she did was only calling the MLA an absconder, deserter, absentee and words to that effect in Hindi. Had the MLA been there, could he have ensured no floods? As if your visit can divert the floods. My foot! I am amazed that politicians with such innocent faces leave no opportunity to show down the opposition. I am not taking sides but I don’t like such negativity when your citizens are in danger and crisis. Do what you can do, give them relief not promises, don’t find faults but get the job done. People need help not sound bites.
I don’t know folks why do I always smell a rat in politics. I would rather appreciate that the minister should have taken the reigns in her hands. By merely boating around and meeting people does not force the waters to recede by one inch. Could you have gathered the complete state civilian machinery and opened an operations room in every flood affected district. I am sure; the information and broadcasting ministry is capable of establishing a telecommunication grid with video links direct to the centre. Except for promising that now I will go and speak to Modiji, request him to personally visit you guys. I will ensure food & water is sent. I also promise so many lakhs to the victims doesn’t make sense at all. All this I am sure will be done in due course by every government.
Modiji please start your mann ki baat with God and tell him that there should be no floods in all BJP ruled states in future. One more request, please stop sending your central ministers to states to add fuel to the fire in this damp and wet political atmosphere. Such visits create more commotion and chaos as people don’t know whether to salute mantri ji or extend the saluting hand to marooned jignesh bhai to come on board the boat.
I am sure many officials would have suddenly got on their toes on hearing that a central minister is visiting. Out of protocol, all those who must not have ever seen a life jacket would be wearing one and taking a selfie with you. I saw teams from the forces and NDRF guys doing what they are supposed to do. I would rather say that the boat you hijacked should have been left to the rescue team. At least 10 people more would have been brought to safety. My apologies if you had to get your sari dry cleaned on your return as the muddy splashes would have spoilt it. Hope a new uniform is also given to the soldier who doesn’t care to soil his dress for a fellow human.
All these years I have walked this earth I have just heard of floods in some part or the other in India. I also know that keeping a huge force ready for such calamities is not possible. Stores rot, or get pilfered but can’t we have some method in this madness by preparing well. Yes, if there is a cloudburst then things go beyond human control but when rains have been predicted to be heavy, why don’t we take proactive measures? Why people are mobilised piece meal to react rather than act. The son of the soil cannot abandon that precious piece of land or for that matter his calf or goat or crop. That is his entire world. This poor man eats what he grows and lives with what he has, that’s it. He looks up to the Gods for rains for his crops every year. Some years there is draught and some years the Rain Gods give him too much. The local governments do too little too late besides blame game and politics. Sufferer is the common man, the poor citizen of this country.
If we take a deeper look into the Prime Ministers relief fund which has been released over the years for all flood relief and flood mitigation measures, I am sure the figure will be colossal. Doesn’t this expenditure require some method in the madness to prevent and mitigate floods? We compensate victims rather than preventing flood or draught. We compensate the dead, injured, loss of animals and crops, if all that money is added why we can’t link all Indian rivers to ease our water crisis. States don’t see eye to eye and centre cannot get them on the same grid so let us keep wasting our tax money and let it flow down the “floody” rivers.
Today, I just want to highlight that politics and projection of image of a minister with a pseudo sense of connect to Gujarat may be good to get some media bites. Had the local MLA been present he too would have only taken a joy ride like you in the boat. I am sure all flood relief teams deployed are doing an excellent job. I can only thank my stars that I am on dry land, with food to eat and water to drink. The minister would return to Delhi after that hectic visit and report to the PM about the nature’s fury. Except for blaming the flood situation on the local authorities what could you have done in those hours you floated around is my moot point.
Dear Minister we can see through the bluff, we are the public and ye sab jaanti hai, kya aap ye jaanti hain, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis