Can We Heed The Lessons Of Uttarakhand?

Nature will not tolerate abuse indefinitely.

Not even the rivers we hold sacred, for it is those that are the most abused.

The unleashing of nature’s fury in Uttarakhand, at the foothills of the Himalayas, was ample proof. Sadly, when it does hit back, it is the ordinary citizen that pays the steepest price, while those whose decision it was to denude the mountain slopes and mine the river beds, escape the worst of its vengeance. 

Uttarakhand Candle

At the peak of the Char Dham pilgrimage season that coincides with the monsoons, the destruction was savage, and the loss of life enormous. It makes no difference that there seems to be no consensus on the number of dead. Would it be any less devastating, if the toll were 1000 as claimed by the Home Minister, instead of the ascribed 10,000? Or the number of missing, marginally less than the alleged 3000?

All I feel is immeasurable sorrow for the victims and their families.

With rescue and evacuation efforts almost at an end, the need of the hour is of course relief and succor for the survivors, while simultaneously getting the state back on its feet as quickly as possible. But for the long run, it is imperative that we learn the lessons of this terrible tragedy and start treating our rivers and forests with due respect. I can think of no better tribute to those that perished here.

The question is…..will we?

PS: If you wish to make donations to flood relief agencies click on the links below. (These are all strangely restricted to Indian residents and NRI’s with Indian passports)

Prime Minister’s Relief Fund 

Uttarakhand Government Online Donation Portal

NDTV – How you can help

Animal relief in Uttarakhand