Post Mortem

‘It’s raining double tragedy’

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/13/2018 10:57:41 AM IST

 As the floods recede and helpless folks struggle to rebuild their lives from the remains the deluge has left, the nation salutes the undying spirit of the Keralites who fought against all odds and stood firm as ‘one for all and all for one’. Perhaps the Kerala floods have taught humanity, the people of India in particular, that compassion certainly triumphs over any crisis. From the fishermen to the top bureaucrat, the demonstration of humanness in times of desperateness, I believe, has undoubtedly touched the souls of those who were simply praying and wishing them all well. Despite the help that kept pouring in, the sheer resilience and the spirit of the people deserves appreciation. Every struggle teaches humanity lessons. The Kerala floods have taught the larger humanity that we can triumph against all odds if we choose to be ‘One’. 

Those of us who have helplessly watched the gloomy pictures of those in distress would surely admit that it wasn’t all there was to see. For, in the midst of those disturbing scenes a lot of positivity was also unfolding. I could still remember the guy in a blue T. shirt who leaned over and offered support on his back so that a couple of women folks would be guided into the boat safely- not to forget that there was a pregnant woman among the folks. On a dimly lit walled roof structure we could also see resemblance of a busy shopping mall, packed with people of all ages, mostly college students, unpacking and repacking clothes and medicines, received from donors, to be send to relief camps. What was visible and encouraging in all these pictures was the joy and the delightful spirit with which they had volunteered for the cause. It seemed as though nothing else mattered for these volunteers. Every moment was a moment of opportunity; it was simply pure empathy that was translating into action. Not a soul was found idle, one is either in the rains trying to rescue stranded and helpless folks, inside a make shift camp unpacking and repacking stuffs or either distributing food items. Schools, temples, mosques and Churches opened their doors to shelter the homeless. In this crisis the religious places have truly demonstrated that it does not harbor only sermons but practice them as well. As of now Kerala, ‘God’s own Country’, remains devastated with 80,000Kms damaged roads, 10 Lakh displaced, crores of hectares of crops lost and what is truly painful is the fact that the floods have come to claim more than 400 lives. The state has also suffered a financial loss of more than 20000 crore. It will take a while to build from what is left, but with an undying spirit and human solidarity it will just be another bad flood that has come and gone after about 100 years. 
The Times of India (Kolkata) 3 September 2018 carried a news item, “Flood hit 48k Families in Nagaland”. It mentions that more than 13 percent of Nagaland’s population, comprising 48,000 families in 532 villages, has been hit by one of the worst floods the State has witnessed in the recent years. The deluge in Nagaland started since July 26, relentless monsoon rains ravaged the state, causing floods and landslides, leading to the death of 12 persons and displacing more than 3000 families. Districts under Nagaland like, Kipheri, Tuensang and Phek, bordering Myanmar, remained totally cut off for more than 15 days. Every since the downpour the Doyang Hydel project has been rising above normal level threatening the inhabitants settled in the low lying areas including neighbouring Assam. The worst areas have been Peren, Noksen, Noklak, Tobu, Phokhungri, Wazu, Pongro and Seyochung areas reports the Times of India. Being someone away from Nagaland I do not wish to bring a detail account of the devastation that is felt at home. I suppose the tragedy is more severe then what little is known and written about in the papers. 
When the news of the floods in Kerala started gaining momentum it seemed as though the entire national media had unleashed its soldiers on the ground to do ground zero reporting from all the flood affected areas. What the reporters did was commendable. They even braved the rains and risked their lives to keep the media houses breaking with news and videos. It was mission Kerala covered from A-Z. People saw and acted. The media coverage helped in garnering a lot of support even from across the boundary. The India Today news channel played a clip of two minor girls from the state of Karnataka collecting funds in and around temples from the devotees for the flood relief in Kerala. Certainly a kind gesture that said, “What comes from the heart goes to the heart”. At one point of time even politicians were heard and seen competing as to, who would fly down to Kerala first? What the national media contributed to Kerala is a commendable and laudable job because it was a selfless sacrifice, a duty that knows no bounds-for the cause of humanity. The response in Kerala was spontaneous, be it the media, the people or the government. Nobody needed to be told everybody knew that ‘saving a life’ was all that mattered at those crucial junctures. 
However, back at home it is a different story. At home we all thank the CM for his twitter appeal for help. It at least created some discomfort for the centre to immediately deploy the chopper to the affected areas. The National survey team has finally reached the state and taken stock of the damage and loss. I hope and pray that their outreach will at least serve as a consolation to those who are struggling to rebuild from what is left. What disturbs me often as a citizen, is the kind of publicity (the National media especially), that is so hesitant when it matters the North Eastern Regions of India, and this time particularly Nagaland. Having seen all these media attentions and publicity, what concerns me is the kind of media attention and coverage that we in Nagaland seldom enjoy. And it is unfortunate that in such terrible situations, we were left without anyone noticing the kind of hell we are going through. I am not dismissing the reports carried out by the local dailies (News in Nagaland) and the participation of the social media in highlighting the current issue. 
My contention is why are the Media houses so hesitant to set foot and do real ground reports in times such as these? What has ever happened to “duty without bounds”? What prevented the media from doing its duty to its own citizens? It could have made a lot of difference to the people who were ruthlessly pushed to their limits by nature’s fury. If the media could go the United States to cover the PM’s speech, what is the excuse for not turning up when fellow citizens are fighting for survival in a tragedy? Interestingly the appeal of the Chief Minister of Kerala, for help and assistance, is broadcasted at certain intervals in most of the national Medias till date. If the flood situation in Kerala was so tempting for the media houses to do ground zero reporting 24/7, why skip Nagaland? Of course who can compare the loss, it’s a staggering 20000 crore versus 800 crore. I hope for sure it is not the gravity of a disaster or tragedy that determines ground reporting. But I believe the loss that is felt by both the states and its people bear the same emotional gravity as human beings, which the media ought to consider. The mainstream national media seemed to have dumped all its stamina this time in the South that the disaster in Nagaland had to rely on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter for its national coverage. Isn’t it a concern that a lot of times incidents and events occurring in the state are covered from neighbouring Guwahati by the media channels? This often leads to limited coverage and distort versions of a narrative. What makes politicians so keen on visiting Nagaland during Hornbill Festivals and elections but gives a damn when people’s lives are at stake? Is it not people’s lives that we have chosen to be adamant to? In our indifference have we not chosen to ignore our own? Are we not morally responsible to the struggles of our fellow human beings? In these crisis we don’t need sermons to teach us morals, perhaps what we lack is empathy-an understanding of how others are feeling which often translates into action.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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