Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Himalayan Catastrophe

Kedarnath Shrine -Then   Courtesy:Indian Express

Kedarnath Temple is one of the Holiest Hindu Shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also one among the group of Jyothirlingas in the country. Saints Thirugnanasambandar and Sundarar have sung Thevaram Hymns on the Deity of the Temple way back in the seventh century. The Temple, located at a height of over 11000 feet was worshiped by Pandavas. Adi  Shankara is believed to have revived the Shrine.

Kedarnath Shrine -Now(after the floods)  Courtesy:Indian Express

The unprecedented disaster that struck Uttarkhand had literally swept away many villages. The devastating floods and and landslides made the job of Crisis Management Team which consists of civilian and Military officials difficult. Over 50000 people have been evacuated and many thousands are reported to be stranded. Since the weather continues to be hostile, rescue operations in the flood-ravaged region poses challenge.  Hundreds of bodies were seen carried away by by fast currents on June 17. Many people had to save themselves by clinging to the trees, climbing the nearby hills to stay put for more than two days without food or water. The already "fragile eco-sensitive zone" had to witness a "Himalayan tsunami"

More than a million people come during "Char dham" season that covers Yamunotri,Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. They trek for 14 km from Gauri Kund to reach Kedarnath. Pilgrims staying in some 60 dharmashalas were simply washed away at the onslaught of gushing water and volley of debris  Sparing only the sanctum and the adjoining sections of Kedarnath Temple, most structures in its vicinity had been washed away.

It is true that concerns expressed on soil degradation and disturbance to the natural ecology and destabilisation of hill slopes caused by the construction of hydel projects along the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda had fallen on deaf ears. Indiscriminate tinkering with Nature has caused the calamity. The proposal to remove the buildings and other structures obstructing the natural drainage lines has not been implemented. The environmentalists describe the death and damage as a man-made disaster. Deforestation has already reduced the forest cover of the region by about 30% . It is reported that Himalayan ecosystems have experienced faster rates of warming in the last 100 years and more than the European Alps or other mountain ranges of the world. Anil Joshi, Director of the Himalayan Environment Studies and Conservation Organisation said," Nothing happens in our country before a disaster and after a disaster." Last week's floods have sounded an alarm bell again.

Thousands of villagers in this region earn during the season who line the entire route from Gauri kund to Kedarnath ,selling umbrellas,canes,raincoats,water bottles,snacks etc. They carry the children and the old on their back. These villagers who fall below the poverty line have to wait for the resumption of the yatras. It looks certain that it may take nearly a year to restore the Kedarnath shrine to its past glory. Will the Government and the People take up the restoration work immediately and complete it before the winter so that the "Char Dham" Yatra may restart by next April?   

Monday, June 17, 2013

Set Basics Right

Life is full of expectations. The expectations are basically common for all . As and when we proceed along with several stages in the life span, we wish to meet those expectations as desired. These include good education, a timely wedding, arrival of babies, enjoying life with children and grand children and so on. Only when we extend the modest wishes, the greed starts to dominate. But you can not sacrifice the basics in life to attain huge wealth and honour. It simply converts you as a slave and you fall prey to the deviated agenda.
Somehow we are stuck up somewhere in our journey due to non fulfillment of the natural order. Unknowingly, the aged parents in the family also find themselves locked in the middle . Naturally they rely on the Supreme Power of God to lift them  and their children from where they had deviated. Perhaps the deviation is due to the modern thinking and the decisions taken. In such cases, a calm and quite revision of their decision can make them realise their mistakes.  

The Natural order is so divine and each one is left to honour it . If you look at the rituals conducted during marriages and Pregnancy, the welfare of the individual is prayed for the welfare of the Mankind. Being a worthless person in the society is meaningless and one has to pray God to grant the genuine wishes.

No doubt, the children of this generation need lot of attention from the parents. The challenge faced by the parents has increased many times in recent years. Even a small error causes irreparable damage in life. The kids are in the world of gadgets and 9 out of 10 children are tend to go out of control of the parents. Hence the role of parents in the modern world is much more than ever. But that is part of our life and it should not give room for excuses for not upholding the basics. Upbringing of children is definitely a challenge which calls for strict discipline and it should make people more focused than remaining as  a mere spectator.

One may recall a popular prayer in Tamil wherein the Goddess is prayed to bless with boons that number sixteen. The wish list includes good wife and children amidst long life, wealth and good company. When the list mentions about the child, the prefix is too careful in asking for a child who will not deviate from the set path. It means that the blessing is thus sought not only to the excitement of the family but for the society as well. A Sanskrit verse goes one step further in seeking the blessing of Lord Shiva. It prays for the child who would become a Devotee of the Lord and if not, it would be better to take him away from the World.

Questions are raised on the significance of getting married  and becoming Parents thereafter. The explanations may be based on Vedas and Shastras. If you want good people to remain in the society and good things to prevail, good souls should unite and their children will have to bear the torch that can throw light to the society. In a Nutshell, one may understand how each one of us is committed to the well being of the society failing which only jungle law will prevail and a civilized society will vanish.

The society will flourish when people respect and follow the guidelines religiously and refrain from indulging in criminal acts. It is only with this thought our forefathers had framed a religious discipline keeping aside all luxuries aside for the benefit of the society. Our young generation may take it forward and create a better world that can foster brotherhood , tolerance and Philanthropy.Let us turn back and set our basics right.