Thursday, June 27, 2013


                                           Nandadevi at dusk

Destruction, loss, and pain is not unequal, be it anywhere life exists. It is a perverted and bizarre contention that loss of life and agony is insignificant and matter of trivia when it is borne by others, by people of other denominations, faith or race and is the cruelest extent to which human beings can pursue their ideas. The cataclysm in the Himalayas, the devastation of the tsunami or even the directly man made afflictions like genocides and ethnic cleansing we see and hear about are all matters of distress to people who cannot see the difference in the colour of blood and value of life.

I was trying to put myself in the picture of the devastation in the monsoon torrents brought about in the Himalayas. It hurts! It hurts not because of the loss of life, but because the devastation was asked for- we crossed the threshold Nature has been putting backward.

The Gods, I’m certain, would see the picture of Kedarnath in the aftermath of the deluge in the mountains with stoicism. And so should man, with dispassion. The gods were not wrathful nor did they vent their fury through pelting and deluge, for they may have vanished from Kedar long ago with indifference. Looking at the pictures of the ploughed under township of Kedar and the half inundated entombed temple structure, I wondered why was not the town totally submerged down under the rocks, mud and debris? To vanish from the surface like the grandeur of the Mayans or a Pompey! To perhaps be later discovered and to resurface in an age were man has respect and reverence to the fragile blue planet that is his only home like the rebirth of Machupichu.

It was commerce in the hills, in the mountains. There was no sanctity and calm in the frenzied gathering of mortals in what they call as the abode of Gods. The beeline they made to Kedar, by foot and on miserable mules was in a state of divorce from the God they ventured to seek in the mountains. Eyes wide shut and chanting gibberish invocations they were actually defiling Nature. Remember the Lord of Kedar is a yogi, a hermit and a person who resides in the pristine air of the mountains.

The obscene concrete structures that were put up on the mountains jack sawing trees and vegetation were not only an eye sore but brutal violation of Nature. I wonder if any of the four destinations Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badarinath was equipped with means to dispose tonnes of waste and garbage men threw around with impunity. For many the wailing of Nature is not even a distant whimper.
The rape of Kedar can be seen and understood only by people who go there with their “eyes wide open”. For a supplicant, a petitioner or even a sinner eager to wash away his sins so that he could start all over again and mortals who are anxious of ensuring a star plus afterlife which they expect to ensure from the excursion to Kedar and the mountain shrines, her enchanting self is not noticed. They do not notice the beauty she radiates in the majesty of the snow clad mountains shinning in the noon sun or the crimson ornamental appearance at dusk; the cold gushing water of the rivers; the timid birds that are special to the Himalayas; the silver streaks of waterfalls from distant hills; the lush green flora; besides all that , the music of silence that whiff by if one care to listen, be it day or night and the caress of the cold breeze and the howl of the icy wind at night.

This catastrophe that visited the thousands who went there believing they can buy salvation is not an exception or a misfortune that happened like an uninvited tsunami or a volcanic eruption without forewarning. Similar disasters will be visiting us in other places the Sabarimala for instance or any place where we defile nature and desecrate her.

Closing these parts of the Himalayas for religious excursions or restricting the permissible numbers a year with absolute and impeccable management of the environment must be put forward as possible solutions. Or perhaps we will never learn, understand and take not notice of the foreboding. Such is our arrogance, lust for possessions and selfishness .And in our frenzied mode for salvation we might forget to live the life here and also leave the world an inhospitable place for posterity.


Usha Menon said...

The devastation in Uttarakhand is very unfortunate. The numbers are so large that cannot be imagined. Some of my relatives who visited Kedanath came back completely distressed. The fury of nature has engulfed thousands and thousands human beings. The number of people who visit these shrines must be restricted.

BK Chowla, said...

God'd fury.
It is lust for money?Who allowed uorooting of trees to put up power plants?Who changed the rule book?
We will nevr ever get answers,but, HE is watching

Renu said...

what happened their was not god's desire but man made disaster...we have to regulate the tourists and stop indiscriminate construction in all hill stations..

rama said...

Very sad, however have we learnt anything from such tragic happenings?
We still find plastics strewn all over the various hill stations despite boards put everywhere not to do so. We build ill legal constructions for the sake of money, we take mother earth for granted defile her, it is not as if the residents of these places were not aware of the way their land was getting abused both by them and the travellers. However, now everything has gone, their livelihood, their holy temples, everything, even when things are set right(we don't know how long it might take), the place would never be the same ever. It is a lesson for all of us to know: we get only what we give, and we should never take mother earth for granted ever.
And we should also learn to respect the brave people who have been relentlessly saving people taking considerable risks, and stop cribbing that the facilities are not good etc.
We didn't learn anything from tsunami, we have had many natural disaster, we have not learnt anything. Politicians and filmmakers would be there only grab maximum benefits from such tragedies. When people in high places themselves are not interested in safeguarding such beautiful and unique places, how can we expect ordinary people to adhere to some basic rules.
Same attitude is shown to Kashmir, where people are suffering endlessly for years, now visiting such places have become very rare.
Politicians are busy with their own money making business that they don't have time, nor are they bothered if somebody grabs our territory too.
We have so many natural resources, but we don't k now how to safeguard our once beautiful country. It looks as if mother earth is saying that you people don't deserve anything good and beautiful, for you are a filthy lot, and i will give you back the filth you have heaped upon me.
Shame on us.

....Petty Witter said...

So sad that man seems so set on self- destruct and yet I was just reading of the heroism of the Jawans in Uttarakhand which kind of renews my faith in humanity.

Insignia said...

I can't agree more with you Anil. People flock there forgetting the God has long fled. Greed and disrespect to the nature. As always, man forgets nature is going to be invincible and win always.

adithyasaravana said...

I was expecting a post in this topic. The views are clearly put and voiced some of our concerns.the suggestion at the closing is what is required from our policy makers. This was a disaster in the making. The clamping of tourism for a couple of years would allow nature to heal herself. I know that the frenzied activities would again return. But then , do our politicians bother ? It hurts to see rampant sand mining along the cauvery bed while travelling from my place to my parent's in trichy. Why blame the neighbours for not releasing water when we have no policy to safeguard our own resources.

Shilpa Garg said...

It may seem very harsh to say so, but the tragedy in Uttarakhand has shown once again that "whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap". The disaster in Uttarakhand is definitely man made. Hope we learn from it and take corrective actions...

Happy Kitten said...

A heartfelt appeal.. I wish there was someone to listen to these cries. But it will all be drowned and soon we will see more crowd to these places..and to support this crowd more concrete structures would have to be put up.. more roads, more amenities.. it will be never ending..nd yes very similar to Sabarimala.

anilkurup said...

@ Usha Menon,BK.Chowla,Renu,rama,Petty Witter,Insignia, Adityasaravanan,Shilpa Garg,Happy Kiiten,

The oddity about the whole affair and the disaster is that many of us, if not all are united in the opinion that the tragedy was invited by man. But how many who say so will show respect and reverence for Nature as the omnipotent one than a piece of granite that was installed in a shelter in some remote mountain terrain ,all supported by the single word ,"faith' ?
No you cant question faith , this is the refrain.

rudraprayaga said...

Enthoru varnana! enthoru bhavana!Though it depicts reality, it is fully clad in imagination. The pilgrimages are in general for possession of property or achieving the goal through the God.Fully commercial.Innocent lives in abundant measures have been sacrificed due to the selfish motto of the inhuman humans.So sad a situation for mother earth and her inhabitants.

Thommy said...

excellent narrative

Musings said...

Thst was not just imagination. I was in Kedar and Badari walking the distance to Kedar from Gowrikund. a few years sgo.
I agree with your observation of commercial Gods and prayers fir profit.

Thankyou.Hope you visit regularly.

A S said...

What has happ. in Uttarakhand is 'what goes around comes around' thing..vast deforestation has lead to all this..nice shots btw!

anilkurup said...

@ A.S.
Thanks for the comments. BTW, only a couple of pics where shot by me , the others are borrowed.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil, as you say we asked for it! The previous generation in the region had predicted something like this might happen. The Chipko movement and Sunderlal Bahuguna's agitation in the Tehri valley were for preserving the environment and their land. But today's generation in the hills obviously thinks differently. The "rape of Kedar" as you so rightly say has been caused by the unregulated tourism that has sprung up and the greed to tap into it. We have now paid a huge price!

anilkurup said...

@ Meera Sundarajan,
As you rightly mentioned the Chipko movement was cast away by other interests. I was fortunate to go to both Kedar and Badhari, not as a blind pilgrim and hence I could empathise and be disturbed with the mauling done upon the mountains. I have no sympathy for the so called loss , in what ever form, that people wail about.

Haddock said...

What a pristine place .... the himalayas.
As Meera said " unregulated tourism that has sprung up and the greed to tap into it"
This is the case in every tourist spot in India.

anilkurup said...

@ Haddock

Yes indeed.
The definition of tourism is rather erroneous in Indian psyche. A serious flaw in us. Especially what is claimed as spiritual tourism.

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