Nature’s fury exposes man’s folly


We humans have always been helpless in the face of natural calamities. When the ground begins to tremble, it engulfs thousands of people. When the ocean fumes, it turns into a deathbed for millions. We may tend to act like supreme beings, but the truth is that we are hopelessly frail and defenceless in front of nature.

We have obviously made matters worse over the years by exploiting every aspect of nature to suit our purpose. Forests have given way to highways and commercial establishments, which have slowly and efficiently encroached upon the earth’s natural resources in the name of development.

The earthquake in Nepal is a stark reminder of what nature is capable of. We are no soothsayers to predict what is yet to come, but if history is any pointer every race that has considered itself superior to others has perished over time. What guarantee is there that, in the future, the human race would not become but only a distant memory of a long gone era?

We are capable of love like all other species. What differentiates us from the other species is that we tend to pretend that we love rather than loving in right earnest. Love and compassion are traits that are essential for the evolution of any race. It is not only for the good of any particular community but for a higher harmony that fosters mutual co-existence of all species.

I sometimes wonder if our supremacy is based on the fact that we create weapons of mass destruction that we use against each other. It is a natural calamity that brings us to our senses, breaking the myths that we have constructed. It is also in crisis that we get to see that the human race is capable of compassion.

From every strata of society, help arrives to rescue those in need. It is ironical that a tragedy brings more people together than a happy occasion. If the rich and powerful came to the aid of the poor and the weak on a regular basis, we probably wouldn’t be witnessing such a big divide in the world today.

Even in this time of grave tragedy several issues have managed to evoke mixed feelings. India has played a pivotal role in helping Nepal along with several other neighbouring countries. Pakistan supposedly sent cow meat in its relief package.

Cow meat, in my personal opinion, is the tastiest of all meat. The problem that arose with it was that Nepal has a majority of Hindu inhabitants and although they are comfortable with killing hundreds of buffalos during their own rituals it offends their conscience to eat cow meat. The reason is that the cow is apparently a manifestation of God in Nepal as much as it is in India.

If there is such a hullabaloo over the entire scenario, why is there a dearth of care for the supposed gods? It doesn’t hurt to drink the urine of cows, but even in the heart of the Indian capital, the divine bovine roams around with an empty stomach. It is illogical to believe that a person should abstain from eating animal meat because he is an advocate of animal rights.

I had once cooked cow meat in my Kolkata house. One of my Hindu friends had expressed the desire to have it. Sujata, who was my household maid, was unaware that the meat was actually from a cow. She was under the impression that it was the usual affair.

I am more than certain if we were to tell her the truth, she probably would have left regardless of the fact that she would not land such a lucrative job anytime soon. May be, that is the chief reason why I chose not to divulge it to her. It doesn’t mean that I duped her into having it; the entire procedure was carried on separately. I could have done it banking on her naivety. Then again, lies and deceit have never been my strong suit.

On the same lines, if any of my Muslim relatives or friends are in the vicinity. I tend to maintain a certain distance when consuming pig meat and I do not insist that they should share my meal. I wonder what it would have been like if Bangladesh was recoiling from an earthquake and a country decided that it would send truckloads of pig meat as aid. One should understand that I do not maintain a distance because of religion but out of respect towards the personal choice of an individual.

It is not possible that the choice to send aid to Nepal was a single-handed decision. It was probably a collective dcision. Was it not known to them that Nepal had a majority of Hindu inhabitants and cow meat was probably not the best choice to send as aid? Or was it sheer apathy that resulted in such a fiasco. This leads one to question if it was an intended move rather than a simple mistake.

If one remembers the story of how the fox invited the stork for lunch but served food on a flat utensil and the stork, to settle scores, invited him back and chose a long-funnelled receptacle to serve the food. In both cases, the invited went home hungry. So what is the use of an invitation that leaves the invitee hungry and unsatisfied?

Pakistan should take back its aid and provide something that is more suitable or if that is not possible just leave it at that. It is better to provide nothing rather than something that evokes displeasure.

Comments

  1. says

    I would use Hanlon’s Razor and attribute Pakistan’s decision to stupidity rather than malice. The choice to send aid was a collective decision but what to send might have been delegated to a single agency or individual. Given the urgency of the situation, some bureaucrat somewhere must have taken a decision to send whatever food rations were available without thinking about it much. The rest of the people in the chain of command might not have bothered to check what was there in the aid packages as long as something was being sent. Thus we end up with beef being shipped to Nepal.

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