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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

09 September 2005

More News on Katrina. We have different points of view now.

The African American view Point.

OK. Give a breather to Bush. Every one has to be blamed !!

What Went Wrong ?


Blogger Anandkumar_V said...

And yet `we' are less civilised than `them'
Tuesday September 6 2005 18:06 IST

S Gurumurthy

``Chaos and gun fire.'' Not in a terror attack. ``Armed thugs have
taken control of the convention centre.'' Not in any enemy action.
``Eight squads of 11 officers repelled.'' Not on any war front.
``Unimpeded rapes and assaults.'' Not in any communal violence in
India. ``Shoot at sight order.'' Not to quell any rebellion.

All this happened in New Orleans hit by the killer hurricane Katrina a
few days ago, and, more important, to the victims of the disaster.
at how the New York Times depicts what happened to the unfortunate
victims in thousands looking and longing for help - food, water, and
shelter. The victims were held hostage by the thugs. ``Chaos and gun
fire hampered efforts to evacuate the Superdome,'' the paper says,
quoting a police official. Superdome is the place where the victims
took shelter to escape the flood that engulfed two thirds of the city.
``Armed thugs have taken control of the secondary makeshift shelter at
the convention centre,'' the official continued. He said that the
``thugs repelled eight squads of 11 officers each he had sent to
the place and rapes and assaults were occurring unimpeded in the
neighbouring streets as criminals `preyed upon' passers-by, including
stranded tourists.''

Compare the tale of New Orleans with the story of Mumbai, which was
by killer rains a month earlier. Thousands clamoured for food, water
and shelter in New Orleans. There was no one to give any. ``Even as
they were clamouring for food and water, dead bodies slumped in wheel
chairs and wrapped in sheets lay in their midst,'' reported the media.
``Some people have not eaten or drunk water for three or four days,''
said the office of Emergency Preparedness in New Orleans. In Mumbai,
not thousands, lakhs were stranded on roads and in offices. Most homes
were thrown open for stranded victims. In many homes, kitchens worked
round the clock to cook and feed them. For, they were not victims, but
``athithis,'' special people, in the eyes of a traditional Indian.
are entitled to respect, not condescending compassion. Even though the
state had absconded in Mumbai as much as in New Orleans, not a single
case of rape or molestation was reported. Not a single case of theft.
Not a single case of lawlessness. Not just when the killer rains hit
Mumbai, even when the killer tsunami hit the east coast of India and
thousands died, and hundreds of thousands had to be fed, the story was
no different. Every one was fed. No one went hungry. From the word go
food was no issue. Whether it was devastation by hurricane in Andhra
Orissa or Gujarat or destruction by earthquake in Gujarat or
Maharashtra, the story was the same. It is the families, communities
and society in the neighbourhood that first arrived to take care of
needs of those in distress.

Look at how an Indian village, comparatively ``less civilised'' in the
eyes of the West and also the modern Indian, responded with instant
relief when two trains collided with each other. It was near a distant
village in Punjab at 2 am in the morning. The whole village woke up to
know of the train disaster. But it was all dark. They lined up and
started their hundred-odd tractors and focused their headlights on the
smashed train to begin relief work. As the victims were shivering in
the cold, villagers brought huge haystacks and set fire to them to
provide heat. They set up a makeshift hospital in a nearby gurdwara
opened a public kitchen to feed them. A team selected by the village
panchayat took care of their belongings, cash and jewellery and handed
over the whole inventory to the authorities. Not a single rupee of the
passengers was lost. A village of couple of thousands fed over 50,000
people every day for over a week. This was twice the number of people
who needed food in New Orleans! And just a village looed after them.

How is it that in New Orleans disaster generated not instant relief
more disasters -- mobs and thugs taking to violence, rapes and loot --
and how is it that the ordinary people of India turn into relief
workers instantly? The reason is not difficult to find. India is
essentially a tradition and community-run -- and not a system or state
run -- nation. State, as Emile Durkheim warned the West, is too a
distant a mechanism for instant intervention, particularly in a
It is a whole series of intermediary collectives, the family,
neighbourhood and community which act as social safety net normally
in emergency.

The West has undermined this social safety net in the name of
individualism. With the result the West has become state-dependent,
overly. While the state runs on rule of law, society in India runs on
the age-old principle of ``dharma'' that has survived the modern state
and its rules. Traditional values are self-policing, but the rule of
law needs enforcement. So in the West unless the state steps in there
will be loot, rapes and violence where relief is needed. This is what
the tale of two disasters, the one in Mumbai and the other in New
Orleans, demonstrates. And yet ask the West, they will tell us how we,
particularly our villages, are less civilised than them and, more
important, half of our own intellectuals will agree with them!

6:49 AM  
Blogger Anandkumar_V said...

I couldn't' stop making this comparison..

inches of rain in new orleans due to hurricane katrina... 18
inches of rain in mumbai (July 27th).... 37.1

population of new orleans... 484,674
population of mumbai.... 12,622,500

deaths in new orleans within 48 hours of katrina...100
deaths in mumbai within 48hours of rain.. 37.

number of people to be evacuated in new orleans... entire city..wohh
number of people evacuated in mumbai...10,000

Cases of shooting and violence in new orleans...Countless
Cases of shooting and violence in mumbai.. NONE

Time taken for US army to reach new orleans... 48hours
Time taken for Indian army and navy to reach mumbai...12hours

status 48hours later...new orleans is still waiting for relief, army and electricty
status 48hours later..mumbai is back on its feet and is business is as usual

USA...world's most developed nation

6:50 AM  
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