Rain Rain

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 21 Aug 2023

Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

There is a famous couplet on rain that we hear often:

   Rain rain go away 
   Come again another day
   Little Johnny wants to play ….

India, especially its northern parts including the capital Delhi, have been devastated by excess rainfall with the result that many parts of Delhi and the states bordering it are flooded and have landslides. Many buildings are breaking down and killing people or animals that were living in or beneath these structures.

Another catastrophic result is that the large river Yamuna (Jamuna) that flows from the state of Haryana to the state of UP (Uttar Pradesh) via Delhi, has gone up beyond its normal height by two or more metres. This has caused immense destruction to the villages and shanties bordering the river. What should the poor people living in these shanties do, how should they escape from this overflowing river that is causing devastation and sorrow on those living next to the river?

Moreover, the farmers who have their small fields alongside the river have been twice hit — once by the spreading river and the other by blocking normal lanes and paths by which they go for their daily chores to work in some nearby small industries or for shopping essentials for their fields and homes.

Another blow is felt by the school going children. How should they  go to their schools and receive the minimum level of education that these backward regions provide? In better quality expensive schools, some amount of   on-line academic education can be provided, but these backward regions don’t have these facilities.

There is a historical structure in Delhi known as Red Fort that was built next to the river Yamuna in 1638 when the Emperor Shah Jahan decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi. This Fort is also used by the Indian Prime Minister to give the annual Independence Day speech on August 15. It also accommodates many people who live inside the Fort doing various activities to make the Fort look nice and give people an opportunity to know about the history of the Fort as well as about the people who have been  living inside or nearby the Fort for generations.

DELHI is a huge town with other historical structures like the Qutub Minar etc. In addition, there are places and regions that were developed by the British rulers who colonised India and Delhi in particular, for two centuries. They overpowered the local kings and important political personalities. Many Delhi localities or areas developed by the British in Delhi and other localities are far away from this Fort. I and my family have been living in these far away areas for generations —- earlier with my parents and sisters and now with my wife and children.

The excessive rainfall has brought misery to residents of Delhi including my own family. The excessive rainfall and the river increasing its height (and depth), have broken down the normal pathway for the river and clean water flow.

As a consequence, most Delhi houses which received regular water in their homes earlier from regular institutional channels, are now deprived of regular and clean water flow in homes and even in some structures like government schools and Colleges. So what to do?

Without a regular flow of water in domestic homes and academic institutions, an erratic method of providing some basic amount of water has evolved. Some water trucks have been engaged for this purpose with understandable erratic consequences. Some receive water from these trucks regularly but most homes and institutions are deprived of regular water with haphazard flow of water to meet basic needs .

Even this irregular and haphazard flow is causing grave impact on families especially those living near or next to the river Yamuna. We need water but not the dirty and irregular flow that the local governments are able to provide near or  next to the river. Earlier the water from domestic homes was clean to drink and was used for cooking. Now, not so with families crying for good quality water but receiving dirty and disease causing substitute.

The local governments and water providing agencies are raising their hands in despair and hoping some miracle will occur to do justice to homes institutions and people.

An alternate poem to that shown in the beginning of this essay is sometimes heard (in translation):

Rain, rain come to us
Give healthy water to us
Let us drink it and jump with joy
And spread peace and goodwill around us.

______________________________________________

Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Aug 2023.

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