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     Volume 4 Issue 7 | August 6, 2004 |

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Reach out
to the


‘A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world', so said Carl Rogers long before laptops were discovered. With slight editing, given our electronic deportment, perhaps he would have said the same today in view of our substandard reading of floods and subsequent human sufferings, pathetic and perennial. Never a lesson learnt.

Charles Lindbergh would appear upside-down with his wonderment that 'we talk least about the things we think about most', because floods are a recurring phenomenon that we talk about most perhaps because we think about it the least.

The estimated three crore inundated people today lament promises that political candidates make before every elections, that dams would be built and dredging would deepen waterways. But alas! Despite institutional assurances to the voters and warnings to the traders, price of essentials has continued to rise with the waters. While lack of communication is cited as the cause by unscrupulous traders, these goods were stocked in the market months before the floods. Therefore, more alas!

Indeed there are countless handshakes and embraces that an aspiring elected rep of the people has to go through. It's tiring for the voter who has to see the same scene come every election. Apparently the vote-seeker, in pumping hands, tries to articulate his love for the electorate. But Cathy Morancy's definition of love seems contextual: 'Love is not measured by how many times you touch each other but by how many times you reach each other.'

While the people of the flooded villages and towns search for some of the vote-seekers with the hurricane, there are relief workers of all shades (elected, government and private citizens, associations, clubs, and universities) who make sincere efforts, despite individual limitations and impossible logistics, to reach out to the teeming millions. In every case collection of funds is easier than distribution.

Considering the enormous natural calamity that has once again befallen this country, 'the important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become'; quote-unquote Charles du Bois. Let us think forward, fast forward. Five hundred deaths have been reported in dailies, but even that figure is questionable because of the remoteness and inaccessibility of affected areas, and the magnitude of the catastrophe. But as always there is the human zeal for survival, for rebuilding. Are we strong enough as a nation to parry the crisis? Do we have a plan in place at mahalla, town, city and national level? Charles Darwin has taken upon himself to make us ponder: 'It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change'.

Changes can be positive or negative. We may not always get what we were promised, but it is vital that we respond positively to both. We have to believe in ourselves. Seventy years ago in "Political Power" Charles Marriam said: 'The future belongs to those who fuse intelligence with faith, and who with courage and determination grope their way forward from chance to choice, from blind adaptation to creative evolution'.

The commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do, said Charles Dudley Warner, is to 'own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch their renewal of life'.

Even in this critical state, we have to begin to feel affection for the future that we are destined to build. We have to create our future, as opposed to construct. 'The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.' That was Charles Dickens.

In case you are wondering what has become of me, firing salvo after salvo of 'buli', but that is what I have been watching on television, hearing on the radio and reading in newspapers. Seriously though, 'Reach out to the flood affected people. Do your bit. Every bit helps'. That was me.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004