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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 29, July 15, 2023

Flood fury / Frenzied Love / Survival In A War Zone | Humra Quraishi

Saturday 15 July 2023, by Humra Quraishi


13 July 2023

Where’s the so-called development when entire townships are drowning in flood waters! Never before such vast stretches of North India have witnessed this level of havoc. Even the capital city, New Delhi, is at the mercy of the rising water levels of the Yamuna! Flood fury …at its extreme!

Amidst lofty political promises of safety and security of the residents, the situation stands nightmarish. This, is when every year huge budget allocations to the municipalities for drainage upkeep and road repair, and infrastructure maintenance. Quite obviously, either the repairs are not up to the mark or after the initial hue and cry, there’s little accountability.

And if one were to focus on the sheer disasters taking place in the mountain towns, the structures sprouting up, along the mountain slopes are beyond imagination. Overloaded are the mountains! They cannot take any further strain. Hotels, motels, lodges are coming up or have already come up, at what seems an alarming pace. Who has sanctioned or authorized or given the go-ahead for these constructions? At what cost?

No, it is not easy to survive in the midst of this maddening chaos. Either grow a thick hide or retreat. It is pathetic how human beings are uprooted from here to there and then towards nowhere! After all, it isn’t easy to dislocate and for how long. Entire families in the flood-affected States of the country are either surviving in sheer suspense, as flood fury surmounts, or else made to shift base. Even after the waters subside, there’d be chances of infections and dengue and malaria and viral flus spreading out. And then we pat ourselves, proclaiming we living in such super-developed times!

No end to distractions even in these grim settings. There arrives a woman from Pakistan, Seema Haider, who is said to have fallen love with a young man, Sachin, from Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida. Seems a rather bizarre tale. Such love that this woman, mother of four minor children, has got along her four children too, after selling off her husband’s property in Pakistan; without his knowledge who is working in Saudi Arabia. And she has converted, from Islam to Hinduism, determined to marry Sachin. Reverse Love Jihad, with no unleash or halt-cries from any of the political rulers. Maybe her love flourishes and she remains faithful in her this second marriage. But what happens to the minor children? For them, it would be a traumatic turn of events - new country, new home, new father, new circumstances, new school, new family, new identity… And what about the biological father of these children? Doesn’t he have a right over his children? Doesn’t all this shifting of the children from there to here amount to sheer mental trauma or cruelty where the children are concerned? Not to be overlooked is the fact that the biological father wants his children back with him and not to be raised in this new setup amidst an ongoing bizarre haze.

Distractions continue as debate after debate continues on tomatoes. Why don’t we cry out that the price rise is of just about everything possible, from veggies to pulses to fruits to fleshy chunks. Yes, never before we have seen such hellish times, where the rising prices seem throttling the masses. And one of the offshoots is a rise in the crime graph. Crime, violence, murders of all hues and forms spreading out, amidst abnormal living conditions..

One news report after another of supposed lovers or live-in partners not just killing their partners but also chopping and cutting those human forms and then throwing about those cut pieces! Sheer madness! Yes, nothing short of madness.

Love affairs and the invariable fallouts have been taking place ever since human beings took off! But inevitable fallouts led to crying and sobbing sessions, followed by depression and nervous breakdowns and much more along the strain. Rarely did one get to hear of this level of barbaric killings of partners taking place today, in these so-called developed times. Perversions and frustrations and frenzied madness hitting many. Violence and frenzied urges and perversions reaching unthinkable limits.

And not to overlook the communally surcharged biases getting stuffed and over stuffed in psyches. Just yesterday this news report cum video caught attention: In Bengaluru, inside a BMTC bus (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) a woman passenger questions the Muslim bus conductor for wearing the skull cap…urging him to remove it. Which he does. Perhaps, he didn’t want a scene to be created; and he acted in that mature, prudent way….Don’t tell me we have reached such hopeless times, when we’d be compelled or forced or bullied to remove topis and turbans and scarfs and skull caps! Shouldn’t this communal woman passenger be questioned by the police, for this amounts to blatant bullying in public, along a communal perverted mind set?

And the latest facts and figures coming forth vis- a –vis incidents of violence, against the Christian community in the country can be termed just too shocking: According to a compilation of data by the United Christian Forum ( UCF ) an alarming increase in the crimes and incidents violence against Christians occurred in India in the first half of 2023 - 400 incidents of violence against Christians have occurred nationwide since January, with Uttar Pradesh leading the way with 155 cases. …The current violence in Manipur has resulted in the destruction of multiple churches and lives is another very worrying factor.

Leaving you with the concluding lines of this verse of SEEMA JAIN
titled - Survival In A War Zone (Amity Peace Poems, Hawakal Publishers):

‘… Those same streets where music, fragrance, and laughter/
emanated from jovial folks once/
witnessed caravans of men, women,
little kids and the elderly/
fleeing their homes to some unknown
uncharted safer destination/
dragging along a few belongings and reluctant children,/
stupefied at being pushed away/
from their dear homes and friends,/
their favourite toys and games,/
their schools, and playmates, /
walking on foot for miles, with snow falling/
in sub- zero temperatures /

The business of survival in/
a war zone is no laughing matter ,you see/
forget about your homes, or food or water, dear friends;/
looking at those who went out to buy/
groceries and never came back,/
you should be glad to be still alive/
in the midst of mayhem all around./

Does victory in war prove one side right or wrong?/
Do thousands and millions who die,/
are rendered homeless, not count?/
When will nations learn of other ways/
to settle their scores?/
When will survival of humans take precedence /
over egos, greed and arrogance?/
When, O When?’

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