With 19 incidents of cloudbursts followed by flash floods claiming 5 lives reported in Kashmir in last 20 days, Mother Nature is back in news. What everybody wants to know is how and why these natural disasters occur. And why they occur with such close frequency. It has already set many theories and counter-theories in motion. The most popular and widely accepted theory puts the blame on our collective amals (deeds). And the least accepted theory blames the disturbances caused by clouds roaming over Kashmir skies from foreign soil. This theory almost signals at external interference rather internal disturbances.
But if we look beyond these theories and introspect, we may find answers instantly. If we look over our heads, beyond our haphazardly built concrete colonies, beyond oddly erected mobile towers, even beyond the treeless landscape and into the vast and dull sky, we will know what is wrong with nature.
In a bid to outsmart each other we have been looting our natural resources like never before. We have gone deep into forests, down into river beds, straight inside mountains to bleed nature in a way that our ancestors feared to do. There seems to be a mad race going on among natives where everyone wants be the most ruthless of all viz-a-viz nature. We never think or question when we fill up the beautiful streams that pass through our backyards and erect structures over them. We don’t even ask questions when we take cover in the dark and cut down trees inside the forests. What earlier used to be forests or open vast spaces are now residential colonies.
There is no space left for nature and its elements to breathe freely. We have gone right into its territory declaring a war or sorts. And when the same nature hits back in shape of cloudbursts and flash floods we cry innocent. How is that fair?
There were times when cloudbursts were only recorded in high altitudes and from deep forests, but now it is happening inside the heart of Srinagar.
Since last September floods there has been at least five instances where the threat of anther flood was almost real. People had sleepless nights thanks to odd rainfall patterns and climatic change. In Kashmir, July or for that matter summers usually, remain calm and pleasant. The temperature however fluctuates but not to the extent where one doesn’t know if it is winters or summer.
There are many observers and many theories that try to define what is happening to the Kashmir weather. But none has been clear to blame humans as they should have been. Putting the blame on Western disturbances is not going to help in the long run. We have to be bold enough to accept our mistakes and try to mend them. We must acknowledge that the way we have bled nature in last 25 years was cruel and irresponsible. We cannot keep on blaming external factors while turning a blind eye to our immediate neighbourhood. And our immediate neighbourhood is full of signs that say enough is enough. If these barren lands cannot teach us a thing or two about perseverance of nature then what will? We cannot go on like this forever. We cannot live in fear and as a foe of nature. Or can we?