Monday, June 24, 2013

Monsoon in Syria

Image Courtesy: The Atlantic.com
I wrote a very romantic piece on Monsoon, towards the end of May, by which time Monsoon had just started to make its presence felt. Rain clouds were arriving in the sky in bundles. It suggested the end of the rudeness of summer. However, I could not publish the article. Why? It was too romantic, for the reality that followed.

The following reality necessitated the pondering of the pre- and post- Monsoon social life in India. I realized that as the saying goes, the Changaran, who climbed the coconut palm, was still on the palm. No one brought him down, yet. This is an old adage suggesting procrastination, changelessness and corruption (popular in Malayalam language, in Kerala, southern India).

Monsoon is not just a natural phenomenon. Culturally and socially, humanity has responded towards this phenomenon, and assimilated it into the varying spectrum of cultural experiences. Still, each year, in Kerala, the land of Monsoon, once the rain comes down, the roads become useless, schools and colleges have either their roof dripping or fell down, electricity becomes a rare commodity, as the supply lines are either flooded or made useless by the rust or falling trees. Most of the paddy fields and banana plantations suffer the harmful impact of water blockage or flood, as there is no proper channeling of the rainwater down sewages. In fact, in some places, there are no sewages at all. Imagine roads without sewages or the existing sewages ones filled with garbage dumps. The logical outcome about the condition of such a road would be devastation. Of course, so are many highways in Kerala. I am not even talking about the flood in North India. That is totally another issue. Let’s come back to Kerala. Who is responsible?

Is it a specific type of cultural amnesia? Why do people often forget a very poignant experience such as Monsoon, each year? To ask this, is to enquire also, why aren’t we learning lessons from our experiences? If you repeat the same mistakes again, it becomes a decision, as Paulo Coelho puts it. (Words may not be accurate, but the sense is.) Is this cultural dilemma unique to this tiny strip of land, in the Western Coast of India, called Kerala?

In order to find an answer to this question, we must first accept that social behavior and cultural changes should be studied in terms of ‘patterns’ rather than close analysis of isolated events. The pattern, to which our post-mass-amnesia situation in Kerala can be stripped down to, is; ‘A group of people repeating the same errors under a repeating event.’
 
Image Courtesy: Google
Let us analyze another specimen here—Syria.

The current situation in Syria do not much reflect Afghanistan in its past, as much as the crisis resolution measures under consideration by Russia, Britain, America and other global players. They say, it would be better to arm the rebels for securing justice. Some pundits propose this measure as the ultimate chance of the survival of the ordinary people from the government’s military brutality.

Why does it sound a lot like the American strategy, a couple decades ago, against the Russian invasion in Afghanistan? Uncle Sam armed the opposition there, back then, in the hope that finally, the poor tribal folks can defend themselves. We all know what resulted from this ‘solution’ in Afghanistan. In Syria, they plan a similar operation.

Pattern-- ‘A group of people repeating the same errors under a repeating event.’

God save them.

The power had just been cut off, one again. Power stays through the daytime, very rarely. So I took it to write on a paper, with a pen. A black, ballpoint pen, on a newsprint paper (low quality and pale in colour, since I cannot afford a costly sheet of paper at present.) is grinding its way down to the concluding part. For the time being, rain has come to a halt, but it will resume, soon, probably. I love rain.

I heard in a news channel, two days back; a minister in Kerala talk about the precautionary measures the government had already taken months back (even before the arrival of Monsoon), for Monsoon damages this year. The minister stated that he had dispatched a considerably good amount of money to the District Collectors, to be used under any natural calamity. The District Collectors, then, have to wait for the people to die and crops to flood. The newsreader, then inquired about the ditches in the middle of national highways and broken country roads, the sewages that were never cleaned, and the water blockage it created. The minister repeated his statement, once again; the same words, the same meaningless sequence of offers, the same assurances, and the same fake ethical integrity.

After the news, advertisements followed.
Image Courtesy: N Y Times.com
__THE END__
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