Floods and famines
Floods and Famines are a common feature of Indian life. Our food depends on the Rain God and monsoons are very tricky. Sometimes we get too much of rain and sometimes we get no rain at all. When we get no rain, crops cannot grow in large parts of India and when we get rain incats and dogs, our crops are destroyed by torrential rains or washed away by the rivers in floods. In either case our nation suffers. Our farmers pray fervently for normal rains neither too much nor too little.
It is not possible to control the monsoons by any scientific means. AU our knowledge falls flat here. No scientists of the world can so manage the atmosphere to get the right quantity of rain at right time of the year Rain can be produced artificially but the cost is heavy. Therefore, we have to depend on the Rain God, for our food production every year and people pray with folded hands to get not only rains but also rains in a proper quantity. Either too much or too little can ruin our harvest either way.
The truth is that flood and famines are a regular feature of Indian economy. Every year there are floods in some parts and famine in others. Sometimes there are famines all over the country for want of rains and sometimes our crops are destroyed by heavy floods. It is a great gamble. When there is a famine the government distributes grains, remits taxes on land and provides other assistance to the farmers. When there are too heavy rains, the government provides boats to rescue villagers, alternate sites for their residence and food of the empty stomach. Both the Government of India and the State Government have allocated large funds for the purpose. In addition to this, there are Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to provide help in any national calamity.
Both floods and famines are indeed great national calamities. Floods and Famines are such natural and national calamities that we are plagued with them year out and year in. Indhra, the God of rains, is a whimsical creature. Sometimes he with holds rains and there is drought over large tracts of the country. For several years in the seventies there was great drought in the country. Then there came great floods in 1978 when fields and farms were destroyed and thousands of men and cattle lost their lives.
When there is no rain, the earth is parched and there is famine in the country. Thousands of people die in starvation. On the other end of the State it rains so generously that vast area of the lands are drowned and the standing crops are destroyed. The rivers fail to contain enormous volume of their water between their banks and the water flows into the villages and cities, driving everything and everybody before it. Both men and cattle are washed away. Huts and houses fall down. People quite often climb the trees to save their lives. It’s a horrible sight to see a river in flood. Men and women cling to trees and other strong points. The old people and children suffer untold miseries. The official authorities and the social organizations have to serve them food by boats and sometimes even by helicopters. There are snakes, cobras and other dangerous animals, such as lions, tigers and bears, floating in river. There are corpses and carcasses flowing in the river Many helpless victims raise their hands for help in the rivers. Only the bravest and the boldest youth come to their help, and quite often lose their own lives in the process. Delhi was in the grip of high floods in the summer of 1978. The Model Town and other areas were inundated. Many people passed their nights on the tops of their houses. They had to be rescued by boats. The Delhi Administration offered quick help to the victims. Many social organizations also participated in the great enterprise saving the sufferers.