"'Truth is strange," you know, "stranger than fiction' - besides being more to the point" - Edgar Allan Poe

December 30, 2004

Why us?

This is worth reading just for the punchline. Printed in the Patna Daily.

Tsunami - Where Are Our Religious Leaders?

by Rajesh Chaubey
December 29, 2004

The world has been left shell-shocked by the tsunami which, in a few moments, ended thousands of lives and left many thousand lives scarred. I have been closely following the news of the great tragedy and the happenings thereafter. The human misery we have witnessed has shaken us to the very core of our souls. The pictures are straight out of some nasty nightmare.

A poor man hugging the body of his child who must have been about three years old when he was snatched away. The man's wife walks in front carrying the body of the elder sibling.

A tiny girl who has lost both parents stands there alone. She looks too young even to comprehend what the tsunami has done to her life.

A lady who lost her husband and kids at Kanyakumari talks to the TV correspondent with blank, tearless eyes informing him that she has completed the last rites of her family.
I could go on and on.

The questions that this tragedy raises can never be answered. The last tsunami India experienced was way back in 1883. Why had it to happen now? Each of the thousands of living victims and their relatives will ask "Why me?" Such questions can never be answered. Scientists can not answer them and any religious leaders trying to give explanations should be asked to shut up. These people can explain off anything with their glib talk but would they not be standing in the ocean waters with blank eyes had they lost some one close? Man has to tolerate it without seeking or trying to give explanations.

The silver lining to this very, very dark cloud is the goodness it has brought out of people. People are donating generously and many are leaving home to go and help the victims. The other day bus-loads of UN workers made their way to Sri Lanka. Many NGOs are moving in to help. An NGO from Latur has moved in too. The man who leads them has a simple explanation. "People came forward to help us when we needed them. It is our turn now." He goes on to say that they have helped out earlier in tragedies and that the young men who follow him are trained and will do all the jobs from burying the dead, to putting up shelters fast, distributing rations etc etc.

Here, please take note. I am yet to see a clergyman, mullah, sadhu or a prominent religious organisation standing on the forefront helping the victims. These people must be busy explaining why it all happened. Ordinary mortals are helping ordinary mortals. The god-men are talking to God.

It is the biggest relief operation ever carried out. Ten countries need help. Other countries are sending in a lot of help.

When the nature is kind, the news is full of wars, crime and terrorism. God, this human animal You have created behaves the best when You send in the worst and behaves the worst when You send in the best!!!