It should warm the heart that hundreds of hands have come forward to help flood victims of Sangli and Kolhapur district, belying the general impression that people are selfish and self-centred.
The unprecedented nature of floods that have devastated several cities, towns and villages of Sangli and Kolhapur districts is heart wrenching, horrendous and unimaginable as to how life is going to come back to normal for several lakhs of people, who have been displaced.
To ease their pain, thousands of individuals, groups, NGOs besides politicians across party lines, have come forward to cook food, deliver food and water, donate clothes, blankets and offer various kinds of services like transport and medical urgencies. Army, Navy and NDRF Personnel of course have been at the forefront of rescues, as they always admirably do.
A press release issued by Social Reformer Anna Hazare, is very sensitive in nature, appealing to people, to come forward and help. Hailing the media for bringing to the living rooms, the colossal damage caused by Nature’s fury, because of which people became aware of the enormity of the situation, he states that, “now, when the waters recede, we people have an important role to play, as houses have been destroyed and everything inside them, washed away. Hence, they would require clothes, blankets, books for children, kitchen utensils, pesticides (due to fear of epidemic) and so on. While the government will rehabilitate in its own way, it is essential that people who are well-to-do should come forward and take part in rehabilitation by helping the victims, which would be the greatest service to God.’’
He mentioned that presently he has his own limitations as he is 82 years old but had stayed in Kutch for six months after the Gujarat earthquake to give his shramdaan (volunteering labour). Youngsters from his village, Ralegan Siddhi and around have already sent truckloads with food, medicine and blankets and they are continuing to do so.
Reporters of the television and print media who have walked through dangerous slush and waters to provide first hand report should be duly acknowledged and thanked.
I am very disturbed to read WhatsApp messages which claim that media is spreading fear. In fact, it is quite the reverse.
Television channels are filled with human-interest news of how women’s self-help groups of various districts are cooking chapatis and dry chutneys in large numbers to send it to affected people. Women, sitting in a row are working overnight to make 10,000 chapatis in a batch and dispatching them.
There are hundreds of examples of how youngsters are forming groups to carry out aid. For example, youth leader Tanmay Kanitkar along with his friends, visited Chopdewadi and Sukhwadi villages of Sangli district, which were deserted as residents have moved to stay in their relatives’ places elsewhere but would be returning after rains recede. He writes in his Facebook that volunteers would be required to clean up the slush that has entered their homes, attend to the health of the people and animals and rebuild houses. Those who would like to volunteer can contact his Facebook for further details.
Similarly, young Mugdha Satalkar along with her friends is appealing for help. The appeal states that, “this is an initiative taken up by us to help people from flood affected areas of Sangli and Kolhapur. The real challenge is rehabilitation of the locals after the water level recedes. Hence, we are aiming at rehabilitation of affected families by providing portable gas burners, stainless steel plates, spoons, glasses, pressure cookers, kadhai and small containers. Also, sanitary napkins, blankets and unused undergarments will be accepted. The cost of each family kit is about Rs. 2500/- which can be sent online to the (her) bank account.’’
These are just a couple of examples to showcase the level of interest and compassion, generated to help the flood-affected. There are many such good feel stories.
The role of the politicians too should be commended. Except for that sight for sore eyes when Minister Girish Mahajan posted a selfie video, while on a raft, to visit the flood-affected area, Netas are commendably doing their bit.
Whether it is NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar who held a meeting in Baramati and instantly collected Rs. 1 crore or the BJP Minister Vinod Tawde who took to the streets with donation tins and collected money in 110 of them, which would be added to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, they have got out of their VIP tin box to help. While CM Devendra Fadnavis has asked for Rs.6,000 crore aid from the Centre, there is a lot to do.
Like the famous verse – little drops of water, little grains of land, make a mighty ocean and a pleasant land, each Good Samaritan who is coming forward to contribute his or her bit, is turning the challenging effort, into a collective act of goodness.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
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