The deluge in Chennai, has claimed hundreds of lives, as per the official count so far.
If only one could measure the number of lives saved we could start looking at this in an entirely different way. Chennai, a city I have called home for 5 years, and continue to consider home is suffering, But that famous Chennai pride never dies. The people of Chennai have shown great fortitude. Irrespective of caste, creed and social standing, losses and personal trauma. From the people organising themselves online (food, relief, rescue, mapping, transport and above all hope),making sure doctors and medical help was accessible and that hospitals could get power, to the mosques and temples opening their gates to victims irrespective of their faith. There is also a drive to move towards, and make accessible neighbourhoods that are poor and are in danger of being ignored.
The state’s representatives have started playing vote bank politics, and pushing their own agendas and image saving tactics (read: posters forcibly put on relief that they had nothing to do with).Chennai has shown the world what humanity and brotherhood means. At a time when the world and the Indian state were ignoring the misery and suffering of the people, the people of Chennai were fighting and refusing to just lay down, there is news of people who have sacrificed their lives trying to save others. Even now, as the focus of nature’s wrath and developmental follies is shifting south away from Chennai, the people of Chennai are standing strong. My facebook feed is now flooded with friends and family in Chennai making sure that the latest victims get attention as well, and in all probability, they will beat the state to it. AGAIN!
If there are any heroes here, it is not the state, not the armed forces, it is the people of Chennai who made sure that there was something left to save. I salute Chennai and its heroes.
by Shamsher Singh