Much of what we had has been temporarily lost, but much of who we are, will last forever
The ‘great flood’ came and went, leaving in its trail death, destruction and wounds –wounds that are hard, but not impossible to heal. We have been here before: We have seen death, destruction and desolation before, but of different sorts—those of other’s making. This one was, at least in part, of our own making. But that is for another day!
Now we are dealing with an epic mixture of deceased, dislocated and despondent. Now we are counting our homeless and impoverished. Now we have become infamous for the same source of our natural beauty that has made us famous. The same waters that make Kashmir the envy of the world have become Kashmir’s enemy. Kashmir is now a victim of its own charm and beauty! While this deeply hurts our soul, all is not lost. While much of what we had has been temporarily lost, much of who we are, will last forever.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is an old adage. These times demand toughness of our bodies and our minds. If these are the times of agony, these also are the times of remorse and self-introspection. If these are the times of mourning, these also are the times for thanksgiving and celebration.
This is the time to honour those among us that rescued many of our own—and many others. This is the time to salute those of our own who fed all those who starved. This is the time to remain watchful of those who tried to exploit our vulnerability at a time when our lives were clinging to our roof tops—literally.
This is the time to thank a few of those who saved a few of us—and many of their own. This also is the time to ignore those who willfully ignored the rescue of many among us. While we grapple with the deluge of our burdens, they will carry the burdens of their heavy conscience.
Tragedy brings out the best and worst in human nature. In face of these testing times, we have proven our character. We have displayed unity, patience, tenacity, and resolve. The torrents of September 2014 may soon cease to torment our souls, but when can our memory of mountains of gushing waters fade?
In this ocean of misery, if we have seen the desperate, dislocated, the dead or the injured, we also have seen our heroes— the selfless brave hearts — our saviors. And it is through these and many such heroes of Kashmir, that Kashmir will rise again! The unhappy valley will be happy again!
While the horrifying experience of this deluge is bound to transform us as a nation, this momentous transformation must more importantly build our character. A character built on strong principles, nurtured in compassion, seasoned by a deepening resolve, and painted in the rainbow of inclusiveness. We have a gigantic task ahead of us. We are on a long, arduous, and risky highway of recovery and rehabilitation. The highway is surrounded by snakes of all kinds, and we are vulnerable. Literally and figuratively, there is a long looming winter looking into our eyes. While nature has challenged us severely and severally, we will be tested again.
Our character will be tested yet again. Our resolve, our vision, and our unity will be tested again. We will do well not to be swayed by the opportunism of vote seeking politicians, profit seeking hoarders, or some ubiquitous exploiters of all ilk—political, social, and economic. The beasts will always make a pie of someone’s dead body. We will be wary of all kinds of crookedness and fraudulency. We will pause at each moment and persevere at all times. We will keep our friends close and our enemies closer. We will keep our eyes open, while they turn theirs away.
During these immensely sorrowful and intensely depressing times we must not only keep our nerve but also our heads, so we may become a gentler, kinder and stronger nation ready to face any social, political, economic upheaval or calamity.
We have shown we are no longer a stoic and week people. We have passed the litmus test for strength and courage while inundated in the floods of misfortune. We are a valiant, vibrant nation ready to take on the onerous and Herculean task of reviving Kashmir.
We will brave the onslaught of floods of raging waters. And our heroes have shown us how.
We will revive Kashmir. We are Kashmir!!