In The News



by HUMRA QURAISHI July 17 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 51 secs

Humra Quraishi observes the events over the last week and asks this question: Where’s the so-called development when entire townships are drowning in flood waters?

Never before have we witnessed this level of havoc in vast stretches of North India. Even the capital city, New Delhi, is at the mercy of the rising water levels of the River Yamuna!  

Amid lofty political promises of safety and security of the residents, the situation is a nightmare. This, after huge budget allocations are made towards the municipalities for the drainage, road repair and infrastructure maintenance. Quite obviously, there’s no accountability here.

And if one was to focus on the disasters taking place in the mountains, the apathy towards planning along the slopes of the Himalayas is beyond imagination. So overburdened are these poor mountains, they cannot take any further strain. Hotels, motels, lodges have already come up at an alarming pace. Who has authorized these constructions? At what cost? No, it is not easy to survive in the midst of this maddening chaos. Either grow a  thick hide or retreat. It is pathetic how human beings are uprooted and then left with nowhere to go! Entire communities in the affected States are left to fend for themselves post these traumatic experiences, loss of lives, properties and hope.

In the middle of this that the country is already dealing with, arrives Seema Haider, a woman from Pakistan, who has, interestingly, fallen in love with young man Sachin from Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, after months of interaction with him on the PubG app. Along with her also come four children she has with her husband who works in Saudi Arabia. After a short holiday spent in Nepal where the two lovers met earlier this year, Seema sold the house she built with the money her husband had been sending her regularly from Saudi Arabia, and has landed up in India, converted to Hinduism and gotten married to Sachin. All said and done, one does worry for the four little children who have been relocated in such a life altering way, and will now lead a life of uncertainty as their entry into the country with their mother, without any questions asked by border authorities, will remain a mystery and they will be observed with suspicion and as threats to the country. All this in an atmosphere of hate towards the minority community that is being spread by Right-Wing forces to polarise for political gains.

It was only yesterday that this news report caught my attention: In Bengaluru: Inside a Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation Bus, a woman passenger questions the  Muslim bus conductor for wearing the skull cap…urging him to remove it. Which he does by the way because he fears Hindu wrath that could come his way. We have reached such hopeless times.

The latest facts coming forth about incidents of violence against the Christian community, too, in the country are shocking. According to a compilation of data by the United Christian Forum (UCF), an alarming increase in the crimes and incidents of violence against the Christians occurred in India in the first half of 2023. There were 400 incidents nationwide since January, with Uttar Pradesh leading the way with 155 cases. The current violence in Manipur has resulted in the destruction of multiple churches and lives, and it is another worrying factor.

I’m leaving  you with  the concluding lines of this verse of  SEEMA JAIN titled - Survival In A War Zone (Amity Peace Poems) from Hawakal Publishers:

‘… Those same streets where music, fragrance, and laughter/emanated  from jovial folks once/witnessed caravans of men, women/little kids and the elderly/fleeing their homes to some unknown/uncharted safer destination/dragging along a few belongings and reluctant children/stupefied at being pushed away/from their dear homes and friends/their favourite toys and games/their schools, and playmates/walking on foot for miles, with snow falling/in sub-zero temperatures//The business of survival in/a war zone is no laughing matter, you see/forget about your homes, or food or water, dear friends/looking at those who went out to buy/groceries and never came back/you should be glad to be still alive/in the midst of mayhem all around.//Does victory in war prove one side right or wrong?/Do thousands and millions who die,/are rendered homeless, not count?/When will nations learn of other ways/to settle their scores?/When will survival of humans take precedence/over egos, greed and arrogance?/When, O When?’

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