Floods in Kashmir: Who is responsible?

From September 2014, when the drastic floods ruined us, the word ‘flood’ sends shivers down the spine of Kashmiris. The ugly scenes are still preserved in our minds. The destruction and deaths caused by the floods in Kashmir still haunt us.

When we recall these drastic memories of floods in Kashmir two years back, it just jolts us inside. Are we the same? We had gone some 200 years back because of the horrible natural calamity and then, after that darkness till today, we flourished in our own way and renovated the artificial side in our own way while the nature played its role in its own way.

Despite such horrible phase, we survived. But did we learn any lesson from the September 2014 floods? Probably not. We talked about these floods for few months and then forgot as if nothing happened. We blamed each other. Did we ever think about the cause of these floods? Probably, most of us did not.

The only major outlet for water in Kashmir is the river Jhelum. The river rises from Verinag spring situated at the foot of the Pir Panjal in the South-Eastern part of the valley. It flows through Srinagar and the Walur Lake before entering Pakistan through narrow gorge.

The steepness of Jhelum is very mild which means slow speed of the water flow. There are two main factors responsible for floods in Kashmir – natural and the human interference.

Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The snow covered mountains in the winters, the natural vegetation, the Dal Lake and what not, all add to its beauty. It is known as the Paradise on earth. It has plains, mountains, forests and water bodies.

The topography of this part of the world is unique. It has a bowl shape. This shape suggests that the water comes from the upper reaches and flows through its plains with slow flow. So, naturally Kashmir is very prone to floods. Thus, we can’t afford an iota of human interference which can increase the possibility of floods.

But what we have done or what we are doing is absolutely inverse to our survival. Cutting down of tress or deforestation leads to global warming, glaciers are melting. Add to it the abnormal rains!

River Jhelum, the only major outlet can’t carry the increased levels of water. Ahh! Adding to its limited water carrying capacity that too with slower speed, we have constructed buildings and other settlements on its banks. We have encroached it!

We seriously can’t afford it keeping in view the topography of Kashmir and the mild steepness of the river Jhelum. If we don’t stop or mend our ways, believe me the more drastic and more dangerous floods in Kashmir will destroy us.

Well, we have adopted a common trend while facing such drastic situations. We blame each other, we start giving Futwas about the rights and wrongs, being ignorant of the real circumstances. Such circumstances may be equally responsible for these terrific situations but does that mean we should not change our way of life.

How much low a human can stoop just for his greed. He/She can go to any extent only to fulfil his greedy desires without caring about the natural resources and not keeping in mind the impact on the environment.

To hide our blunders, we did to our motherland, we change our ideology. We start mending it in the religious way. I am not saying that is totally wrong. Yes, that may also be a cause because we forgot our Creator, Allah, the Almighty.

We have adopted Westernisation which is common in between both the sexes, but we have not to restrict it to the tip tapping, which nowadays, is seen mostly in the comment boxes of the various Facebook pages. This is not making any genuine way of justification. After all, we have to awaken ourselves, we have to face Almighty.

We have to change in all the ways. We have to say no to wrong, whatever it is. We must stop making these huge buildings senselessly on the embankments. We must stop cutting down of trees along the banks of these water bodies. We must plant more and more trees. We must have the proper drainage system. Let’s not pollute Jhelum!

Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) categorically taught people to live on less, to protect animal and plant life and to worship the Creator by being merciful to the creation. What is also distinctive about Prophet Muhammad’s advice is the connection between ethical practices and the eternal effects in the life after death, which represents a greater incentive for Muslims to care for the earth and its resources.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was teaching Muslims that their life on the path of faith must always progress and beware of climatic changes, just like a young tree. There will be tough times when the storm seems to never end. But patience and persistence in planting roots no matter what the trouble, will heal both one’s own branches and protect the nearest plants.

But who is the main culprit for floods in Kashmir? Most probably, the government and the administration. What has changed from the last floods? Nothing. We can still see people working by their own till late night. They are putting the cement bags at the required places which should have been done by the government at the appropriate time.

As we are under the same situation now, people panic because of the flood threats. In some areas, the concerned department declared floods. When the aspect of nature’s intervention was interfered by humans and then the adoption of Westernisation in our society, we can’t skip the aspect of negligence of government and its concerned department.

Therefore, it is not wrong to say that the government is mainly responsible for the sufferings which a common man is bearing this time.

Is government really concerned for the people here? Where are the funds going? Why the concerned department is not able to complete the assigned job within the stipulated time? What are the reasons?

If the so called government and concerned authorities had taken appropriate steps at the right time, the situation would have been different!

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