Kashmir University Relief Camp: Deconstructing myths

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Contextualization is an important component in ascertaining the facts about any event happened in history. I am writing this column from the very relief camp which was initiated by students of Kashmir University. I am one of the students who stood by this idea and raised the money in Kashmir University employee quarters and added up almost 12000 amount. There was some reluctance on the part of administration for opening this rehabilitation centre which turned the students’ furious and created uneasy atmosphere in the campus. Explaining and resisting for starting this camp with the administration forced them to start it in the Arts and Humanities block. KU administration after deciding took pains in owning this camp and worked tirelessly to provide every kind of facility to the flood victims. Locals and students from campus especially hostel boarders played a crucial role in shaping and nourishing this camp in proper manner.
I live in the vicinity of Raj Bagh, and working in different flood affected areas didn’t gave me a chance to reach my family till one storey of Raj Bagh was submerged in water. I had no choice but to serve the people who are living with us in the campus. The volunteers made sure that they feel comfortable and feel at home when the heart of city was left homeless. The volunteers (students) didn’t slept in nights and gave regular checks in the night for checking the necessary comfort for these victims.
I met my family when I was co-coordinating 40 days from the campus to reach Raj Bagh with necessary essentials where I met my family after 6 days. They informed me about the collapse of our house leaving us bereft of everything. My passport, certificates, books everything gone with the flooded fury of God. I consoled them and asked them to move towards our uncle’s house and went to Raj Bagh with the medical team in the boat. The commitment of volunteers in the camp from past 14 days is worth appreciation because most of them live in south Kashmir and were not even able to contact their families from weeks together. The faculty members and administrative staff also stood by our side and worked day and night keeping everything intact to facilitate these flood victims. But, still they were working day and night serving their people hoping that their service will surely reap the mercy of God on their parents.
We went to do a field survey of different camps and rehabilitation centers in Srinagar so that we will grab an idea of their working and functioning in coping up with this flood ordeal. It is unfortunate that few among them were only “attention seekers” and their output was not even 10 per cent of what Kashmir University relief camp was providing to the flood victims. A story published in a local newspaper is a mistake “by choice” due to the biased reporting and narrativization of KU relief camp. The report that victims are left in open skies to sleep, then for her generous information I would like to state that I myself went to ask them to shift to humanities block but they didn’t agree and said we are comfortable. If you say living in the KU campus was hard and they didn’t receive proper facilities then I am sure that whether it is a blatant lie or “daal mai kuch kala hai”. Demeaning and deconstructing the integrity of relief camp and playing politics in these hard times is worth condemnation and nothing but the rape of humanity.
We have a separate medical room where 2 to 5 doctors and 8 volunteers served the victims from 7 am to 11 pm with one hour break and two of the doctors (Dr. Muiez and Dr. Saima) worked 12 hours a day. Media hype, uploading pictures on Facebook, creating pages doesn’t fetch results but selfless commitment to serve the nation changes the destiny of societies. Unfortunately, the mere politicization of facts and biased interpretation of events will neither fetch us results nor help us to rebuild this nation.

Author Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat
Mehraj-ud-din is a doctoral candidate at University of Kashmir

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