The Kedarnath Episode : Nature’s fury or Man’s foolishness

** The disaster that shook Uttrakhand on June 16,2013 has left the entire country in turmoil of sadness, death and loss. My prayers go out to the lives lost.**

Un-welcomed monsoon unleashed hell in the Kedarnath valley. This valley is one of the prime pilgrimage centers in India as Kedarnath Temple stands here. It’s existence is said to be traced back to the times of Mahabharat. The temple is a worshipping ground to Lord Shiva . This famous pilgrimage and trekking destination is naturally set-up amidst the toughest terrains in India and is a spot where you can see a unique fusion of faith and trust in God. The very atmosphere of the Kedarnath valley is holy and pure. ( Or say, it WAS until June 16, 2013. )

Explaining the series of events that took place that night isn’t required, thanks to our efficient and  unfailing Indian Media. Umpteen news networks are televising documentaries and shows related to this sad incident. This ‘Natural Disaster’ is being referred so as the Himalayan Tsunami, Trasadi, Pralay and what not. Every real and imaginary ( cooked up stories too ) are reaching us through our television sets, the Internet and the newspapers.

Many media organisations have also tried looking into the root cause of this disaster. Various media channels are focusing on how nature planned on taking it’s revenge and plotting against man for exploiting and agitating it throughout these years at the Kedarnath valley while a handful are trying to talk sense into people by concentrating at the geographical factors and man-made errors that converted these flash floods into a torrent of floods, cries and death.

” Nature got furious and wanted to uproot man from its land. This happened because mother Earth had had enough of man’s atrocities. ” ( What BULLSHIT!!! ). I just don’t believe how people can say or show belief in such statements in this Century-Z.

Come on..I mean, If you’re such a theist, you shouldn’t be advocating such statements. It’s sheer illiteracy . What has astrology got to do with a natural disaster?

It is not nature that got furious, it’s man who got foolish..AND IT’S EVIDENT!!

We attempt endlessly at making our country a ‘ tree-free nation ‘ and then we accuse nature and it’s fury.

The riverbed surrounds the temple on both the sides. When years ago, River Mandakini stopped flowing through one of the sides of its riverbed..What did we do? We saw vacant land and pounced at it. Developments on a riverbed!! How intelligent of the mankind !!

From a place of worship, Kedarnath valley is now converted into a place of selling religion in no time.

Kedarnath Temple : The initial picture
The Modern Look : Kedarnath Valley
After the disaster
After the disaster

Look, how the tarnished face of the valley.

*Please, I’m not against pilgrimage. I’m not telling you to stop visiting the Kedar valley.*

The damage done by the floods would not have been such a whooping number had it not been for these developments on the riverbed. The collateral damage would have been very low.

Now, the only structure left intact in the valley after this natural massacre is the Kedarnath Temple itself. To this the survivors and the onlookers are saying that, ” God’s abode stands intact”, ” No harm can be done to the Almighty”. ( Oh God, this is so disturbing. ) The temple stood unharmed because it has a strong foundation, the walls of the temple are strong and thick enough to withstand such an immense water force.

My point here is : Why do people need to connect every natural disaster to nature’s fury or to some satanic conspiracy? Look all around yourself and analyse how we’ve created problems for ourselves.

Had it not been for the global warming, the Chorabari Glacier wouldn’t have already started melting down, the lake could have accumulated flash flood causing no or minimal damage.

We need to either stop depleting the ozone ( Pollution, Global Warming) or stop categorizing every disaster in our country as nature’s fury.


12 thoughts on “The Kedarnath Episode : Nature’s fury or Man’s foolishness

  1. Well written. But I would like to add something on to it though. it might be man who created it or just a change of scale in the events of nature, I wouldn’t want to judge what caused it. But there is a fact that we have to consider- we crib about the country been developing for the past half a century.
    When we set up a hydroelectric plant, we praise the developmental efforts in bringing electricity to those light-ridden villages. We praise the BRO for constructing roads that connect people to the world. We praise the authorities for giving shelter to those homeless villagers on the hills. But then when a flood savages through the same villages, we point all over fingers to the man made developments that caused this. I am in a dilemma here about which facts to accept. The media always has its way to influence us.

    1. Well, there are various angles to this entire calamity. A probe on this can land us into a muddle of when’s’,what’s’,how’s’ and who to blame’s’.
      I agree with your viewpoint. We appluad the developments and then here I myself am disgracing it for playing catalyst to such grave disaster.
      Its a sad event. We are all in the same dilemma that your talking about.

      Thank you for going through this post.

  2. I did a solo backpacking trip to Kedarnath, about a week before the floods. I noticed that with the increasing number of pilgrims and tourists, the fragile ecosystem of the area was being pushed to the limits. There were temporary shops on the road side for the entire stretch of 14km. And the even before you reach Kedarnath, the roads were also so crowded. Traffic blocks are over 3 km long.
    And people just throw the garbage and other waste out through the windows. It was a distressing sight to see the pristine Garhwal Himalayas littered with plastic wastes. And in places like Srinagar and Rudraprayag, the increasing number of buildings reduced the width of the river Ganges.
    For me, the disaster was no surprise, as I saw the destruction of nature, with my own eyes. It was like a ticking time-bomb.
    Till we learn to respect our environment, these disasters are bound to happen again. I’m not against religions or pilgrimage, but its high time, we learn to stop messing around with Earth.

    1. Indeed..!! we really need to messing around with nature. We, as a nation have exploited our geographical landmarks to a brutal extent now. The situation is really alarming.

      Thanks for a great insight.

  3. It’s a brilliant piece of writing! Indeed the tragedy was partially a man-made disaster. We ought not do what we are doing in mountains…for the sake the residents of the mountains and the Himalayas. As far as Nature is concerned, it’s the most unpredictable thing. One may get a trend of its behavior based on the past records…but will never it be able to predict its future course of action…the intensity and magnitude of its forces. We have built dams…hundreds of dams, which so-called experts believe can withstand even an earthquake of 7-8 in magnitude…but imagine what may happens if its magnitude surpasses their limits. Whatever alternation we may do on the earth’s surface…however robust structures we may create…they are subject to Nature’s will and forces…it would be naive to call nature fragile….it seeks stability through consistent slow movements and makes changes accordingly. The nature in its different forms survived 6 billion years and will survive even in future…it is us to think whether we want to survive or not?

    While constructing dams, towns, buildings, roads, etc…we have ignored the very geological structure of the lower and middle Himalayas…half of it is nothing more than loose fluvio-glacial deposits and that add to such havoc we saw in Kedarnath…

    1. Thank you for going through the articlr and also expressing you’re thoughts. They’ve added volumes to my reaction on the Kedarnath calamity.
      I would definitely agree on the point that nature is fragile and unpredictable,we need to be careful while flourishing our developments.
      Thanks again.

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