This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Mayank Jain. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Dear Uma Bharti, It’s Not Human Excreta But Climate Change That Caused Uttarakhand Floods

More from Mayank Jain

By Mayank Jain:

It was rather startling to hear the prime minister defy the phenomenon of climate change, and let human conscience and our ever changing nature take the blame. Maybe we have started feeling the heat more, and all the scientific equipment that prove the warming up of earth and melting of glaciers are wrong too. I want to believe him, because then we will have a whole lot of time and opportunity to not plant trees but go out in the open and love nature; because, it looks like it is the lack of love and not rapid deforestation in the name of industrial development that has resulted in global warming.

Uttarakhand

Some wrongs, however, are more wrong than others. One can even believe in the no climate change theory for some deep seated belief in the inherent goodness of humankind, and our ability to correct things by just thinking about them. Rahul Gandhi propounded the ‘state of mind’ theory and if our PM also advocates it, who knows, it might just be true.

Uma Bharti’s statement about human excreta causing floods is, however, beyond the realm of reality and light years away from a connection to science as we know it. Seemingly building on the state of mind and ‘value systems’ approach, she emphasized that it is the human excreta near the Kedarnath shrine that was the ‘underlying cause’ behind the fury of nature.

Her theory is as close to being true as the Mayan prediction about the world ending in 2012, when most were attributing it to the ‘sins’ that we have collectively committed which would have led to doom. Alas, it looks like we are still alive and no river is flooding because of human excreta.

As a Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, she could have easily hid behind the façade of jargons like deforestation and soil erosion (which are actual phenomenon, by the way) if she just wanted to sound investigative, but her ‘insights’ about atheists ruining it have gone a little too far. She claimed that despite warnings, atheists settled near the shrine and engaged in activities that proved calamitous.

“However, as time passed, atheists came here, mainly for business purposes. This resulted in nature’s fury at Kedarnath in 2013″, Bharti was quoted as saying.

I happened to be there at the Rishikesh river bank on the morning of August 15 when torrential rains caused the river water to fill up to the brim and it spilled on to the streets without discriminating between atheists, believers, or even ‘unsanitary and unholy’ people whose excreta proved to be no good. I saw uprooted trees flowing in the holy river because soil strength had been compromised due to years of commercialization, and a similar fate was meted out to temples on the banks which were most probably not constructed by atheists of the area.

Rivers flood because we treat mountains as plains and keep building bridges and industries to ‘harvest’ from nature instead of preserving it. Rivers also flood because of unchecked soil erosion and deforestation, but it will take a whole lot of human excreta to raise the water level so high that it spills on the streets.

Fortunately, there is still no proven connection between atheism and its havoc with the nature. But, there is a connection between river flooding and sewage failures, and hence, it might be a good idea to hold the funds for Ganga rejuvenation right now. Uma Bharti wouldn’t want to spend them on actually revitalizing it when all we need to do is ban atheists from going anywhere near the nature.

You must be to comment.
  1. akhil

    I think it was responsible on your part to argue on Ms. Bharati’s opinion of the event. But, what is increasingly becoming irritating by the day, to those who understand science, is this notion to attribute climate change as a reason to everything. What evidence have you come across to boldly call out climate change as a reason for the floods? Heavy rains are not necessarily a product of human-induced climate change.

    Maybe the prime minister was right in defying the phenomenon of climate change. He instead sought to bring to attention our changing needs and lifestyles. And that is in fact true. Our ever increasing consumption is the root of all stresses on the environment. There is plenty of scientific evidence that nature has in fact adjusted itself to new stability states in accordance to anthropogenic stresses.

    The reason I chose to respond to a public post, something which I never do, is to simply request to be produce more informed, less naïve articles, since you carry a heavy responsibility of reaching out to a wide audience, and it wouldn’t do any good to anyone to misguide them.

    1. Suraj

      The article says nothing about the floods being directly caused by climate change. While climate change is responsible for extreme weather(read the conclusions of IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report), that can cause extreme rain and then severe floods. Here –
      https://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_Approved.pdf

    2. akhil

      Apologies for posting this twice. Didn’t realize earlier that I wasn’t replying to your post, until I posted it. Hence, posting it here again.

      The title of your article does. And hence, I posted my argument.

      And while the IPCC findings do suggest a relation between climate change and natural catastrophic events, it still strongly talks on the uncertainty factor and suggests each case should be studied independently, before attributing climate change as a reason (again, like the title of your article does).

  2. Suraj

    The Earth would be just fine with climate change. It has always been, in the past when mass extinction events had wiped out more than 99% of life that ever existed on Earth. It’s “Life” on Earth that’s at risk. It’s about us & countless other species(with some exceptions, of course), that are at stake.

    And I would believe what a climate scientist has to say about the environment, rather than politicians(Modi & his govt., in this case) who have always been ineffective in dealing with the environment.

  3. akhil

    The title of your article does. And hence, I posted my argument.

    And while the IPCC findings do suggest a relation between climate change and natural catastrophic events, it still strongly talks on the uncertainty factor and suggests each case should be studied independently, before attributing climate change as a reason (again, like the title of your article does).

  4. Anirudh Sharma

    U idiotic cynic.. It was more of a sentimental statement not a scientific one. Common sense would help as of now.

    Its natural, thiests mock athiests and athiests mock thiests. If you target a believer for fuming on athiests, you should do the same when athiests glorify science and mock religion. Just because shes an important figure doesn’t mean you take whatever she says as a literal statement without a second thought. This is why everyone critisises the media.

    P.S if you didnt realise until now.. She didnt mean that the excreta caused the rivers to overflow. Shes not falsifying climate changes and records. She is just hurt, being a thiest, that people dump in a place shes connected to spiritually. Shes fuming over non-believers for not respecting her ‘mother nature’. Every believer would do that. Hindus do that. Muslims do that. Sikhs are the most orthodox concerning this. its natural. Our parents keep grinding our chains over not worshipping enough. My parents rebuke me for eating non-veg. Its natural.

    Now if this is the way things are going, maybe we should reprimand all religious persons in the world for getting angry over disrespect of their faith. After all science doesnt comply with all religions. Right? please let me know when we are starting the “Go athiest” abhiyaan and targetting all believers on the grounds of scientific facts.

    And when thats over lets actually start using common sense before making a sensational news over a random statement. And for a change lets start paying more attention on actions rather than words.. as actions speak louder than words. Atleast thats what we have been taught since we were kids. Unless ofcourse, this idiom doesnt comply with scientific facts.

    And before i forget, lets target Uma for threatening to shut down industries unless they stop polluting Ganga.. After all, shes hindering India’s industrial growth, isnt she??

More from Mayank Jain

Similar Posts

By Ethico India

By Aaditya Kanchan

By Navya Shorey

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below