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

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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.


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.

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  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 –

    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??

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