We all love rains for some reason or the other. While some like to sip a cup of tea reading a favorite book overlooking the rains from the balcony, others love to go out and enjoy the showers. I’m sure it was the same feeling for Keralites until the rains became incessant.
Floods are tricky. I have experienced them in Chennai in 2015. At first, they thrill you; then they kill you – mentally or literally. The same happened in Kerala. But the people of Kerala stood out in many ways, once again exhibiting their spirit of humanitarianism – valuable lessons for the rest of us to learn.
When the floods affected their fellowmen, they put everything else – religion, political interests, and ideological differences – behind. They had just one mission, “to save a life”. It did not matter what religious, political or linguistic backgrounds they came from. It only mattered if they were humans. In fact, politicians also became models of such a work ethic.
Malayalees are good at trolling, I must say. If you doubt it, I suggest you revisit the tweets/ memes that came in after our PM once tried to compare Kerala with Somalia in a usual election stunt. But now the people stopped it, or at least paused. Social media groups that have been trolling centres transformed into information dissemination centres. The youth exchanging trolls on opposing political parties now sending coordinates of stranded victims, linked them to their friends and rescuers nearby, came together to collect relief material and build relief camps.
As the saying goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. But Kerala became an exception. Volunteers from various quarters rose up to the challenge in Kerala. They are coordinating without a central authority; there is no chaos. Although there were relief camps set up by the state, they are almost completely managed by the citizens. No one is seeking credits, no one is seeking attention. They are all busy working.
Keralites are doing everything they can from all quarters possible. The fishermen are using their boats to save people. Businessmen are providing their heavy vehicles for rescue operations. Youth are using their strength to rescue people. The Malayalee diaspora sent them all the monetary and material aid required. They are all doing everything they can.
The people of Kerala built an amazing supply chain through social media networking and working with officials. Volunteers are supplying relief material starting from the unloading from planes to loading them on trucks, unloading them at relief camps set up by the government, unpacking them, segregating them, repacking them and sending them into the affected areas. This is incredible. In doing so, not only are they help the people, but also are saving the government a huge amount in labor cost.
During disasters like these, it is usual to pass the buck. Keralites refrained from this. Instead they are patting each other’s back. They are pushing themselves to do better. While some complimented the military for their valor, others complimented the fishermen for their selflessness. The volunteers are patting each other as they work through the floods. They appreciate everyone. They acknowledge help from all quarters.
People were displaced, and are living in buildings and houses not of their own. When they left, they left the place spick and span. They left no trash, they left no mark.
Keralites know that the calamity is not over yet. They want their Kerala back in its past glory. I am sure that they will leave no stone unturned in their march towards this goal.
In the face of an unprecedented calamity, the people of Kerala have taught us once again the one important lesson that we, as Indians, must learn – “United we stand, divided we fall”
P.S: Stories championing the spirit of secularism and humanitarianism have also come from Kodagu, Karnataka. These people teach us the moral values that we must all imbibe as citizens of this great nation.