This Earth Quake: “---The will of God”
th October 2005, has been recorded in the world history. History of the geological sciences record it as fifth strongest and history of Pakistan records it as the most powerful and most devastating earth quake. On the turn of the calendar month the death toll has risen to 73,500 and the number of injured are around 69,000. These are the official figures. Just see the number of dead is more than those injured. Strange isn’t it. It is the reverse of usual. This reverse order speaks volume about the nature of holocaust. With epicenter just ten kilometers from Muzafarabad the 7.6 strong jolts on Richter scale has encompassed thirty thousands square kilometers of area spreading across NWFP, northern Punjab, Azad Kashmir and Occupied Kashmir. Muzafarabad, Bala-kot, Bagh and Manshera; these cities, to day range from extensively devastated to annihilated.
his monumental natural calamity has stirred the nation to new measures. We have been touched and we have been moved. All people, all sections of society have stepped forward to contribute. People of all areas, all cities and all ages have shared the help and relief efforts. I have names of many in my mind and faces of far more than names. They all worked they all contributed dam e darmey , sukhnay. Nothing could be more expressive than this Persian saying. I have both personal experiences as well first hand knowledge. By being at Rawalpindi-Islamabad has been a blessing so to say. One age group which stands out in its physical efforts and contribution are the young people; the school, college and university going students, to be more specific. I can start as close as my own home. My youngest daughter an O level student has done the most. It was pleasure to see her and those of her age group tending the post operative patients at a field hospital.
ow I am going to talk about a different kind of contribution. People have talked to each other a lot; thereby reinforcing each other’s resolve to combat the outcome of earthquake. Those who were at a distance have sent e-mails and letters to each other. Out of many in puts I was fortunate to receive this letter. This is a letter from a learned and senior citizen. e is he is He is senior by all meanings of the word. Let us read some parts of it.
arthquake– losses, sufferings, miseries are beyond comprehension. Unfortunately it is just the start of the saga. It is going to be very cold, long and dark winter for the affectees. Army was a little late in mobilizing. But it has done commendable job. Civil administration by its paralysis and politicians by their inaction have become redundant. They have totally disappointed the people by their inefficiency and callousness. Always look to Army for scour for relief from any kind of calamity. Good or bad Army is the savior. Bureaucrats, politicians and political parties shirk responsibilities; leave a void, Army expands to fill up. It is a negation of civil administration and civil society. Is it by default or by design? And if by design who’s design? So we have a Khalifa tul Muslimeen in the making.……
…. I read Urdu press. I listen to interviews of affectees. They are a paragon of courage, fortitude, defiance and determination. These qualities if harnessed can make a nation unassailable. Look at the way nation has responded to the tragedy. There is no end to donations. Only the absorption capacity and administration are limited. Speed and volume of contributions are phenomenal. The spirit is exact replay of 1947. Help will be required for years to come. Will the leadership be able to sustain the spirits? Virtues dry up sooner than one can think.
ne thing confuses me. Resignation and fatalism are pervasive. We are not looking for a scientific cause. We just say it is God’s will, and then relax. Try to forget the fateful day, deaths, injuries, losses and so on. We will build again but with more sand and less cement. All buildings, roads and bridges made by government have collapsed. Thousands of children buried under the debris. No inquiry no investigation no accountability, no punishment. ‘It was God’s will’. Life goes on. Maulvi and Mafia have jointly invented this balm. Leaders of all hues, column writers and those suffering, all are urging that we should seek forgiveness from Almighty, individually and collectively. They all proclaim that we have erred and sinned profusely. We are guilty of defying and disobeying His commands. We persisted in our ugly pursuits - end result earthquake. Sins of South Asians ended in Tsunami. Americans invited Katrina and Rita. It is oversimplification of theory of cause and effect. It is mandatory for us to keep seeking forgiveness and redemption and grace from Almighty. But it is incorrect in fact immoral to connect earthquake to our conduct. Do these wise men have license from God to so interpret the events ordained by God. Those who have suffered were poor people living below poverty line, without proper food, shelter, job, education and medical facilities. Their days were spent in eking out a living and nights in resting and recouping for next day’s ordeal. To sin, one needs leisure and money. They had none. The sinner, dacoits, thieves, smugglers of drugs, weapons and human flesh, tax evaders, loan defaulters and the likes live in towns and cities. I am confident God will not punish innocent students of Kashmir for the sins of urbanites. Attitude of resignation and fatalism has very negative effects on morals, ethos and sense of responsibility and accountability of the nation. Earth quake, deaths and injuries shall we say were ordained. But, how about the nation’s responsibilities before and after the event? Why every structure built with public fund has collapsed? Why did civil administration just melted. Why are aids vehicles waylaid and looted? Why help has not reached distant places even after three weeks?
Earth quake was a big tragedy. Our reaction to every day occurrences is equally negative. A patient bleeds to death while duty doctor keeps snoring in the room next door. Police tortures a suspect to death, a driver without license and under influence of drug kills dozens and bereaved families without demur accept the argument “it was God’s will”! No investigation no inquiry no trial no punishment. The criminals and guilty go scot-free to have another field day. Chairman CDA, Mr. Kamran Lashari, the whiz kid of Pakistan bureaucracy was only reflecting nation’s mind set when he said there was no need to hold an enquiry or award punishment on the fall of Margalla Towers. It was God’s Will!
esignation has its own strengths and virtues for an individual. It develops fortitude, makes reconciliation easy, and enables you to suffer vagaries of life more easily; forgiveness is built in the character and so on. It has very negative effects as well. It makes us passive and in-active. We accept exploitation, excesses and injustices with out a whisper. We refuse to fight for our rights for justice and fair play. We lose capacity to inquire to research, to prepare for future traumas. We may develop endurance but not the courage. Forgiveness is wrongly interpreted. ….. Resignation saps will power and determination. …. Each one of us is only a spectator about many things like disrespect of constitution, unemployment, crimes, adultery, adulteration, and lack of security, lack of medical care, and lack of cheap, equitable and accessible education. No protest. About spectators a German philosopher said, “every spectator is a either a coward or a traitor” We are both.”
y dear readers including planners, sufferers and those busy in volunteer work you are doing great job. Keep it up However, please do not stop to inquire, and do not resign to struggle. For to struggle is your domain results are His domain. You shall be awarded and rewarded for your efforts. This is the will of God.