Every miracle in the world starts with a spark. A need and an urge to respond to the need. May be a feeling of helplessness and yet the throbbing alertness that go beyond and signals. Action next is spontaneous and immeasurable. At one side it is a small seed and then it contain a large tree together within. There starts the flight of miracles. Two dots of thoughts when connected become an unlimited line of action. It has no end to it has to continue on and on. Below story of the beloved and respected Sir CV ANANDA BOSE IAS narrates so beautifully the way miracles happen. We the human beings are an amazing species that ever existed in the universe. We can do a lot.
Good Samaritan Group in Flood Relief
It was a chance happening on the fateful day. The veteran civil servant, received a call in Delhi from a young friend in distress. Asha called from Bangalore and said that her doctor dad and mom were trapped in the flood waters in their own house in Aiyroor in Kerala. Dad had undergone an open heart surgery recently and mom is not particularly in good shape of health. The Civil Servant thought, I am so far away and not in the scene of operation. What can I do.
Suddenly an unknown breeze wafted his being. Where there is a will there certainly should be a way. Instinctively he rang up Wing Commander Girish who had flown many aerial expeditions, particularly in the snow clad Himalayas, rescuing people in distress. The old boys’ network became active. Asha’s case was reported to the Navy, Airforce and Army. Calls started pouring in from all parts of Kerala seeking intervention and help to save the dear and near ones in distress. Anand Bose, the senior Civil Servant, lost no time in swinging into action. A self styled help desk was opened. Messages went through whatsapp and other social media that any one could approach the help desk for assistance.
Prompt came the response from enlightened youngsters all over India. Ajith Nayar, the pioneer of camera commerce in the country, soon swung into action and revived a network of willing professionals who had formed themselves into ‘a good Samaritan group’ during the devastating Chennai floods a few months back. They recouped all of a sudden and joined hands with Dr. Bose to help people in need in the interior parts of flood ravaged Kerala.
Individuals and groups joined the effort from various parts of the country. Came a message, an Australian lady and friends are trapped somewhere and we don’t know what happened to them. The good Samaritan group acted fast and informed the rescue teams. The local fishermen, the Navy, Air Force, the community, the civil society all joined together and carried out the rescue operations with lightning speed.
After two days Dr. Bose got the message, we do not know how to thank you for the help, our people are safe. Requests came from unknown persons from unknown places. Request for supplies. The help desk had no means of collecting and dispatching supplies. But they sent requests and conveyed information to various philanthropists in the group. Everyone lavished his goodwill, taking the calamity as the responsibility of everyman. Supplies poured in.
Once the floods receded then the million dollar question was what next. Rebuilding Kerala became the hot topic of discussion everywhere. The good Samaritan group also decided to chip in at the stage of rehabilitation and reconstruction. Dr. Bose who has very long experience of handling natural disasters like drought, flood, earthquake, Tsunami, landslide and sea erosion lost no time in digging deep in to his rich experience to come out with a viable and achievable ‘Action Plan’ for the reconstruction of Kerala.
Kuttanad to Nethelands! We can Rebuild!!
The action plan put forward by the good Samaritan group is unique, original and appealing to the imagination of the people. Dr. Bose goes on the fundamental premise that the floods also opened the floodgates of opportunities for resurgent Kerala. The silt and sediment deposited by the flood waters is nature’s great boon to the people after the severe catastrophe. This sediment contains the base for organic Kerala to revitalize its economy and rebuild its future through agriculture. Drawing a parallel to the annual floods in the river Nile which is the basis of agricultural production of Egypt, Dr.Bose points out that the silt and sediment deposited by the flood waters could be the ideal base for Kerala to restructure its economy on strong agrarian foundation. Netherlands is in many ways akin to Kerala, particularly the Kuttanad belt of the state. Kuttanad lies below the sea level.
Netherlands also lies below the sea level. Practically no condition exits in Netherlands for the growth and development of agriculture, but Netherlands feeds the entire Europe today. Not only that, Netherlands is the second largest exporter of food in the whole world, the first being the United States. But the US has 270 times the land area for agriculture compared to Netherlands. The agriculturists of Netherlands are returning to organic farming. Many farmers have given the go by to pesticides and chemicals. Even the use of water has been reduced by up to 90% by the progressive farmers. Why, even in allied agricultural sector Netherlands is going organic. The use of antibiotics, considered essential for poultry farming, has been reduced by 60%.
Netherlands has proved to the whole world that agriculture offers unlimited potentials for a nation’s economic growth and prosperity. They are forward looking. They know the population of the world will hit the 10 billion mark by 2050. In the coming 40 years, it is estimated that the world’s food requirements will be much more than the food produced by all the farmers during the last 8000 years. The biggest problem in the coming century will be the shortage of food. To be fore warned is to be fore armed. The people of Netherlands have seen the potentials and challenges ahead. They are preparing themselves to face the challenge and take benefit of the opportunities it affords.
Kerala has an opportunity which nature has thrown up before it: go organic, totally organic. The Kerala brand of fortitude, which the world witnessed with admiration during the rescue operations, has already made a deep impact in the minds of the people all over the world. The Kerala organic brand has the advantage of a good kick start which the floods and the ensuring publicity has brought to us in its wake.
The Herculean Task:
There is yet another bounty which nature has given to the state through the floods. In one go nature has cleaned up all the 44 rivers, 30 tributaries, backwaters, wetlands, lakes and other water bodies in the state. This was a Herculean task, literally. Like Hercules cleaned up the Augean stable by diverting the course of the Alpheus and the Peneus rivers, Nature has cleaned up the water bodies of Kerala which was polluted and toxified by the indiscriminate human intervention in the name of the so called development.
An opportunity in every challenge :
This is a god-gifted opportunity for the state. Keep your waters clean or rather don’t make your waters unclean now. A clean Kerala with the cleanest rivers in the world will be the most sought after destination for the tourists all over the world. A clean Kerala, a green Kerala, organic Kerala can make a world of difference. Now the state claims, we are God’s own country.
But once we keep our waters clean, we make our agriculture organic, the whole world will say in unison, yes this is God’s own country.
The Action Plan which Dr. Bose has voluntarily drawn up for the state also contains various other points for the overall development and rebuilding of New Kerala. It proposes the Grand Kerala Transport Trail which includes a multimodal and integrated transport system. The purpose is not to repair the damaged roads and bridges. The objective is to make a truly world class system of integrated transportation network with Roads, Waterways, Railways Airways and Sea Ways. This will be a gift of the present generation to the future ones as atonement for polluting air, polluting water, polluting earth. Atonement for the sins of the past.
The next level thinking:
Dr. Bose also suggests innovative ideas like cable trams for mass transit. He is not talking in the air. He has cited the examples of mega polices like London and New York using cable cars or gondolas for mass transit. Medellin in Latin America has an excellently well developed cable car system for mass transport. Similarly many other Latin American countries are resorting to this aerial alternative to save the congestion on ground and pressure on earth. In a state like Kerala where the density of population is so high and availability of land so less, going in the air maybe a viable answer to the increasing traffic and transportation needs. The fifty point Action Plan for the reconstruction of Kerala covers all sectors of the economy. The plan will be there in the public domain for the people to discuss, debate, modify, amend, reject or even accept, said Dr. Bose.
Goodness to stay back and to work together:
The good Samaritan group is active even after the floods. They launched an awareness generation campaign. Their members started being active on the television, on the social media and on the informal network. Response was very very encouraging and inspiring. Mr. T. R. Kesavan, President of TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipments Limited), the third largest manufacturers of tractors in the world, came forward expressing their willingness to catalyse Kerala’s leap into organic farming.
Apart from contributing Rs. two crores to the Chief Minister’s distress relief fund they have presented a road map to Kerala’s agriculture minister, Mr Sunil Kumar, for taking the campaign for organic farming in the state forward.
Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings creates not only poetry but also public action.
The Kerala Model:
Kerala has demonstrated to the whole world the essence of what they proudly call Malayanma the ‘thisness’ of Malayalees. Unity in diversity, unity in a calamity, action in place of an alibi for inaction. Kerala floods have shown the whole world the inner strength of its people, particularly the fisher men. They heard the call of the calamity, they rushed forward, they acted, once again proving that they know how to do and dare instead of stand and stare.
Kerala floods have been a blessing in disguise. On the ravaged and inundated land, a dream is taking shape. Kerala the dreamland will soon become a land of dream merchants. After all it is dreams which lead to success. It is vision which leads to action. The common man of Kerala stood together and looked beyond horizon echoing the sentiments of Martin Luther King, we shall overcome. Yes, the clarion call of God’s own country these days is we shall overcome.