The Human Calamity in Uttarakhand
In Uttarakhand, people are yet to realize the immensity of what has happened. At one time, every year continuously I was in the Himalayas. It has only been the last four to six years that I have broken my trips to this region, which is one of the most fantastic parts of India. One thing is, the Himalayas are the youngest mountains on the planet. If you have traveled in the Himalayas you will see, it is almost like debris piled up. That is how the mountain is. Once you cut roads into it -- the rivers themselves are cutting enough -- naturally landslips keep happening. I have probably not been there without being stuck in some landslip and walking miles to get across; in over 27 trips to this region, this is a normal process of traveling in the Himalayas.
Because the mountain is so fresh and fragile, it is like naturally piled-up debris, and it will fall off very easily unless it is very carefully handled. The Border Roads Organisation has done a fantastic job in the last few years. All this said, you cannot squarely blame this tragedy on any particular organization or government because in one day they received 340mm of rain. It was a cloudburst. In the local parlance they said, ‘Aasman gir gaya’ – the sky fell on them, literally. Cloudbursts, landslips, these are all natural processes in the mountain. It is a tragedy because we are in the way. Otherwise it is not a tragedy; it is just a natural process of the mountain growing. What is unstable has to come down and stabilize itself; this is a millions-of-years process, it is happening. So it is not a natural calamity, it is a natural process, but it is a human calamity. How to avoid the human calamity is human business.
Above all, we need to understand that a successful nation is a successful enterprise too. What is our strength? What is limited with us? Has something not been taken care of? It is time we look at a nation as an enterprise, and we need somebody who is enterprising enough and who will handle it as an enterprise to make it successful. The thing is, we get lost in the history, tradition and so many things. We have to value those things, but we have to see them as traditional strengths and traditional weaknesses. You will only see this if success is the benchmark. Right now, success is not the benchmark. Somehow keeping it going for five years is the benchmark. So we have to set this - success is a benchmark.
What is this, Sadhguru? This is a very emotional, ecological disaster and you are answering this way? Yes, I am telling you this because now they will pass some absurd ecological laws. That is not the way to go about it. Emotional reactions to disasters that happen are not the answer. Already people are talking on the news channels, ‘It must be declared an eco-sensitive zone, no pilgrim should be allowed. Why are all these people going there, can’t they go to the local temple?’ You will come out with absurd laws in reaction, and anyway after a few years, nobody is going to follow those laws, and things will be back to normal once these things are forgotten. We have to look at ourselves as an enterprise and we want to be a successful enterprise, not a flop. Managing our land, our natural resources and our human resources is very much a part of the enterprise. It is time we address it like that.
We need to understand the Himalayas and what the Himalayas have to offer. It is not the economic prospect of the Himalayas which is important for us. It is the spiritual dimension of it which has always been an inspiration for people. Your economics you could do elsewhere, you do not have to build seventy dams across the Ganga. Even if a man is dying in this country, he wants two drops of Ganga water but we have to tell him now the two drops that he is taking in has gone through some one hundred and fifty turbines before it falls into his mouth.
It is a certain emotion, a human emotion which holds a nation together. Different nations have different ethos. For India, Ganga, Himalayas, these things are very important binding factors. If you destroy these things you will have great difficulty holding this diverse population as a nation after some time. Already it is happening. People are pulling in different directions. Gradually, over a period of time, everybody starts thinking separately and one day you wonder, ‘Why are we together?’ It is not far away. When I say ‘not far away,’ in the life of a nation, fifty years is not too much time.
So do not look at this as one single tragedy or one incident that once the cameras are off, we will forget about and go about our business. We have to see India as an enterprise and we want a successful enterprise on all levels.