How Dutiful Is The Rain?

The rain Gods are no longer as benevolent as they have been for India. The writing is large and ominous on the wall. India can no longer afford to lie back and hope that the clouds from the South West will come knocking at our doors on the dot, year after year. El Nino is one explanation for the aberration this year, but there are sure to be other reasons that may crop up in the future for Mother Nature’s inability to quench our thirst. Politically appropriate statements from ministers and statistical jugglery from the meteorological department have never done anything, or are ever likely to do much to assuage the despair and despondence of the millions of Indians whose very survival depends upon the timely arrival of the rains. Agriculture is the very foundation upon which the economic and social well being of the entire country rests. To allow this foundation to be held ransom to the Monsoon winds, which are threatening to be more whimsical than ever, would be the undoing of this country. If there is one thing that needs to change with the metamorphosis of India from being a languishing third world country to one of rising global stature, it is our dependence on the mercies of nature for our daily bread. It is high time that erudite deliberations and histrionic political resolutions be speedily converted into effectual action. India cannot afford to ignore this disappointing Monsoon as a one off event. As long as industrialization persists on this earth without sufficient regard to environmental balances, global climatic conditions are only expected to worsen. And one of the biggest victims of such degradation of our environment will certainly be India. As international diplomacies would have it, a consensus and a resolute will to combat climate change at the expense of industrial development, especially on the part of the developed economies (the US of A being the leader of the pack), seems remote at this point of time. As such, India will have to develop its own means of protecting itself from sure economic crises in the inevitable event of the Monsoon rains misbehaving on a regular basis in the not-too-distant future.

Question is, do we have the will to secure our country from being converted to an arid waste in the future? Do we have the resolve to ensure the basic need of man – drinking water – for all Indians? Tough as these questions are, tougher still is the search for the answers. Yet, the task at hand is nowhere nigh impossible. India is a not a land starved of water, notwithstanding the fact that most of the water is still out of reach of the masses. The numerous rivers with their voluminous flows criss-cross the length and breadth of the country, but we are yet to find ways to harness their immense potential. The country waits in eager anticipation for the onset of the rainy season, and despair at its reluctance to move forward. Yet, when the rains do come in spate, we find ourselves in distress, unable to convert the surfeit of heavenly discharge to our advantage. Damming of river-water and harvesting of rain-water are two straight solutions to all our problems. Still, we continue to drag our feet in even taking the first step towards embarking upon the gargantuan task.

It is time we stopped looking heavenwards every summer for deliverance from the impending spectre of drought and starvation. It is time we started looking earthwards for ways and means to obviate situations of the kind. After all, even heaven cannot help those who cannot help themselves.

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