Recently, a photo which was uploaded on the facebook page of Voice of North East India went viral in no time. The photo showed a girl holding a placard which read, ‘Mumbai: Rainfall; full media coverage, Assam: Floods every year, death of hundreds of people; nobody cares. And we live in a society where we have at least 30 24*7 news channels who can show your horoscope but not the HORROR OF ASSAM.’ Each and every word of this placard became true once again since last evening when cameras quickly panned towards Mumbai after the city received record rainfall of 468 mm in a couple of hours on Tuesday. The sensational verdict of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan became passé and OB vans started flocking the Mymbai streets.
It was really heartening to witness such support and sympathy for Mumbai from across the country. Such gestures help to keep our belief in humanity intact in difficult times. However, why don’t we see a united India when floods kill people in hundreds in remote corners of Assam and Bihar? Are Assam and Bihar not part of India? Or are these poor places, unlike Mumbai, the financial hub of India, are doomed to face natural calamities without anybody ever noticing the plight of the affected people?
The impact of floods in Assam is far more adverse (as death toll figures indicate) than what Mumbai has experienced in one day. According to authorities, at least five people have died in Mumbai due to heavy rains and subsequent flooding in the city. Here we are not trying to compare the tragedies of Mumbai and Assam. Even if one life is lost it is really sad, but what is more distressing is the fact that even similar nature of miseries fail to evoke similar reactions.
Probably, even floods, generally a great leveller, can’t bridge the geographical and mental barriers faced by remote corners of the country like Assam.