Dear Editor,
Last year it was floods in Uttarakhand. This year, it is Kashmir. It goes without saying that these two catastrophic incidents have left a number of families despondent about their future and livelihoods. At the risk of sounding selfish or even arrogant, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that floods in AssamĀ  have become a perennial occurrence since Independence. Reams of newsprint have been used to highlight the pitiful condition of the helpless Assamese living in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra and the Barak. Every time the waters recede, countless promises have been made by politicians to address the situation. Alas, neither is Assam strategically located for political mileage to be gained, nor is the average Assamese bellicose enough to force a regime change for want of a fulfilment of promises. The result is that Assam incurs an average loss of Rs.200 crore annually (Economic Survey of Assam, 2013-14). While any natural disaster anywhere is a loss for the entire nation, it is worth wondering why certain regions and events get more prominently highlighted than certain others. Is the nation’s collective conscience activated only when the magnitude of devastation is the result of a one-off incident and even glamorised by terms like “climate change”?
Bahniman Rynjah
New Delhi