TODAY -

When the ground beneath slipped, death comes uninvited

Dr Ksh Imokanta Singh *

Manipur Disaster :  An earthquake with magnitude 6.8 (with epicenter at Noney, Tamenglong District) occurred near Imphal, Manipur, India, at 04:35 AM  in local Time on January 4 2016
Earthquake with magnitude 6.8 occurred near Imphal, Manipur, India, at 04:35 AM on January 4 2016 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Often death, like earthquake, comes without invitation from the host. The host becomes hostage in the hands of death. When the ground beneath, which we humans call ours, for which we fight against each other, which is the repository of our culture and tradition, polity and economy and above all our lives and living, jilts us without any parting letter, what we humans can say and do but to bear the wrath of the split and in the extreme case sacrifice our lives for the sake of the tormented love.

The quake becomes a game changer. It snatches lives from the dear and near ones, flattens the palaces, makes straight curved, makes riches paupers materially, resurrects the paupers, changes the courses of rivers, redraws the geographical boundaries, makes ours theirs and theirs ours, brings down temples, churches, mosques to dust but it cannot stamp the human spirit to fight back, to crawl back and stand on the very ground which jilted us, to keep on worshiping the same 'smeared' gods and goddesses and above all to live and celebrate the life itself with all its triumphs and frivolities. Life becomes earthquake with all its unpredictability.

When the building started shaking so violently, the predawn sweet sleep was disrupted brutally. Never before, shaking of such a high intensity was felt in my life that no hope was visible, the mind became numb and the body became stagnant as if possessed by some evil spirit. (Some brave-hearts even tried their best to run down stairs and be out of the multi-storeyed buildings) .

Death became imminent not just for me but for the whole family. Those few seconds awoke the sleeping desire to live and protect the whole of my family in the midst of dire circumstances. The idea of death makes me love my family, all of the human beings and other creatures more and more. Death becomes a great spiritual teacher, at least for me.

Thankfully we were spared to be able to tell that experience to others who might have felt the same during those seconds. It has occupied a large page in the personal history that it will be told and retold so that the experience is revived time and again to caution the present. Alas! It is not the same for some whose lives were ended suddenly.

This is the only time, truly and sincerely speaking, when I feel that those who died could have been me and my family. The struggle and desire to survive by those gone and the way they died so helplessly in the rubbles are etched in my imagination and might come again and again as day and nightmare whenever I face such similar situation.

The following few days and nights were spent with fear of a looming aftershocks. Nights were spent half sleeping and half waking. It was like sleeping with an enemy. Some even thought that another big one would strike at night, assuming that it does so only at night. But the monotony of thought and human habit of complacency and forgetfulness overcame the fear and today there is very little consciousness that quake will strike again.

It looks like normalcy has dawned on those who did not face much hardship. Today they might be having a lighter time narrating those moments to each other as if they had a well-tuned shaking, but those few seconds were not lighter time by any measure.

It is a difficult time for some, let me not say many, whose dear and near ones have died, whose houses and walls have been brought down and who have to bear the brutal cold of the night in the open space. Earthquake, per say, does not kill but crumbling buildings do. It is not just the buildings which were built by government agencies but the private ones too which cracked or were grounded.

Quake is an enforcer of egalitarianism. It does not discriminate between the government and private properties and rich and poor. But quake serves as a laboratory for testing if a building was built with all its required criteria or not. This throws up the hidden and is a warning to the builders that they cannot dupe the owners and the masses in this land of earthquakes.

They cannot just run away saying that even earthquake laden Japan suffers thousands of casualties in the event of quakes of higher magnitude even if that country is so advanced technologically. But the fact is all boastful humans have not been able to outwit the nature, if not why should many perish even in this 21st century of ultimate technological advancement.

Or is it that scientists deliberately do not want to conquer the nature for it serves as controller of surging human population when it opens its jaws to devour the less prepared and unfit. Is it some kind of Darwinian thesis of survival of the fittest and most careful?

This brings me to a philosophical understanding of the death, which may sound little digressing. It may not be a great deal when the death finally arrives, what is really worth cherishing is the struggle to survive, the utmost care given to the dying and the endeavour to save lives. In normal circumstances, people feel helpless when the death comes, despite the efforts to save.

That is the dead end of a journey which any living being cannot deter. It is little puzzling why people, often, are in hurry to cremate or burry the body the moment he/she dies. May be the body becomes just a thing without 'soul', an extremely bio-degradable thing which cannot connect to the living people, emotionally and intellectually anymore. However, memories (durability depends on the kind of acts he/she did) of what he/she did remain amongst the living.

It has always been a desire for me to see what people do to my body after I die, like how my body is treated, who cries the most, how many people attend my funeral, who praise me, who curse me saying it is good that I died, how my body is cremated etc. This will remain as just a desire which cannot be fulfilled at any cost since I am not somebody who can defy death and wake up on some Good Monday or Friday to know the unknowable from those who saw my body.

Such desire might have been the one for those who died in the quake. But the surviving people know of what they are doing to those who are suffering the comforts extended by relatives, the relief efforts being delivered by the government, non-governmental organisations and people whom the survivors never had met at all but are connected by the eternal string of humanity, defying the narrow boundaries of race, ethnicity and community.

A civilisation may perish with an earthquake. Or a civilisation may need an earthquake to introspect and re-unite, brushing aside all the ill feelings existing on the lines of groups and the sordid politics of 'I, me and myself'. Let humanity prevail all over in this testing time. Let short term memory not rule and ruin us. Who knows another bigger one might strike sometime here.


* Dr Ksh Imokanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on January 10 , 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Id Festival- 'Id-Ul-Azha' :: Book
  • World Day to Combat Desertification 2024
  • NDPP did not lose LS due to local problem
  • RSS chief says, priority Manipur
  • What if not IIT ?
  • Waiting for a response from the PM
  • The test of leadership failed
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #35: Download
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Triathlon : Manipur bag 6 medals (3 gold)
  • Illegal immigrants/fugitives from Myanmar
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • A solution to Meitei-Kuki-Zo conflict
  • The Power of Poppy - 35 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: R K Brojen Singh
  • Brief sketch on General Balaram Sougaijamba
  • Non-violent for peaceful, mutual co-existence
  • Homeless person ..alcoholism & defeated TB
  • Cancer on rise among young adults
  • Defending, fighting for Idea of Manipur
  • From partiality to complicity
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • 'Modi must announce finality of Naga pacts'
  • Gliding over Brahmaputra
  • Question leaks cause stress among student
  • Home remedies for prickly heat
  • After IIT, AIIMS it is now IIM
  • Stealing spotlight from Manipur crisis
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • Strongly condemns violence in Jiribam
  • Lessons from outcome of LS election
  • Tumcho releases "Goodness of God"
  • Right diagnostic for antimicrobial resistance
  • 12th June is World Day against Child Labour
  • Hands of geo-politics ?
  • The row over NEET-2014
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD