Natural calamities are the calamities which are inflicted by God, or Nature, on man and his world. At these calamities, the unseen hand wreaks havoc in the part of the world it chooses to act upon. On these natural activities of nature no scientific or technological developments can wield any control. They can occur as and when and where nature ordains it.
Natural calamities can be of many different kinds, but the similarity in all, is their massive destruction in the area of their occurrence. The natural disasters are of many kinds, they are drought and famine, flood, earthquake, hailstorm and a cyclone. In the wake of all these, in one sweep there is complete devastation and destruction, due to which normal life comes to a standstill. Loss of life is well nigh complete, and belongings of people get lost, blown away or swept away. The scene is one of awe, of some unknown power that appears to wreak some revenge on the people of the area. One feels that, there will never again be life in the area, there will never again come up any construction in the area. But, nature plays its part in this also,and even after the most ghastly disasters, life has come up blooming as ever as before in areas of such devastation.
A very touching scene is of a drought effected area. In any country that depends on the annual rainfall for its source of water, if there is no rain, for the water supply, the obvious famine comes in its wake. This condition of getting no rain is called drought, and with it, as its automatic corollary comes famine. For with the scarcity of water there is no vegetation and food scarcity follows. The crops get burnt up with heat, the earth gets parched for water, and all life seems to be cracking in the heat.
Just the opposite condition occurs when there is a flood. A flood is another from of a natural calamity. On the one hand, we find men dying due to want of water while on the other, in flood we see them marooned by huge expanses of water. High rise buildings start as if floating in water, men, livestock, and materials get an opportunity of floating, swimming and even drowing. If this flood is accompanied with a storm then there is no panacea for the sufferers. With the impact of the strong breeze, trees get uprooted and there appears no hope for the survival of life.
Regarding an earthquake, Oh God, the earth cracks and creeps with the huge solid face of the earth moving light as light as a cradle, moving in a loving soft breeze. However, this cradle of love is no less than a destruction of the highest magnitude, and causes massive destruction as of the other calamities. The earth appears to be crying under the weight of civilization and breaking and cracking in places with an unwarranted speed. The result of this swing like action of the earth is, the occurrence of cracks big and small in different places and, the falling of huge high rise buildings, felling of trees and complete annihilation of life and materials.
A hailstorm and a cyclone also result in absolute disaster and breakdown of lige. The latest of such tragedies has been a cyclone in the Gujarat state of India. Trees have been blown off their very roots, and houses and huge buildings have been as if dug out of their very foundation, and all life has been destroyed or dislocated.
As far as India is concerned, I feel that, nature has been very kind on the one hand and very cruel yes very cruel on the other. I say this because, not one year goes when there has been no natural disaster. However, when such calamities do occur in India, the entire Indian machinery, Governmental or non-government does fear up to provide succour to the disturbed area. The Government sanctions crores of rupees for the rehabilitation of the people in the area, food and medicines are air dropped and the entire country feels and acts together. However, it is a matter of thought that, even after 50 years of self rule, the Government has not been able to take any concrete steps to avert such natural disasters. For example in Assam every year there is a flood in the River Brahmaputra and then the machinery is geared up to take the people out of the trouble, but, no success has been achieved in averting the disaster.
It is to be thought of why we have not been able to avert the calamities which are annual. For if know of a calamity that is to come, we should be able to save ourselves from it. At this juncture, let us analyse why and how these calamities have remained unchecked even when we are so deep into civilization and development. The obvious reasons to my mind are two – one that, we are not able to, and second, we are not sufficiently interested in removing the hazard. I feel the Indian scenario is a combination of the two causes. We are not able to check them and also we are not as serious as we should be in trying to prevent these tragedies. For example in Assam, as just mentioned, every year without fail, there are floods. Though there has been instituted a Brahhmaputra Board that has done some work to clean the river, and increase the stretch of the river bed, the floods come non-stop. This proves another point that, man has no power over the will of nature. Though to-day man thinks that he can do everything and nature is now irrelevant, yet, all his efforts to counter the pangs of nature fall flat and fail. The repeated disasters that befall on earth are a continuous reminder to man that there is always a hand that can undo all that man does. For if this was not true, man would be ruling like a monarch on earth without a fear but, as we all know, this is not so. Nature plays its game off and on and gives pin pricks to this self styled monarch to remind him of his drawbacks and disabilities, and keep him in a balanced state of mind.