Documenting Floods

Kashmir: Into the Murky Waters captures the tragedy that befell us all

A few days back I had an opportunity to watch a documentary on September 2014 floods in Kashmir. It was shown in the office chambers of Associated Media (AM) at Residency Road, Srinagar.

The documentary was titled, “Kashmir: Into the Murky Waters.” It is the result of the combined efforts of Tarique Bhat, Wajahat Kathwari, and others associated with AM.

It must have been a perilous job for all of them to capture angry tides of the flood waters, which are shown to destroy whatever was coming in their way. True, the furious tides left behind a trail of death and destruction. The devastating scenes send shivers down the spine.

While watching the documentary my eyes became wet to see the helplessness of those who were caught in the deluge. It was really a situation of helplessness. My head bowed in shame to see how we have made encroachments on wetlands, raised unauthorized colonies, and vandalized nature.

The documentary reveals how the concerned authorities had not taken proper preventive steps during pre-flood period and how the government machinery was conspicuous by its absence for five long days.  It becomes evident as to how the decisions taken to prevent damage were delayed and whatever little was done lacked sense and wisdom. All these factors got added and conspired to turn a natural phenomenon into a catastrophe.

The documentary makes it clear that this great tragedy is a story of human failure. If people do not understand their follies and realize their responsibilities, and if the government does not wake up and embark on preventive strategies, the floods may hit us again. That will be a much harsher tragedy.

The documentary should be made available to general public. It should also be watched by our planners, engineers, politicians, people affiliated with LAWDA, municipal corporations, and other agencies. It really calls for an introspection by one and all.

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