Nature Versus Human

Prem Khatry

There is a wise saying: Misfortune never comes alone, nor it comes with a music band entertaining not just the organiser and neighbours on the street. It can land on your yard anytime from anywhere. This is the essence of the saying.
When it comes to human-nature relation, human has never been so aggressive, inconsiderate, unkind and selfish in history as he now is. He is now reaping what he has sown for a long time in terms of his imbalanced and estranged relation with Mother Nature. Writer Yuval Noah Harari in his book ‘Sapiens’ (Vintage Books, 2011) argues that but for man’s ever-insatiated thirst for ‘more’ and ‘still more’ , the earth with its all the resources on ground is capable to feed many more mouths than there are now. Indiscreet looting of nature is thus the cause of current environmental crisis man faces squarely and suffers beyond imagination. Now is the time to imagine that disasters arise from man’s sheer ignorance and negligence.
Within less than 33 per cent of the year’s monsoon time on the ground, the damage was catastrophetic to say the least. And there is 66 per cent more to see before it is officially shut – First, in the Bay of Bengal, second, Assam, the northeast India and east Nepal, third, mid Nepal and fourth, the rest of Nepal. By mid-September the sky, the wind and the milch dark cloud will take full and complete rest until they unite for purpose in the next season.
Whether in the time of crisis or in normalcy, reliable reporting always counts. Nepali media are now coming in the front in this sector. One popular FM is an example here. The source for this information is the hard work of the few Image FM correspondents from different parts of the country. Suraj Bir Bajracharya, who solely organises the 20 minute programme ‘Reporters’ Diary’ based on the reports of his colleagues, the correspondents, to make the programme interesting for his listeners.
This week, flood and damage remained the main issue. From Udaypur Image FM correspondent posted about the development in the Udaypapur District. Katwal describes the very pathetic situation where rivers around Chure and other regions have swelled more than ‘full’ capacity over the last few days. The damage on the land, forest and the field is serious. The flood has covered the rice seedlings. A huge farmland ready for it new face with green rice plants is now looking gray all over. What will happen to the farmers this year is a matter of shocking guess.
From Rauthat in east Terai, Prakash Mainali reports that the monsoon disaster comes down from the Chure area. It has been sad news for the resident of Terai to see Chure exploited much beyond its capacity causing the rain water to slip away as soon as it pours down. There have been some efforts to plant trees and the security forces stationed in the area are taking initiative in this region for the last few years. But the programme has not been able to cope with the need to cover Chure with greenery.
The man-nature balance has been upset over the decades. When man moves far away leaving the balance and harmony far back, a wrathful nature displays its might in its most ferocious form. This year the wrath was way much than expected. Eastern hills also suffered from rain causing the Koshi Dam to climb up in its measuring level. In such a situation, most of the gates are shut on the instruction from the Indian side. This happens also on other bridges near the border. The dams raised on the southern border have flooded many districts like Rauthat, Dhanusha, Siraha and Saptari.
Deepak Thapa reports that the monsoon this season was not less considerate in the western part of the country where monsoon is supposed to have less impact compared to the East. The two districts of Rukum have seen worse damage from early on. The roads have been damaged. Transportation system has sustained worst damage causing the system to come to a halt.
Due to the poor state of roads communication has been difficult. The correspondents, about 12 or so in number feel the responsibility to inform the public about development in the region. Monsoon related news also becomes their priority but travel has been difficult. Crossing the rivers has been risky but urgent news may come from the other side involving risky crossing at places where there are no bridges. The news may bring couple hundred rupees, explains Thapa, and the cost or reaching the destination may be several times higher but it is the duty of the correspondent to reach the spot to collect the news at any cost.
The essence of the correspondents’ report is that life is hard for them, if they are stationed in remote areas like Rukum, Bajhang or further up in Karnali or Mahakalai regions. They work without proper gadgets and in high vulnerable conditions. Thus the work they perform is worth a gun salute. Whether it is undescribable corruption or lack of basic needs in the remote village, or cases of sexual molestation and harassment, the correspondent is there to prepare a field report for the consumption of a wide range of clients, the viewers and listeners. Image FM is working day and night for the service of the people.
On July 21 and 22 Image FM’s Bajracharya also reported two important developments currently taking place in the Kathmandu Metropolitan city this fiscal year: Check the status of intangible cultural heritage along the recently started Hanumandhoka-Swayambhu pedestrians’ path and make programme to preserve the heritage along this path. Next, KM administration is also due to bring programmes to preserve Newari language of the city. These are highly appreciative programmes.
Finally, it is now time the government recognises the valuable service of the correspondents working in harsh conditions. Their service is invaluable but their safety and necessary facilities should be the main concern of TV and FM channels and stations countrywide. Pradesh and local bulletins become very important for those who spend more time in the capital. This scribe is one such a valley-bound fellow among many who appreciate as well as enjoy studying reports arriving from the countryside.
(Former Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, TU and Fulbright scholar from University of California, Khatry writes on cultural issues)

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