Floods Tighten Grip On Indian North East, Toll Rises To 255

NEW DELHI, India, Aug. 21, Reuter: Incessant rains and floods wrought Havoc in Eastern India, continuing a downpour that has claimed 255 lives in the last three weeks, the Press Trust of India (PTI) said today.

The worst affected states were Assam, Bihar and West Bengal where more than 20 million people have been affected, many of them marooned and living on high roads and embankments, PTI said.

The water is receding in some places but in parts of West Bengal continuous rain was flooding fresh areas, state officials said.

With rail, and road communications cut off in the northeastern states, the Indian army and air force were dropping food to those marooned from helicopters.

According to a statement in Parliament yesterday by water resources Minister B. Shankaranand, floods have spread over four million hectares (10 million acres) of land.

In West Bengal alone, crop losses are estimated at 250 million dollars, and State officials in Assam put total damage at twice that amount. Bhai Vir Singh, the great Sikh Saint scholar traced the causes of the failure of Sikhs in the earlier century. On April 4, 1905, he wrote:

“Kindly do not love the messengers of disunity. Cast a glance at your history. You were invariably ditched by disunity. At one stage, you had captured the Delhi throne and the Mughals had ceremoniously accepted Sardar Jassa Singh as the Emperor. Who could remove you from that throne at that time? Neither any Nawab nor Sumroad Begum nor Marhattas, nor pathans nor even Rajputs could do so but your own disunity, your own discord, your love of personal ambition in preference to the community’s interests, your desire of ‘I should be in power’ was your weakness.

“At that stage your disunity not only deprived you of the throne, but in a foreign land you were dragged to the path of destruction in the enemy camp. If Sardar Baghel Singh had not used his wisdom to meet the situation, the Malwa and Majhail Sikhs would not have returmed home alive.

The Sikh confederacies were destroyed by disunity and mutual strife. The powerful rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a smashed to smithers by your disunity. Even now you have not discarded disunity. Kindly see that you do not become a prey to the manouvers of this sinner (disunity). Have you never witnessed playing cricket? There is one player at the wicket besieged by 11 others. He saves himself with one bat. You are also surrounded by your killers. The bat of love of community can save you. If you drop this, how will you save yourselves”.

Let the several factions in the community — the Panthic Committee, the United Akali Dal, A.I.S.S.F. (Manjit Singh) and Guyjit Singh, the Damdami Taksal, the S.G.P.C., the Akal Takht and other Jathedars and other Panthic organizations see the writing on the wall and learn a lesson from past history.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 28, 1987