Remembering Nallah Vaishow
Mohammad Hussain Khan
You were the best gift provided by nature. All the animals and birds were concerned about your survival as their survival was dependent on you. People were bathing and washing clothes with your water. Little children were playing on the sand along your banks. Women were beating the Namdas and carpets against stone slabs on your banks particularly ahead of festivals.
Children were spreading the clothes for drying along your banks. Fishermen were busy in catching the fish and throwing net in the middle of you and waiting for the catch. After a hectic day of work, nothing was more refreshing than a quiet walk along your banks. Every sight and sound was inspiring the spirit. What a delightful time we had along your banks. We were enjoying gushing water flowing in you, playing of fish here and there and singing of beautiful songs by the birds chirping on the trees resting along your banks. The music of your water currents is still echoing my ears.
The scene of raring sheep and cattle by shepherds, Bakarwals and Gujjars on your banks is still circulating in my mind. What a relief it was to escape from the noise and bustle. You had run through our history and link us as a people.
The stones and gravels, sand and pebbles found at your bed are still being used as construction material. It is astounding how you blessed us by providing numerous aspects to survival. The green fields located on your wide banks had remained picnic spots for school children.
The cricket ground of “Dabloo” reminds me the free and innocent childhood. The school children riding on the back of horses along your banks were looking gentle and beautiful in all seasons of the year.
Oh! Vaishow you had risen above the average in year 2014. People had become homeless and helpless. Crops were submerged and destroyed. You appeared furious and frightening. You were full to the brim.
Torrential rains swelled you. You engulfed large areas of human habitation and several hectares of standing crops. The low lying areas on your banks turned into large lakes. Lots of trees, cattle and timber from collapsed houses were seen floating through your forceful water currents.
Thousands of people were marooned and they had to take shelter on tree tops without food. Helicopters and speed boats were used to rescue the people and to distribute food, medicine and clothes. Many welfare organizations also had come forwards to help the victims of the flood. Could we put the blame to you?
I think “No”. We destroyed the quality of nature and as a result your harm is the action by nature. There were wide spread encroachments as complained by you and your existing width was not maintained. Obstruction had been created to the natural flow of your water. As a result the flow had got deflected creating havoc to the entire human life.
Oh! Vasihow, nobody has the right to interfere with your free flow by carrying constructions by encroaching your natural beds particularly when you lie dry for several months. We have tinkered with you and you plunged into anguish. When we had hurt you we should not feel ashamed to apologize. To break this anger let us make you to flow th way you need to.
(The author is a regular contributor to Kashmir Vision. He can be reached at Khanhussain.email@example.com)