Nature, like time, is a great leveller. For all the human conceit about their power over nature, disasters continue to occur and shake up the human world through their destructive power.
Disasters–man-made or natural–always tend to evoke multiple human responses. There is shock, a sense of awe, despair, incredulity and questions about why such disasters occur. For sheer power nature has no rival. Within a few minutes any one of nature’s elements can erase all trace of life, property and habitation in any place.
The Indian Ocean tsunami nine years ago and the one two years ago in Japan, frequent earthquakes in various parts of the world and the recent Uttarakhand disaster brought to fore the magnitude of the destructive power of nature.
Once rare, disasters occur more frequently now. When a disaster occurs, it creates quite a buzz in various quarters about the cause and management of disasters. Some God-fearing people have a simplistic and fatalist view about disasters.
Seeing the enormity of a disaster like the tsunami or the Uttarakhand floods, human beings call it an “act of God” – for what other agency could manifest such power at such a scale? When humans fail to comprehend the reasons for such suffering they tend to blame God. Or else they term it as fate or divine justice. Further, they believe that only God can prevent such calamities in future and that their prayers would help them appease God and save them from His wrath.
Blaming God for all disasters is, in a way, evasion of our responsibilities towards nature and humanity as a whole. Even when we do rationalise the causes in scientific terms we fail to comprehend such events holistically and formulate half-baked theories based on our skewed thinking.