The other tale of the Marangching disaster The hero in each man
It is probably the biggest natural disaster that Manipur has ever seen and the horror of it all must have sunk in on everyone’s consciousness. So far, that is till July 4, 47 lifeless bodies have been recovered while 15 are still missing. Imagine the horror of it all. Sleeping peacefully only to be woken up by the earth shaking, accompanied by the noise of the earth crumbling down and taking everything along with it. Struggling against the earth rolling down with such ferocity and sweeping everyone along only to be taken down to the river. Not an attempt to relive the horror of the day, but to acknowledge that the end did not come kindly to at least 47 of the more than 80 people who were sleeping that night at the Territorial Army camp at Marangching in Noney district. Even as this commentary is being written down, search operation is still underway and the intent of Water Resource and Disaster Management Minister Awangbow Newmai is clear from his firm stand that the search will continue till all the missing bodies are found and accounted for. The Sangai Express has already acknowledged the immense assistance extended by the local people in the search operation and how different political leaders standing on opposite poles such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi came together to extend solidarity to the bereaved families and the dead as well as the rescued personnel. This is what should give faith to everyone in the innate goodness of mankind and if at all there is a lesson to be learnt from the Marangching disaster, then this is it. The body count will continue to mount and along with it will come stories of heroism, such as the one narrated by a survivor on how his friend saved him but in the process lost his life. There must be many other untold stories so far, but enough to bring a lump to anyone going through such stories and here is a tale of heroism, sacrifice and disaster and cruel deaths all rolled into one. Years later when the Marangching disaster is recalled let it be primarily one of heroism, the quiet but extremely meaningful gesture of giving life to others while not giving a thought to what happens to oneself. This is how the story should be remembered and hopefully such stories will strengthen the goodness of mankind and how in the ultimate analysis life is not only about living for oneself but for others too.
Let this be lesson number 1 from one of the survivors, Romen Phukan who was ‘pushed back to life’ by his friend who unfortunately was taken away by the sweeping debris during the catastrophic landslide. There must be other Romen Phukans too each having their own story that can be told to the world. Ironic it is that it took a life shattering landslide for the heroes in each human being to come to the fore and this is something which has been beautifully underlined by the villagers of the nearby areas who rushed in to save lives and retrieve the lifeless bodies so that at least the dead are given the final adieu in a fitting manner. The efforts of the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, the district administration, the Army personnel, Assam Rifles men, CRPF personnel too should be acknowledged. Dead but the efforts to at least give a fitting farewell to the departed souls should not be overlooked. This is all about how mankind should respect the mortal remains of anyone and everyone. The heroes in each one of the departed souls should be acknowledged and when one looks back at the Marangching disaster let it be one of the tale of heroism, a tale of the heroes in each man emerging to ensure that the next person lives.