Flood-hit villagers struggle in Rajasthan
Flash floods in Rajasthan's dry Barmer district through the past week have claimed more than a hundred lives.india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 18:15 IST
Maulavi Shakut, who lost most of his family to the raging floodwaters, tries to reconcile to their deaths as God's will, and clings to his one source of relief that he helped nearly 70 marooned children to safety.
Unprecedented rains and flash floods in Rajasthan's dry Barmer district through the past week have claimed more than a hundred lives so far and Shakut's native village of Malwa, 65 kms from Barmer town, is under 30 feet of water.
The 1,200-odd residents of the predominantly Muslim hamlet are sheltered in rescue tents nearby, from where Shakut told that on the night of August 21 he had 70 children from the local madarsa (religious school) sent to safer places before floodwaters swallowed the building.
But he could not save his family—mother, wife, a son and a daughter—who died along with 39 others of the village. "Khuda ki jo marzi thi ho gaya. (What happened was what God willed)," he said.
While Shakut was deeply critical of a 'late-moving' administration, he lauded nearby hamlets, most of them Hindu-dominated, for responding with immediate assistance.
"Be it feeding us or providing shelter, they cooperated with open hearts. The way the villagers of the nearby areas such as Phogera and Chahranon Ki Dhani helped us has clearly given a message to politicians and others that no one can divide Hindus and Muslims," said Shakut.