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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Amit Verma

I have mentioned Amit Verma's blogs a couple of times in the past. In addition to the 23 yards column on Cricinfo, he also has two blogs - India Uncut and The Middle Stage. He writes very well and has an extremely sharp mind. All of his blogs are well worth reading (and they are all in my bloglines subscription).

The current series in his India Uncut blog follows his journeys through Tamil Nadu as he visits the areas hit by the tsunami. I had put a post from this blog a few days ago. I strongly recommend visiting his blog and reading the whole thing. Here are a couple of quotes from various posts
Why does it take the context of a natural disaster to evoke compassion?
Many of the relief organisations that drive down don’t bother to actually spend time in a village and assess its needs – they simply thrust things into the hands that reach out into their truck, and then they drive off.

The consequence of this is that the strongest people end up getting all the goodies, and this happens time and again, as truck after relief truck passes by. The regular winners of booty may even start hoarding the supplies they get their hands on.
I had written earlier about the government apathy at Nagapattinam, and about the diversion of government resources to look after VIPs, but the government is not so useless everywhere.
I hear at the AID India office that a number of people who support the organisation have protested their tie-up with the Democratic Youth Forum of India (DYFI) at a grassroots level. Yet others are complaining about the relief work that the RSS is doing in the villages. They are all afraid that these organisations – DYFI has a communist affiliation, and RSS, of course, propagates Hindutva – will make political capital out of their social work here.

Such criticism is unjustified. I am against both communists and religious fundamentalists, but not in this context. On the political and economic arena, I think the ideas of the extreme right and well as the extreme left are misguided and bad for the country. But on a social level, the work they do is exemplary, and at a level of commitment that few others can match.