Thursday, May 31, 2012
Earthy Rumours Quake Assam!
Countrywide Bandh today with one more Assam Bandh within the larger Bandh for the cause of protesting petrol price hike. But yesterday in Assam was no less than a Bandh thanks to strong widespread rumours of an impending earthquake! The magnitude and time of disaster very well rumour-graphed too!
Who started the rumour was an important question, but more important how it was propagated across the state. An earthquake of 5.6 magnitude hit Assam on May 11,2012 and Assam being a quake-prone zone maybe some 'concerned' astrology-oriented soul decided to warn his people (customers?) in advance. He was so philanthropically magnanimous that he gave all technical info--the earthquake would be of 9.2 magnitude in Richter scale and it would hit Assam between 4 to 6pm on May 30! Doomsday just stalked Assam yesterday!
The prominent news channels, most of which were run by 'responsible' state ministers, sensationalised the d-day story and terrorized the hapless citizens most of whom never ventured out preferring to stay indoors with doors open. The intelligent or philosophically-inclined ones derived maximum amusement out of endless discussions and deliberations. Someone was seen checking his mobile phone bills frantically, and, one practical soul brimming wisdom advised him not to bother as no service providers would ever exist to bother him if 'it' happened!
Natural disasters never arrive giving prior intimation to their prospective victims and that is why disaster preparedness or disaster management happens to be such a priority for all modern governments. And, all ought to know that earthquake prediction is still in an uncertain stage. Therefore, predicting 9.2 and all that cannot even match the grading system adopted by some secondary school education Boards in India, because a student getting 9.2 would still fall in a range of actual but invisible marks!
Considering the fact that even parts of the 'responsible' sectors decide to do business out of possible natural disasters rumour-management seems to be the top priority at the moment.
Meanwhile a spell of heat most humid continues to oppress people here. You may not take a temperature of around 36 degree celsius seriously as in some other parts of India it reaches 48, but when you combine 36 with 95% humidity, an absolutely still air with not a leaf moving and a constant non-raining cloud cover you do feel the oppression. Besides, frequent power cuts make you feel like being roasted alive irrespective of whether you are inside your home or outside.
In fact, the dull and seething weather contributed towards making the rumours seem realistic, because major earthquakes here are associated with such weather conditions.
Love Nature and say no to rumours.
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