Saturday, December 24, 2005

Good Samaritans: Tsunami bridges caste divide - NDTV

Good Samaritans: Tsunami bridges caste divide

MGR Thittu was a beautiful little island on the Bay of Bengal till it was devastated by the tsunami.

Sixty-four people were killed and the island was reduced to rubble.

In the caste ridden district of Tamil Nadu where there are deep divides and recurring tension between communities, it was the poor dalit farmers in the neighbouring village who came to the rescue of the more prosperous fishing community.

They provided them with food, shelter and clothing and helped them begin a new life in temporary government shelters.

Time to reciprocate

The recent floods in Cuddalore provided tsunami survivors an opportunity to reciprocate.

When the villagers who helped them during the tsunami were marooned in the floodwaters, the fishing community swung into action.

They rescued over a thousand villagers with the help of boats and provided them with all the essential supplies till the waters receded.

"Even though people look at the caste first, they forgot all the differences and saved us and looked after us in a humane way," said a tsunami survivor.

Joy of giving

The district administration will soon convert this island in ruins into a tsunami museum and these remains will certainly tell a new story of the new bridges of friendship.

The tsunami rendered thousands of people homeless. While many of their basic requirements have not been met even after one year, it has had a different impact on the people who lived in picture perfect post card setting.

They have become more generous and have discovered the joy of giving, even while they themselves are at the receiving end.

No comments: