Intro: The writer Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘Nishank’ has given the first hand account of the tragedy and has interpreted different angles of the calamity through moving stories.
Kedarnath Apada Ki Sachchi Kahaniyan (Hindi), Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘Nishank’, Prabhat Prakashan, New Delhi, Pp 144,Rs 200.00 (HB)
The natural calamity in Jammu & Kashmir refreshed the wounds of Kedarnath catastrophe. However, one year is over since the tragedy struck the Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, for many the life is still to turn normal. For those who lost their near and dear ones in the calamity, the wounds are still to heal. Whenever they remember the close ones who did not return so far they become restless. Some families lost the sole earning members, while many children became orphan. There are some unfortunate families, which lost all members. Not only for those who suffered loss in the catastrophe, but also for those who joined the biggest ever relief operation including the members of voluntary organisations or army persons, the upheaval is difficult to erase from the memory.
Not only Kedarnath Valley, but in Badrinath, Gangotri, Hemkund Saheb also the loss of lives and property was huge. It was for the first time in the history of Chhar Dham Yatra that the routes of all the four Dhams suffered huge damage simultaneously and the Yatra remained closed for months.
Undoubtedly, much has been written on the tragedy with different aspects. But noted literary person and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal’ Nishank’ has came with an interesting book, Kedarnath Apada Ki Sachchi Kahaniyan, in which he interprets different angles of the tragedy through moving stories. The 144 pages hard bound book is in Hindi and has been published by Prabhat Prakashan, New Delhi.
The tragedy presented various aspects of the humanity. Some are black while some are white. Dr Nishank has successfully tried to compile some of the tales of the tragedy through interesting stories. Dr Nishank was among those first who reached Kedarnath after the tragedy and was deeply involved in the relief operation. He met a large number of people , right from pilgrims to the local people and from ponywalas to the shopkeepers and collected their tales. He has converted 21 of those tales into moving stories in this book.
The first story is about a ponywala, Dayal, who when leaves the family to join the pilgrimage, promises his daughter, Renu, to bring new bag and books for her. But he lost his life in the tragedy. He was sole earning member in the family. This loss disturbed the family deeply and it is yet to recover. There are many such ponywalas who lost their lives or the lives of their horses and are finding it difficult to start the life afresh.
The second story is about a Gujarati couple, which despite having a huge of money at that time, found no way to return safely from the hill which they unknowingly climbed after the tragedy. The male member of the family was a heart patient. A kandiwala, Lakhan, who takes pilgrims to and fro on his back , meets them at the same hill. Following request from the woman, he carries the male member on his kandi. While on the way he develops various negative thoughts in his heart, even to the extent to kill of them and run away with the money they had. He was almost ready to push the family from a height, but was suddenly reminded of Lord Kedarnath and realised that no matter nobody would see him committing the crime, Lord Kedarnath would definitely see. In this thought process his heart changes and he helps the family without taking even a single penny.
The third story is about a labourer, Ramdeen, who used to work with a person even before the beginning of the Yatra. In order to save money for his family he did not took even a single rupee from the owner and continued to work for months. He had planned to take the entire money together after the Yatra is over. But in the tragedy the owner died and Ramdeen lost his entire amount.
The book has total 21 similar heart touching stories and each story has a message. A must reading for everyone.