Parched TN prays for rain on 2015 floods anniversary — Kumar Chellappan

Monday, 05 December 2016 | Kumar Chellappan | CHENNAI

This time around last December, the whole of Chennai was praying to the Almighty to save the metropolis and surrounding districts from torrential rains and the devastating floods. The Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and the National Disaster Response Force were working overtime to save people marooned by floods.

Exactly one year later, the same Chennai and Tamil Nadu on Sunday sought divine intervention to save the State and its people from severe drought and bless them with copious rainfall. More than six farmers have died in the Cauvery Delta region in the last fortnight reportedly due to the shock from withering of the seasonal crops. “It is a season of severe drought in Tamil Nadu,” said RV Giri, president, Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association.

Hundreds of people cutting across caste, religion and social barriers came together at Chennai to participate in a special yagna for propitiating the weather Gods. The entire Mylapore reverberated with the chanting of Vishnu Sahasranamam, a list of 1,000 names of Lord Vishnu. The sloka is part of Anushasana Parva in Mahabharath, the great Indian epic, where Bhishma, the great warrior, advises Yudhishthira, the elder of the Pandava brothers, the responsibilities of a ruler. Mankind would be free of all sorrows if the thousand names of the Supreme Being were chanted, Bhishma tells Yudhishthira.

Anand Venkat, an activist of the RSS which organised Sunday’s Vishnu Sahasranamam recitation said the decision to have the programme was taken on the day Karnataka refused to release Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu. “This derailed the State’s Samba crop. The deficiency in rainfall has led to shortage of water and bad blood between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. We are confident that the chanting of Vishnu Sahasranamam would have a divine effect,” he said.

Dr Kalyanaraman, director, Saraswathi Research Centre, said the present drought in Chennai is yet another warning that the Centre and all States should strive hard for forming the National Water Grid. “Last year we were weeping over the fury of the floods. This year we have been left with no water as the Rain Gods looked the other way. But the north Indian States are suffering because of floods. This is a warning as well as a strange irony,” said Dr Kalyanaraman.

The severity of water crisis in Chennai could be understood from the fact that many Muslims and Christians took part in the Vishnu Sahasranama parayana (recitation). “This has nothing to do with religion or politics. We want to help the people of the country to live peacefully. They should get sufficient water for their needs,” said Vijayashree Ramesh, coordinator of Sunday’s event.

Though Tamil Nadu had been warned by the Indian Meteorological Department that Cyclone Nada was moving towards the State’s coast and there would be plentiful of rain. Recitation of Vishnu Sahasranamam, popularised by late MS Subbulakshmi, is a celebration of the bounties of nature given to us by the Supreme Force, according to Dr Kalyanaraman.–on-2015-floods-anniversary.html


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