The Tsunami of 2004 has caused extensive devastation to the Nicobar Islands.
For me, it was heartbreaking to see the devastation caused by Mother Nature to her own creation. But, perhaps, this is a part of the eternal cycle of existence. Destruction an inevitable component of sustenance.
The Islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago are arranged in a longitudinal North-South axis in a bow shaped manner. I realised that the degree of submersion was more as we went downwards to the southern group of islands.
Andaman Islands were affected less while damage whilst the damage to Nicobar islands had been more severe. In fact, northern Andaman islands have hardly undergone any submersion, only southern Andaman islands have undergone submersion to a certain extent at islands of Jolly Bouy and the Grub.
Nicobar Islands, on the other hand, have suffered extensive damage. Some of the inhabited islands have even become unsuitable for human habitation. Submersion of Car Nicobar Island is less, while, as we go further southwards submersion appears to be more marked.
Central Nicobar islands of Trinket and part of Katchal are no longer suitable for human habitation due to extensive encroachment of the sea. However it it is evident from my aerial photographs that the maximum submersion has taken place in the Great Nicobar Island which is the southernmost island of the territory of India.
The Nicobarese are yet to forget that terrible episode. People have lost their near and dear ones. Villages on the Nicobar Islands had to be relocated, away from the coast to higher grounds, during rehabilitation.
Man survives calamities; he adjusts himself to the catastrophic changes that nature inflicts on him. Death gives way, life triumphs.
Nature too has already started rebuilding herself. Green leaves have started regenerating on the coconut trees, barren fields have started becoming green with grass. The corals, however, will take longer to grow.
The human touch in the regeneration process is also palpable. replantation is in full swing along with the rehabilitation; coconut saplings have been planted all over.
I can see the golden hue in the eastern sky. The darkness after the devastation is unlikely to last for long.
I have seen the Nicobarese at the rehabilitation camps and the relocated villages gradually returning to their normal daily lives. They, once again, are enjoying their favourite sports and games, These are simple people, living in their picturesque and immensely interesting islands. I am sure they will again welcome adventurers with open hearts and innocent smiles.
The sun will rise once again and shine brilliantly on these fascinating emeral islands. Mermaids of legends will again visit these beaches to enjoy the serenity of virgin nature. Life will once again be virile and blossom in colours and forms.
To echo the poet’s words
Oh Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?