Why Class Matters

Dec 2012

Pages: 1 2 | اردو

In the Indus basin, vast stretches of river are hemmed in between tall levees especially close to major irrigation infrastructure. More than 90% of the flooding in the basin is caused by the deliberate breaching of these levees, which takes place every time the flood discharge exceeds the volume of flows that the diversion structures were originally designed to handle. The inundation zones allocated for diverting excess water are well known to both the water managers and the residents in these zones. Most residents of the zones also happen to be small farmers, who were allotted land in these less desirable locations in colonial and post-colonial times, and have little choice but to live where their lands and meager livelihoods are.

Death by drowning is a relatively rare occurrence during floods. The biggest damage is to property and health from water borne diseases that follow the onset of the flood from stagnant water that does not drain back into the main channel. For the rural poor loss of working days from illness is one of the major hazards that they face. This is just as true of the urban poor who tend to congregate on the cheap land offered to them by land mafia along urban streams like Lai in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Malir River in Karachi or Ravi in Lahore. Furthermore, the loss of the only capital asset—farm animals that the rural poor have–becomes a source of pushing them further into despair.

The more affluent, because of their savings and assets can recover from the shocks inflicted by floods—the poor cannot. The geography of poverty, powerlessness and vulnerability to floods casts a diabolical shadow over the lives and livelihoods of the poor. Floods are not blind. History and society have conspired to become eyes of the flood, directing it towards those who can least afford to suffer its attentions.

Daanish Mustafa is a Reader in Politics and Environment at the Department of Geography, King’s College, London. He spends his time contesting the despostism of the reader over the message of the Author.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Tags: , , , ,

3 Responses to Why Class Matters

  1. Usman Qazi on Dec 2012 at 2:10 AM

    نفس مضمون اور ترجمے، دونوں کا معیار اعلی ہے. دانش مصطفی سے زیادہ داد کے مستحق سجاد چنگیزی ہیں جنہوں نے اصل مضمون کی روح کو ترجمے میں بھی برقرار رکھا.

    • Sajjad on Dec 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Thanks for such admiration. I liked the Mohtaram Danish sahb’s piece myself…

  2. Ali Raza on Dec 2012 at 12:37 PM

    بہت اعلی

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *