Monday, 30th October 2017

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Flood cartoon helps raise Rs 50000 aid

It carries a tagline which reads, 'We need more dams to make Assam even more beautiful. Bolo Bolo Bharat Mata Ki Jai'

By Gaurav Das in Guwahati
  • Published 28.07.19, 12:15 AM
  • Updated 28.07.19, 12:15 AM
  • 2 mins read
The cartoon by Nituparna Rajbongshi

It took only a cartoon posted on Instagram to draw the attention of 14 foreign nationals from countries such as the US, Australia and Nicaragua to generate aid over Rs 50,000 to help victims reeling from floods and water overflow from reservoirs of surrounding dams.

The sketch by popular Assam cartoonist Nituparna Rajbongshi depicts the state as a huge cauldron in which a man, woman, and a child sit perched on their already submerged thatched house roof and a rhino floating nearby. A few hands are shown calling for help. Two dams (in the form of two pipes) namely Kurichhu in Bhutan and Ronganadi in Arunachal Pradesh, pour down water into the cauldron.

Caricatures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal appear to be inspecting the cauldron named Awesome Assam, the state’s tourism tag line. Another man can be seen kneeling at Modi’s feet.

“I live in Barpeta and I know the consequences the Kurichhu dam has over those living in the downstream area. Districts like Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Nalbari and Bongaigaon are all affected when water is released from this dam. Ronganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh has disastrous consequences when it releases water downstream. Our state and central government should realise this and stop constructing more dams” Rajbongshi said.

The cartoon carries a tagline which reads, “We need more dams to make Assam even more beautiful. Bolo Bolo Bharat Mata Ki Jai.”

A few days ago the cartoon caught the attention of Swalehul Islam, a local adventure tour guide working for a city-based travel agency. Islam had guided the 14 foreign nationals during their visit to Assam in March 2018. Islam shared the cartoon on his Instagram page four days ago, seeing which the foreign nationals enquired about the consequences of dams releasing water downstream. Islam said the donation drive from the foreigners was on even before but once the cartoon was posted it got a boost and more aid came pouring in. He said besides the 14-member group there are other individuals from the US who are keen on sending more aid.

“The final target is around Rs 1 lakh. So far Rs 50,000 has been collected. A portion of this amount has been sent to Majuli-based social organisation Mati Centre, which works among people there. The money will be spent on buying relief materials, especially mosquito nets. The donation drive will continue till August 12. Rajbongshi’s cartoon sends the message that besides natural floods, people are also at the mercy of dams. The impact it has on people living downstream is heart wrenching.”

“Owing to tax deductions and other remittances we cannot avail of the entire amount of $1200 being sent by them, which when converted comes up to nearly Rs 1 lakh,” Islam said.