A Quake in Bangalore, Tremors in the Heart

A couple of days back in Bangalore, many of my friends and family would have felt the mild tremors that occurred due to earthquake of the coast of Aceh province of Indonesia. The tremors were quite mild with the earth actually shaking for mere seconds causing little or no damage altogether. In most of southern India, these tremors weren’t the kind that set the heart racing and or caused panic among the masses, though people near the coast were still worried about the possible tsunami. But if you were to take a glance at the pictures and videos of people in Indonesia, you would see that the memories of the last great quake 2004 are still raw.

In my mind earthquakes are associated with the one that hit Indonesia in 2004 causing the massive tsunami and the one that struck the region of Bhuj in Gujarat in 2001. The massive destruction caused in these regions due to the population density is something I can never forget. All praise to Allah SWT that I have never had to experience something like an earthquake or tsunami nor can I truly imagine the feelings of horror and dread that fill the individuals caught in such situations. I can still remember watching on the news, huge waves of water that crashed through the lower lying regions of Indonesia, stopping at nothing and reducing everything in its path to rubbish. I can recall the newscast after the tsunami where nearly every half hour the number of dead reported rose in hundreds and thousands until it was finally declared that nearly 200,000 people had lost their lives in the region.

Since then no earthquake has been so destructive yet it would be hardly respectful to consider any other event less tragic. It is definitely an underlying human characteristic that even after such momentous events, we are able to pick ourselves up and start rebuilding our lives. With the passage of time we are always able to replace destruction with order and sadness with numbness. The advent of modern technologies such as the early warning system may make the recovery process easier by preventing loss and allowing swifter responses post the disaster. But the very nature of these systems, for me, serves to remind us of our frailty.

 For as human beings we cannot stop a disaster from occurring nor do we design technologies to do so. We try at best to minimize the damage caused in any situation. Our science enables to explain events like why there was no tsunami this time or why there is night and day. But sometimes we need to go deeper than the surface and see things with perspective. Human beings have existed for a long time now and each and every one of them has experienced night and day, rain and shine, food and drink – all of these phenomena ever present without a need for explanation. For think about it – we do not control the sun or the moon yet we take it for granted that there will be a day for our work and a night time for our rest. In an earlier piece I mentioned how we do not get a lot of choice but events such as earthquakes serves to remind us that even the semblance of control we have may not really exist.

I might come across as a pessimist or a cynic given how I go on about a lack of choice or control and such matters, yet I feel optimistic about my state and I will let you know why in a moment. Before I do though, I would like to ask you what you think. How do you perceive such disasters? Does it make you ask deeper questions about yourselves or do you just choose to cover up such feelings? Reflection is a lost art in this modern world of distraction but do you not think you would like to take a few minutes and connect with yourself seeking answers to bigger questions or do you just take 42 as the ultimate answer?

As for my optimism, I’m reminded of the many instances in the Quran where our creator mentions

“And in the alternation of night and day, and the provision (rain) that Allah sends down from the sky, and revives therewith the earth after its death, and in the turning about of the winds (i.e. sometimes towards the east or north, and sometimes towards the south or west etc., sometimes bringing glad tidings of rain etc., and sometimes bringing the torment), are signs for a people who understand.” [The Crouching 45:5]

And in another place

And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things. Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. [Family of Imran 4:189-191]

I leave you with a short recitation that should serve for us an early warning system for the ultimate end

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7 thoughts on “A Quake in Bangalore, Tremors in the Heart

  1. Many things are not in our control, nor we can question them.The Almighty creature is the reason and we are the cause. And yeah, as it is showed in the video, it is the universal truth that,do good and be good and this will take you to whatever freedom and to whatever truth there is.

      • I believe that God will not tell us what is good or bad neither he will guide us. It is left to each soul to find its own truth, in its own way. God will never ask us to follow Him, because he is not a dictator. There lies the search for the ever ending life and death cycle.

      • Well it is quite unlikely that God will not tell us what is good or bad because logically there cannot be good or bad otherwise. What I mean is unless there exists a standard of good or bad, people could go ahead and do what they wish as long as they personally feel it is good or avoid something as long as they personally feel is bad. There cannot exist a universal standard unless God who is transcendental lets us know what that standard is.

        If you study history, there have existed men who have lived extremely good lives, seeking no reward from people and calling to the worship of one God. They include Abraham, Moses and Jesus who called to the worship of one God. Last in the line of messengers is Mohammed Peace be Upon Him, whose life and character is a testimony to the message of God

        take a look at http://www.prophetictimeline.com for a glimpse of his life and decide for yourself.

        True God is not a dictator, but we cand definitely agree that since he created us, he knows what it best for us and thus would let us know what we should. Like I said, we have no choice in the matter of birth, death etc. Then why do we assume we have a choice in the way to live.

  2. I strongly believe that man created the concept of God for himself. I don’t like to challenge the nature but I surely love to challenge the different theories of God. By all means, we have a choice in the way of living. Abraham himself told that, “I feel good when I do good and I feel bad when I do bad, that is my religion” and none of the great men and women have defined the absolute meaning of good and bad.
    “Each soul is potentially divine.The goal is to manifest this divinity within, by controlling nature, external and internal.Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control or philosophy-by one or more or all of these-and be free. This is the whole of religion.Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms are but secondary details.”
    -Swami vivekananda

    • I’m sorry for the delayed response – Having study hols and exam next week. 🙂

      Well it is alright that you question the concept of God in various religions but the real question is the existence of the divine creator and if he has a message to us. Like I said death is inescapable and common and every religion has a idea about it but what is the truth of the matter and is there any way of knowing it.

      As for the Abraham (Lincoln) quote – if left to personal choice good is subjective person to person.

      • Yeah, I completely agree with you that matters like death and many other things are beyond our thinking capabilities and with no second thought I agree that nature or creator or God is the cause and we the effect.But I have not seen any of the religious or sacred books defining what is good and what is bad, as you said in the above comment, good and bad are subjective and situation driven concepts and none of the theories of Gods or philosophies have successfully given a universal definition. And as for as death is considered almost all religions have their own way of looking at it, at some point their ideas converge and at some other point, they diverge. Again it is left to us to follow or not follow.
        Anyway all the best for your exams. Have a nice time 🙂

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