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Views & Reviews

How Many More For the Dhansiri? (Lessons We Never Learn)

By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2017 9:15 pm

The recent drowning of a young school boy in the waters of the Dhansiri river was a very sad episode and tragic event for all of us. It would be hard to express the sadness of the parents and the relatives which cannot be fathomed or comprehended in words. Anyone of us would feel our heart wrenching or chills shivering down our spines to experience such kind of pain and heartbreak happening to us if such kind of misfortune struck our children. I can only imagine how the family of the young boy would have gone through the ordeal of all those hours of searching for the mortal remains in the watery grave. Such incidents of young boys getting drowned in the Dhansiri and other surrounding rivers are frequent especially during the summer. It is not the first and probably won’t be the last too. Until and unless we take some preventive and corrective measures, this kind of watery grave incidents happening around the natural water bodies will go on. Today it may be happening in someone’s family and someone’s child but tomorrow it may happen to us. Parents, no matter how watchful or cautious they are of their children’s movements, cannot keep their eyes on them the full 24x7x365. A little busy or hectic schedule and stolen unguarded moments may prove costly which will leave a scar for a lifetime. Tragedy mostly comes unexpectedly and unanticipated.

Though life and death is a matter of destiny which ultimately rests in God the Almighty’s hands, yet there is something we as a society should also learn from theses tragic mishaps. Our leaders should also learn a lesson from this and try to minimize such kind of tragic happenings every year where many young school boys get drowned in our surrounding rivers. With lots of risks involved in those natural openings, most of the children have no other option but the urge of a refreshing dip in the water seems to be very tempting which sadly becomes their tragic end in these unfavourable settings. Swimming in natural water bodies have higher risks of drowning and can be prevented by opening swimming schools and pools. Moving water and unpredictable currents can overwhelm even strong and expert swimmers.

Drowning incidents of course will happen and can never be fully brought to an end but atleast it can be somehow minimized to some extent. Accidents happen, and it is certainly not possible to ensure that drowning incidents don’t occur.

Any young adolescent wants to try out new sort of adventures in the form of games and sports besides other pursuits. Swimming remains one interesting, challenging and a very thrilling quest for many people especially the younger lot. Even our other neighbouring states like Mizoram, Manipur or Meghalaya have lots of facilities and proper infrastructure for nurturing young budding talents and also for recreational activities. They have good and safe swimming pools where instructors, life-guards and watchmen keep a close vigil on young underage swimmers or people of all age. But here in Nagaland, we have only some untamed, wild and unpredictable rivers where young lives are put on a very high risk while pursuing out some fun in the form of swimming out with friends during an age of peer pressure and in those pursuits and curiously exploring new horizons often end up tragically.

The one public swimming pool that was supposed to be built at the Dimapur Club premises is now lying half –done for almost a decade. The contractors, department concerned and the people involved will be the best to know why it is left in that condition for such a long time. Thanks to the complacent and our easy going attitude of who cares, who bothers and who gives a damn as long as it doesn’t affect us? For the children like us who were born during the 70s and the 80s, we were the luckier lot because we swam around all those murky and muddy pools and ponds around the Dimapur town inspite of our parents’ thrashings and countless beatings for doing so. And yet we survived. We owe thanks to God for bringing us till today.

Owning a swimming pool is costly and not everyone can afford it except some very few creamy layers of the high society. But atleast we should have a public pool by now owned and maintained by municipal authorities where proper standards and norms are put into practice. Swimming pools aren’t just for fun but they are good for health too. Swimming has always been a fun activity for everybody. It’s a great socializer for all age groups from college students to the elderly to infants to high schoolers. Almost anyone finds joy in jumping into a cool pool on a hot summer day.

But forget about a public swimming pool, even today we cannot boast of a public park where we can walk around in the morning or evening freely and contentedly. Most have to be satisfied despite being inundated by tons of dust choking us from the speeding cars and trucks on a dry day or getting splashed by muddy waters of countless potholes all over the pathetic roads on some wet day. You try walking on the footpath and you’re risking yourself where your feet will end up in the one of many cracks and gaping holes of the slabs and drain covers .Poor us, indeed.

To prevent these types of frequent drowning, recreation centres with swimming pools with trained lifeguards should be introduced. It is sad that we don’t have any swimming pools to teach our young kids the art of swimming here in the towns. Village kids, being brought up in a harder and tougher environment learn these skills by their sheer way of adapting to their surroundings in a rough and the tough way of life. Besides the lack of swimming ability or skills the other main causes that leads to drowning deaths seems to be from lack of close supervision, lack of barriers and absence of life-jackets especially among the new enthusiastic young swimmers. When we don’t have any facility to teach the art of swimming or better their swimming skills, their drowning in the wild open untamed rivers cannot be attributed to children alone .In an open survey in America it was found that maximum of drowning accidents happen in natural settings like lakes, rivers or ocean rather than in swimming pools. Besides swimming lessons isn’t only for kids but even for seniors of all ages during emergencies.

As I write this, a friend of mine narrated me an incident where another boy was drowned towards the Dillai gate side while swimming at a recently formed water body, dug-up by some JCB excavators. The Woods at Mokokchung and the Niathu Resorts at Dimapur are fine examples which should be emulated so as to minimize future tragedies. Only that it should be accessible for all class of people with proper safety measures imposed.

Jonah Achumi

By EMN Updated: Oct 21, 2017 9:15:59 pm