Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 October 2011
What are the 4004 references about? What themes about the disasters do they address? Is there a common paradigm that dominates the thinking in these 4004? What is the appropriate way to comprehend a large and disparate variety? A human construct to simplify and organise complex reality is to devise a classification. But there is the problem of correct identification of both the individual and the group to which they belong. There also are situations of incompletion, misinformation and duplication. It is difficult to decipher details from titles that read like ‘solid foundation’, ‘without a warning’ and ‘caught in a trap’. Since these are penned as features in magazines, the design of these captions no doubt catch attention, but they also pose a problem in sorting. While these titles are bold yet mysterious, the ones authored by administrators and government officials are cautious and tight-lipped.
Labels like ‘Flood Picture in States’ or ‘Notes and News’ or ‘The Koyna Earthquake’, ‘1959 October floods of Damodar river’, ‘Assam earthquake of 1950’, ‘The Bihar flood story’, ‘The Indian Earthquake’, are mind teasers. Articles in journals that promised too much were also problematic. Take for example, research units that specified that their work was on ‘cause, characteristics, impact, response and management’, ironically covered the article in six to ten pages of a journal. These, either addressed issues with extreme generality or did not sufficiently meet their claims.