Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 October 2011
Can the 4004 light the way towards building a disaster free India? Have they pursued a paradigm which is in sink with the reality of disasters in India? Does the spirit of the 4004 have strength to lever change in the attitude towards disasters? The need is to focus on the role of the 4004. This involves going beyond the thematic classification or that based on type and outlet of research. To move back to the future of 4004 one needs to capture the soul of each reference.
When the 5017 research units were read again with vigilance, this time not for time, type or theme, not even for Indian or foreign, single or multiple author, event or place but for the spirit that guided the work, it indeed was revealing that the ‘natural’ and not the disaster had captured almost the entire attention. A rejoinder to this could be that this research focused on natural disasters and therefore natural would not only belong in the scheme of adjectives but also be the objective. But this is the crux of the discourse.
It is this automatic connection forged between natural and disaster, which nourishes the problem. After all studying a cyclone, earthquake, landslide or storm is not studying a disaster. These are simply natural phenomena, and physical processes that operate on the surface of the Earth. When the world was uninhabited, even then storms, volcanoes and earthquakes occurred freely.