In 1996 I read a long article about the Malthusian disaster, predicted by Robert Malthus, in which he said that by 2015 most third world countries will cease to function. They will be there, but there will be utter chaos reigning. As in, to take India for example, we can safely predict it will cease to function as a nation. The reasons he cited had nothing to do with stars colliding with each other or any blind astrological or religious faith. His reasons were sociological, economic, and political, and very valid ones at that. He mentioned the mass rise of the poor against the haves, he mentioned religious intolerance, various epidemics that spread faster than you can produce a cure for them, and of course floods and other natural calamities.
And then we had the earthquakes, followed by plague, the rising religious intolerance resulting in various state-sponsored terrorist activities (from the Babri masjid demolition by the kar sevaks to the Pakistan-funded attacks on India), the tragic tsunami, the epidemics that are coming, e.g. H1N1, which will affect 33 million Indians in two years, or dengue, the naxal uprising that seems uncontrollable, and the natural calamities that are ravaging Taiwan and South East Asia now.
According to his estimate, it would all settle down by around 2050. I kind of believed him. You all believe in certain things and that belief is inexplicable at times. The most rational of beings can be seen standing with their hands folded in front of symbols of strength, be it the idol of a goddess, or a monkey god, or the statue of some great leader who lived 5000 years ago. They quietly avoid any reference to their belief, which can be called irrational, beyond reason, or something sacred. Sacred means beyond the purview of reason. No questions asked. My belief in that article about Robert Malthus' theories is also sacrosanct. If The Holy Bible is true to you, that article, which appeared on the op-ed page of The Statesman way back in 1996, is true to me.
Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of that, but whatever I read that day sounded so true and possible, I didn't want to question it.
It is all coming true and am sure this is just the beginning of a lot of shit that is about to happen to us. It is only about how we prepare ourselves to face it. Some of us have kids so we have an added responsibility to ensure as much safety for them as we can. Some of us are single, so are covered. Whatever maybe the situation, we shouldn't lose hope. We shouldn't write articles about the Malthusian disaster and act as irresponsible bloggers. We shouldn't provoke people to read about him and his predictions, or about the H1N1 now. We shouldn't scare others by saying we bought the last three available masks from a nearby pharmacy. We shouldn't create panic by proclaiming to have witnessed the sale of tamiflu in the black market. I am not gonna do any of this despite knowing I can very well be one of the 33 million Indians who will be affected by the virus in the next two years.
I only hope you all are as responsible citizens as I am.