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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Maharajadhiraja Dr. Kameshwar Singh Interview to India Post After 1934 Earthquake

Maharajadhiraja Dr. Kameshwar singh concern for Darbhanga & Mithila as a whole reflected after the Bihar Earthquake on 15th Jannuary, 1934. He was one of the earliest and highest contributors to the Relief fund. His interview which he gave to the representative of the National Call of Delhi in March 1934, is as follows- " I was walking on the verandah when I noticed that the chandeliers in my Darbhanga House , 1, Middleton Street ,Calcutta, were swinging violently and the doors were creaking. My first impression was that those were due to vibration caused by the moving of heavy vehicles on the Chowringy Road. But in an instant, we could detect that it was not so. It was an earthquake. I hurried downstairs through the soiral staircase at the back of the house and become anxious for my brother who was sleeping on his sick-bed.To my greatest relief he came out soon and the other members of my family and suite were outside the danger zone. We were rocked for some time- not more than 8 minutes and everything was normal, again. The building got minor cracks, but was not unsafe. Little did I realize at that time that any calamity of the nature that had befallen Bihar would occur. In about two hours the news was brought to me that Jamalpur had suffered very badly. But there was no news from Darbhanga.The next morning we got a bit of news from Purnia, but still Darbhanga was silent . We thought, no news was good news. But on the third day of the happening , we learnt from the newspapers the gruesome tale that the airman had reported to the press about Muzaffarpur. That made me intensly anxious about Darbhanga.On the one hand , I chartered an aeroplane to fly over the place and get me all the news and on the other, I put myself in touch with the Government House, Patna, and calcutta, by telephone. The aeroplane unfortunately met with a slight accident  and the information I got by phone was too meager to give me any mental relief.

The duration  of my agony was thus prolonged . At  last on the fifth day of the occurrence came my brother – in – law from Darbhanga and gave me a harrowing account of the devastations caused by the earthquake in  North Bihar. Fortunately , the  members of my family who were there had a providential escape. I hurried to Darbhanga partly by the railway and partly by car. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the changes brought about  in afew minutes by one of Nature’s freaks . The river beds had gone up , the bridges had collapsed or had become very much in undulated, rich fields had been filled with sand , grounds had been broken up into pieces by gigantic cracks , and the surface of eart had changed beyond recognition. Darbhanga presented a ghastly spectacle . Along with numerous others I had become completely homeless and suffered considerable losses I various ways.People come to condole with me. But I thought there was hardly a person who did not deserve all the condolence and sympathy which a human heart could offer to another. The monetary value of the losses may vary according to one’s belongings but the proportion of loss which the bulk of the population suffered cannot easily be distinguished . It was clearly demonstrated that public calamity is a mighty leveler. But  that was hardly an occasion to lose courage . On the other hand , Courage,determination and optimism were in great demand.  I was led to think that the calamity was a blessing in disguise if we could make the best use of the situation.So , I decided to take members of the family , who were in Darbhanga , to Calcutta till such time as I could provide a temporary shelter for them and return there immediately to plan out the future . My officers and staff, it must be said to their credit. were doing all that was humanly possible for them to give temprory relief to the sufferers; and they had my unqualified sanction for the measures they were adopting for the same.
I cannot but mention here , in passing, with feelings of gratitude, the humanitarian services rendered by individuals, the Government and various relief organizations  that mitigated the sufferings of the people by distributing housing materials, clothes, money, etc.I am aware of the inadequacy and insufficiency of the resources, but the spirit behind all the relief measures was so noble that it cannot fail to draw our admiration . The individious distinction between classes and communities was forgotten and officials and non- officials alike were deeply animated with the spirit of philanthropy."

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