Ekal Movement in Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh
Ekal Vidyalaya Movement reached Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2000. Presently Shri Sanjay Kumar is the Sambhag Pramukh (In charge of J&K). Under his leadership many karyakartas have been cultivated and groomed. Shri Jaidev Ji a life devotee is in charge of Ekal schools in Kashmir valley; it is interesting to note that all the children and teachers are Muslims.
It isn’t an easy task to travel from one place to another in J & K; it is time consuming and exhaustive due to extremely rough geographical conditions in Kashmir valley & Ladakh. Our karyakartas face a lot of hardship in the hilly areas of Jammu & Kashmir. In spite of security threats it is amazing to learn that most of the teachers in these parts of the country are young girls.
Ekal in Leh and Ladakh
The rough mountain terrains and landscapes separate Ladakh from the rest of India and is no less than a foreign land for Indians and foreigners alike. Ladakh is literally translated as, ‘Land of high passes’ in Tibetan and is located at an average altitude of more than 3,000 meters above the sea level. Ladakh's culture, economy and society has been shaped by many factors.
Leh known as the Land of Heaven has been the battleground for many a war between India and China and India and Pakistan. It has been tainted with innocent blood!
Ekal is the ray of hope for many Indians perishing in remote and extreme terrains.
Flood in Kashmir
Unfortunately, in September the incessant rains for six days caused havoc in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The condition of the victims was pathetic. The deluge of water was a horrific sight. Many areas of Srinagar district such as- Lasjan, Nowgam, Chhanpura, Nayak Bagh, Badshah Nagar, Hyderpura, Batmello were flooded and the worst affected villages were Lasjan, Nowgam which are adjacent to river Jhelum. The flood waters breached the banks of Jhelum and submerged Srinagar, including the Badami Bagh Cantonment, disrupted “electricity, water supply and civil communications.”
People who shifted to higher and safer places escaped the deluge. In Rajori, a village near Naishara 190 people who were returning after attending a marriage were washed away completely. In Udampur near Panchori a village named Sadal was wiped out due to land slide. Ekal had 2 schools in this area, both of them are wrecked.
Although some members of various rescue operations and other government forces were aiding in rescue and relief operations at some places, the major rescue and relief work was solely being performed by volunteers, young men and local boatmen.
People suffering on account of the flood — both elite and poor—spread their hands out to collect some ‘tehri’ (rice cooked with turmeric/haldi) from relief camps set up on a Srinagar bridge.
Brave hearts rescued many pregnant women from inundated areas and carried the distressed on their shoulders while wading through flood waters in trying circumstances.
Boatmen rescued hundreds of people in their boats, without getting any credit for their heroic efforts on prime time television debates.
Our Ekal Vidalaya teachers in Budgam viz. Mehraj, prepared wooden log boats for rescue operations and also made arrangements for food to be transported to roof-tops where most victims were huddled. They distributed rice, fruits, vegetables and other materials for free as part of a humanitarian gesture. Ekal volunteers opened shelters to make sure people have a safe place to stay, a hot meal and access to other support. Relief items help people in the immediate aftermath of floods. They tried garnering food, blankets and other essential items for survival as people had lost things and lives to floods. Counselling for flood victims was offered. People who were piled on the roofs and other high points were reached by boats for rescue operations.
Disaster had set in Reshipura, Pedgampura, Larikpura, Gulzarpura where the water had reached 12 ft. to 32 ft. The flood did not spare even concrete houses. Our team of Ekal teachers with the help of other groups had involved in rescue operations and also had helped the medical camps by providing some medicines to each group of villages by way of relief measures.
Ekal teachers have even gone to the extent of housing flood victims especially womenfolk and children. It has been a major concern because of a heavy loss to the field crops, fruit crops, and the detail of cattle mortalities can’t even be accessed at this stage, which is beyond imagination…the non-stop heavy rain for about 140 hours has done some irreparable damages.
The floods were an unexpected occurrence and hence relief operations had to face many constraints. Within the limited resources that were available Ekal volunteers had engaged day and night in doing a commendable job for the society.
Ekal feels proud of its mite.