Saturday, (April 25, 2015) Baishakh 12, 2072 B.S.
A date that will be remember forever by the people of Nepal. On this darkest Saturday, at 11:56 a.m., an earthquake of 7.6 local magnitude struck Barpak of Gorkha. The shocks were felt as far as Kanya Kumari, India in the south, Bangladesh in the east and Pakistan in the west. The earthquake affected districts mostly in the Hilly Region. About 10,000 people died. The destruction of properties and cultural heritages was huge but compared to what was previously imagined, Kathmandu was not affected much. Within a month, the capital city regained its economic activities.
Geologists had been warning of such a disaster for long. Unfortunately, the government did not give utmost importance to the matter, nor did the people think much about it. The earthquake of 1990 in Udaypur had affected the eastern region and the people there remembered the loss of lives and properties it had brought. The earthquake of Taplejung four years ago had shaken Kathmandu Valley as well, but neither the government nor the people had been careful in designing and constructing earthquake-resistant structures. A few Geologists saying from the background that there could be much bigger loss of lives and properties were unheard of. It was also a weakness in their part. I would never have known this had I not been a Geology student myself and by the time I knew, it had already been late. The disaster had already struck.
One month since the major shock, the Seismologists, who have branched off from mainstream Geologists, gave information to the public on earthquake like never before. People immediately caught up words like ‘plates’, ‘tectonics’, ‘faults’ and many other geological terms. It made me happy and sad at the same time. Happy in the sense had basic geology had become household terms (plates, for example) and sad in the sense that it did not happen prior to the earthquake. But, as i discovered later, the people gave credit to the newspapers and magazines as the source of this information. The Geologists of Nepal had failed again. They had been too late.
A problem I see with scientific researches worldwide is that they are complex and totally illogical to the common people. Scientific terms come up here and there, which off course cannot be ignored, but can be made simple through adequate explanations. Journals have always been vague and common people just ignore them. I think they should be able to understand them, interpret and use in their daily lives. Why not publish scientific works that include public interests in two bases- one for the academicians and the other for public? If such a system had existed, I believe that science could be much useful to people. I think the Geologists of Nepal would have got the credit they deserved.
As explorers of a mountainous country, Nepalese Geologists have a lot many works to do on floods, landslides, avalanches, glaciers and so on. And there are people who still ask, “What’s the scope?” I have nothing to say to them, literally!