Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian | January 16, 2021
On 11 August 1979, Maurvi in Gujarat was struck by a flash flood which left total devastation in its wake. Swollen by excessively heavy rains, the water level rose so high that a huge dam on the edge of the settlement burst its retaining wall. “Walls of water 20 feet high bore down on the settlement with such rapidity that no one could escape their onslaught. In just a few hours’ time, this flood water, which had destroyed all animate and inanimate objects in its path, receded as suddenly as it had come.” It was estimated that, out of a total population of about 40,000, as many as 25,000 had died in this cataclysm. The extent of the destruction can be gauged from the fact that; over and above public contributions, the central government thought it proper to make an immediate allocation of five crores of rupees to the Gujarat government as aid.
Arun Kumar, a Hindustan Times reporter, published an eye-witness account of the survivors’ woeful plight. Still in the grip of shock and suffering, “some have lost their powers of speech and look absolutely dazed and blank” (19 August 1979). Another report (20 August 1979) tells of how overjoyed a ruined landlord was when he was handed over Rs. 18,000/- in cash and gold ornaments weighing 225 grams which had been recovered from his house and restored to him by government officials.
If such events occur frequently on earth, it is to remind man of the irrevocability of the Day of Judgement. The great flood which will herald the end of the world will come upon us, suddenly, and without warning. The scale of destruction will be such that people’s tongues will fail them and they will be absolutely dazed, realizing too late that they are confronted by eternal doom. There will, however, be those who will receive the glad tidings that the deluge, which is apparently bringing death and destruction to everyone and everything, will miraculously leave them unscathed, and that God will not only restore to them what is theirs, but will shower them with even greater blessings. The flash flood of that day will condemn some to hellfire, while it will carry others on the crest of a wave, to the gates of eternal bliss. Prior to the flood, criminals and reprobates will easily find eloquent excuses for their cruel, wicked ways. But when the flood waters of destruction are about to come crashing down on them, all their strength will ebb away, and they will find no words to justify the perpetration of unjust acts in the world they are about to leave behind them.