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This year’s monsoon turned out to be a nightmare for the people of Uttarakhand. The six hamlets that comprise the Deoli-Bramhagram panchayat saw grief that parallels none. The men here had been washed away by the Himalayan Tsunami on the fateful night of 17 June 2013. Fifty-seven men went missing that night, all of whom have now been assumed and declared dead by the state government. For their families, however, hope still lives. Every house that I went to, women with questions in their eyes would ask me, “Could you show my husband’s photograph around? Maybe he is still alive. Maybe he’s suffering from amnesia?” Most of the families have little money left to run their households. Like most Indian villages, men here were the only breadwinners, while the women looked after household chores. As a result, they don’t have any skills to earn a living for themselves and their children. Sulabh International, a New Delhi-based social service organisation, has now started providing the widows a monthly pension of Rs 2,000. In cases where both parents have died, the pension is being handed out to the children or their guardians. No help — monetary or otherwise — has come from the authorities.






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