|Genre:||History, Natural History|
Courage in Chaos is an impressive study of the rescue and relief response following the April 2015 earthquake. Courage provides evidence of not just the impact and meaning of failure for earthquake survivors but also important details on how failure occurred. It is far from comprehensive, has several blind spots and draws on a slightly unusual methodology, as will be discussed below, but Courage is a much-needed first draft of serious post earthquake analysis.
Courage is a slim monograph (89 pages) and consists of five chapters interspersed with informative phop graphs taken by Usha Titikshi and Bhaskar Gautam. The book details the findings of Martin Chanitari's social audit, covering roughly the first month after the April 2015 earthquake.
Men and women of all classes, castes, and cultures facing the impact of the disaster showed impressive political action independent of the ‘normal’ alignments and pathways. In a very complex and threatening environment, the ordinary played courageous historical roles with every passing hour. The survivors struggled to endure the disastrous consequence while developing highly sophisticated support and governing processes that were often distinct from those framed by the ruling political class. Usually, their performance left substantial traces; sometimes, their footprints were hidden but no less real. Their struggles left a mark on our social institutions, cultural conventions, and political practices. This monograph is a small step towards excavating and archiving this multifaceted history of the common during the times of ruptures and repairs.