Recently, after the publication of the volume under review, parts of coastal Andhra, and to a lesser extent coastal Tamil Nadu, faced the fury of a cyclone, with considerable loss of life and property, leaving a grim trail of sorrow and suffering. But this year’s cyclone can hardly be compared with the calamity that struck the Andhra coast twenty months ago.
There is no yardstick by which the consequences of a natural disaster of major dimensions—physical, psychological, spiritual—can be measured. Even for areas and people that have lived through cyclones, storms, tidal waves and monsoon floods over many centuries, November 1977 was a soul-searing experience. The media poured out millions of words without being able to communicate in full measure the intensity and depth of the tragedy, or of the innumerable major and minor tragedies-individual, family, clan tragedies—that form part of any major calamity.
Obviously a research work by two scholars, despite the great pains they have obviously taken, cannot be expected to bring into focus all the aspects of the first few crucial minutes, the succeeding days of agony, and the subsequent phase of efforts to help and rehabilitate the survivors and to make the affected areas fit to live in again.