Dr.SG Suryah: The Rising Son Of South Chennai Is Reaching Where The DMK’s Rising Sun Has Failed To Reach After #CycloneMichaung
The Logical Indian Crew

Dr.SG Suryah: The Rising Son Of South Chennai Is Reaching Where The DMK’s Rising Sun Has Failed To Reach After #CycloneMichaung

As Weather Forecasts Warned Of Cyclone Michaung, Dr.Suryah Braced Himself For Impact And Began Stocking Essential Supplies.

Clad in an RSS khaki short and a t-shirt, Dr. SG Suryah, a Swayamsevak since childhood and currently the State Secretary of BJP Tamil Nadu has not had a moment for himself since December 3. The BJP had won a massive mandate in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan but his joy was cut short by a cyclonic storm that started forming in the Bay of Bengal.

As weather forecasts warned of Cyclone Michaung, Dr. Suryah braced himself for impact and began stocking essential supplies. Not for himself but for the people of South Chennai as he anticipated that the region would be severely hit because of its geography and topography.

South Chennai comprises Velachery, Sholinganallur, Mylapore, T. Nagar, Virugambakkam, and Saidapet and these are exactly some of the worst flood-affected regions. Water levels had reached 6-8 feet in many streets of Velachery as some of the areas where apartments stood were once marshland.

Dr. Suryah with his team of volunteers from the BJP and RSS’s Sevabharathi set up kitchens at several spots. Mostly they used the services of kitchens of various temples in his locality.

Dr. Suryah isn’t the usual politician who waits for a crisis to strike so that the government can be targeted. When rains lashed the city on the night of December 3, Suryah kept his politics aside and asked for people to come together and help each other.

“No city, no administration, no government can handle when Mother Nature unleashes her fury.”, said Dr.Suryah when the rains peaked on December 4.

But the response of a government in the aftermath of a disaster matters and this is where Dr. Suryah has been targeting the DMK government for its failure.

But he isn’t just a keyboard warrior lambasting the government. Dr. Suryah plunged himself into the flooded streets of his constituency providing relief to those stranded without food, water, and other basic supplies.

He didn’t wait for the rains to stop. On December 4, Dr. Suryah assembled his team of friends from the BJP and RSS to pack food to be distributed in Velachery. Several hundred packets of food were given to the downtrodden people whose homes were flooded with water. In Pallikaranai, he had his Mandal President distribute food, milk, and other essentials to the affected people.

The very same day, he started a ‘Modi Kitchen’ in Sholinganallur and 10 other places to provide food to thousands of people in and around Velachery and Sholinganallur assembly segments under South Chennai Lok Sabha.

On December 5, a day after the fury of the cyclone ended, Dr. Suryah saw that the government machinery had failed to plunge into action. His phone kept ringing incessantly with distress calls from different areas. Many from other regions outside of South Chennai too had sent their SOS to Suryah. As the hours progressed, the distress calls only kept increasing. Most of the calls were about immediate evacuation from inundated homes, asking for water from the homes to be removed and power to be restored.

Dr. Suryah immediately reached out to a few well-placed sources in the government including DMK Minister TRB Rajaa. He managed to get people evacuated, water pumped out and electricity restored by coordinating with them.

But the next problem was a shortage of food as kitchens became unusable. In many homes, the perishable and non-perishable items like rice and pulses went down the drain.

And so Dr.Suryah opened a ‘Modi Kitchen’ near his home in Thiruvanmiyur. On December 5, he distributed over 1000 food packets in and around Velachery and Thiruvanmiyur only from this kitchen.

Dr. Suryah says he is indebted to the help extended by the temple kitchens (madappali) of different temples which had cooked meals round the clock. He also noted that while the secular media always show how mosques and churches are thrown open for affected people to take refuge, such publicity is rarely given to temples. He said that none of the temples allowed him to take pictures of them in action but managed to convince one of them to let the world know that not just mosques and churches but temples too are in action when calamity strikes.

His next worry came from Sholinganallur.

“Many consider Sholinganallur as a developed area where there are IT companies. But it is the biggest Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu in terms of voters and the area itself is vast. There is another side to Sholinganallur where there are many people who struggle to make ends meet and these are mostly people belonging to the Dalit and Irular tribal community. Yes, there are tribals in this area.”, he says.

So, Dr. Suryah instructed his Mandal President to pack around 1000 food packets, 500 bread packets, and water bottles to be distributed in the locality where Irular tribes live.

The next day Dr. Suryah came to BJP Tamil Nadu’s headquarters in T. Nagar, Chennai to coordinate relief efforts and massive amounts of materials that had come in from different parts of the state after State President K. Annamalai’s clarion call.

Annamalai had ordered the karyakartas to convert the party office into a relief camp and even launched helplines as the helpline numbers provided by Greater Chennai Corporation proved to be useless.

Dr. Suryah says that the State President’s efforts and encouragement to all the karyakartas only made them forego sleep and indulge in seva full-time whenever they felt tired.

“People in many areas have been sleepless for nights. It would be unfair of us to take a rest when the rest of the people are suffering.”, Dr.Suryah says.

Suryah noted how his massive Twitter family helped him with voluntary contributions.

“A college student gave ₹285 from his pocket money to procure supplies for an old age home in Palavakkam. This is the spirit of Chennai.”, he says

Dr.Suryah along with volunteers from Seva Bharathi and BJP opened a kitchen to provide meals for over 4000 people in Perungudi since December 5.

Dr.Suryah noted that the kind of volunteer response that Chennai saw when the city was deluged by the 2015 floods was missing and he blamed the misleading narrative of the DMK government.

“Many thought this flood was not as bad as the 2015 one and that is probably why many were missing in action. This can partly be attributed to the DMK government’s painting a rosy picture. Probably they were also afraid to come out because of the intimidation from the ruling party.”, he said.

He lashed out at the apathetic and insensitive remarks of Velachery Congress MLA Aassan Moulana saying that he is not even fit to be a human, let alone being an MLA.

“The representatives of the ruling DMK – from ward councillors to MLAs, MPs, and Ministers have failed the people miserably. People won’t forget this when they vote, he says.

Suryah signed off saying there is going to be no rest for the rest of the week until normalcy returns.

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Writer : Bushra Naaz
Editor : Ankur Kumar Jha
Creatives : Bushra Naaz