80 years before Kerala floods, Mahatma Gandhi blamed caste system for natural disasters

When S. Gurumurthy insinuated that the Kerala flood disaster was somehow related to allowing women into the Sabarimala temple, he revealed a failing that afflicts even mahatmas in India. After the devastating Lisbon earthquake, the Catholic religious establishment put forth the view that the disaster was divine punishment for human sin. This angered the Marquis of Pombal. Pombal was no doubt a ruthless autocrat, but he is relevant to the current flood crisis in Kerala. Today, as we despair about the enormity of the calamity that has struck Kerala, we can take heart from the empirical evidence that shows natural disasters can improve long-term economic growth.

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