Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
Outlook.com
Book Extract

Bastions Of Unreason | By Feroze Varun Gandhi

Education, labour, healthcare, credit...A Rural Manifesto ponders over all these. In this extract, it focuses on the human and ecological costs of those vaunted ‘temples’—dams.

Bastions Of Unreason | By Feroze Varun Gandhi
Photograph by Getty Images
Bastions Of Unreason | By Feroze Varun Gandhi
outlookindia.com
2018-12-07T10:32:43+05:30

India is gifted with a bouquet of 20 perennial and non-perennial river systems, with several tributaries. Our rivers, mostly originating from the Himalayas, the Chhotanagpur Plateau and the Western Ghats,  receive a significant run-off, from glaciers and precipitation, accumulating an average annual flow of 1,953km3, while replenishing groundwater resources of around 432km3. This enables the formation of a perennial utilisable water resource, one expressed in surface water (690km3) and ground water (396km3). In particular, Himalayan snow and ice melt off­ers a significant boon, with water yield in such river basins nearly double that of the peninsular rivers. Groundwater, wherever available, remains a significant source of water, particularly for domestic consumption, contributing 80 per cent of the household requirement and over half of the irrigation requirement.

India’s rivers undergo a series of changes across their route and through seasons—turning into a slack pool during winter; raging as torrents during the monsoon, awing us with its destructive potential. While rivers are often described in a feminine sense, as nadi, beautifully coursing acr­oss Jambudvip, as dividers of solid land, they can also be dangerous. After all, the Ganga descended from heaven, bringing with it fertile soil for good crops, but also destruction in its wake. Sustainably managing such mercurial rivers to meet the challenges of rural India can hence be a hard task.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.