Saturday, December 13, 2014

നീ

നിന്നിലൂടെനിക്കൊരു ശിഖരം
മുളപ്പിക്കണ,മെന്റെ ചോര നീട്ടണം
നിന്നിലൂടൊഴുക്കണം പരമ്പര,
നീയാകണമെന്‍ മരവും കാടും.
 

കള്ളന്‍

കുഞ്ഞുപൂമ്പാറ്റച്ചിറകിലെ
വര്‍ണ്ണപ്പൊട്ടുചെത്തിയെന്‍
പുസ്തതകത്തിലൊളിപ്പിച്ചു.

നിറംചോര്‍ന്നോരുടലും
ചോരപൊടിയും കിനാക്കളു-
മെങ്ങൊളിപ്പിക്കും ഞാന്‍?

കട്ടതൊന്നുമൊളിപ്പിക്കാ-
നറിയാതെ മണ്ണിലിന്നും..

യാത്ര

കാഴ്ച മങ്ങി, നീയൊറ്റയ്ക്കു 
യാത്രയാവുമ്പോള്‍.
ചുണ്ടിലുപ്പുുതീണ്ടുന്നു,
നീയകലെ മാഞ്ഞുപോകുമ്പോള്‍..

ബാലരക്തം

നെഞ്ചോടടുപ്പിച്ച കളിപ്പാവയും പേറി
വിരലും കടിച്ചുപോണൂ, 
അരുമയാം പൈതല്‍വിദ്യ നേടാന്‍.
കാഴ്ചയൊളിപ്പിച്ചു കാത്തിരുന്നൊരാള്‍,
അവിടെ..
ബാലരക്തം

Monday, December 08, 2014

പുഴമാംസം


ഒരു ശാന്തിഗീതം കൊതിച്ചെത്തിയപ്പോള്‍
പുഴ പാടിയതൊരു ചരമഗീതം.
ഓരോ തരിയിലും ഭൂതവും ഭാവിയും പേറി
മരിക്കാന്‍ കിടക്കുന്നൂ പുഴ സ്വന്തം ചരമഗീതവും പാടി!

നീണ്ട കൊക്കുപിളര്‍ത്തിയൊരു പക്ഷി
തിളയ്ക്കുും മണല്‍പരപ്പില്‍ കാത്തിരിക്കുന്നു,
ഒരുതുള്ളികൊണ്ടു ദാഹമകറ്റാനാവാം
ഒരുകൊത്തു പുഴമാംസം കൊണ്ടു വി‍ശപ്പടക്കാനുമാവാം.

മരണം - അതെത്ര ഭീകരം!
ഒരു പുഴയ്ക്കൊക്കെ മരിക്കാനുമാവുമോ?

Doll's House: an amateur analysis of narrative mode, characterization and structure


The Doll’s House is a short story written by Katherine Mansfield. It has about 2500 words and is within the norm of short story. The protagonist Kezia leads the reader through her innocent childhood experiences. The story speaks of and is knit around the social evil of class separation and propagation of class consciousness from generation to generation. The doll’s house, itself a symbol arrives the Burnell family and sets the story into motion. 
The narrative mode used is description. The author uses picturesque language to paint a visual picture of the setting and characters. But she never is overgenerous with the number of words. Her descriptions are crisp and to the point. Sufficient details are given about situations, things and characters. However she takes extra care and space to describe the doll’s house which has central space and layers of significance in the story. Speech mode is used wherever verbal exchanges take place. 
 
There are only two major scenes and one last scene- the Burnells’ house, the school and the last scene where the Kelveys sit and reflect. There are three scene shifts and all of them are natural and essential for the flow of the story.
There are about 10 characters named in the story. But if one counts only the active or significant ones, ignoring the mere mention of names, we get six which is within the norm of a short story. They are, Aunt Beryl, Isabel, Kezia, Lil, Else and Lena (in the order of appearance). Among them Kezia, Lil and Else are central to the story.
The story follows linear chronological progression. The incidents mentioned happen sequentially in order. The story begins on one fine summer day at the Burnells’ home when the doll’s house gifted by Mrs. Hay was brought in. Everyone is amazed at the beauty and details of the doll’s house. The three children of the house are lured by the novelty of the new plaything. The next day at school they tell their friends about it and all are amazed. Everyday two of them would visit the Burnells’ and see the doll’s house. The school also has the Kelvey children Lil and Else who are not of the same class as others. There is no one to speak to them, no one to like them. Except them all have seen the doll’s house. Kezia wants to show it to them, but has no permission. One day when everyone is busy with the guests, she leads the Kelveys to the doll’s house. But she is caught red handed and the Kelveys are chased away. The Kelvey children walk away in fear. When they sit to relax, they feel happy for the little they see of the doll’s house.
The author uses third person narrative to tell us the story. This technique is advantageous in letting us know of what is within characters’ minds. Narrator is a person other than the characters. This omniscient narrator lets us into the mental, psychological and emotional landscapes of all the characters. By looking at life from outside, the author has a bird’s eye view of the social mentality. Because of this point of view the evil of class segregation and its shameless perpetuation is evidently visible to the reader, but not to the characters.
In the beginning of the story we see that the doll’s house comes from outside. It is foreign. It is new and beautiful with all its red carpets, paintings with golden frames, red and green furniture, beds and bedclothes, cradle, stove, dresser and cutlery. The hook is stuck fast. It takes a bit of effort to open it. It also has a smell that is unbearable. Though it is well decorated and good looking, it emanates a stench so unbearable that it could make any one seriously ill according to Aunt Beryl. But when the attractions within are revealed, they were ready to ignore the stench to embrace the pleasure of the beauty of the doll’s house.
Here, the doll’s house represents the society itself. It has a stench very unbearable. But when opened- like the doll’s house- it reveals the pleasures within and makes everyone forget the stench. The stench is the cancer of social evil; to be precise, class separation and pride. People are ready to be blind to this evil because it gives them access to certain privileges and pleasures. People satisfy themselves with the artificial structures of the society while being inert to the stench of branding in the name of class.
What is the result? The members of the doll’s house become like the father and mother dolls- sprawling very stiff, insensitive and stiff as though they had fainted. And the children- asleep. All of them are unfit for the house. “They didn’t look as thought they belonged”.
There is another important consequence. Most of the observers were overwhelmed by the pomp of the doll’s house, but failed to see the most beautiful object in it- an exquisite lamp with white globe on the dining table, which was so life like. Everyone except Kezia missed the lamp. Why? What made her see it? Kezia is the only one in the family who is not yet indoctrinated with the evil of class system. In the innocence of her childhood, untainted by pretences of pride and prejudice she sees the lamp and liked it frightfully. It was the only thing- animate or inanimate- that fit in the doll’s house. The lamp seemed to smile to Kezia, to say, “I live here”. For her, “it was the best of all”. Even Isabel forgot to mention the lamp while boasting about it! It was the only real thing and it was the only thing unnoticed by the perpetrators of class system.
The school is a place where everyone mixes. It is the same place where innocent children practice the evil of class system learned at home. The Kelvey children- Lil and our Else- were the victims. They were the daughters of a poor but hardworking washerwoman. Her hard work doesn’t earn her respect, but is labeled by her poverty. Her poverty enabled the class society to decide that her husband was in prison. Even teachers looked down upon the Kelveys because they were daughters of a hardworking but poor woman. It is as if people couldn’t understand it was poverty that made Lil wear a dress assembled from curtains and table clothes! Else, an interesting and important character is always silent. No one has seen her smile. It seems she has accepted her fate of being hated. Or may be she represents her class whose heart is frozen because of centuries of being treated with hatred and arrogance.
Little Kezia desired to invite the Kelveys to see the doll’s house. “Certainly not. You know quite well why not” was the answer from her mother. Aunt Beryl also says the same in the end of the story. But truly, does anyone really know why not? I don’t think so. The myth of class is handed down generations as an abstract concept concretized in attitudes and actions. What is the reason? This is a relevant question, and I don’t think the stake holders have a reasonably convincing answer! Lena’s insensitive mockery at school is an evidence of this. Does that child know why she did so? No. She was only following what was instructed. Here we also see that the victims are also trained to take insult- with a silly, shame-faced smile.
Let’s come back to Kezia. She is innocent. Untainted by class system. When she got an opportunity she invited the Kelveys to see the doll’s house. She wanted to share the joy. She has a sense of justice; all have seen the doll’s house, so must the Kelveys. But the guardians of purity pounce on her innocent attempt and thwart her attempt. Aunt Beryl chases the Kelveys and gives Kezia a sermon, cold and proud.
Kelveys take the scolding without surprise and leave the scene. Even the omniscient narrator pretends as if she doesn’t know what’s going on in the Kelvey’s thoughts. But then the sweetest part of the story follows. Before falling silent, with a smile, our Else says, “I seen the little lamp”. The smile is rare, but real. Else shares something in common with Kezia- probably innocence of childhood which enables them to see the lamp. They are content with seeing the lamp. Else’s smile, together with Kezia’s innocence leaves the reader with the hope of a better tomorrow where everyone is equal.

Friday, December 05, 2014

LIFE


Small things.
A look.
A smile.
A pat.
Thoughtful gifts.
Some love.
A little compassion.
Life!



ലൈസന്‍സ്




വണ്ടിയിലോടാന്‍ വേണം ലൈസന്‍സ്
വട വില്‍ക്കാനും വേണം ലൈസന്‍സ്
കുടയുണ്ടാക്കാന്‍ വടിവെട്ടാനും
കുട്ടനുവേണം ലൈസന്‍സൊന്ന്.

കുഞ്ഞുണ്ടാക്കാന്‍ കല്യാണം,
അടിയുണ്ടാക്കാന്‍ കാക്കിത്തൊപ്പി,
പീഡിപ്പിക്കാനാണ്‍ജന്മം,
അഴിമതികാട്ടാന്‍ ഖദറുമതി.


മോട്ടിക്കാനോ ബാങ്കിനു പറ്റും,
പറ്റിക്കാനോ കുത്തക പലത്,
വെട്ടിലുവീഴ്ത്താന്‍ ബിസിനസ്വീരര്‍,
അങ്ങനെ പലവിധ ലൈസന്‍സ് ലഭ്യം.

വ്യഭിചാരത്തിനു കിട്ടും ലൈസന്‍സ്
കൊള്ളപ്പലി‍‍ശയ്ക്കാകാം ലൈസന്‍സ്
ലൈസന്‍സില്ലേല്‍ തിരിമറി കുറ്റം
ലൈസന്‍സാണേല്‍ കാശിനുകിട്ടും!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Father is the son

Death leaves a void no words can fill.

When my dear ones lose, I lose too.
And when they are lost, I am lost.
And the pain! It is staggeringly immense.
Every nerve swells and breaks,
Every cell explodes,
And the heart splatters blood into hair and nails.


He is gone!
After a year, I still bleed.
All that blood cannot fill that void he left.
I realize that the father is the son.
And when a man dies, he lives till his son dies.



Leftovers

They remained.
No one called their names.
No one took them.
They remained. They had to.

They sat oozing death from their eyes.
Through smoking dreams emerged sadness,
Like from a lonely sad chimney.
No place to go. They remained. They had to.

Memory was a curse there
A happy memory always slipped
And hunger, pain lurked fearless
Like vultures waiting for life to flee.


Some thought: of their kids-
Swollen with lust for food;
Of life- lusting with swelling fears.
So they remained. They had to.

Beyond them lay fields dusty.
For no one had a hope to plant!
And when a breeze strayed there,
Desperate dust settled on dry, smacking lips.

So they remained for the end to approach.
A feast for the waiting vulture.
All they had to do was to wait. Just to wait.
So they remained. They had to!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DIY cool refrigerator


Summer is really hot and one would never say that a refrigerator is an unnecessary accessory to keep one's vegetables and beverages fresh and cool. But the price of a refrigerator is so high that one would think of enduring the heat of summer rather than buying that costly apparatus. But here is an idea that can cut cost by 150 times and works quite smart.

This is a DIY (Do It Yourself) project. You can build it yourself. The items you need to assemble this cool refrigerator are available in any village market and are damn affordable- less than the cost of two days' vegetables! And, you don't need to worry about electricity bills. It works on capillary principle-doesn't need electricity!

I have built it a few months ago and it still works well for me. I spent Rs. 110 on two pots. The rest of the items were picked from household articles. A fridge at Rs.110 is quite an attraction, isn't it? Try it. You will like it.


These are the items you need


1. a plastic basin
2. two flower pots 
(with a difference in size so that one can be inserted into the other)
3. a towel
4. water
5. a handful of clean sand
6. a plastic sheet



7. a cleaning cloth



















How to make it your cool refrigerator
1. place your plastic basin in an appropriate location where there is sufficient breeze and no direct sunlight.


2. place the bigger pot in the basin. 
(Note: some flower pots have a drain hole in the bottom. For both the pots, you should plug it using cement before you place them in the basin.)
3. spread a thin layer of clean sand at the bottom uniformly 
(so that both the pots do not grind against each other and damage each other)


4. place the smaller pot inside the bigger one



5. place the plastic sheet inside the smaller pot.
 This prevents moisture troubling your vegetables.


6. arrange your vegetables neatly in the pot. 
Hard ones below and soft ones on top.





7. fill the space between both the pots with clean water, upto the brim

8. wet the towel generously


9. spread it over the pot, carefully covering it. 
(the towel should stay within the plastic basin so that your house remains clean)


10. Ready. Your DIY cool refrigerator is ready. 
Open it after a few hours and feel the vegetables. They will be ice cool.









How to maintain
  1. one should take out the vegetables everyday at least once and dry the walls of the inner pot using a cleaning cloth.
  2. everyday, one should replenish the space between both the pots with fresh water. Never let it dry. This is the engine of your DIY cool refrigerator! If there is no water there, your DIY cool refrigerator dies.
  3. twice everyday, wet the towel and spread it over your DIY cool refrigerator.

NOTE: Some vegetables need deep freezing. They cannot be kept for long in your DIY cool refrigerator. But vegetables like carrot, beetroot, brinjal, snake guard, ivy gourd, etc.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Water Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink




Introduction

            Water is the most indispensable part of life on Earth. Life is born in water; it grows in water and seeks water every moment of its existence. Water determines how healthy one is. It quenches our thirst, refreshes us and makes us clean. In the process, water purifies itself. Freely given to anyone born on the Earth: human, animal or plant, water is our birth right. Nature makes sure that we get enough water for our needs. Water was here when man came to the Earth. Our concerned question today is, whether water would still be there when finally man disappears!

Watery Issues

            Issues regarding water came up not just in the present or past century. Since water was the central and most important necessity, it was always a concern and an issue all through human history. There were wells and community water sources even in prehistoric times where people gathered and shared information. Social ostracism was mere denial of access to the community well which meant sure death or certain punishment. In the so-called civilized modern societies, questions about water have become extremely important because of the population boom, industrialization, and the resulting non-availability of pure drinking water. In the present era, the fate of water has taken another tragic turn. Today, water is not available to everyone on the planet. It has become one of the most valuable and most traded commodities. Therefore, the powerful and the affluent make it their privilege to grab the best water on Earth.

Greed for Water

           To gather whatever is available is human nature. This nature takes us well beyond our actual needs into greed. And all the natural resources are targets of greedy exploitation. Now, when it is the turn of water, we are slowly realizing what greed can do to our race. Survival on this planet depends much on our ability to share what we get freely from nature. When this sharing is made to be based on economic terms, sharing itself becomes an empty term. What one gets freely is sold at a very high price, just because you are able to spend money to appropriate natural resources! Greed for water is the ugliest of its kind, the worst we have ever seen.

Commoditization of Water

            The world today is engaged in a mad rush towards development at any cost. When a giant population like that of China decides to make a ‘great leap,’ there are a lot of facts that go unnoticed. The Three Gorges Dam was such a leap which left a lot of unnoticed facts for us to ‘notice.’ Up the Yangtze (a documentary) is the result of such a ‘noticing.’ But even when we engage in noticing the unnoticed anomalies of our world, we miss out on the giants involved in this commoditization of water, because they act subtly, silently and discreetly. At the Yangtze, they harnessed the power of water, to generate electricity. The Chinese government successfully completed the task and even today proudly upholds the dam as a jewel of development. But when water is marketed like in the Yangtze, our race loses its humanity. Those displaced from Yangtze dam basin had to flee like birds to find a home and to fend for themselves. That is when the eyes of the government turn blind even to the rehabilitation of the displaced people.
            Therefore, I see no difference between bottled water, available at our convenience stores and the harnessed water at dams like the Yangtze. Both are instruments of marginalization and tools for making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer; that is, if we set apart the little advantages they have. Dams displace people in millions, to cater to the needs of cities. Bottling plants and soft drink industries pauperize the water reserves of the earth, to fill the coffers of multinational firms. In both cases, looting happens, in subtle ways.
Ultimately, it is our mother Earth who loses. We are blind or rather, we don’t want to/care to see. So we loot, closing our eyes.

Water Lobbies

            What is all these talk about water? Isn’t water still available for us? Isn’t water still a free commodity? No. No more. Water is the most demanded commodity in this millennium. It is said and quoted again and again that the third world war (if there is one) would be for water. Our age lives up to this saying! Big business firms have increased interest in water as a commodity. Many of our favourite brand names are involved in water business. Since multinational companies have a say in every government on earth, grabbing water resources and exploiting them is not a big deal for them. Empty promises of development are temptations enough for the comprador class to succumb to the MNCs’ deceivingly fat offers.
            It is in this context that we need to look at the amazingly shameless global firms like Bechtel and Edison which bought the whole water system of the River Cochabamba in Bolivia and Coca Cola which destroyed the organic existence of Plachimada village in Kerala, India! But for the women of these two places, these giant firms would have gone unscathed into glory, hands full of money. Merciless water-hunters would have sucked even the last drop of water out of earth’s spine. When money is involved, where is place for human qualities of sharing and generosity?

Major International Players

            The two largest water corporations in the world are French transnational Suez and German energy conglomerate RWE. Ranked 79th and 78th among Fortune's Global 100 List, these two water giants capture nearly 40 percent of the existing water market share. The French company, Vivendi, previously ranked 51st has dropped off the list, but remains a strong contender. These multinationals are now gaining a foothold in the United States, where they operate through a number of subsidiaries.
 Vivendi in over 100 countries and Suez operates in 130; their combined annual revenues are over $70 billion (including $19 billion in water and wastewater services). RWE revenues are currently over $50 billion (energy included), having acquired British water giant Thames Water. After purchasing American Water Works, RWE gained control of the largest U.S. private water utility. This expanded its customer base from 43 million to 56 million people. Other major water corporations include Bechtel, Biwater plc, Bouygues/Saur, U.S. Water, Severn Trent, Anglian Water, and the Kelda Group.
There is more. American insurance giant American International Group acquires small water utilities across the U.S. Our own Indian favourite brand name TATA is into water business (Himalayan Bottled water). There are many other companies in the race- small and big.

What do they sell?

They sell water and water related services. Even our country shops sell water based products including bottled water. What is novel in big companies selling water? There is something novel about it. It is extremely difficult for ordinary people to believe that water is sold on commercial basis, after it is stolen from people. The big water lobbies, with the consent of local governing bodies, extract water from the earth, add colour and even pesticides, and then bottle it, and sell it back to the people. People fall prey to the incredible amount of advertisement, the glitz and glamour of endorsement and buy this bottled poison and drink. That is, water- my birthright, is stolen from me and is being sold back to me! Only our ‘civilized’ society could tolerate such atrocities. Only our ‘educated’ youth could bear such crimes willingly.

How do they sell water?

All major developed, industrialized countries are facing water shortage, and all of them are on the lookout for fresh water springs. The saddest fact is that, as part of globalized privatization, all this has fallen into the hands of private players, whose sole aim is profit. With little social commitment, they will extract water and sell it to those who can afford, leaving the underprivileged at a loss. Yet another form of marginalization!
Private water firms are now setting their sights on the mass export of bulk water by diversion, by pipelines and by supertankers. Already, such devices are used to sell water to those who can pay immediately. Barges carry loads of freshwater to islands in the Bahamas and tankers deliver water to Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Turkey is preparing to sell its water by shipping it on converted oil tankers and through pipeline from the Manavgat River to Cyprus, Malta, Libya, Israel, Greece and Egypt. Incredible! Austria has plans to sell its Alpine water to all of Europe, through pipelines. Israel is already implementing plans to import water from Turkey via sea.
This is only one way. There is another way of selling water. That is through dams. We have seen in Narmada Dam project, that the beneficiaries of the project were not the rural people, who were displaced and thrown away. City dwellers benefitted by the project. Here too, water is grabbed from its owners- people, and is sold to the affluent.
            So, here we are; at the verge of a waterless world. Very much like King Ashoka at the battlefield, looking at dead bodies. The difference is that our world won’t repent!

What can we do to save our planet?

            This is a question to be asked by every responsible citizen of the world. We are running into a trap. Privatization of water distribution systems would mean privatization of natural water resources including rivers, springs and mountain water sources. In such a case, we would not be able to draw water from our sources. Naturally, we will have to subscribe to one of the water business firms for daily supply of water, at the price 'they' fix, for our water. The developed world has already done this. There is a problem with this. This bottle-water culture will necessarily cut the connection human beings have with the earth. Human being who has now become a mere consumer, will no more have to know where from and how this product reaches his/her hands. Gradually, concern for nature, earth and its subsistence will vanish. And like a herd of goats, being led into slaughter house, we will end up killing our race itself.


             
        To prevent this, we need to create awareness about these problems and their possible solutions. We need development, but sustained development. We need our earth to remain as it is for our future generations. We need to extend a helping hand to each other to be firm and steady in fighting for mother earth. Its no more enough to be aware of these things and be silent. We need to act on these things. We need to gather people and spread awareness. This is when great popular movements gain importance for us. A few of such popular movements are outlined below.

Major pro-Water Agitations

            There had been some people around the world who felt the urgency to raise their voices against water theft in various ways. Some did this because they were directly affected. Some others joined this movement because they couldn’t keep quiet seeing such cold-blooded activities. Some of those projects succeeded in uprooting evil forces, some didn’t. But all of them proved to the world that when human beings come together with common and genuine interest, things can and will change.

Plachimada- Fight against a Global Giant Coke

            A thousand day long protest was staged to gain justice, in a small village named Plachimada, in Kerala, South India. Ever since the beginning of this massive peoples struggle, Plachimada was at the centre of water related forums all over the world. Plachimada gains importance because it was a struggle initiated by ordinary people who realized that Coca Cola was putting an end to their livelihood and their lives as well, through their bottling plant in the village.
Mayilamma

            'Thousand Days and a Dream' is a documentary film directed by Sarathchandran and Baburaj, immortalizing the crucial moments of the Plachimada struggle. The dream talked about in the film is about uprooting Coca Cola plant from Plachimada. It took a thousand days to legally move the conscience of the nation to look at the problem with just eyes. Those who took part in the struggle had to give up so many comforts of life. Mayilamma, the village woman who led the struggle is an iconic figure of such concerns of today. She and thousands of other villagers stood firm against all kinds of gimmicks played by the government and Coke. But the villagers had no choice but to struggle. Their village became a living example of what exploitation of water could do to us. The ground water either disappeared or was contaminated. Land became in-cultivable because they used the fertilizer given ‘freely’ by Coke. Therefore, they had to raise their voice against this injustice. Millions of gallons of fresh water extracted daily by Coke, fetched  millions of Dollars for the company and endless misery for the villagers.
            After long, relentless and untiring struggle over the years, finally the Multinational Giant- Coca Cola had to leave the village. Recently, the court ordered the company to pay them a compensation of Rs. 200 Crores.  But justice delayed is justice denied!

Narmada Bachao Andolan

            Another episode of genuine social concern is Narmada Bachao Andolan, which drew new routes of popular struggle against corporate and anti-national interests. The whole issue began decades ago when the plan to build a dam across the river Narmada, in Gujarat was proposed. World Bank had given millions of Dollars for the project. The popular struggle against the dam went on for years. Finally World Bank had to pull out of the project. But our own leaders and bureaucrats did not want the plan to be scraped. So they persevered. In spite of the nation’s conscience, the dam happened. Its reservoir engulfed livelihoods, cultures, traditions and dreams of millions of villagers in Gujarat and neighbouring states. These victims of Narmada Dam will stand for ever as victims of unjust development. The dam catered only to urban interests. The dam has failed to fulfill promises made about rehabilitation and compensation.
         
        Anand Patwardhan’s film, 'The Narmada Diary' portrays the history of this movement through the eyes of the camera. It’s a video diary, kept by the filmmaker to write this great episode of people’s struggle into world history. What is intriguing about this dam project is its size. Narmada is huge in size. This is the largest hydraulic- engineering plan yet devised, with 1 super dam, 29 great dams, 135 medium and 3000 smaller dams, vast irrigation/canalization, embracing 40 million people. Its central hinge is the Sardar Sarovar high dam in Gujarat, whose headwater reservoir and associated canalization will displace over half a million locals – a great swathe of fishers, farmers, and forest-dwellers, now summoned to “make a sacrifice for the nation’. This sacrifice, forcefully inflicted on people is what goes against democracy. India’s integrity as a democratic republic is under stake here. A few powerful and influential people can decide upon the fate of millions of people, without their consent or even knowledge. The unofficial accounts say that Rs. 400 Billion is spent on the dam. This is the bate that hooked the powerful class, to hold on to the idea- you know why!


Cochabamba- Bolivian Struggle
            As mentioned earlier, a consortium of multinational water business firms signed an agreement with the government of Bolivia to undertake the public water distribution system of Cochabamba. Immediately after taking charge, they increased water prices by 35 percent, which angered people of the place. The women of the place got out into the streets and raised their voice. Soon, the movement drew international attention. Many more hands joined the struggle. Millions of emails were sent to the U.N. and other international agencies. Due to this massive resistance, the government had to scrap the project. This is another victory for people of genuine concern for nature.

Yangtze- Contradictions of Development

             'Up the Yangtze' is a beautiful account of what happened in China, when the Three Gorges Dam came up. Under the iron hands of the Red Regime, no one dared to raise their voice. But it is a fact that 2 millions lost their livelihood. The protagonist of the film is a girl named Yu Shui. The Dam submerged her home. After losing everything due to the dam, she had to work on a ship which hosted rich foreign tourists on the same dam’s reservoir! Contradictions pile up as China goes right with an indicator showing left. The luxurious boat floats over a culture that would soon vanish under water. The culture, traditions and livelihood of millions went under water, silently without protest. But today, the dam itself is a memoir of development that lost its direction.



Conclusion

            Water continues to be everyone’s need. But it has ceased to be everyone’s privilege.   Soon it will become the right of a particular class. That is, if we don’t come out of our comfortable corners. What happened to Cochabambinos and Narmada valley inhabitants may happen to you and me tomorrow. Tomorrow, it could be some of us who stand confused at the sight of rising water levels, like Naagi in the Kannada film Dweepa. And today’s world would tell us that such things are not too far in the future. Global warming was a myth till yesterday. Today, every city dweller and village farmer on the face of the earth would vouch for the fact that temperature is rising day by day and rainfall is coming down season by season. In the mad rush for development, we forget to keep the earth safe. We also forget that there are a thousand other generations coming after us, to inhabit our Earth. 

 
            Water needs to be protected. Water needs to be cared for. Nothing is impossible- says Cochabamba and Plachimada. What we need is willingness and openness. We need to act in our little ways, to safeguard the earth. We may not become Medha Patkars, Mayilammas or Anand Patwardhans. But we can genuinely be ourselves and do the little that is in our hands. Awareness needs to be spread among people who think they can make a difference. And more and more people should be made to think that they CAN make a difference. Only then can we make a difference.

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World is thirsty today. But keep in mind, that everyone needs to quench their thirst.