A National Seminar on Water and Culture was organised by Sahayoga and Kannada University between June 25-27 2007. The seminar was intended to provide useful documentation to those working on water and agricultural management systems, those interested in integrating these traditional techniques with modern practices and to those working towards providing sustainable access to water and food, for all common citizens.
With this in mind the seminar had six areas of interest:
The papers range from those studying the deification of water in Indian and other religions, to those studying water management techniques of ancient India and other countries. Some papers compared ancient water management technologies in different parts of India which were still working today, while others pointed out to their state of neglect.
The role of Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) as a technique for equitable water distribution and maintenance of water management systems was also brought out. Reasons for their decline were surprising as they included government ownership and the role of groundwater extraction.
The papers provide a glimpse of a past where water was a common responsibility and where technology was a product of this common responsibility. The need to learn from these ancient techniques to ensure equitable and sustainable water distribution has been eloquently put forth by these papers and presentations.
About the organisers
Kannada University was established in 1992 to teach and conduct research on the Kannada language & literature, epigraphy, folk culture, tribal studies, tradition & visual arts, music.
Sahayoga is a a non-profit, non-government, promotional network organization. It connects professionals, farmers, Government institutions & the general public in the development, conservation & management of natural resources in India - in particular, with water.
About the location
Hampi, was the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire which ruled a major portion of South India during the 14-16th centuries. Situated on the Tungabhadra river, Hampi has also been mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana as Nagari and Pampakshetra. Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Besides its magnificent architecture, Hampi was also known for its water management systems. The Maratha king Shivaji is said to have visited Hampi on his way from Mysore to Pune and adopted some of the water management systems in his kingdom. Records show that there were some 18 diversion structures on the Tungabhadra that brought water for domestic purposes and for irrigation. Today some of the agricultural land in this region, still benefits from these ancient water management systems. Therefore it was an apt place to host this National Seminar on Water and Culture.
We thank the organisers - Sahayoga and Kannada University, for making the seminar proceedings available to us and the wider public.
Access the papers here: