Usha Dewani

  • It is that time of the year when the empty granaries wait for the maturing paddy to fill them. Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu (Kongal means poor while Kati is the Assamese seventh month where farmers await their harvest) is the most placid of the three Bihus (Assamese agriculture festival) celebrate...
    Usha Dewaniposted 1 year 10 months agoread more
  • Women in Salmora area of Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island and India’s first island district, practise their traditional form of pottery--the one that does not use a wheel but is hand beaten to shape and uses a viscid kind of clay. As the Brahmaputra eats away huge swathes of land year...
    Usha Dewaniposted 2 years 1 day agoread more
  • Guwahati, one of the fastest growing cities in India, is thousands of years old. Once known as Pragjyotishpura or the city of eastern light, Guwahati has many ancient stories attached to it. This beautiful city finds mention in epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. Guwahati served as ...
    Usha Dewaniposted 2 years 6 days agoread more
  • In what is considered the worst flood in a decade, the flood in Assam this year has swept over 2,800 villages away and submerged more than two lakh hectares of crop. More than 26 lakh people have been affected in 28 out of 34 districts of the state. There have been many casualties, too. India has t...
    Usha Dewaniposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • Come monsoon, the villages in the Sundarbans islands witness nature’s fury with floodwaters overriding all boundaries and inundating huge tracts of land. As such, the earthen embankments, stretching to 3600 kms on the 54 inhabited islands out of a total of 102 in the Sundarbans, protect scores of ...
    Usha Dewaniposted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • Urban water bodies have an important role in the urban ecology. It is not just a source or water collected somewhere but is an integral part of life--a haven for different types of trees, insects, birds and small animals. For a densely populated city like Kolkata, ponds serve as a kind of oasis that...
    Usha Dewaniposted 2 years 3 months agoread more
  • "A job isn’t just a job. It’s who you are". That quote seems to define the five people who are being honoured for their extraordinary dedication in ensuring water to the people in Nagaon and the newly declared Hojai district of Assam. What better way to celebrate the theme of World Water Day 201...
    Usha Dewaniposted 2 years 6 months agoread more
  • Sirkoo, a 39 year old woman in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, walked 8 km every day to fetch water. As a woman, it was obviously her responsibility to ensure the household's water availability. This put an additional stress on her already depleted health as well as time--until she decided to tackl...
    sabitakaushalposted 2 years 6 months agoread more
  • No temple is as venerated in Uttarakhand as the little unassuming naulas. These small hut-like structures dot the mountains and hold within them a great treasure--water. Usually made of stone masonry with pyramid-like slate roofs, every naula respresents within it a residing spirit which can ra...
    chicuposted 2 years 8 months agoread more
  • For many in Rapar taluka of Kutch, migration was a way of life due to the absence of rainfall; they went in search of greener pastures. But when the people realised their collective potential and how they could use it to resolve water scarcity in their villages, there was no stopping them ,and the c...
    Usha Dewaniposted 3 years 7 months agoread more
  • The Brahmaputra, one of the mightiest rivers in the world, has many stories to tell as it journeys from Tibet through India and finally finds its way to the Bay of Bengal. Sadly, many of these tales are not happy. Known for its disastrous flooding, the monsoon season is play time for the r...
    Usha Dewaniposted 3 years 8 months agoread more
  • Khonoma village resisted British rule in the region from 1830s to 1880 and is therefore considered as the last bastion of Naga warriors against the British. But today, the village is also known for upholding its rich indigenous erudition. In the last decade, the village has stood out for its e...
    Usha Dewaniposted 3 years 10 months agoread more
  • It is a labour of love. For 10 years, the team at Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development (NEPeD) held this experiment close to their hearts- a daunting task that is lighting up lives in far-off villages in the mountains of Nagaland today. The hydroger has made way for many ...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 3 weeks agoread more
  • Located at an altitude of 1270 metres , Kikruma, a quaint village nestled in a rainshadowed area of Phek district of Nagaland is a wonder. Centuries ago, the village evolved a self-organizing system to take care of its water, forest and farm management. ‘Zabo’, which means 'impounding water', is...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 1 month agoread more
  • Born out of the sea, the Ganga basin is a playground of the rivers coming down from the Himalayas. Floods are not a new thing in Bihar, a state in the lap of these flood plains. For centuries, the people here have lived with these waters, with the floods washing away their lands once a year, slowly,...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 4 months agoread more
  • “Water flows humbly to the lowest level. Nothing is weaker than water, yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, nothing surpasses it.”– Lao TzuAt a time when many predict that water could be the cause of the Third World War, there is a small oasis of hope tucked away in the hills of Nagalan...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 5 months agoread more
  • Climate change poses a threat to all. Be it forests, water or agriculture- it affects everything. India's Northeast, particularly, has witnessed a great deal of this impact. Sikkim, the physical bridge between the Northeast and mainland India, is also bearing the brunt of climate change in a myriad ...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 5 months agoread more
  • As a run up to World Water Day 2014, India Water Portal conducted a Grassroots Comics workshop with Field Facilitators, Barefoot Engineers and other field workers of the Dhara Vikas Programme. The Programme is an initiative of the Government of Sikkim through its Rural Management and Development Dep...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 5 months agoread more
  • “Posua botah”, he said, “the wind is blowing from the west now so we cannot take you to the beel to show you how we catch fish. This wind cleans the water and we won’t get fish. 'Bhatial botah', when the wind blows from the east, the water turns muddy and the fish come up to the surface to b...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 6 months agoread more
  • This was my first time here. I had heard of this festival, perhaps the only existing one in India, where barter takes place at such a scale. Jon Beel mela in Jon Beel, Jagiroad Assam- a historic festival where people from the hills and plains come together for a unique exchange of goods and agricult...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 6 months agoread more

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Paddy in Assam saw severe pest attack this year causing large-scale crop damage. Coming soon after repeated floods, this has resulted in huge economic loss to the farmers and the exchequer.

It is that time of the year when the empty granaries wait for the maturing paddy to fill them. Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu (Kongal means poor while Kati is the Assamese seventh month where farmers await their harvest) is the most placid of the three Bihus (Assamese agriculture festival) celebrated without much pomp or splendour.

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With much of Salmora lost to the insatiable Brahmaputra river, the potters of Majuli stand at a crossroad, uncertain how long they can continue their unique craft.

Women in Salmora area of Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island and India’s first island district, practise their traditional form of pottery--the one that does not use a wheel but is hand beaten to shape and uses a viscid kind of clay. As the Brahmaputra eats away huge swathes of land year after year, the clay that these potters use is being taken away by the river. 

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Regions

Most of the ponds in Guwahati are in a sorry state now. They need to be preserved, not just as heritage sites, but also as drinking water providers and collectors of surface runoff.

Guwahati, one of the fastest growing cities in India, is thousands of years old. Once known as Pragjyotishpura or the city of eastern light, Guwahati has many ancient stories attached to it. This beautiful city finds mention in epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas.

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Underprivileged children are the most affected by Assam’s annual floods. Their schools washed away and health affected, they also fall prey to nefarious activities.

In what is considered the worst flood in a decade, the flood in Assam this year has swept over 2,800 villages away and submerged more than two lakh hectares of crop. More than 26 lakh people have been affected in 28 out of 34 districts of the state. There have been many casualties, too.

Topics

Sub-Categories

Regions

When climate change threatens the existence of Sundarbans’ mangroves, villagers get together to plant millions of them to protect the fragile ecosystem.

Come monsoon, the villages in the Sundarbans islands witness nature’s fury with floodwaters overriding all boundaries and inundating huge tracts of land. As such, the earthen embankments, stretching to 3600 kms on the 54 inhabited islands out of a total of 102 in the Sundarbans, protect scores of people from floods and tidal waves. But what protects these embankments from angry tides? It’s the mangroves.

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About 44 percent of Kolkata city's ponds have disappeared in the last two decades. The importance of preserving these water bodies that serve as a lifeline for people cannot be overemphasised.

Urban water bodies have an important role in the urban ecology. It is not just a source or water collected somewhere but is an integral part of life--a haven for different types of trees, insects, birds and small animals. For a densely populated city like Kolkata, ponds serve as a kind of oasis that support diverse life forms, replenishing groundwater and providing water to about a million people who has made the city home. But once ubiquitous, the ponds in the city are today, slowly giving up to the pressure of urbanisation.

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Celebrations for World Water Day 2016 in Nagaon, Assam personify passion by honouring grassroots water-workers for their thankless efforts.

"A job isn’t just a job. It’s who you are". That quote seems to define the five people who are being honoured for their extraordinary dedication in ensuring water to the people in Nagaon and the newly declared Hojai district of Assam.

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Women are not only responsible for water but they also face the brunt of water scarcity. Watch the video to find out what happens when these women become 'Jal Sahelis' (water friends).

Sirkoo, a 39 year old woman in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, walked 8 km every day to fetch water. As a woman, it was obviously her responsibility to ensure the household's water availability. This put an additional stress on her already depleted health as well as time--until she decided to tackle the issue head on.

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Constructing naulas, the small structures that house springs in Uttarakhand, requires an intimate knowledge of many sciences. One of the last practitioners of this dying craft tells his story.

No temple is as venerated in Uttarakhand as the little unassuming naulas. These small hut-like structures dot the mountains and hold within them a great treasure--water. Usually made of stone masonry with pyramid-like slate roofs, every naula respresents within it a residing spirit which can range from a simple stone piece to an ornately carved statue. Often, there is also an alcove big enough for a lamp. Inside, the naulas are shaped like a step-well. The number of steps--always odd in count--are usually 3, 5, 7 or more.

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Reduced migration, better hygiene practices and access to information on govt. schemes were only some of the achievements of villages in Rapar, Gujarat. The videos tell the full story.

For many in Rapar taluka of Kutch, migration was a way of life due to the absence of rainfall; they went in search of greener pastures. But when the people realised their collective potential and how they could use it to resolve water scarcity in their villages, there was no stopping them ,and the compulsion to migrate reduced.

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