Chicu Lokgariwar

  • It is difficult to make small talk with a woman who has lost her all. Khair-un-Nissa had generously invited me to her home for a meal, a curry made of the famously succulent Black Haringhata hen, no less. The curry was special but it was her house that impressed me most. The bamboo and straw struct...
    chicuposted 5 years 4 months agoread more
  • The Ramganga has many impediments in the course of its 655 kilometer stretch from its origin in the mountains of Uttarakhand to its confluence with the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh. In addition to the Kalagarh Dam, there are already two barrages along its length and now a third one is coming up a few kilo...
    chicuposted 5 years 5 months agoread more
  • 1999 was an interesting real estate year for Mehdiganj village in Uttar Pradesh. Someone began buying up land adjoining a soft drink factory owned by the Parle Company. They also began buying land from the farmers except the farmers had no idea as to whom they were selling the land to. As the bounda...
    chicuposted 5 years 6 months agoread more
  • The Himalayas were born of continental shift when the Indian subcontinent challenged the larger Asian landmass. This tortured birth still continues making the region susceptible to landslides and earthquakes. In addition to this geological fact, climate change is altering rainfall patterns and leadi...
    chicuposted 5 years 8 months agoread more
  • The twin sisters:  Bihar is a land of fertile farms bearing sugarcane, wheat, rice, gram and pulses. Interspersed between the fields are venerable mango groves. Of Bihar's children, perhaps none is as universally loved as Sita. The village that she was born in -Sitamarhi- welcomed another daugh...
    chicuposted 5 years 8 months agoread more
  • Gamalibai is a farmer in Malkaipeta Thanda, a small tribal hamlet of the Lambadi community in Ibrahimpur village, Ranga Reddy district in Andhra Pradesh. She does not have much in common with the image of the hearty, prosperous farmer that beams at us from posters selling agricultural machinery. Tha...
    chicuposted 5 years 10 months agoread more
  • When Panchamlal Mahto was a toddler, he would frequently squat and poop as the urge took him irrespective of where he was. His mother would take a handful of ash and sprinkle it over the 'gift'. The ash would absorb the liquid, enabling the whole mess to be easily swept away. Back then, Vinita was s...
    chicuposted 5 years 10 months agoread more
  • In the 60-odd years since we began managing our own resources, we have managed to throttle and poison all our rivers, suck our groundwater resources nearly dry and shave our forests bald. This is despite a great deal of effort, time, thought and resources that have gone into this 'management'.So far...
    chicuposted 5 years 10 months agoread more
  • Numerous small villages dot the Himalayas. These villages obtain water from springs that are in their turn supplied by small aquifers. Due to the complex folded nature of the rocks that make up the mountains, the area from which these aquifers receive their water may be at some distance away from th...
    chicuposted 5 years 11 months agoread more
  • The Yamuna Manifesto -or Yamuna Nama- is a bilingual book with passages in both Hindi and English, published as part of the Yamuna Elbe project. In five deceptively short sections, the book takes us from the birth to the river to its future. The Manifesto is exhaustively researched and includes in o...
    chicuposted 5 years 11 months agoread more
  • Manipal University has a well-thought out, multi-pronged approach towards reducing its environmental footprint. This includes a comprehensive waste management policy and a programme to reduce energy consumption. It has rainwater harvesting systems equipped with the very latest in filters, three sewa...
    chicuposted 5 years 12 months agoread more
  • Himalayan forests span a two-and-a-half thousand kilometer stretch and have a wide range of climates; they are beset by problems that need innovative solutions. Rajesh Thadani discussed these problems and possible solutions at  the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit organised in Kohima, Se...
    chicuposted 6 years 5 days agoread more
  • Riverside apartments are in great demand these days. This has led to a surge in the number of apartments built along rivers that flow through urban areas. These same 'premium' apartments are encroaching on the river's channel and are therefore most vulnerable to the floods that they help create by c...
    chicuposted 6 years 2 weeks agoread more
  • Flowing through Tibet, northern India and Pakistan, the Indus is the western-most major river of the Indus-Ganga-Brahmaputra basin. This basin extends over most  of South Asia from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas, excluding Peninsular India, and carries the rain that falls in this region to the I...
    chicuposted 6 years 1 month agoread more
  • The venerable Imperial Gazetteer says, 'Viewed from a distance Lucknow presents a picture of unusual magnificence and architectural splendour, which fades on nearer view ...' (Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 16, p. 196). Nearly all the Lucknowis I met assured me that the Gomti was the same way. "The...
    chicuposted 6 years 2 months agoread more
  • As temple tanks go, this one is quite beautiful. It is a rectangular masonry-lined tank, about the size of a badminton court. Brick steps lead down to the water. On one of its longer sides is a lovely old temple, shaded by mango trees. Groups of men and women sit and gossip in the coolness. Facing t...
    chicuposted 6 years 3 months agoread more
  • “What is in a name? That which we call a rose, would smell as sweet by any other”, goes the line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. There is quite a lot in a name, Juliet, especially if attaching the wrong terminology to a process is used to appropriate public funds - Rs. 800 crores, in fact. ...
    chicuposted 6 years 3 months agoread more
  • Charba is a small village in Uttarakhand with a population of 10,000. It is located in the 'Vikas Nagar' area just beyond Dehradun - a section that the government has denoted an industrial area. This little village shot to fame when Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages (HCCB) decided to build a plant there...
    chicuposted 6 years 3 months agoread more
  • Rajkumar needs no urging to talk about Sundari. She is evidently a favourite of his. When we met, he regaled me with stories of her beauty, her smartness and her incredibly sweet nature. When he finally brought her out to meet me, I failed to see any signs of a winning personality or of towering int...
    chicuposted 6 years 4 months agoread more
  • Reams have been written about Sacchidanand Bharti, of Ufrenkhal fame and his work on afforestation and water conservation. However, very rarely does he speak about his own efforts and experiences. One such rare occasion was Environment Day on June 5th 2013 when he delivered the S. L. Shah Memor...
    chicuposted 6 years 4 months agoread more

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China's Zangmu dam has created an uproar in the Indian media. Here's why we should be more concerned about what India is doing.

'Brahmaputra edge lost to China' screamed the front page of one of India's leading newspapers on October 17, 2015. This was followed by outraged discussions over the impact of China's dam on downstream India.

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Van Panchayats have only been successful in conserving their forests with the enthusiastic participation of women. This is how to increase women's leadership in forest conservation.

When I first spoke with Bhagoti Devi, I attempted to break the ice by telling her how warmly our mutual acquaintances spoke of her. She was nonchalant. "Of course they will recommend you speak to me”, she said. “After all, it took a lot of hard work to have such a thick forest standing here.”

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Tribal governments can manage village natural resources better than elected Panchayats. Jarjum Ete, President of the All India Union of Forest Working People, explains why.

The Galo tribe has lived in the Eastern Himalayan forests for centuries. Like their neighbours, this tribe had a well-defined territory, the boundaries of which were marked by various topographical features such as rock formations or mountain ridges. Kalidasa's Meghdoot, which describes the journey of a cloud, might have believed that it was floating over a vast unbroken forest but these were well-managed areas inhabited by villages.

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Fluorosis was first discovered in Madhya Pradesh in 1997. Since then half the state has been affected. The people involved in combating the spread of this disease in the state share their story.

It was 1995. A 34 year old doctor working in the Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Jabalpur received an appeal for help from the District Collector of Mandla, Madhya Pradesh.

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Dengue epidemics are escalating in India. Here's (mostly) everything that you need to know.

I keep seeing news about dengue everywhere. Why is it such a big deal?

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The Millenium Development Goals aimed to halve the number of people with no access to water & sanitation. "Who are these people?", asks Leo Heller of the UN Office for Human Rights.

Indian activists have been campaigning for the last three years for a justiciable right to water and sanitation. According to the framework of this right, it provides a legal framework to hold states accountable, and provides principles to assist states in prioritising where resources should be dedicated.

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It was not enough for the Mughals to just harvest rainwater but the structure needed to form a lilting backdrop to life in their palaces as exemplified by the Jahaz Mahal. What can we learn from it?

Ghiyas-ud-din-khilji is a man about whom history is confused. Contemporary records speak of 'a lover of peace, particular in his daily prayers'. Modern references invariably mention his (unsubstantiated) harem of 15,000 women.

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Although fluoride contamination was identified in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh a decade ago. children of some villages still continue to fall victim to skeletal and dental fluorosis causing bone deformities.

Urmila can neither walk upright, nor run about, nor do her chores easily. She is loved in her parents' house and they do not grudge her the extra care she requires. In rural India, this state of affairs does not last long for a girl, especially since she's only six years old. 

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The monsoons regularly lead to road blocks and panicking pilgrims being airlifted out of Garhwal. Can this repeated narrative change especially since the Char Dham isn't an ancient practice at all?

'To be or not to be' may well be the new mantra for people undertaking the Himalayan Char Dham pilgrimage this year.

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The time taken for villages in Nainital district, Uttarakhand to resolve their spring-related disputes has shrunk from two year to six months. Here's why.

I first met Kunti and Priya at a meeting of the Springs Initiative, which is a network of organisations and individuals working across India to restore their springs. Both from Kulgad village, they had come to talk about the work they had done on their spring.

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