Sabita Kaushal

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Two statues of two great leaders are to be built inside the Narmada river and the Arabian sea. While we know how much they will cost the exchequer, how much will they cost the environment?

What do these two iconic figures -- Shivaji, the great Maratha leader and Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the ‘Iron Man of India’ -- have most in common? While one might think that it was their fight for the freedom of their motherland, albeit at different times, that is not all. Recently, these national heroes have converged at an unlikely meeting point -- statues.  

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How many toilets have been built? Which state leads the pack? Which type of toilet is most popular? All of this and more in our visual analysis of Census 'toilet' data.

Every 10 years, the government gears up to capture colossal amounts of data through its Census.

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Also known as Nagarkot and Kot Kangra, this fort in Himachal Pradesh barely survived the deadly earthquake of 1905. It's broken stones still whisper stories of its water-rich heritage.

"Kangra Fort was so well guarded that it was safer to enter ‘leg first’", says the present scion of the erstwhile Katoch family ( Kat means sword, Unch means high, translated simply - one who is skillful with the sword), who

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A small colony of puppeteers in Delhi 'pull strings' and talk on issues that plague their lives: Water, sanitation and land takeover bids.

All the world’s a stage and all men and women players in it, said Shakespeare. Kathputli Colony in Delhi is living testimony to this. ‘Kath’ means wood and ‘putli’ is the Hindi word for a doll or puppet. What began as a temporary pitching of makeshifts tents in the early 1940’s by street performers from Rajasthan, has today bloomed into a quaint, quiet settlement.

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Waterwheels or 'gharats' have ground wheat since the 7th century, but are now dying a slow death. Our pictures capture this environmentally friendly technology, and those who still persist with it.

Traditional water mills or gharats as they are called in the hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh were once found in nearly every village. Today these mechanisms that use running water to grind wheat, rice and maize and also occassionally to extract oil, have been replaced by electricity run mills. That they are environmentally friendly and green, has been forgotten.  

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Have a glimpse at how water, food and natural defense were an integral part of this fort built in the Sahyadri mountains, northwest of Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

Chhatrapati Shivaji was the brave warrior king whose name is still synonymous with Maharashtra. A military genius par excellence, he launched guerrilla warfare (ambushes, surprise raids, and hit & run tactics) against the numerically superior but inert, traditional Mughal forces. To build on his speed, surprise & manoeuvrability, he constructed or repaired strategically placed forts across the rugged crest of the Western Ghats.

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A set of poems by G Venkatesh, a researcher on water and sanitation issues, seamlessly bring together important issues concerning water in verse form.

An engineer or an ecologist talking about water may not cause many heads to turn, but when they do it through poetry, there is a chance that more people will take notice. With water as the recurrent theme, topics including water and technology, dams and development, scarcity and wastage and other such parallel and often conflicting sentiments are echoed in the booklet titled 'Water for All & Other Poems' by G Vekatesh.

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Students at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library were engaged in an interactive session on different aspects of water including learning how much (or little!) water there is for our consumption.

Every school going child knows that the earth is called the Blue Planet, because nearly 70% of its surface is covered with water. All pictures of the earth show a blue green earth, dotted by land masses. So how would we explain the idea of water scarcity to them?

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Is it the water that flows in it or is it the fauna it sustains? What about the people on its banks? As the discussions at the India Rivers Week found out, it isn't that simple to define a river.

The magic that is a river, brings out a huge canvas of emotions even amongst the most hardened of us. We are in turn exalted and energised when we see a river but today, the river may, in all probability, invoke a feeling of disgust and sheer helplessness. In our relentless march to perceived ‘development’ we have dammed, mined, drained and commoditised this incredible, natural source, that is unfortunately not ours alone. 

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Akhil Gogoi was awarded the ' Bhagirath Prayas Samman' for his dedicated, valiant, untiring efforts to safeguard the integrity of Subansiri river, Assam at the India Rivers Week 2014.

If you saw Akhil Gogoi anywhere on the road, chances are that you may not spare him another look. A quiet young man, with a sparkle in his eyes, and a shy smile on his face, he seems ordinary. But take a minute to talk to him, and you will likely be rooted to your spot. Words tumble out of his mouth, his eyes light up and his belief in what he does is evident.

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