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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.