The state of Rajasthan has an immense range of ancient and ingenious water harvesting systems, like the famous johads or step wells managed by communities in the arid Thar desert, which receives very low rainfall.
“Can you see the alternating bands of light and shadow in the sky?” Chattar Singh asks me. When I nod in affirmation, he continues, “This is Mogh. There are clouds where the sun is setting right now. If we get a favourable wind, these clouds will reach here and we may get rain by night. In desert, people live by such clues from nature.”
Western Rajasthan is dotted by thousands of ponds, many of which are architectural wonders. Among these, Gadsisar (also called Gadisar) stands out. Besides its unparalleled expanse and architecture, the pond narrates tales of sacrifice, dedication and ingenuity but more importantly, it upholds water as being superior to any class and caste divide.
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Guest Post by: Kurush Canteenwala
It is the week after Holi and we are sitting in Netsinh, 8 kilometers from Ramgadh, 65 kilometres from Jaisalmer City, in Jaisalmer District. Derawar Singh is throwing a daavat for the new tractor that he has purchased, and bakra has been cut for the occasion. Netsinh has a population of 250 families, all of whom are pashupalans, ‘animal caretakers’ and they have been in this location for at least 12 generations. One Net Singh, a common ancestor to most of the village, settled here. Amidst the half day long festivities, the conversation revolves around the growing evidence that they are in the midst of both, an ‘akaal’ and a deadly outbreak of disease. The numbers of bhed-bakri that are dropping dead has not been seen by the elders amongst them in 30 years.