Books and Book Reviews
Water touches our lives in many ways. Our childhood memories are often entwined with the rivers that we have crossed, lakes that we have seen and the ponds that we may have jumped in. In his Bharat Darshan, the author Kaka Kalelkar travels across the length and breadth of the country and takes us to many such places we may have visited but have probably forgotten about.
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.
Mahananda, a major River of north Bihar rises in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It meets the Ganga after a journey of 376 km through the flat lands of Bihar, West Bengal and Bangladesh. It would spill its banks because of the flat slopes, causing deluge and waterlogging in the Katihar district of Bihar.
Narmada, a name that translates into ‘One that bestows happiness’ will, in the next 20 years, pass through turbulent times. The question is not of the distance or the journey that this river covers, but the various points at which this ancient river is intercepted by new, modern dams.
Motivated by Anupam Mishra's 'Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Tallab', this book describes the history of the ponds in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh including details on how these ponds were established and what caused their untimely deaths. Anil Yadav takes us down this path, weaving together myths and lost legends with intricate details of the ponds' construction and economics.
In 1881, there was one tank every 15 square miles in the then state of Karnataka. These tanks irrigated more than 7 lakh acres of land. Tanks were the major source of irrigation and the system was completely managed by beneficiaries, their construction considered a meritorious deed. Their neglect began under the British rule, and continues till the present day ‘big dam’ commitment.
Water scarcity is being felt all across the world today. A major contributor to this loss is the excessive mining of groundwater and the lack of understanding of how traditional water sources in the villages, ponds and wells, contribute in keeping villages self sufficient .