As Baghjan burns I find myself (almost like everyone of us) entangled in heap of anxieties that comes from my association and experience with societies and institutions across the region. As Baghjan is not a case in isolation I find myself compelled to inform what cause my anxiousness. I should add, reliving and writing the self is not always a happy exercise even when one knows one is politically and morally obliged to do so. Yet, I write because much about Baghjan will be determined by what we choose to see in the sufferings and loss. What we see determines how we respond, how we care and for how long. It will decide what we will fight for in the various phases of its healing/curing. It will tell us when we will choose to withdraw our love and responsibilities.
“Run for your lives, you cannot save your precious belongings, your houses from the raging floods! The ‘run of the river’ is faster and far more destructive than your own governments in New Delhi and Dispur, and the ‘hydro madmen’ keep offering false assurances about, all the time! Run, because public hearings are of no value and environmental impact assessments are mere token gestures!”
The problem of flood in Assam is heading towards a change in character, making the problem much graver and insoluble. This is not sudden but we have been noticing flashes of this change for the last decade. The fact that many rivers in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts have been shallowed by sand, that the paddy fields have been entombed in sand, that there is deposition of sand instead of alluvium during flood, that there is no fish and wood in the flood waters meaning that the graveness of the problem is heading towards a cataclysm. Flood in Assam is no longer a problem, it has become a catastrophe instead.
In the past, interactions between the land and the sea in the southern part had initiated continental and marine deposition, creating mineral resources. Among them, coal and limestone occur in an east-west direction in Meghalaya’s south, and the coal has a high sulphur content. This is because, unlike most of the coal in India, which is deposited in the large basins of the Permo-Carboniferous age (299 to 359 million years ago), Meghalayan coal was formed in lagoons much later (50 to 33 million years ago). As a result, the coal seams are lensoidal: thick in the middle but pinching out laterally, and with a scattered distribution. And because of these reasons, it is not possible to use the same mining plan that engineers use to mine coal in other parts of the country. In other words, and professionally speaking, Meghalayan coal is not a mineable asset.
“The Ken is considered to be one of India’s cleaner rivers. It is part of the Ganga basin and meets the Yamuna at Chilla Ghat in Banda District, Uttar Pradesh. To closely understand the Ken, this walk along the Ken was organised by SANDRP – South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People from Delhi and Veditum India Foundation from Kolkata. The difficult terrain of the Ken River and the harsh weather required this journey to be undertaken in multiple parts (June 2017, October 2017 and April 2018) and took 33 days to complete this over 600 km journey on foot, where they discussed issues of the river, water, agriculture, the proposed Ken Betwa project and other socio-environmental topics with villagers in over 60 villages.”
The Umtrew River flows through mostly the Ri-Bhoi district. A number of dams vital for electricity generation lay along its path. It acts as a border along the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary along a certain stretch. Its value towards preserving wildlife cannot be exaggerated.
Why “Namami Brahmaputra” is a disservice to the people of the Brahmaputra Valley
What probably were once scenic and beautiful rivers and streams have been reduced to smelly black waters, full of all denominations of solid waste conceivable and something which people only stop to consider, when they have the dire urge to urinate.
How to kill a river in Shillong? a report
Two years back I visited my alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, to meet up with an old classmate of mine who is…
The way we think about saving our planet is entirely wrong.
Roads arrive with an announcement of some form of modernity. Roads arrive with the spirit of the State. Roads arrive with the echo of the law.
Recently during my college break, a heavy boredom overcame me and I decided that it was time to get out of the house and enjoy nature. My inability to drive at the time greatly limited my range, but luckily for someone who lives in Shillong, the Shillong Reserve Forest offers a wonderful location to bask in nature’s glory without travelling too far.
In Pnar, Myntdu is known as “katawiarkatakan,” meaning “our guardian angel.” Ironically, the “guardian angel” today is lifeless; decades of coal mining in the Jaintia Hills have all but destroyed this once thriving river. Elders, who are founding members of Borghat-Jaliakhola Aquatic Life Welfare Association (BJALWA), are hosting the riverine festival to take a stand for the health of their “mother” in deep peril.The mission of BJALWA is to reconnect tribal communities with Myntdu, revitalize their culture and to spark action and dialogue for restoration efforts.
Amar Kanwar began as a documentary filmmaker, later expanding his practice to multi-channel video installation. While he works strictly with documentary and archival images, Kanwar employs various methods of editing and presentation to exceed their immediate facticity, conjuring atmosphere, underlying motives, and furtive histories. This is a (re)viewing diary of Amar’s latest work The Sovereign Forest
Stickboy on Mawlynnong hypocrisy