HAS SEPTEMBER NOT COME WITH A BANG ?
Approaching early evening of life, one has to manage with curtailed sleep to find cool, soothing wind, blowing with tolerable drizzle, one September morning.
It turns torrential soon, propelling me to think deeply about the vast amount of water that simply goes waste, almost now and then.
Where are the tall & loud promises for treating million gallons of river polluted water or fresh guidelines for agonising dictum of Rain Water Harvesting?
2) September 2021 may turn out to be wettest in 141 years as per IMD, yet human sobbing or cribbing may not have any limits.
One has read about four Great River Valley Civilisations( RVC)-Mesopotamia, Indus, Egypt and Chinese.
When it came to water development & management, these were reported ahead of times through advance canal irrigation systems or could be, rain water harvesting.
All ignore this positive aspect and go on gulping polluted & contaminated water, day in and day out, wash clothes and pass the residual stuff to already hard pressed flora & fauna.
Prior to going ahead, its upsetting to note the estimated annual rise in global temperature, now, by 1.5 degrees, speeding of melting process of Icebergs of Antarctica and “authorised” killing of 1428 Dolphins on Faroe Island near Scotland as an intrinsic part of four century old tradition.
Trace From Beginning
3) Adam came first, to be joined by Eve.Their pre destined union led to off springs.From a family unit, it was a movement from place to place to get converted into a village, complex thereof and to associations with the passage of time.
When a set of Civilization emerged, a kind of urban settlement too began being formed on fertile river banks.So settled or statics took over from nomadics from Mesopotamians on Tigris-Euphratus rivers, to Indus Valley on Indus River to Egyptians on Nile and to the Chinese on Yellow river.
Old to Present
4) Earlier Mesopotamia (meaning land between rivers) was thought to be oldest to have thrived during 3300 B.C. to 750 B.C.but recent archeological findings have bestowed this title on Indus Valley Civilisation, which was a force to reckon with during 2500 B.C.Even size wise,Harappa part of it was 20 times bigger than Egypt and 12 times larger than combined area of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Its characteristic features were: standardized Weights& Measures,Seal Carving and Mettalurgy with Copper,Bronze.Lead and Tin.
What Made A RVC Special ?
5) A RVC was supposed to be an agricultural entity or a nation located beside and drawing sustenance from a river, according to Wikipedia. Their common features were: large population, agriculture based economy, social & economic hierarchies, unique art & craft traditions and a typical system of territory administration.
Coming to faith, almost all are believed to be Polytheists or having faith in more than one God, adds the same source.
Land was found fertile and their management skills were very good with predominant canal irrigation system.
Regulation of Water resources too impressed. Better utilisation of surface and ground water might have also helped.
Rivers, Dams, Waterfalls
6) Why only river water,as a teenager in Ranchi we were permitted to peddle to dams, such as, Kanke or Dhurwa and Waterfalls, ranging from Dasang to Jonha to Hundru to enjoy Picnic.
The stagnant but clean water would be used both for cooking and drinking, followed by a night of marvellous sleep.
Or in late Eighties, on the high altitudes of Sikkim, Himachal, Arunachal or Uttarakhand, my freshly joined Better Half would stop the old vehicle every now and then to feel crystal clear water from roadside tiny waterfalls, which would be splashed over my face without prior hint, much to her bemusement and that of late Passang, my old trusted driver hailing from Yangthang in West Sikkim.
There were no mobiles, no worries, no anxieties or expectations.Life would move on without any premise, precondition or blockage.
Present Abode Activates & Ignites Mind
7 ) Living now in a modest 3 BHK apartment in the outskirts of Delhi, one notes a lot from media about high Air Quality Index (AQI) from October to February but most of them keep conveniently off from Automobile noise pollution, rampant dust pollution and faster decline in the depth of ground water.
REVERSION TO MESOPOTAMIA
8) With this, we move on to attempt a brief case analysis of present plight of Farhat and Siruwan rivers of Mesopotamia times, passing through and supporting the livelihood in present day Turkey and Iran. One element appears common- unbelievable high degree of biotic interference, aided and abated by capital intensive projects, such as, large dams and barrages.
According to WION T.V. channel, hundreds of Iraqis had to be hospitalized some time back ,upon drinking polluted water.A villager’s candid view was
“No fish or aquatic life was found in the dying river for a long time”.
It is akin to major portions of Hindon river in NCR and may be, in some stretches of legendary Yamuna, pasing through Delhi.
Why only Iraq, parts of Syria and Turkey are also facing such challenges, albeit, in smaller degree.
Its the same story pertaining to civilised people living on Siruwan river or for that matter on Great Nile river of Egypt, which appeared in September 1997, a poor reflection of its former self.
9) Reacting to emerging developments, while Iran is blaming construction of two huge dams by Turkey, latter has defended its position by stating that only a water divergent tunnel was under execution which may not have any adverse impact.
Fact remains that both Farhat and Siruwan rivers located in the erstwhile prosperous Mesopotamia region have not only turned into lean and thin entities but are causing rapid fall in cultivation resulting into drought and famine, which is bound to lead to Exodus of struggling people.
10) People of Iraq who have been exploited and devastated by Saddam Hussain and later by the neo imperialists, continue to bear the brunt due to nothing less than onslaught on once clean, vibrant and user friendly river systems.
SITUATION SIMILAR ON HOME FRONT
11) Back home, on the reverse side, Ganga Mata too appears furious with her so called secular followers by crossing her banks in Prayagraj, Kanpur, Varanasi, Patna and Monghyr. Similar is the anger on the part of Brahamputra, Hoogly, Koshi, Gandak and some rivers of Andhra, M.P.,West Bengal and Rajasthan.
While all of us see, hear and feel, who will dare to take the plunge to indulge into a kind of unbiased thought process in this age of Global Warming and lay foundation stone for a more advanced ,lasting and Sustainable River Valley Civilisation?
DO WE STILL WAIT AND WATCH ?
(The author is former Chief Secretary, Sikkim)