Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dammed!

That's what we are...in the debate on the Narmada project.
Damned by the media, damned by the government and damned by journalists who can equate Medha Patkar with Advani without blinking an eye!

To compare Patkar (who i think after Gandhi has effectively been able to question the morality of law) with Advani (who i hold as no better than a fascist) is nothing short of outrageous and only reflects your shallow understanding of this country.

in case anyone is still wondering ( which i doubt) i am clearly for the NBA.

as for people who are questioning her fast and have termed it as" the country's development being held ransom to someone's whims and fancies" (this includes BK Verghese and Saubhik Chakravarthy)I question your understanding of human rights or even of the Constitution of this country. and just to remind you, this has been a step that Patkar has resigned to after several letters and several meetings and several cases filed.

1,50,000 people who have unwillingly agreed to give up their livelihoods, ancestral land and homelands so that we can have electricity and more water...can we not even assure them of what they have been promised? Raising the height of the dam now is going to create more homeless people. All Patkar is asking for is to rehabilitate those who have already been displaced before creating more displaced people. and we begin to brand her as being "anti development"?

I am not going to refrain to the famous, " Imagine your houses being washed down or your lifetime of accumulation being submerged" kind of rhetoric coz' i think we have come a long way since that with the Narmada debate.

there is the larger issue of Big Dams itself, which is something i question again. for me it is nothing short of technology dumping and Nehru's "Big is beautiful" and "dams as temples of modern india" ideology which continues to haunt us...and an entire generation meekly submits to laid down norms of "development". Have we already resorted to the famous TINA (There Is No Alternative) argument?

18 Comments:

At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Sanyam said...

Although i am vehemently against the likes of Medha Patkar who, i believe, have held up the development projects around the country, I do agree that it is only because of people like her that the mind-numbing carelessness of the state while planning such projects has been highlighted...

So here's a thumbs up for the struggle...

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Gaurav said...

Politics: greatest sin on earth.
Law : there is none in India.
So I'll prefer not to talk about these dirty topics.
But I could not understand why Govt. is dying to complete that project, probably they are trying to find a way to increase problems for public and to reduce already scarce water resources. Else they would not have set another committee to review what they were doing.

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger Sanyam said...

Dear Gaurav,
the govt is dying to complete it b'coz this project has been in construction since independence. To stop work now would be a HUGE loss of face for the govt. Whatever the shortcomings of the project may be, i think it is high time the project should be completed, as the delay is eating up more of taxpayers' money.

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Mirchii said...

You should be in politics. Maybe then we can hope to change India... and the world, baad mein. After we take over the US, and become a world power! JAI!

 
At 2:21 AM, Anonymous schazeb kohari said...

hey Vibha
my comments dont display on your blog, i dont know why... have you blocked my id or something

 
At 3:26 AM, Blogger Vibha said...

mirchii!!
no way babe!! politics is not for me...i mean i wouldn't join it..i take keen interest and love reading up on political history. and i don't think politics is necessarily damming. coz i think we need to have political stands and opinions and i definitely see politics as empowering in one sense.
but i would definitely love to be a part of a process that stirs up a lost conscience.

oh and one more thing...i dont' believe in superpowers. i believe in coexistence. ethical and harmonious.

schazeb!
:) ha!!
i wouldn't do that to anyone. didn't even do it some days ago when i was totally blasted for my posts and called names..

gaurav and sanyam..
we really need to look up alternatives before such mindless planning. wait up and watch out for the next big disastrous piece of planning in the form of interlinking rivers...

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Sanyam said...

it's not really a question of waiting before the nxt mindless disaster happens... we can play our bit in preventing it... mainly by tireless publicity of such schemes...their (supposed) advantages and disadvantages... the way you try to wake people up to the reality is commendable... we need more people like you... Kudos!!

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger Mirchii said...

Hahaha! Vibha! I was high (on the world!)! And besides, I toh say anything (world power and all, but you wait and see!)! Your beliefs are held by many - if only wishes could make a difference.

Pray for me! (Exams and all, na)

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Vibha said...

of course sweets!!(mirchii)
loads of prayers and luck coming your way all the way from your Des.Crack 'em!

sanyam.
thanks...you make me feel overrated.
but yes...i think we really need to campaign louder than the establishment to be heard.

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger Saumya said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:57 AM, Blogger suparna said...

i had the patkar vs government debate with my own dad and i feel that most ppl completely misunderstand what medha patkar had been fighting for.

I couldn't convince my dad that what Medha Patkar is doing is right...and i don't think i can convince anybody unless they open themselves up and understand how important it is to rehabilitate the people who are giving up everything for the sake of what we call development, before we make thousands more homeless.

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger imran ahmad said...

your thousandh hit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
lagey raho.........

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Vibha said...

thanks imran!!
of my thousand hits...you are pretty much one of my most valuable hits.
of course lagey rahenge..itni asaani se se himmat haarne waalon mein se hum nahin hain!!
:)
supu!!
babe...don't get disappointed if you couldn't manage to convince someone...even if it wereyour own dad...i haven't been able to convince mine about several decisions..professional or personal. or even for that matter the stands i take.
but i just see it as another opportunity to sharpen my arguments.to make them more convincing.
and on a more day to day mundane level...the next time you are coming to pune please please call before you leave mumbai.i need some stuff that i left behind to be picked up from your place

 
At 8:54 PM, Blogger Saumya said...

Hey...the court order also has stated that the ppl shud be rehabilitated!!If it really happens ,its a victory for medha patkar and her mission!

 
At 2:24 AM, Anonymous Rajesh said...

Hi Vibha, While I feel that the reason the dam is there is genuine, I really donot wish the dam's height to be raised. It may have been agreed upon but taking in to consideration the current state of the rehabilitation process and logistics, its better to concentrate on providing commensurate accomodation to the affected than to think about raising the height to avoid any further bad faith in the dam project.
No doubt we can dream big, but we all need to be grounded in reality to achieve it.
I really dislike Modi for:-
1. His state is wrought affected, the dam is their lifeline, still he behaves like it is Gujrat's heirloom.
2. People in Mah and MP are getting affected (Guj is least), there are electricity and water issues here and with the new-found elixer Modi is trying to lure industries out on Mah. through his outlandish advertisements.
This makes me fume.

Thanks for giving me space to vent out.

Rajesh.

 
At 5:30 AM, Blogger Vibha said...

Rajesh. (no clue who you are.)
you are welcome.

Sammy!
what's up? i hope you are coming too with suhas to pune...
so the judiciary's finally doing what the executive couldn't.

 
At 6:15 AM, Blogger Rajesh said...

Thanks for letting me in vibha btw i'm Rajesh Menon(rej777@rediffmail.com)

 
At 3:53 AM, Blogger Mayank said...

Movements against dams, or for that matter displacement of people aren't helping anyone.

I don't think you realise what the water of Narmada means to the people of Gujarat. Without water there is no life in the rann of kachh. You must know the statistics, i.e. the number of people affected to the number of people benefitted from the project. Water is a matter of livelihood , not an elitist thing that people can do without. I went to Rajasthan in April two years back. I saw that where ever the waters of the Ganga nahar had reached, farmers were getting three crops a year. In rest of Rajasthan, people were migrating to cities because of lack of subsistence. Look how absence of water is forcing people to leave their ancestral homes . What Medha Patkar is effectively doing is ensuring drought in more parts of the country.

Look at the benefits of water reaching the people: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1509578.cms

Coming to electricity, look at how delhi is suffering from severe power cuts and in the absence of additional capacity for generation of power, the govt has to resort to silly measures such as closing malls at 7 in the evening. talk about killing a booming economy. As India grows, it is just becoming more and more power hungry. We will need all sources of energy, including hydro electricity to manage our energy needs.

You talk of river interlinking being a disastrous plan, but don't you realise that India undergoes disasters year after year? In some parts of the country there are floods, while others suffer from severe drought? Both bring about death and suffering for the masses.

Yes, rehabilitation of those displaced is a necessity. But the publicity hunting goons from the NBA aren't allowing people to rehabilitate, even if they want to. there have been reports of such cases. The people of NBA realise that has soon as the Narmada problem is resolved, they will lose thier significance and all power they have over the displaced. Hence, every now and then, these NBA activists find some issue to raise a ruckus about.

 

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