Free flowing rivers

World Rivers Day 2020: Celebrating Rivers across the world

The World Rivers Day[i] (WRD) is celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of September. The event strives to highlight the invaluable ecological, hydrological services and cultural, recreational values offered by the rivers. Indeed, the most of the once wild, scenic, free flowing rivers across the globe are facing existential crisis on account of various anthropogenic activities hastened over the past century.

However, there are small but significant steps being undertaken by individuals, organizations and governments to restore some of the flowing eco-systems. This account attempts to compile some such positive developments that have taken place in the one year.

We have already published a compilation of the positive river stories of India on the occasion of International Day of Actions for Rivers being held on March 14 2020. In addition to Indian rivers, this compilation also covers some remarkable development concerning river conservation worldwide. There could be many more stories and developments happening, we invite readers to send us such stories they know about. 

Continue reading “World Rivers Day 2020: Celebrating Rivers across the world”
Climate Change · Dams · Environment · Fish · Fish Sanctuaries · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Free flowing rivers

Photoblog: Mangroves of the Aghanashini: Linking the River, Land and the Sea

This photoblog by Abhay Kanvinde takes us to mangroves of Aghanashini River Estuary in Kumta Taluk of Uttar Kannada, Karnataka. This is a special place as Aghanashini is a free flowing river with good forest cover in its entire catchment. This means that the mangroves get unhindered supply of freshwater as well as nutrients from the riverine system. This has resulted in the highest area under mangroves in Honnavar Forest Division at 169.4 hectares. Forest Department has also planted about 6 sq. kms of mangroves here, which are thriving. Continue reading “Photoblog: Mangroves of the Aghanashini: Linking the River, Land and the Sea”

Dams · Fish Sanctuaries · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Free flowing rivers · Karnataka · Western Ghats · Wetlands · Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

People of the free-flowing Aghanashini

“I don’t know my age. But I know that I have been coming to this river since I was a child everyday to collect bivalves.” Janaki Amma told us while wading waist-deep in the Aghanashini estuary. Janaki Amma is at least 70 years old and has the agility of a ballet dancer as she plunges inside the limpid water one more time, and comes up with a new haul of bivalves in a wicker basket tied to her waist.

On the banks of the river, Thulasi and Sumitra sit laughing on an old wooden boat, as only old friends can. They collect bivalves too. They have never seen the river not having the shiny, black bivalves. Throughout Aghanashini Estuary, we hear this again and again: fisherfolk and rice farmers, priests and devotees, older women and solid middle-aged men: all echoing the sentiment: “Our lives are entwined with the river.” Continue reading “People of the free-flowing Aghanashini”

Art, Literature, Culture · Bangladesh · brahmaputra · Dams · Free flowing rivers · Ganga

He Spoke the Language of the Rivers: Rabindranath Tagore

   Part 1 

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This was one of the last poems written by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Bard of Bengal, Kabiguru, Bishwakabi: world knows him by many names. He reveled in life with the curiosity and wonderment of a child. In the Preface of Gitanjali (1912), Collection of poems which made him the first non-European to receive the Nobel in Literature, W. B. Yeats says, “Pearl fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.” This was for Tagore as much as the children. Poet, musician, novelist, painter, educator, freedom fighter, rationalist, modernist: the world was his canvas. Continue reading “He Spoke the Language of the Rivers: Rabindranath Tagore”

Dams · Free flowing rivers · Riverine Literature · Rivers and Culture · Rivers in Literature

Saving the Dalai Lama’s Cranes: An adventure, swift as the river!

My son is twelve years old and a voracious reader. His favorites include series like Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Spy School and Space Runners. In short, nothing of the sort I read as a kid. I do not know these books and am frankly, a bit bewildered at the mix of mythology, science fiction and middle school dilemmas.

And hence, when I kept a copy of Neeraj Vagholikar’s “Saving the Dalai Lama’s Cranes” in his hands, I was a bit unsure. There were no kids here with gadgets, but a youth in robes studying to be a monk, his friend from Tawang and a wildlife biologist! Continue reading “Saving the Dalai Lama’s Cranes: An adventure, swift as the river!”

Dams · Free flowing rivers · Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

The Singing River: Story of America’s Largest Free-flowing river

As we approached a bridge on the rumbling green river, I concentrated all my senses to my ears. After all, we were about to cross the Singing River. Legend has it that a low humming sounds rise from the Pascagoula River[i], heard only by a few. Poignant stories of love and loss are interwoven into the sounds of the river. Continue reading “The Singing River: Story of America’s Largest Free-flowing river”

Dams · Free flowing rivers · International Water Issues

Mississippi and the Singing River

Mississippi is a phenomenon. A large body of water flowing down a slope towards the sea is perceived as so many disparate things by different people at different times and places.

Some say that if you want to understand the continent, you have to understand this river. Some say this is no river, it is an Ocean. Some say its a Strong Brown God. Continue reading “Mississippi and the Singing River”

Dams · Environmental Flow · Fish Sanctuaries · Free flowing rivers · Ganga · Inland Waterways · Interlinking of RIvers · Karnataka · Kerala

Riverine Fisherfolk as Mascots of flowing rivers and how 4 projects treat them today

When I was documenting a tiny, free-flowing river in Maharashtra Western Ghats named Shastri, the common thread from headwaters to estuary was Fishing! It was everywhere, in all forms, including dozens of fish species and fishing practices, including everyone: men, women, children, otters, crocs, storks. Across the country, buzzing, diversified fisheries with old, complex narratives indicate a rich river. And the palette just gets more vivid, nuanced and colorful with the size of the river.

More than 10 million Indians from some of the most vulnerable groups depend on rivers for their livelihood and nutritional needs. This staggering number can be an underestimate as several riverine fisherfolk do not bring their produce to the market and our livelihood census hardly captures the intricacies of riverine fisheries sector. Despite the huge dependence and critical importance of riverine fisheries, the sector continues being ignored and abused. The reasons behind the exploitation are at the heart of a deeper, more troubling discourse: ownership and appropriation of the river as a natural resource. Continue reading “Riverine Fisherfolk as Mascots of flowing rivers and how 4 projects treat them today”

Dams · Free flowing rivers

अनुपम मिश्र जी का अंतिम वक्तव्यः नदियों को बचाने का अर्थ है समाज को बचाना

अत्यधिक दुखःद समाचार है कि अनुपम मिश्र जी नहीं रहे।  19 दिसंबर 2016 को प्रातः 05:27 पर दिल्ली के एम्स अस्पताल में  उनका देहांत हो गया।

पानी के मुद्दों और भारत की नदियों पर स्पष्ट विचारों वाले, सरल किंतु प्रभावशाली भाषाशैली के धनी, अत्यंत उदार और विनम्र अनुपम जी समान व्यक्तित्व दुर्लभ है।  जैसा रवि चोपड़ा जी ने कहा है वे सही में अनुपम थे।

अनुपम जी भारतीय नदी सप्ताह 2016 के आयोजन समिति के अध्यक्ष थे और वर्ष 2014 भगीरथी प्रयास सम्मान चुनाव समिति के सदस्य थे और वर्ष 2015 में इस समिति के अध्यक्ष बने।

खराब स्वास्थ्य के बावजूद वे भारतीय नदी सप्ताह की आयोजन समिति की बैठकों में वे लगातार उपस्थित रहें, अंतिम बार सितंबर 2016 की बैठक में वे मौजूद थे और भारतीय नदी सप्ताह 28 नवंबर 2016 के शुभांरभ के समय भी वे उपस्थित  रहे , जहॉ पर हमेशा की तरह उन्होने अपना सरल, स्पष्ट किंतु मर्मस्पर्शी व्याख्यान दिया। वे शाररिक रूप से थके और कमजोर थे , इस सबके बावजूद वे आए जो पर्यावरण के प्रति उनके समर्पण की मिसाल है।

व्यक्तिगत तौर पर वे मेरे (हिमांशु ठक्कर) प्रति बहुत उदार थे और मुझे हमेशा प्रेरित करते रहते थे। हमने कभी भी नहीं सोचा था कि एक दिन हमें उनसे अलग होना पडेगा। उनके चले जाने से देश और पर्यावरण को हुई क्षति की भरपाई नामुमकिन है। परंतु उनकी प्रकृति शिक्षा और अनुभव उनके द्वारा रचित स्पष्ट, सरल और सारंगर्भित लेखों और पुस्तकों के माध्यम से हमेशा हमारा मार्गदर्शन करती रहेंगी।

किताबों के समान उनके व्याख्यान भी ज्ञान और अनुभव से भरे हुए प्ररेणास्रोत है। उनके दिखाए मार्ग पर आगे बढ़ते रहने के लिए, दुख की घड़ी में हम, उनके द्वारा भारतीय नदी दिवस (28-30 नवंबर 2016) में दिए गए उनके अंतिम व्याख्यान को, उन्हें श्रृद्धांजलि के तौर पर अर्पित करते हुए, आपके साथ सांझा कर रहे हैं ।

Continue reading “अनुपम मिश्र जी का अंतिम वक्तव्यः नदियों को बचाने का अर्थ है समाज को बचाना”