(Feature Image: Post mortem being done of a dolphin carcass found at gate number 01 of Girija barrage in Bahraich, UP. Image Source: Dainik Bhaskar, Nov. 2022)
May 18, 2023, would mark 13 year of declaration of Gangetic dolphin as a national aquatic animal. However, the habitats of this ‘highly endangered’ species continue to suffer anthropogenic threats including wrong operations of dams & barrages, inland waterways projects, decreasing flows & increasing pollution in rivers, sand mining and poaching etc. in India. As a result, there are frequent incidents of mysterious and unnatural deaths of these fresh water mammals.
SANDRP has been tracking such incidents since January 2020 and our previous two reports published in January 2021 & April 2022 on the subject have complied deaths of at least 21 Gangetic dolphins in 2 years (2020 and 2021). In continuation of the same, this account covers the incidents of deaths of Gangetic river dolphins during past one year.
Continue reading “India Lost 10 More Gangetic River Dolphins In One Year” →
Guest Article: Steve Lockett, Mahseer Trust
(Above: Teesta-Mahananda Link Canal, part of a water-use strategy that seems broken. Copyright: Adrian Pinder, Mahseer Trust)
Rivers change course, it is part of their being. A river changing course can bring unexpected or unwanted ramifications. Sometimes they can be quite devastating. But when they come as a result of deliberate actions to alter the river’s course how can we expect people, whole communities or wildlife to cope?
The Teesta river was previously a tributary of the Ganges then it shifted to join Brahmaputra in 1787. As with many rivers of the Ganges – Brahmaputra – Meghna basins, wholesale shifts are commonplace and to a large extent, people and wildlife have adapted to live with these hydrological movements. But when humans engineer rivers to force them to change course, expect them to bite back.
Continue reading “Changing Course: Teesta Mahananda Rivers in North Bengal” →
(Feature photo above: “… But I go on forever” The pristine Ganga flowing through the mountains (Rishabh Gagneja, June 2021))
Guest Article by Anantaa Ghosh
The Ganga, often termed as the ‘River of Heaven’ has always been deemed as the purest and most sacred of all rivers. In the west, Ganga was believed to be Phison, a river flowing in Eden. The river has found its place in the works of several famous authors, including Kalidasa who describes the river in words of unique grace.
Then in familiar Alaka find rest,
Continue reading “The Eternal Ganga: A Journey Through Artistic Depictions of India’s Sacred River” →
Down whom the Ganges’ silken river swirls
Whose towers cling to her mountain lover’s breasts,
While clouds adorn her face like glossy curls.
Abhay Kanvinde’s photo story of Tirthan, as the free-flowing river makes its way out of the Great Himalayan National Park, then flows close to villages, touching the people and finally when it gets dammed as it comes out of the valley that is its home.
Continue reading “Tirthan’s Way” →
In the Tirthan Valley of Himachal Pradesh, as we crisscrossed tiny wheat fields moist with dew and apple orchards laden with white blossoms, a rhythm accompanied the steps: a constant ghrr-ghrr-ghrr. It came from small slate shelters with sloping roofs, which looked like tiny shrines. Sometimes, the shelters were made directly over a stream, but many times they were on the banks, with a channel diverting some water to them.
These were the Gharats: water-mills running on the kinetic energy of flowing water and milling fresh, cool flour.
Throughout Tirthan Valley, Gharats dot the streams at several locations. Raju Bhartiji says that Tirthan had many more Gharats in the past, but the floods of 1995 washed many of them away and most remaining fell into disrepair. Even so, as compared to other parts of Himachal, Tirthan valley is fortunate. Hydropower dams, including mini hydro projects, with their headrace and tailrace tunnels, flow diversions and blasting have destroyed thousands of Gharats in Himachal and Uttarakhand. These water mills are special not only because they are decentralized and appropriate technology structures. They are a part of the heritage of the land: almost all of the materials for building one come from the surroundings and the masons who build them are artists.
Continue reading “In Photos: Gharats of Tirthan: For the tastiest Parathas” →
In the Nadi-Matrik land (born to the river) of Bengal, where a blade of grass takes on layered meanings, river boats are not to be taken lightly. For boatmen who row down a vast river for days at end, a boat is more than a mode of transport. It is symbolic of the mortal body: frail, tattered and adrift, in search of a safe harbor.
Continue reading “Boat Races of Bengal: A River Carnival” →
(Feature image: Video grab of artificial lake on Chenab river. Source Weatherman Shubham @shubhamtorres09, Twitter, Aug. 16, 2022)
Debris brought by flash flood in Jahlma nullah blocked[i] the flows of Chenab (Chandrabhaga) river for about 6 hours in Udaipur tehsil of Lahual and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh forming a huge lake. The incident occurred following heavy rainfall on August 15, 2022 night.
Continue reading “August 2022: Flash flood debris block Chenab flow in Lahual, Himachal Pradesh“ →
Guest Article by Dr. Ruchi Shree
BOOK: Ramashankar Singh (2022), Nadi-Putra: Uttar Bharat me Nishad aur Nadi, Setu Prakashan, New Delhi.
The arrival of books viz. Dipesh Chakravarty’s The Climate of History in Planetary Age (2021), Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), A Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021), Sunil Amruth’s The Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have shaped South Asia’s History (2019) and numerous others has blurred the disciplinary divide between literature, politics and environment. These books have brought attention to the worsening environmental crisis worldwide and how developing countries or the global south is facing its severe brunt. As a consequence, one may notice an upsurge in literature in hindi and other regional languages around environmental issues in India. Last year, Shekhar Pathak’s book Hari Bhari Ummeed (2021) narrated the complexities of Chipko Movement at its 40 years and now this book here for review joins the club of interdisciplinary texts on environmental issues in India.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Rare book on Rivers and fisherfolks of North India” →
How one fish and many people saved a river
“Hark! What is that? What is that sound? It is laughter, bubbling up from the heart of the darkness. It is the sound of water! There is no doubt. The water of Muktadhara is free!”
As I stepped on the wooden slats across the joyously gurgling Tirthan River, I remembered Rabindranath Tagore’s lines from his first play, Muktadhara (Free-flowing). I was in the Himalayas to listen to the story of Tirthan, a Muktadhara in her own right! Tirthan is the rarest, possibly the only river valley in India to be declared as a “No-Go Valley” for hydropower or dam development, protected in perpetuity.
Continue reading “Muktadhara Tirthan“ →
It’s been more than six months since I got a Whatsapp video forward from my friend Yayati Bhardwaj along with a message in Hindi about some cow vigilant rescuing a ‘crocodile’ from Swaroop Nagar area of Delhi and sending it to a cow shelter in Narela, a bustling town in North West Delhi bordering Haryana.
It was around 07:00 pm on November 12, 2021 when busy in market, I had quick glance over the video. It was not very clear and shot with loud Punjabi music playing in the background. It showed some monitor lizard kind reptile lying motionlessly on ground with wheat grains scattered around it. At first sight, I found nothing to be surprised or worth responding.
Continue reading “When a gharial landed in a cow shelter in Delhi” →