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”
पनचक्कियां सदियों से उत्तराखंड के पर्वतीय समाज का अटूट हिस्सा रही हैं। स्थानीय तौर पर इन्हें घट, घराट आदि अनेक नामों से जाना जाता है। कुछ दशक पहले तक ये घराट अनाजों को पीसकर आटा बनाने का प्रमुख साधन रहे हैं। परन्तु कालांतर में अनेक कारणों से यह परम्परागत तकनीक, समाज और सरकार की अनदेखी का शिकार होकर विलुप्त होती जा रही है। ऐसा ही कुछ पौड़ी गढ़वाल स्थित चौथान पट्टी में देखने को मिल रहा है। यह लेख चौथान क्षेत्र में घराट संस्कृति के क्रमिक परित्याग की वजहों के पड़ताल की दिशा में एक प्रयास है।Continue reading “घराट: सामाजिक देखभाल, सरकारी सहयोग की राह देखती लुप्त होती धरोहर”
Water mills, also known as gharat have been serving native communities in hills of Uttarakhand possibly for hundreds of years. Till a few decades back, the indigenously developed technique was only source of crushing variety of grains to produce flour. The symbols of ancient wisdom have been mostly lying in ruins in Chauthan patti (belt). This account explores reasons behind the gradual desertion of gharat culture which was once indispensable part of the local community there.Continue reading “Gharat: Traditional wisdom seeking community care, govt support”
The outgoing year 2020 is likely to be remembered as Corona year as Covid 19 pandemic has been the most influential aspect of the year. However, there have been many positives of the outgoing year. We identify five biggest positives as we see them.
Firstly, the complete lockdown that we experienced during March-April 2020, to slow down the spread of the Covid 19 infection showed, among many other things that it is indeed possible to clean up our rivers and also indicated the way forward: tackle industrial pollution. Unfortunately, those clear lessons have not been learnt by the government, its been busy in ease of doing business, not even understanding that in changing climate, clean rivers are going to be a major resource that will help people adapt.
The second notable positive was the major across the country protests, particularly from the younger generation against the government’s attempt to bulldoze the completely anti- environment amendment to the EIA notification. The protests along with the judicial orders have so far stopped the amendment from getting implementation. The government will do well to abandon any attempt to push them.
Similar to the protests against amendments to EIA notification were the protests against trying to bulldoze the massive Etalin Hydropower project in Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, at the cost of lakhs of trees and biodiversity rich forest and river and against the wishes of the people of Arunachal Pradesh and North East India. Here again it was good to see that the campaign has so far been successful.
India Rivers Week 2020 organised Zonal and National dialogues on river sand mining in India, in which large number of groups and stakeholders from across the country participated and has created a new wave of awareness and energy on this very important but so far largely ignored issue. We are hopeful that this energy will lead to change in governance of river sand mining in India.Continue reading “DRP NB 28 Dec. 2020: Five Positives of outgoing Corona year”
Uttrakhand is a disaster prone State. Earthquakes, Forest Fires, Flash Floods and Landslides keep occurring here round the year. The cloud burst events have also made entry to the disaster list. During past many years, local people have gradually become familiar with the term CLOUD BURST. The freak weather incident seems striking the state in increased number and frequency year after year.
Midway through the 2018 monsoon, there have already been about a dozen cloud burst events across the state.