With the Kapila river rising to the brim, hundreds of people lined up on the 270-year-old bridge in Nanjangud, to tell their children and grand-children that they were there, that Sunday in July 2009, when they just bent over and touched the surface of the water.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
Also read: Once upon a time eating Nanjangud hallu pudi
“Drought”, “Famine”, “Water scarcity”- these were the headlines in the Newspapers and more so on the electronic media in the last month or so. The TV stories where anybody who came in front of the camera told a horrifying story of how they had no water, had to collect water at 2 a.m., etc., etc. The pronouncements of the Met officials were reported with an air of disbelief. The whole thing reminded of the famines of the last century.
And then, in the last five or six days, we are shown pictures of overflowing rivers, reports of people dying, schools closed, and in Mumbai the same old water logged streets.
Does anyone remember the films division newsreels in the 40s and 50s of the last century? Every August September, the mandatory newsreels used to be shown before the feature film- The Brahmaputra inundating hundreds of acres, The Ganga overflowing her banks, broken homesteads, people on boats with all their worldly possessions in a bundle- with soulful music of flute by Pannalal Ghosh or Violin by V.G. Jog- With Pratap(?) Sharma or Zul Vellani giving the commentary in a funereal voice.
Even then, the question of linking various rivers of India to equitably distribute the waters to areas which needed it most was coming up. The big dams which came up were celebrated as the country’s answer to water shortage and a way to the green revolution.
Linking of rivers was one of the projects thought about by the Vajpai government. Unfortunately, it has not taken shape. Let alone the linking of rivers, even the golden quadrilateral has not fully taken shape.
If only the politicians stop thinking of every problem or event as ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ , if only the country is more important than the coffers of whichever party’s minister is holding the all important portfolio, may be, may be, we can stop the havoc caused by water shortage and floods. Does anybody in the Government has the power and inclination to think on these lines?