Friday, 7 July 2017

Water in the village

7 July 2015 at 09:18 ·
When I worry aloud about the dead end in our village as regarding water, agriculture and livlihoods, I sometimes get a dry reply from Nagesh, "Yes, everyone has to move to millets, and grow for their own family needs. They need to manage with two sets of clothes as they used to 30 years ago. They need to work hard and long as when they used to get up at 3 a.m. so draw water from the wells using bullocks in the pre electricity days. Only that was sustainabel."
And then I lose my temper asking how when the rest of the world is on a escalating spin of expenditures and consumerism the village people can be expected to reduce more and more.
And then when I am calmer I realise that that hard life is what the earth can offer for a sustainable living maybe. We have stolen all we can from the future generations, and got to feel that these comforts are normal. Now we will face the music. I am rather glad that we will. It feels just.

(comments)

Deepa Krishnan Stop blaming someone somewhere. It's a negative and useless emotion. Village exhausted it's own water without care for future.
Aparna Krishnan Yes, I blame myself and my clan. The climate change that has come about because of our excesses. The village exhausted its groundwater to grow sugarcane, But did that desire and urge for building concrete boxes and buy shampoos come out of thin air. How do you think that came about ? And who do you think is responsible for that ?
We devastated the village by making them both our suppliers (of raw materials) and consumers (of finished goods).
We need alternative livlihoods. We are working on that in humble ways. But imho a vaster larger understanding of the limits to growth is in order - and that has to start from our consuming clan. We cannot keep consuming, and creating more consumption - and do some repair work somewhere else you see. Its like cutting down mammoth forests and raising some eucalyptus plantations. This RWH in tandem with our consumerism !
Deepa Krishnan I am only saying that climate change is not about you and me and others in cities. It is a vast problem. All people want a better life than millet and thatched huts. We must find the way to create green and sustainable rural life without condemning them to basic survival level life. This can only be done by engaging with the urban economy in a smart way. Village can be both supplier and consumer. All isolated rural utopias are only impractical dreams.
Aparna Krishnan Only that i would prioritise a vast reduction of present day consumption as the primary need. We are otherwise rushing towards suicide, and the poor will die first. It is happenning. All local industries, and rainwater harvestings will stay band aids which will fall off unless we the well-off drastically rethink where we are driving the world to with our very living !
Suraj Kumar But the village can't go back to wells either, can it? Will water come now at well-level shallow depths?
Aparna Krishnan yes. we have burnt many boats.
Aparna Krishnan we need to now go to a level of living even more minimal that they had 30 years ago 
Aparna Krishnan Then they drew water which was equal to annual recarge from 50 feet. then for 30 years we kept drawing on ancient reserves. now we can again draw only the annual recharge (which is far lower due to climate change), nand from a depth 1000 feet (therefore needing electricity). Enough bad news for a day ? 
Suraj Kumar I think Nagesh has a point. The villages have to starve the cities. That is how the entitled maggots living like parasites in the cities will be forced to move (forget getting them to "think").
Deepa Krishnan pointless discussion.
Suraj Kumar Why is it pointless when one's, infact an entire community's, life is at stake? Stop growing for others. Be self sufficient. Lead the way. Whether the highly conditioned minds of the educated will change or not eill be.... dictated by hunger and realization of reality.
Deepa Krishnan The "entitled maggots" are here to stay. And also from them comes much of the outside help for villages. A village cannot live in isolation. A village cannot meet all its needs. Even in a so-called utopian past, villages traded and indeed, depended on the large cities for their very survival. In the modern context, such connections must be created in terms that are not detrimental to villages, therein lies the challenge.
Aparna Krishnan Face the basic point. 1. Accept a destructive growth cycle, and an overconsuming section which will devastate rainfall patters and livlihoods, and within that place 'alternative employments'
2. to question that fundamental cancer of growth and consumption (with that questioning we will have to do band-aid to adress sheer survival needs of the poor - accepting the while that those are but some symptomatic responses.)
Suraj Kumar "entitled maggots" cannot stay beyond what the earth can provide. That, as Aparna Krishnan says, is coming to an end. The evidence is the drought in the village(s).
Suraj Kumar So, I think Nagesh has a very good point. If your village people learnt to only take care of themselves, then they will learn to keep all the biomass within the village. Exporting it in exchange for paper money is an illusion - and is infact only exporting the biomass out of the place. Biomass must be kept within the locality.
Stop a city and the village life goes on. Stop a village and the city life stops too. That is the power of villages.
Aparna Krishnan But the consumerism and the advertisements make that also almost an impossibility. They are being targetting so powerfully.
We have TV in every house, and all girls want their kurtas stitched as the TV actresses have theirs stitched.
Suraj Kumar The more I hear such heart-wrenching accounts, the more I'm convinced about the practicality of the DGR thought. Industrial civilization must be stopped in its tracks. There is no other means of salvation.
Aparna Krishnan And pray, how do you propose to do that ? Gandhi failed. Others have also failed. 
Suraj Kumar Aparna Krishnan Industrial Civilization is a system. Systems have weaknesses (ex: laws, power lines, roads) which are vulnerable to disruption. Just like how a dedicated team of hackers can bring down millions of man-hours worth large computer systems down, this can also be done.
It is a different abstract, moral question about what happens to the city dwellers who are utterly dependent on the system. My rhetoric to such a question is - how is the lifestyle of the city dwellers which is doling out death sentences to TRILLIONS of lives EVERY DAY justified?
It requires careful co-ordinated action to be effective. But effective resistance is possible.
Aparna Krishnan i have seen every committed revolution lead to the same status. only deeply moral stances may sustain longer.
Aparna Krishnan but personally, given the crisis i'm game for anything. more power to each person who tries in whichever way !
Suraj Kumar Definitely. Without dismantling the core - the culture - disruption could lead to newer power structures being formed. Those could look like feudalism, etc.,
Suraj Kumar But DGR belief is that the ones in power - the top 1% or top 0.1% - are able to have such a huge leverage *because* of the infrastructure of civilization (ex: TV, Internet, etc.,). Once that stops, people learn to deal with boredom and learn to do this seemingly difficult activity called "thinking".
Aparna Krishnan their advantage of systems and structures and money i think needs to be countered in a totally different coin - morality. anyway, that is just my senseing.
Preekshit Dhillon Deepa Krishnan Agree, in toto, with the points that you are making. Expecting "minimalism" from people living on the margins of a consumerist culture is more than Utopian. Aparna Krishnan Much as I hold you in high esteem, I have to disagree. Think from the heart and feel from the mind.
The tide of time cannot be reversed, however much one wishes it to.
Aparna Krishnan Preekshit Dhillon, it is not a moral choice. It is a choice of necessity. We have no more resources in our village. 30 years of living on borrowed water has ended, My plea is not to my village people to reduce, but to my city brethern to reduce. they have brought on this climate change from which my village people are reeling. The bells have tolled - we can party, and kill, and finally be killed. Or we can become austere ! I think I know what will happen - but I need to place the cards on the table as I see them.
Aparna Krishnan And in reality we are acting in every bandaid method. knowing that those are shortsighted and meaningless. Dont worry - as humans inaction is not a choice we have, nor is preaching !
Preekshit Dhillon Aparna Krishnan Pardon me if I sounded judgemental. That was just a statement brought on by pragmatic despair.
The only language that this world understands today is insurrection.
Aparna Krishnan Please dont worry - I judge myself so severely, and see my compromises so starkly, that there is little that another can say to shake me . And anyway the years have been kind, and have taught me the lesson of not taking myself too seriously. The woes are far vaster than the specks of dust that we are.
Aparna Krishnan Deepa Krishnan, this is what I meant. "I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back."- Leo Tolstoy
Deepa Krishnan And what good does it do to you or me, Aparna, or to the village, to spend our time quoting such things! Better to do some work.
Aparna Krishnan We need to address the root of the issue. Rest assured, we have 'worked', and continue to. Afforestation unders JFM kept Nagesh in his toes. Ayurveda has taken on well. The children are being taught. Crises are being attended to. Livlihoods are being looked into. Still, the vaster damage at a larger level takes one only back.
Deepa Krishnan Start by asking yourself, what if I had 1 crore?
Aparna Krishnan Money is very secondary. If the city dweller changes his lifestyle and greed, things will fall into place. Otherwise no money will help very much.
Chitra Sharan Deepa Krishnan - your sentence 'agriculture is not viable for anyone' is very scary. If agriculture comes to an end what will humans eat .. Not sure if you know Tamil - thirukkural says uzhudundu vazhvare vazhvaar matrellam thozhudundu pin selbavar ... From there to a state where agriculture is seen as a non viable - bone chilling
Aparna Krishnan Agriculture and the farmers are an inseperable reality. Small holdings have also been shown to be more productive. But the modern government would like to 'corporatise' even agriculture and make the farmer an industry laborer - if at all.
Chitra Sharan The word 'mother earth' and the reverence with which the farmer approaches his land can never be replaced and if it happens it's a huge cultural loss
Aparna Krishnan they never step onto a chilly field with slippers/
Deepa Krishnan Chitra even in the utopian past agriculture was always supplemented with crafts as other income. Every house had other sources. The biggest was textiles in which we ruled the world. Carding of cotton was done in every household. Rain fed agriculture cannot sustain anyone fully.
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