Saturday, 5 August 2017

FB Discussions - Modernity, Borewells

5 August 2014 ·

I spoke to Kavya now, Eashwaramma's granddaughter. A family gets 15 pots of water supplied by tanker by the govt on alternate days.
A family of five, with 2 cows gets 7 pots a day !
A cow would ideally like to have a pot of water thrice a day. ... which means a pot of water totally for 5 five people for a day. 
"We have known for at least two decades that droughts have always been there in India. Dry rainfed areas weathered them. It is only the new bore technology and water heavy crop patterns that are cause of water starvation"
We got into this mess with open eyes. We knew borewells were unsustainable here. We had an intricate tank system built since the olden times in good use. In 30 years we destroyed our groundwater from 60ft to 700 feet ... and destroyed agriculture. 
Annasamy Anna keeps telling me that in the droughts of old there was never drinking water crisis - there was always groundwater and some well or the other had water. Trees did not die like now. Only agriculture stopped due to rain failure, and the govt addressed that thro' guel camps.

Aparna Krishnan This is a case where capitalism or neo imperialism cannot be blamed. Simply modernity , and human selfish greed (which treated groundwater as personal property,once given the chance.). We were aware of the cost and we proceeded. 
Rahul Banerjee where did the borewell technology come from and who provided the subsidies to implement it? greed for profits has been aggressively promoted in society by capitalism. the failure to see this is the main flaw in Gandhi and his followers. both gandhism and capitalism have thus negated the rationalist core of modernism.
Aparna Krishnan i would see the same industrial model in communisim. To question modern technology at core is needed.
Aparna Krishnan Rationalisim I see much of in Indian philosophy or in Ayurveda (the only part of Indian knowledge I have see in some detail) - I do not think its a gift of Renaissance. Actually making 'modern science' the defining valid point has actually negated so many knowlege systems.
Aparna Krishnan And it took a Gandhi to remind people that 'the greatest good of the greatest number' was invalid. And that 'there was enough for everyone's need but not enough for everyone's greed.'. Unless these moral and spiritual facts are faced head on there is no point in anything.
Aparna Krishnan Anyway ... irreparable damage has been done ... as was predicatable and predicted ... and is being done ... whether by finishing groundwater or by polluting whole river systems . Or a mindless modern schooling, or a reductionist modern health system.  

Rahul Banerjee no point going over the same ground again. it was I who pointed out to you that rationalism is as ancient as philosophy.
Aparna Krishnan Yes. And modernity/ modern science and technology - in its capitalist or communist avataram - has unleashed the present crisis.
Aparna Krishnan Modernity has a worldview of reductionism, of divisiveness, or irreligiosity (as religion cannot be scientifically proved). The sense of the whole is lost - and the science also takes that limited form. (Within this framework t there will certianly be sensitive human beings - I am talking of the overall framework)
Aparna Krishnan In the ayurvedic texts - Cheraka Samhita or Ashtanga Hrudaya - many of the chapters begin with a story of how the rishis sat at the feet of the lord for gaining the wisdom to be used for the good of all mankind ...
Aparna Krishnan Ashtanga Hrudaya incorporates details on how the dependents (servants) in a house should be fed before one eats. How even insects should not be harmed.... Religion, morality and science were an integrated whole ... as has to be. The 'pure scientific spirit' is a bane.
Aparna Krishnan And in this integration, there was no loss of rationality.
Aparna Krishnan is there one creation of modern science and technology that has benefits - after factoring in all social and environmental costs ...
Rahul Banerjee no creation of humankind beginning with the discovery of fire is free of social and environmental costs. the key is to account for these costs and plan sustainable and equitable development instead of railing against the misapplication of modernism.
Aparna Krishnan not that simple. every model has a builtin value system.  

Aparna Krishnan If modernity is the issue - positing capitalism as the main villain can mean missing the wood for the trees.
Radhika Rammohan Whatever be the root of all evil -- modernity / science / or some other ism, my wish is that community in rainfed areas -- at panchayat level and at block level, who are observing over the period of decades what happens -- take charge of THEIR commons including the water. Claim power and form some kind of agreements around water use, enforcing sustainable use. It needs all the intra-group and inter-group (caste?) strengths and negotiating power. If such power did ever exist then why not reclaim it. If it was destroyed by this or that force, then its time to invent a new structure of community that reinstates power. We cannot undo the damage caused by centuries without the hard work of serious re-examining, resisting. Similarly I would love to see the community own up the serious social damage caused by liquor and claim power to say no.
Aparna Krishnan The structures were in place - when the resources were community resources. The tank belonged to all, the neerugatti handled the distribution (even as late as in our initial years in the village, when the tanks did get full, and were used for irrigation along with the borewells). With borewells, groundwater started getting privatized, and community structures of control and shareing were rendered redundant. It needs a different kind of social structure and design now to bring back social controls where technology has given the individual powers to pursue his own ends, and common resources can be exploted by each to his own end. Yes, creative and courageous thinking is needed - by the people themselves. And we are now pushed to the wall when this has to start.  

Aparna Krishnan Liquor also  

Rahul Banerjee modernism posited reason against the unreason of the dark ages and considerably increased human power to control the environment but it definitely did not teach humans to be greedy. the greed of humans has been there from ancient times and they have used science and technology to satisfy that greed. both capitalism and state socialism are greedy. in fact it is not possible for centralised systems to rein in greed. 

Aparna Krishnan Rahul Banerjee, reason has existed in ample measure since earlier times ! Modernism gave precedence to one kind of reasoning it called 'scientific reasoning' and negated others !!
Aparna Krishnan Yes, people have to take back charge of water - but the ground rules have changed with modern technology permitting individual exploitation of community resources (water, in this case). So it needs great creativity. But the local control systems are in place Radhika Rammohan. Our village madhyasthams function - reasonably and fairly (with rare perversions as will happen everywhere). Yes, again with less effectiveness than earlier because of the same loss of community resources reduces their ability to penalize ! ... but it is these madhyasthams that need to be strengthened if we wish to talk of smaller communities. And when I read the diatribe against khap panchayats I wonder. How much is sensationalisim, where the 1 in 1000th case (which definitely needs to be taken up and corrected !) is projected as a total failure of the whole system. And how much is reality. In our village madhyasthams are valuable. naren used to attend each and every village madhyastham on principle ... even if nodding in sleep as they stretched into the small hours ...
Rahul Banerjee you have a wrong definition of modernism. reductionist thinking is not modernism. it is a distortion of it.
Aparna Krishnan anyway does not matter - we may be meaning different things when we say modernity. I mean the newer present-day structures, as opposed to the model that existed in the country prior to that. The fact is we are here now. From here where ... and how. Needs to be based on people's own strengths and structures and systems ... for it to be strong at a localized level. A centralized model will not need to factor in people's wisdom so much.
Aparna Krishnan The people's strengths are vast, very vast. Even as of today. We need to focus on those - for the while putting aside the centrality in discussions given to their oppressed status - their myths, their ethics, their justice systems ... to be able to rebuild a strong local system.

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