Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is Kerala thirsting for water?

Yesterday  I heard in the news that Bharathapuzha has broken into two pieces.. the river has refused to run it's course! It is normal for this river to run a little dry during the dry season but this is the first time that it has been entirely broken up. There were newspaper reports about rampant sand mining on this river.
Sand-mining had led to depletion of the groundwater level and had affected the water flow. Saline water entered the river easily, especially during summer. The three-month ban on sand-mining during monsoon was also not being enforced, he said.
But let me forget this river for a moment and talk about the one that runs in front of our place. It has it's origin from both the Pampa river and Manimala river. Both these rivers originates from the western ghats and from the district of Idukki. It has to be fed by rain and for the last two years monsoon has not been good. The Pamba is considered as the Dakshina Ganga (Southern Ganges) due to its association with Kerala's Largest Pilgrim Centre - Sabarimala. Manimala river passes through the districts of KottayamPathanamthitta and finally joins the Pamba River at Muttar near Tiruvalla in Alappuzha district; very close to our place. From here it runs it's course through Kuttanad and joins the great Vembanad lake. 

The following photos were taken in year 2007. During each monsoon, this river spills onto the road but since the last few years it has not done so.

More photos can be viewed on my other blog

I also remember the time more than a decade back when this water came around the house too. This happens very rarely. 

 The following photos were taken during June of year 2009.

You can see the level of water. I doubt if water level will ever rise like before. 

Kerala is indeed going to face tough times. 

The State Disaster Management Authority has declared four districts drought-affected, with the monsoon months of June, July, and August bringing very little rain.
The districts declared drought affected are Wayanad, Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, and Kollam, an official press release said on Thursday. The State as a whole has received only 77 per cent of the normal monsoon rainfall so far. Rainfall was especially less in the above four districts.

Recently during a discussion I realized that most Keralites are not aware of the relation between low lying  fallow lands (Wet Lands) and ground water table. Earlier Kerala had much wet lands either as paddy fields, temple ponds or small ponds dug in each plot to catch the rain water and let it seep back into the ground. This person whom I spoke to wanted to know why we should retain paddy fields if we are not cultivating. Yes it is unfortunate that we are not cultivating and I am sure it looks like a waste of land but these low lying lands are important since only they can replenish the ground water. 

Each rainy season brings enough water to Kerala and can be used wisely. Rain water harvesting has started in Kerala but the decision is late.

The Government of India has directed the State Government to provide certain provisions in building rules, pertaining to incorporation of rooftop rainwater harvesting arrangements in building.
I fervently hope that monsoon will not fail the coming year too or should it? Just so that people will wake up finally? Else like Kuwait, one should build desalination plants for water supplies. But water is not the only issue. Can one imagine Kerala without all the greenery? I would rather quit my state than see it is such a sad situation. Then there is the issue of power too since 35% of power comes from hydroelectric power stations which depend on rain water. 

From March until the monsoon the well in our place becomes muddy since the level of water in the river falls very low. Right now we are pumping the river water and letting it seep into the ground. The water in the well is then just enough for a small household. We are also planning a solar energy system if we get a good company to do the same. A rain water harvesting system is also thought of. The day the river in front of us dry up then one can be sure that Kerala has become a desert!

For sure, if adequate measures are not taken the following scenes will be seen all over Kerala.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Aman Ki Tamasha

Yes.. I should be writing about rape since nothing concrete has been done and even our Supreme Court recently noted that women are not safe in the capital city. 

“There is no safety in Delhi. We are concerned about providing a safe environment for women to live with dignity,” the top court said while expressing concern on the issue as it issued notices to the central government, the National Commission for Women and the Delhi government’s State Transport Authority.

Maybe it is time to shift the capital? But to where? In which part of India is women really safe? If the capital with a constant presence of security personnel is not safe then where else. And to top it all a few idiots continue to cite ridiculous reasons for rape. Even our Judges have fared no better. Anyway let me get back to the topic that I intended to write.

A few in Pakistan has yet again showed us how brutal they can be! Their brutality during the Mumbai carnage is still fresh in our minds and at least a few found some peace when Kazab was hanged. Yet our government went ahead with peace talks and our cricket crazy junta enjoyed cricket as usual. It was last year that an updated list of wanted men were handed over to Pakistan but yet nothing has been done. 

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Haafiz Saeed tops the list which was given to Pakistan during the Home Secretary level talks between the two countries in March. Saeed was followed by Major Iqbal, a suspected serving ISI officer who also figures in the FBI indictment in a Chicago court in connection with the Mumbai attack.

These men continue to spew hatred against India and also against those in Pakistan. They even accuse India for the recent bombing of the Shias in Quetta!

Since the year 2000, over 2000 Shia Hazara community members including many women and children have been killed or wounded in attacks perpetrated by Sunni Muslim terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaedaand Taliban in southwestern town of Quetta.

A fact recognised by all in Pakistan is that the people of the country are not sectarian-minded. Before jihad took hold of Pakistan and extremist clerics became threatening, there was considerable harmony between the sects. Muharram was not the season of sectarian violence and mayhem. Today, the world understands that the intensification of the sectarian feeling among the clerics is actually a result of a war relocated from Pakistan’s neighbourhood in the Gulf.
Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. The annual death toll from terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009, with a total of 35,000 Pakistanis killed as of 2010.[citation needed] According to the government of Pakistan, the direct and indirect economic costs of terrorism from 2000-2010 total $68 billion.[1] President Asif Ali Zardari, along with former President ex-Pakistan Army head Pervez Musharraf, have admitted that terrorist outfits were "deliberately created and nurtured" by past governments "as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives".[2][3]

And yet there are people in India who have total memory loss when it comes to Pakistan. They call themselves “Peaceniks” (A political activist who publicly opposes war, a particular war, or the proliferation of weapons; a pacifist) and keep talking of peace with no solution for the same. I am a peacenik too since I oppose war. But war is not the only solution. Since the international community is well aware of the militant training camps and the number of wanted terrorists hiding in Pakistan, it can very well exert pressure and ensure that they discontinue their business of hatred. India can afford a complete stop in public discourse with Pakistan but can Pakistan afford the same? It will be further alienated and will have more terrorists attacks in it’s own soil. So it is time to put more pressure on Pakistan once and for all. India should not continue to tolerate a Pakistan who refuses to acknowledge it's weakness. A Pakistan whose government has no control over it's army. Whose people has a false sense of pride over their army.

When will the people of Pakistan rise up and dislodge those who are tearing up their country?

When will they stop listening to those who know only to spew hatred in the name of religion?

When will they recognize those who urge them to kill in the name of a compassionate and merciful God?

When will they rise en mass to protect the minorities among them? 

Until then let India remain mum. No more peace talks and cricket. Let us remember that we have our own to protect.

MJ Akbar has brilliantly described our government's failure to reign in Pakistan and in his own words:

Pakistan’s Army concluded that if it could get away with Mumbai, it could get away with anything. It has.

Nevertheless I cannot help but copy this cry for peace that is coming from the Civil society of Poonch. The signatures are few but let those who are spewing hatred remember that they shall be cursed throughout history for their role.

Also cannot help copy this from Ajit Ninan.

Edited to add the following:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Growing old

I realized that these days I have only one subject on mind: Rape.. nd before I write one more post on the same let me share this gem that I found in Face Book on growing old. I have a few more years before I reach half a century and if that is allowed to me! But this post makes me look at the same with a lighter heart.
Growing old is Awesome when you look at it like this !!!Some very true words to ponder….I hope you enjoy.
As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.They, too, will get old.I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when some body's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

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