Politics of Hope
September 7, 2001. All Delhi-based English dailies carried the
same banner headline. In the state of Orissa in eastern India, villagers
had starved to death.
There was much controversy about what actually had happened. The
media said "death by starvation". Bureaucrats called it
an "unfortunate incident". Orissa's chief minister called
it an "accident".
Perhaps galvanised not so much by the deaths but rather by the
bad press he received, the chief minister visited Kashipur village.
Villagers surrounded him and made him drink a gruel made by boiling
mango kernels. It was the gruel people there had been drinking,
Then the chief minister's motorcade reached a nearby village. People
threw loads of the kernel at his car.
In this incident (that happened to catch the eye of the media,
and so came to national attention), three things were clear:
Now, the questions to be asked are :-
- In village Kashipur (where most of the deaths occurred), and
others around it, people had no food to eat;
- All the villages reeling under starvation were extremely poor.
- Both famine and poverty were directly due to the drought-like
conditions these villages had been experiencing year after year.
Are these villagers beyond hope?
Can these stricken villages change?
Such incidents occur throughout India. Year after year, whether or
not the monsoon is officially declared "good", whether or
not there is an "official" drought.
Are all those affected by the cycle drought-famine-poverty (or,
ironically, good monsoon-famine-poverty) beyond hope?
Can all of India solve its water (and water-related) problems?
Indeed, the world?
Think rain, people. Catch water where it
From rain will come local food security. From rain will come
biomass-wealth that will eradicate ecological poverty. From rain will
come social harmony.
Rainwater harvesting is what nations can
The CSE water campaign, when it looks into the future, sees
only hope. It sees a world as an agglomeration of ecological - water
harvesting - democracies.
We promise you, the future is bound to look