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Window Seat: Water Water

21/03/2021 at 7:07 AM

March 22 is observed as World Water Day since 1993. It raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people across the world living without access to safe water. India is particularly vulnerable in this aspect.

More than half of our population has no access to safe drinking water and about 200,000 people die every year for lack of access to safe water. To put things into perspective, till February 2021, Corona has claimed about 1, 60, 000 lives in India.

India is suffering from one of the world’s worst national water crises. The problem is so big, our lives and livelihoods hang in the balance. Our future is at stake.

The 2018 Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) noted that 6% of economic GDP will be lost by 2050, while water demand will exceed the available supply by 2030. Food supply is at risk as areas for wheat cultivation and rice cultivation face extreme water scarcity. Health sector will also be impacted badly, as over 75% of households do not have clean drinking water, while 40% of the population will have no access to drinking water by 2030.

As more and more cities exhaust ground water reserve, people will be forced to buy water from tankers and  consume bottled drinking water- leading to problem of huge plastic waste on one side and the unscrupulous people taking over the water supply business- like one has started noticing in Mumbai and Chennai.

The government has been developing ways to address this growing crisis. Over the past years, it has worked on groundwater recharging projects, micro-irrigation, and legislative changes to promote better water management. Technology is also trying to ease the problem. However, these are reactive measures. The solution lies with us treating with respect it deserves. We must contain water pollution and wastage and re-learn the ancient art of preserving rain water.

Birth Centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, considered as the father of Bangladesh, whose birth centenary is being celebrated led a dramatic life  that could be compared with a Shakespearean tragic hero.  Early 1940s saw him demanding a separate country- Pakistan as an activist of Bengal Muslim League. From late 1940s he was fighting for the official status of Bengali language. He left Muslim League and joined Awami Muslim League and was fighting for independent Bangladesh from early 1970s.

As a young man he demanded separate Pakistan on the basis of religion. As the premier of independent Bangladesh he wanted the state to be secular. Ironically he found himself in situations where all his moves and policies were opposed. He was opposed by the fundamentalists as too secular and the secularists considered him as fundamentalist. Both the communists and Islamic fundamentalists attacked him. His closeness to India was criticized. Amidst this turmoil, the famine in 1974 devastated agriculture and triggered a food crisis, which made the situation worse. He made a last ditch effort, formed a new political party-BAKSAL and consolidated power in his hands.

He was assassinated on 15 August 1975. After his death, Bangladesh saw an extended period of unrest and a surging anti-India sentiments till Seikh Hasina, daughter of Mujibur Rahman took over as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Under Seikh Hasina Bangladesh has prospered. So has Indo-Bangladesh relationship.  

As Bangabandhu’s birth centenary is being celebrated, people in Bangladesh and India are rediscovering the legacy and dream of Bangabandu to forge a close friendship which would yield mutual benefit.

Flame of the Fire

Palash or Flame of the Fire (Butea monosperma) heralds the spring season.

Native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, it is available almost in all parts of India except higher Himalayan region.

It finds mention in several ancient texts including Jayadev’s Geeta Govinda as a symbol for the arrival of spring and the colour of love.

Palash flowers are associated with the celebration of Holi, both symbolically and practically. Symbolically, the deep orange-saffron flowers reflect the passionate love. Practically it is used to prepare a traditional Holi colour. Photo: @BN Neelima

Morning Newspaper Reading Session

We are three persons at home- yours truly, mother and wife. We subscribe to four newspapers- one in Odia, one in Bengali and two in English including a business daily.  Every morning we have an informal newspaper reading and discussion session, my mother 78, being the most vocal. She does not read the business-paper as she does not understand the jargons usually associated with business and economics. Once I tried to explain her bull and bear and miserably failed. “Why drag poor animals into your murky world of business?” she asked.

She reads local news and loudly comments on any news that catches her attention- from chain snatching to lady eloping with her paramour. She is also very interested in the leaflets that come within the folds of the newspapers. In fact she reads them first. Once my wife said, Ma why are you reading the leaflets first, read the newspapers?

  • You do not understand. Some local stores might be offering heavy discounts. That is more important than what CM or PM tells.

Lesson learnt: information that directly and immediately concerns us- assume more importance.

Expiry date

A foreigner came to Kashi, visited  Viswanath’s temple and all the ghats.

Then he bought a VIBHUTHI packet from a boy selling on the street.

Foreigner then asked, “What is its expiry date?”

Boy replied looking surprised: “Its made from expired people and when you apply on your forehead it increases your expiry date.”

(Courtesy: Social Media)

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Odia translation of an anthology of essays titled Mahatma Gandhi: Journalist and Editor.
mrinalchatterjeeiimc@gmail.com

DISCLAIMER

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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