ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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KARNATAKA - Many Faces of Drought

KARNATAKA Many Faces of Drought Janaki Nair 'IF the sky fails, the earth will fail', so goes an Andhra proverb. As early as April 1985 the people of Karnataka anxiously scanned the skies, after three successive years of less than normal rainfall. For peasants in whose consciousness memories of droughts serve as landmarks, the first active response to impending hardship has traditionally been the rain-making rile, the propitiation of the rain gods, accompanied by pleas for at least the proverbial frog baths. In 1985, they were joined in their ceremonies by the state government itself, which feared the drying up of one of Bangalore's three water sources and invited the local god-man, the Shiva- balayogi, to pray on the drying tank bed. By July it was becoming clear that such pleas had failed to move the heavens, and by August the state government had given empirical recognition to drought by announcing the deficit in the number of inches of rainfall, the size of the crop failure, and acknowledging that a novel crisis had appeared

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