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

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In Times of Drought

Adaptation Decision-making in Sala Budha

There is much to learn about community-level adaptation to drought from Sala Budha, a Koshali film.

[The author would like to thank Kalpana Kannabiran for her valuable feedback and suggestions on this paper.]


Being largely agrarian, Odisha is highly vulnerable to the adverse impact of droughts. It takes a marginal farmer three years to cope with the impact of a small drought, and seven to eight years to cope with a big one. Western Odisha faced a big drought in 1865, which was called “Na anka Durvikhya” (meaning nine number famine, as it occurred in the ninth regnal year of King Divyasingha­deva). Exactly a century later, in 1965, the region was hit by another major drought. In the intervening years, the region witnessed a combination of various big and small droughts. Although many meaningful steps have been taken to protect the community from droughts since then, they seldom prove sufficient because, before any proactive preparedness exercise yields tangible results, yet another drought strikes the state.

Written by Kapileswar Mohapatra and directed by Sabyasachi Mohapatra, Sala Budha (The Stupid Old Man) is an acclaimed 2012 Koshali language film. The writer and the director belong to a historically drought-prone region of Odisha, as do the artistes in the film. The film is based on the personal experience of the writer, a humanitarian and a Gandhian whose writings are steeped in human values. Sala Budha revolves around disseminating information on the community-level adaptive and planning strategies for responding to droughts successfully.

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Updated On : 8th Aug, 2019
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