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

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Comparing Floods in Kerala and the Himalaya

There are important similarities and differences between the Kerala floods in 2018 and 2019 and the Himalayan floods of Uttarakhand and Kashmir in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Most importantly, floods in Kerala are likely to affect the local ecology in some parts of the Western Ghats, whereas floods in the Himalayan regions will affect North India as a whole. However, both the regions have a fragile ecology that is threatened by ecological destruction and industrial development. Thus, the Central Water Commission and other government agencies should take a holistic view towards addressing floods and dam management in these regions.

Can Celebrating Himalaya Diwas Save the Himalayan Ecology?

Since 2015, 9 September has been officially observed as Himalay Diwas or Himalaya Day in Uttarakhand. Some important considerations emerge from this. First, what is the potential of Himalay Diwas in highlighting the environmental issues faced by the region? Second, when research has shown that the past environmental movements (in the state) have actually been misrepresented and have created environmental injustices for the local populations (Bandyopadhyay 1999; Rangan 2000), to what extent does Himalay Diwas address these local voices? Finally, does the day receive attention from and appeal to the masses? The article intends to explore the conception of the Himalayas and the environment evident in the case of the Himalay Diwas celebrations. [1]

Borderlands, Empires and Nations

In the first decade of the 19th century, Kumaun was part of the Gorkha Empire connected to Kathmandu by a well-serviced east–west road. Trade in grain and salt by shepherding communities linked it to Western Tibet. In 1815, when Kumaun became a part of the East India Company’s territories, this orientation changed. Gradually, a network of roads and railways transformed the hitherto impenetrable Tarai, to the south of Kumaun. As the Kumaun economy integrated with the British Empire, via the Tarai, the commodity composition of its trade with Western Nepal (Nepal borderland) and Western Tibet (Tibet borderland) was modified. The subsequent mapping of these territories by the British created not only new geographies but also engendered new ways of knowing. The interaction of imperial administrators with the people of the borderlands produced narratives, which ignored earlier cultural identities and generated new histories of groups like the “Gorkha” and “Bhotia.”

From Feudalism to State Developmentalism

Himachal Pradesh is often held out to be a model case of development, moving from the bottom of economic and human development indices to the top of the tables in the course of its post-independence existence. This article traces the nature of its pre-independence political economy and the social structures that sustained it and then describes the manner in which changes occurred in the post-independence phase. It marks out the successes as well as flags the continuing areas of concern.

Linking Rivers: Some Elementary Arithmetic

On the basis of the scanty factual information that has been made available and a few assumptions, it is possible to attempt some elementary arithmetic about the cost per unit of water and per watt of power separately for the three components â?? the Peninsular, the Himalayan and the Hydroelectric - of the project to link the country's rivers. The results make one despair that instead of doing the first things that are crying out to be done first in regard to irrigation, people are being fed this pie-in-the-sky.

The Eastern Himalaya

The eastern Himalayan region has been blessed by rich natural resources - forests, wildlife as well as its people, who are a fount of information of traditional healing systems and beliefs. However, the region has for long suffered from indifference and from insurgency, which has in recent years, become endemic to the region. A healing process could rightly begin, with the government's initiation, and supported by NGOs and the local communities.
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