Festival of Water

"That one who knows the flowers of water, he becomes the possessor of flowers, cattle and progeny. Moon is the flower of the water....

This Vedic verse, an extract from Mantra Pushpam, part of the Yajurveda states that water forms the basis of all life in the universe and is worthy of our prayers. This mantra stresses the point that he who understands that water is the most fundamental of all elements and treats it as sacred becomes the possessor of prosperity. In the face of the treat of environmental degradation, this is a truth that we need to acknowledge and honour. Water: Culture, Politics and Management proposes to do precisely this- emphasize the importance of sustaining and fostering the ecological balance of nature.

This book is a compilation of essays written by some well known connoisseurs of Indian art and culture as well as experts and activists dedicated to the cause of conservation of water. They illustrate how water has been treated in mythology, reveal the ecological messages that underlie these myths, and describe the culture that developed around water. There are also essays on maritime trade, the craft of boat- and ship-building, the politics of water emerging out of issues like dam construction, pollution of rivers and the scope of social services in flood-ravaged areas. Finally a commentary on the imagery of water in Indian cinema, a selection of poems and a collection of photographs illustrating the sanctity built around water depict our response to it through art and poetry.

Drawing on different disciplines as well as the arts, this volume is an informative and engaging exploration of the many ways that water has sustained and enriched our existence."

The conference of which this book is in part the proceedings, was held in 2004. Six years is long by any reasonable time-scale (other than the geologic) so the book does seem dated. Nevertheless the issue of water remains an important one, and this book, as a compilation of some contemporary academic thought on the matter, is valuable. In addition, it has a foreword by Kapila Vatsyayan, and includes a wonderful photo essay by Clare Arni on The Kaveri River.

Published by India International Center in collaboration with Pearson, the hardcover volume is listed in our Water section. xlviii+156 pages, Rs 650. ISBN: 9788131726716