18 May, 2021

And When The Levee Breaks...

Despite the hype, NBA's Rally for the Valley evoked genuine sentiment over saving the Narmada

And When The Levee Breaks...

THE Narmada has always been a river of stories. Of the Maker conjuring it up around the time the Universe was born to redeem people of the earth. Of a thirsty kabadiwala searching for water, scratching the soil and saved by the gushing river. Evocative and enchanting, her tales in the form of gyanas run along the entire length of its 1,300-km stretch, handed down by word of mouth over generations who've lived along her banks and lived off her bounty.

On July 29, 1999, yet another chapter was added to the Narmada epic. A campaign for most time and a circus in parts, it had all the colour of an election build-up. A big issue, impassioned speeches and a face that could launch a thousand boats on the Narmada.

Led by master storyteller, Booker prize winner and reluctant leader Arundhati Roy, it brought together hundreds from all over the country for their own peculiar reasons. Representatives from the international and national media were scrambling for a story, even a fashion spread of Roy roughing it out in India's interiors. International organisations and citizens of...

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