May 13, 2000
--Keshav Sirra Vasave, an Adivasi villager who works with the Narmada Bachao Andolan
If you can't already tell from my last two dispatches, The Ancient Communities of the Narmada River Part One and Part Two, the people of the Narmada River Valley have really captured my heart and my spirit. Their dedication, courage, and idealism inspire me, and I want to do all I can to help them.
So, what can we do to help?
Glad you asked! First, we can help raise awareness on this issue. Maybe one of us could write about it for an educational website used in classrooms around the world. Ok, I'll do that one.
Association for India's Development
International Rivers Network
And you can get in touch with the Friends of the Narmada River Valley here.
OK, so you've popped the popcorn and shown the movies and passed out the pamphlets--now what?!
A letter-writing campaign, of course! Let the governments know what you think about all of this. The Indian government wants to seem "hip" and "modern," like America and Europe. So what if a bunch of "hip, modern" students like you let them know that what they're doing isn't so cool?
Points that you might want to mention:
-The large dams on the Narmada River will destroy ancient cultures, break up families, cause the slums to swell, inundate fertile lands and forests, and cause great environmental damage.
-There is no adequate land to resettle the people who will lose their lands.
-The US has placed a moratorium on big dam building -- and has even been decommissioning some of its large dams based on the negative environmental impacts they have had.
-Alternative methods of water harvesting have been used very successfully in the "target areas."
-The money saved from dam building could be better used helping the people on a community level, through projects such as water harvesting, education, and sustainable development.
Below are some of the politicians anxiously waiting to hear from you...so go to it!
President of India
Prime Minister of India
Chief Minister of Gujarat
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
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