The TrickyScribe: “The center of life is water. These are the beautiful waves. These are the beautiful stairs which we just saw in one of the slides. These are the trees. And these are the flowers which add fragrance to our lives. So, this is the message of the desert,” said noted environmentalist Anupam Mishra while addressing TED India in 2009 on the ancient ingenuity of water harvesting in the Thar.
A jovial Mishra started his lecture on lighter note said, “For emotions, we should not move quickly to the desert. So, first, a small housekeeping announcement: please switch off your proper English check programs installed in your brain.”
Mishra, known to be a die-hard fan of indigenous technology for water conservation, vouched for traditional knowledge to solving water problem via preservation, maintenance, regeneration of ponds, water management and rainwater harvesting. He said there are a number of techniques to harvest rain adding that this is a “new” work and a “new” program. But for the desert society this is no program, he said and added that this is their life.
Citing the example of Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur, he said it can collect six million gallons of rainwater in one season. “The age is 400 years. So, since 400 years it has been giving you almost six million gallons of water per season. You can calculate the price of that water. It draws water from 15 km of canals,” said Mishra.
In an apparent jibe against the authorities concerned for negligence in the proper maintenance of public property, Mishra said, “modern road don’t even last for 50 years. But, the canal, which draws water for the fort is well-maintained for so many generations.”