Despite Mumbai’s position as India’s financial, economic, and cultural capital, water is chronically unavailable for rich and poor alike. Mumbai’s dry taps are puzzling, given that the city does not lack for either water or financial resources. In Pipe Politics, Contested Waters, Lisa Björkman shows how an elite dream to transform Mumbai into a “world class” business center has wreaked havoc on the city’s water pipes. In rich ethnographic detail, Pipe Politics explores how the everyday work of getting water animates and inhabits a penumbra of infrastructural activity—of business, brokerage, secondary markets, and sociopolitical networks—whose workings are reconfiguring and rescaling political authority in the city. Mumbai’s increasingly illegible and volatile hydrologies, Björkman argues, are lending infrastructures increasing political salience just as actual control over pipes and flows becomes contingent on dispersed and intimate assemblages of knowledge, power, and material authority. These new arenas of contestation reveal the illusory and precarious nature of the project to remake Mumbai in the image of Shanghai or Singapore and gesture instead toward the highly contested futures and democratic possibilities of the actually existing city.
2015 Duke University Press
About the Author
Lisa Björkman is Assistant Professor of Urban and Public Affairs at University of Louisville, and Research Scholar at CETREN (Transregional Research Network), University of Göttingen.
Impossible Engineering: Technology and Territoriality on the Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi, which threads through southwestern France and links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, was an astonishing feat of seventeenth-century engineering–in fact, it was technically impossible according to the standards of its day. Impossible Engineering takes an insightful and entertaining look at the mystery of its success as well as the canal’s surprising political significance. The waterway was a marvel that connected modern state power to human control of nature just as surely as it linked the ocean to the sea. Continue reading
By the end of the twentieth century, more then 45,000 large dams were built world wide displacing millions of people, and dramatically altering both ecosystems and social systems centered on rivers. A majority of these dams were constructed after 1945. This book seeks to explain the enormous global investment in dams since 1945 and explores their connections to political ideologies. It shows the lack of concern and awareness of policymakers and electorates about the human tragedies. It also sheds light on the disappointing performace of many river valley projects. The author traces the history of the politics and the political culture that influenced economic and technical decisions in the creation of particular dams in India and the United States. In doing so, he contributes to a broader discussion on the politcal significance of dams worldwide, and of the connections between development and nationalism. Continue reading
This historical analysis of the Periyar project questions the arguments and some of the contemporary claims made about the project’s engineering and construction, and its environmental impact. Far from being an environmentally destructive project, this was a “pacifist” scheme when it was built. The article throws light on these issues by analysing historical documents.
url : http://www.epw.in/commentary/historical-validity-mullaperiyar-project.html
Shashi K. Gulhati, The Untiring Indian : Lifestory of Mr. N. D. Gulhati: A Visionary Water Resources Engineer, New Delhi: MacMillan Publishers India, 2011
“A developing nation such as India is built by the untiring effort of thousands, rather, hundreds of thousands of its citizens. Sometimes circumstances demand that everyone work in concert, as Indians did under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in their quest for independence from colonial rule. Most other times, however, it is groups of various sizes or just individuals who work untiringly in their respective sphere of activity. In a large, diverse and growing country like India, there are many spheres of activity that need nurturing to build the nation. Nation building does require that we work with national development as the prime objective. It calls for us to sacrifice, to shun smaller, self-serving goals and to focus on larger causes. It demands that we work with integrity, commitment and a genuine concern for others. Those that do are, or ought to be, our national heroes. It is they who should be our youth’s ‘role models’. Role models play a very significant role in modeling our lives.The shape that a nation takes is determined by the role models it chooses. Continue reading
Peter Mollinga, Anjali Bhat and S.V. Saravanan (eds), When policy meets reality : Political dynamics and the practice of integration in water resources management reform. Berlin : LIT Verlag, 2010
«Water policy initiatives often run into difficulties when they encounter the realities of really existing societies. Policies may not get implemented as planned, and may not achieve their stated objectives. Many things happen when policy initiatives travel from formulation to implementation. The papers in this volume examine the travel and appropriation of water policy by looking at the contestation and the embeddedness of water policy. Organised in the sequence everyday politics of water, politics of water policy, hydropolitics, global water politics, the papers constitute a call for a policy approach that replaces a social engineering with a strategic action perspective.»