Water wars are as old as our nation, may be even older. The verdict on the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has laid bare the differences between the two states.
And here's how the feedback went.
Cheers for Tamil Nadu
Suresh Krishnan from Fremont, USA felt it was a fair judgment.
"This is a real victory to farmers, nothing more or less. This issue should be taken in the light of the interest of the nation, water flow from a river cannot held by artificial means, that is a fact we observed during the monsoon season where more than the decided amount of water was discharged."
"Hopefully Karnataka government will make every effort to implement this order completely and in the interest of the nation."
Ram from Chennai, India too felt it was a just verdict.
"From 1950 all the court orders and verdict were in favour of Tamil Nadu."
"But unfortunately Karnataka and its people never accepted it and obeyed the orders. It is ridiculous that one state is continuously ignoring Supreme Court orders in India. This could set a negative example in a democracy like India."
"Since one is a Kannadiga it does not mean one should support Karnataka. Have a fair thinking."
"I hope there will not be any violence against Tamil people in Bangalore (who constitute 30 per cent of the city's population and its economy)."
Ram Sethuraman from Mississauga, Canada felt it was designed to cause maximum blow to Tamil farmers.
"The judgment is a sham. Actually Tamil Nadu will receive less water than it was getting before. It has been put in such a way that TN will have to accept it. This will be a blow to the Tamil farmers. Karnataka will accept it even though it will pretend to be a loser."
"The way water resources are shared in India things will get worse in the future."
Rooting for Karnataka
But there were many more who thought the verdict was heavily biased in favour of Tamil Nadu.
Writing under the pseudonym, Cogito_ergo from New Delhi said, "The tribunal's award appears to be excessively favourable to Tamil Nadu and it might have been based on misrepresentations by the TN government."
"The following episode will explain."
"A few years ago a certain set of agriculture experiments in Tamil Nadu was brought to an abrupt halt on the advice of a 'famous' agricultural scientist because the results obtained indicated that much less water was required for irrigation than was demanded by the Tamil Nadu government. If the experiments had been continued, they could have yielded results badly embarrassing to the Tamil Nadu government."
"As I remember it, these facts were revealed during cross examination of the famous 'expert' by FS Nariman, counsel for Karnataka. But then the famous man was (and still is) so famous and so powerful, he could (and still can) get away with murder."
Suman Bhat from Bangalooru, India too thought Karnataka got a raw deal.
"It is unfair deal. Injustice has been done to Karnataka. DMK is supporting UPA government in the Centre and therefore TN got good deal. Karnataka government should appeal for more share of water. When farmers are committing suicide on a daily basis how can Karnataka release water to TN? The farmers of the state need water."
Shekar too felt, "This verdict is totally biased. The tribunal has not studied the case well. Karnataka has and will suffer a lot."
Third person's perspective
Fortunately there were many who saw the larger picture but weren't too optimistic about things.
N Nagarajan from Hyderabad, India said that it was time we didn't let politicians hijack the agenda.
"Unfortunately, over the years our rivers are getting polluted and the politicians are 'polluting' them further by politicising our water resources."
"And when regional parties are in power, the situation is bound to get from bad to worse. The tribunal has given a fair share for TN. Had it not been the case DMK would gone to the extent of withdrawing support to the centre."
Satbir Singh Bedi from New Delhi, India felt we Indians were being too parochial and regional-minded in our treatment of national assets.
"The water disputes are due to the fact that we do not think in terms of being Indians but are guided by regional considerations. Punjab does not like to share water with Haryana and Rajasthan; Karnataka does not want to share water with Tamil Nadu; Haryana and UP do not want to share water with Delhi and so on."
"This is the fault of our upbringing. We are never told to think on national basis in our childhood. We get glimpses of our parents fighting with their neighbours about sharing of space in the streets and throwing each other's waste before the other people's house. So, we develop an ego, which is that everybody is for himself."
"This erodes the sense of national participation and we at the most think on regional basis or on religious basis. There is a talk of Hindu nationalism, Sikh nationalism and Muslim nationalism. Here, we fail to appreciate that all the Muslims do not live in one country, so how can there be Muslim nationalism. Even, Hindus and Sikhs now live in many countries."
"So, instead of thinking about nationalism in terms of religion, why do not we think in terms of Indian nationalism?"
"Punjab does not want to share waters with Haryana and Rajasthan but may I ask the Punjab government whether Haryana and Rajasthan are not part of India? The same question can be asked posed to other state governments also. The previous government has started a project regarding inter-linking of rivers."
"Why do not we take up this project in the right earnest forgetting our regional feelings. Of course, one way of resolving the issue could be as suggested by the Ministry of Water Resources that this subject be put under the list of subjects allocated to Central government."
Sudharshan writing from Dubai, UAE said it was high time we rearranged our provinces geographically not linguistically.
"This dispute has been raging since times immemorial. The only way this can be solved is be firstly rearranging the states as per provinces which are geographically determined (not by linguistic basis)."
"These newly formed states should have the rivers entirely flowing through only one state. Then there will be no dispute. Water-related disputes are the ones, which directly affect the common man."
"Linguistic and other considerations are absolutely secondary and common man is really not bothered about that. People should themselves now consider out-of-the box solutions instead of leaving such important matters to politicians."
Shashank from India feared this issue could acquire an India-Pakistan conflict kind of a proportion between the concerned states.
"I really do not have any issues, whoever says what. But yes the scenes happening in Karnataka is a political issue instead of people's issue. The vehicles from TN to Karnataka have been stopped and vice-versa. Hope these two states do not become like India and Pakistan. Think and act before it is too late. Central government has to look into this issue and action accordingly! Jai hind."
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