Don?t let MNCs rob your heritage: Rajendra

IS WATER a commodity for commerce, as governments in India and MNCs have begun to see it? Or, a gift of the nature on which everybody has a natural and equitable right? This debate found eloquent expression in Magsaysay Award recipient Rajendra Singh?s speech under the aegis of the 13th Raj Bahadur Pathak lecture series at Ravindra Bhawan this evening.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 14:44 IST

IS WATER a commodity for commerce, as governments in India and MNCs have begun to see it? Or, a gift of the nature on which everybody has a natural and equitable right? This debate found eloquent expression in Magsaysay Award recipient Rajendra Singh’s speech under the aegis of the 13th Raj Bahadur Pathak lecture series at Ravindra Bhawan this evening.

Subject of the lecture was: Water movement in 21st century. An activist-farmer of Lapodia in Rajasthan, Laxman Singh, also shared his experience about the turnaround of the village with people’s participation, from an increasingly non-livable barren land to a verdant and prosperous village.

Lapodia (meaning mad in Rajasthani) was earlier notorious for rejoicing litigation among its people but water-movement changed it all. The village retains the name but now it has positive connotation, Laxman Singh quipped.

Surendra Bansal from Chandigarh, who has translated Anupam Mishra’s popular Hindi book on relevance of ponds in Punjabi, lamented role of religious gurus in contributing depletion of water sources in the country. His rather unconventional views on godmen provided a new dimension to the debate.

Bhaskar newspaper’s group editor Shrawan Garg represented the group’s chairman Ramesh Chandra Agrawal as chief guest. Rajendra Singh averred in his long speech that any movement for water conservation in the 21st century has to be based on the premise that water is a heritage for all to share equitably. He called upon the people to stoutly stand against the government-MNCs nexus for commercialising water and, to this end, boycott bottled water sold in the market.

The waterman’s main emphasis in the lecture was on people’s participation, which, he said, changed the face of Alwar district where he heads voluntary organisation Tarun Bharat Sangh. He also suggested entrusting women the responsibility of monitoring distribution of the groundwater through Jal Panchayats. “Women are better adept at ensuring equitable distribution than man and I respect them for that,” he remarked.

On the occasion young journalist and Nav Bharat, Indore, Resident Editor Kranti Chaturvedi was conferred Raktasurya Samman. Dhruv Shukla conducted the programme. A large number of persons including journalists, politicians, litterateurs and others were present in the function.

First Published: Jun 05, 2006 14:44 IST