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The Rule of Water

An exhuastive and perceptive look at the ways water has shaped society in southern India and the the issues for the future.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2003 10:06 IST

The Rule of Water
Statecraft, Ecology, and Collective Action in South India

David Mosse
Oxford
2003
Sociology, Ecology
Pages: 337
Price: Rs 675
Hardcover
ISBN: 01966137-0

The debate over water is something that has progressively grown over years. From being perceived as 'eternal' resource to one that might just spark off the biggest of all wars, water is a core issue. So from being taken for granted, this is an issue that threatens relations between neighbours, whether in houses or in continents.

This particular book takes a comprehensive look at water issues in South India, not just of the present day, but also of the past. There is ample use of anthropology and oral histories to support the arguments.

This book highlights the importance of water in the idioms and organizations of power and the centrality of water resources to the organization of a pre-colonial warrior states of the peninsula.

The use of archival material is also there in good measure, especially for the British period.

The importance of tanks in the agricultural economy of the area is looked at in detail. The text is supplemented with maps and illustrations, often of great help to visualize the layout of areas discussed.

What it most clearly brings out is the follies of looking at narrow interpretation of the economy. Instead, it demonstrates the centrality of water in the socio-political fields as well.

The book also makes a case for people's participation in the management of water rather than the decisions being made from above.

A glossary and an exhaustive bibliography should be of assistance to the reader as well, especially those involved in research on related issues.