Greetings from Bhoomi Magazine
As I sit down to pen this editorial aboard a train to attend a confluence on alternative education, I begin to wonder about the etymology of the word confluence.
What would be the word’s closest real and natural world approximation?
A couple of unsuccessful google hits later, I finally arrive at a satisfactory definition. Confluence, I am told, is the union of two or more rivers or streams.
It amazes me how humans have not only stripped water bodies of their identities but appropriated them as virtues for themselves. Humans create ripples these days, make waves, achieve flow states and attend confluences while the water bodies are themselves dammed, drilled, diverted and dumped.
We seem to have forgotten that our identities are linked to our water bodies. In fact, even the identity of this train is intertwined with the major rivers of our land. This train passes through Bangalore, Chennai, Nagpur, Allahabad and ends up at Patna.
Two of the cities mentioned above have two rivers flowing through them. One has been named after the river that flows through it. And the other two have been historically relevant as they are situated at the confluence of three rivers.
Where there’s water, there’s life. And trees. And forests. So no surprise then that this train traverses mangrove forests, tiger reserves and national parks.
Let’s not fool ourselves. The rivers are talking. They are speaking to the forests. They are talking to each other and they know what we are doing to them. They only seem to be communicating in a language older than words that we seem to unable or just unwilling to comprehend.
All this month, Bhoomi Magazine will feature initiatives and actions taken up by individuals to listen to what the rivers, lakes and forests have been trying to tell us. Initiatives across the country that are working to protect our commons that are still pristine and rejuvenating the ones that have been severely affected by human intervention.
From Narmada Bachao to Kere Habbas, from Forests First to Healing Forests, Bhoomi Magazine will look at both urban and rural actions that can regenerate not just our water bodies and forests but our spirits as well.
Vandana Shiva believes that we are living in the age of stupidity. She might just be right. Examples of hyper/toxic masculinity are not too hard to find. It’s time that we look at a different energy to solve the ills of the world.
Keeping the above in mind, our first feature of the month will focus on women activists whose work in water conservation and water rights had inspired us.
This month we also mourn the fading away of one of the brightest stars of India’s Ecological Movement, Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, by celebrating his undying commitment to the conservation of Kolkata’s wetlands and the rights of the communities. Aseem Shrivastava sketches an intimate yet rousing portrait of Dhruba Da.
Here’s to wishing that all of us like Dhruba Da recognise the value in respecting our commons.
I’ll be on my way to the confluence. Of water and of humans.
To me the word ‘confluence’ brings to mind a worked out meaning of coming together of people with ‘concern’ and people with ‘influence’ to make a difference, to make an impact, to make a shift and so on!