سال انتشار: ۱۳۸۶
محل انتشار: سمینار بین المللی تاریخ آبیاری و زهکشی
تعداد صفحات: ۸
Maheshwar P. Joshi – Maheshwar P. Joshi, M.A., Ph.D., D.Litt., Professor & Head (Retired), Department of History, Kumaun University, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India. Sri Mallika Kunja, Malla Joshi Khola, Almora, 263601, Uttarakhand, India.
In the semi-arid areas of Central Himalaya, India, people have worked out an efficient water management system. Present paper focuses on some interesting technical and ideological aspects of this system. The technical aspect reveals Central Himalayan peoples’ intimate knowledge of different watering sources that were articulated in some thirty-five local names on the basis of topographical setting and available quantity of water. Furthermore, it describes how using locally available material the people developed various sustainable and highly efficient hydraulic contrivances to tap and store water from different sources; that based on simple technology most of these devices were executed and maintained by community efforts, hence free from financial burden. The ideological aspect shows that in Central Himalaya ideology lent sanctity to water, accordingly several important rites and ceremonies were developed around it. Furthermore, images of different divinities were installed in the watering places to sanctify them. Consequently, in semi-arid parts ideology motivated people to participate in the construction, repairs, and hygienic maintenance of the watering places, and helped society in resolving water related conflicts, and agreeable distribution of water.
Combined testimony of the archaeological record, folklores, and ethnography unfolds that in Central Himalaya these two aspects existed from very early times. Naturally therefore the efficiency of traditional water management is time-honoured. Sadly to-day due to State control in water management the people of Central Himalaya are distancing themselves from the traditional water management system that needs to be arrested, because its efficieny is beyond doubt. Indeed in the context of ever growing global water crisis, and technical, environmental, institutional, and social issues thereof, the traditional water management in the semi-arid areas of Central Himalaya is worth examining.