Mahakali Walk by Veditum India Foundation

Mahakali Walk is an ongoing effort by Garima Gupta and Siddharth Agarwal of Veditum India Foundation to explore the current riverscape of the Mahakali river. Starting from Banbasa at the foothills of the Himalayas, the practitioners are walking along the river as far upstream as possible.

Over the ages, this river, born of geological tensions and millennia of erosion, forming the modern geopolitical boundary between India and Nepal, has seen many migrations along and across it. Their effort is to keep a view of the past and focus on the present as they explore the riverscape. They will be focussing on issues such as people’s relationship with the river, river health, biodiversity around the river, border-related challenges along with a study and critique of existing and upcoming anthropogenic structures. The waters of the Mahakali are unfortunately the proposed site for gigantic dams that seek to turn this wild river into a canal.

Based on Veditum India Foundation’s ongoing investigation and intervention into the life of the river body, they report many stories of floods, agriculture, water and wildlife from these areas. Mango orchards aplenty, yet few to enjoy their fruits. They say that young community members continue to find it worth their while to instead look for jobs in cities or in the armed forces. The year before Veditum’s visit, the floods had been ferocious – and devastating for many. This information, as always, and without much actual basis, is used as a way to build consensus for the building of large dams – projected as a flood control mechanism when convenient. Yet, in the interim, relief measures for those affected are far and few.

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