CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CRISIS OF BRAHMAPUTRA by DR. ARATI BARUAH
Above is the English title of Assamese language book titled: Koilashor Pora Tsangpor Thio Gorat Utter-pub Bharat: Jalabayusalani, Brahmaputrarsankat can be purchased here, click on the title.
NORTHEAST INDIA IN THE VERTICAL GORGE OF TSANGPO: climate change and the crisis of Brahmaputra. For the benefit of Assamese readers outside India, Coolgrove Press is publishing (2021) Dr. Arati Baruah’s book titled Koilashor Pora Tsangpor Thio Gorat Utter-pub Bharat: Jalabayusalani, Brahmaputrarsankat (translated into English: NORTHEAST INDIA IN THE VERTICAL GORGE OF TSANGPO: climate change and the crisis of Brahmaputra). It was first published in India with favorable
reviews in Assam in 2020. An English version of the above work by the author is being prepared at Coolgrove, provisionally titled, Save the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, Protect the Vertical Pole and Freeze Global Warming. As the titles might suggest, when it comes to international border crossing rivers, complex factors not limited to environmental, topographical and geological, affect the people who live in those river valleys.
However when man-made disasters break upstream, the problem cascades downstream where the people often pay the heavier price but not always, in the long term. Treaties governed by international law need to be in place to enforce accountability for the responsible parties for such tragedies. Transcending national self-interest, the prevention of such disasters in mutual recognition of the loss of traditional lands and lives lost on both sides of the border need to be considered urgently. Such scenarios exist all over the world and require a closer look at the intentions and genuineness of the negotiating parties. Shifting the national aims from mindless and greedy exploitation of nature to mutual, good neighborly co-management of the ecosystems of such river valleys can instead support peace and prosperity on both sides of the river. Topographical geopolitics, historical perceptions and the good faith of the parties become crucial factors in the dynamics of negotiations. But governments come and governments go yet the lives, hopes and dreams of the people of valleys on both sides remain determined by the existence and absence of such guardrails.
In view of the fact that from India, to China to the countries of ‘Indo-China’, indigenous peoples and their ancestral lands have straddled today’s national boundaries in settlements predating the spreads of the imperial Han Chinese as well as that of India’s epic religious-mythologies that have heavily biased popular perceptions about India’s auctothons—the indigenous inhabitants of the lands. What then do we mean by the ‘rights’ of indigenous people? Both books are written to better inform Indians about what lies to the north and to raise awareness of potentially catastrophic consequences of any accident on China’s
giant hydroelectric dam projects to harness the massive energy of the waters of the Tsangpo, the headwaters of the Brahmaputra. —Tej Hazarika, publisher