When riots became a child’s play: I was aghast… How deep was hatred, how casual was it to talk of killing others…

By Gagan Sethi* The year 2002 has been traumatic in the history of Gujarat. For those of us who have seen communal riots from close quarters ever since 1960s, there have been no winners or losers. Most of these riots may have been triggered by some odd incident. But their impact could be seen in … More When riots became a child’s play: I was aghast… How deep was hatred, how casual was it to talk of killing others…

Kutch earthquake and the value of map: Why it was more strategic resource than food

By Gagan Sethi* On the morning of January 26, 2001, when the earth decided to shake itself a bit on Gujarat soil, little did one know that a disaster of such huge proportions would be the consequence. For serious urban planners the message was: Don’t mess around with nature. I remember being told, “People don’t … More Kutch earthquake and the value of map: Why it was more strategic resource than food

Scientific tempter and explorations with water diviner

By Gagan Sethi* In 1990s, Janvikas built partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to involve women in watershed development in Kutch. Janvikas set up an ecology cell, now known as Sahjeevan, in order to tackle the problem of drinking water. The aim was to build a reserve in village water bodies, … More Scientific tempter and explorations with water diviner

How naris eradicated naru in Rajasthan

By Gagan Sethi* In Rajasthan, especially in the districts of Udaipur, Banswada, Dungarpur, people have been traditionally drinking water from bawdis (stepped wells) or nadis (ponds). A horrible consequence was that these water bodies became vehicles that spread the deadly guinea worm or naru, as it was identified in Rajasthan. It was a disease which … More How naris eradicated naru in Rajasthan

Advocacy’s a fine art rural leaders know it better!

By Gagan Sethi* Baba Pansare was a young tribal activist then. He was working in the Manchar taluka near Pune among tribals of the region. Adi Patel, one of the famous names in the development world those days, recommended to us in Janvikas that the Baba should be given a fellowship. He was organizing tribals … More Advocacy’s a fine art rural leaders know it better!

When appearances can indeed be deceptive…

By Gagan Sethi* I received a mail from Shabnam Virmani, about whom I have written earlier, introducing me to Sushma Iyanger, another young pass out from Cornell in development communications. Shabman told me in the mail that Sushma was frantically exploring to do work on issues of women and development. This is where our journey … More When appearances can indeed be deceptive…