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   Water Drops
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
05 Apr 2013

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ular perception on water doesn't hold much water, as it hinges around the technology of overcoming current scarcity for sustaining future supplies. With traditional wisdom around water on the verge of extinction, the discourse around water is somewhat of an aberration from its science. No wonder, questions from the audience that pop up during live television programs not only reflect gross ignorance but portray a skewed understanding on water as well. Like 'water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink', information on water is plenty but clear understanding is broadly missing. Is increasing water scarcity cause for growing water ignorance?

Water Drops is a compilation of some 160 radio broadcasts of 90 seconds each on all aspects of water, from its history to its hydrology and from its science to its politics. The weekly broadcast on a New York FM channel had commenced in early 2006 and lasted till 2008. Since then these essays have repeatedly been broadcast from an unknown number of radio stations and are available online too. Now in print, Water Drops has everything you ever wanted to know about water and water issues. It is Peter Black’s four decades of professional research and teaching experience captured in 90-seconds capsules, each offering cure for water ignorance.

You may like 'hot shower' but speaking on it meaningfully and that too for little over a minute can make you feel hot. One can perhaps write a volume on 'water balance' but making a diverse audience get a balanced sense of it could be daunting. And, think of 'black ice' to let your listeners get a sense of something we rarely encounter. This and much more, each of these radio broadcasts celebrates water and its wonder. Informative and even entertaining, Water Drops is an encyclopedic look at water in its various manifestations. As an activist, as a teacher and as an administrator, there come moments when one struggles to make a coherent sense of the issue for an audience. It is for such crucial moments that one may need Water Drops. It is a celebration of water, the elixir of all life.

Water Drops: Celebrating the Wonder of Water
by Peter E. Black
State University of New York Press, Albany
187 pages, $19.95

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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