Our waters are choked, rivers are fragmented, and oceans are poisoned! Are we too?
Radhika Mulay has been a student of Bharatnatyam since the age of 12. After completing her Arangetram in 2007, she went on to pursue her Bachelor in Liberal Education with a specialization in Environmental Studies and Dance from FLAME University, Pune, and an MSc in Water Science, Policy, and Management from the University of Oxford, UK. Currently, she is working as a researcher at the Centre for Water Research and Living Waters Museum at IISER-Pune. While working as a water researcher, her passion for dance has always been a driving force. A professional Bharatnatyam dancer, Radhika’s dance training has been enriched with the practice of Yoga, Contemporary dance form, and Carnatic music. She has various solo and group performances to her credit in India and United Kingdom and has been part of dance productions as well! A researcher at heart, she has attended various workshops and residencies and has recently been granted a research grant by 'Parivartan: A Research Initiative for the Performing Arts' for a project titled ‘Rights of Rivers through the lens of Bharatnatyam’, an attempt at bridging her interests in water research and dance!Read more
Flow Within by Radhika Mulay
State of Choked Waterways
They refer to rivers, canals, and other bodies of water that are blocked or constricted in some way, causing difficulties for water flow and other ecological processes. Some of the major reasons for waterways to be choked include, large amounts of trash, such as plastic and other waste materials accumulating in rivers and canals, blocking the flow of water, and harming wildlife; dams and other man-made barriers restricting the flow of water in rivers, affecting the quality and the migration of aquatic species; soil erosion; deforestation; and other land-use changes.
Challenges Faced by Indian Rivers
Heavy industrial and agricultural waste, untreated sewage, and household garbage have led to the deterioration of water quality and have serious impacts on the health of both the rivers and the people who depend on them.
While dams and other hydroelectric projects have brought many benefits, they also pose serious environmental and social impacts, such as loss of habitats and displacement of local communities.
The increasing demand for water is causing reduced flow due in rivers due to the over-extraction of groundwater. This in turn leads to declining water levels, affecting the health of the rivers and the aquatic life they support.
The flow of rivers is being affected by climate change, causing droughts in some regions and floods in others. It directly affects the availability of water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses, deteriorating the health of the rivers.
Human activities such as dam construction, water diversions, and other forms of river management lead to the disruption or division of rivers into multiple isolated sections. This is known as the fragmentation of rivers. It severely impacts the health and functioning of the river ecosystem, leading to the loss of habitats; degradation of water quality; reduction in the flow; and disruption in sediment deposition among other hazards.
Poisoning of Oceans
Ocean pollution harms marine life, leads to the loss of biodiversity, and contaminates seafood and other ocean-derived products. Plastic waste is the biggest contributor, followed by agricultural run-off including fertilizers and pesticides; oil spills; partially treated sewage; and heavy metals released as industrial waste.
Dance Performances as a Measure to Raise Awareness
Storytelling through a traditional Indian dance form like Bharatanatyam conveys the cultural significance of India's rivers and connects with audiences on an emotional level. They demonstrate how rivers have been our lifelines for ages and the crucial role played in the development of the country's civilization and culture. From the sacred Ganges to the bountiful Brahmaputra, these rivers have not only sustained life, but have also been an integral part of the religious, social, and economic fabric of the country. They have provided water for agriculture and irrigation, served as important trade and transportation routes, and have been worshipped as sacred deities. Through powerful imagery, music, and dance, the performances raise awareness of the impacts of the challenges on the health of the rivers and the larger ecosystem.
About Sassoon Docks
Sassoon Docks is a historic fishing village located in Mumbai, India. It is one of the largest and oldest fishing villages in the city and is known for its bustling atmosphere and vibrant community of fishermen and their families. It was built in the late 19th century by David Sassoon, a wealthy Jewish merchant who wanted to create a safe and efficient place for the city's fishermen to sell their catch. Today, it is a hub of activity, with hundreds of fishermen coming and going each day to sell their catch. The docks are surrounded by a bustling market, where vendors sell seafood and other goods to locals and tourists alike. It is the venue for the Mumbai Urban Art Festival organized by the St+art India Foundation.