THE FRESHWATER TRAIL: THAR

People of the Thar desert who live with the cycle of seasons find ways of feeding thousands of people without irrigation. The Indian government, however, calls 68% of the deep Thar a "wasteland," and has plans to "better utilize" it. Actions born of this new lexicon threaten to destroy livelihoods and a whole ecosystem. These stories are part of an ongoing series that traces the changing fates of the desert grassland commons

ARTICLES:

  1. MIRACLE OF SKY RIVER: People of the Thar desert who live with the cycle of seasons find ways of feeding thousands of people without irrigation. This story unfolds over a year and recounts history through contemporary lives lived gently
  2. THE MEMORY OF WELLS: Traditional desert dwellers, semi-nomadic shepherds, call upon ancient wisdom to survive in the deep Thar desert of Rajasthan. This is a story about people who remember where the wells live
  3. FORTY NAMES OF CLOUDS: The deep Thar desert sees only forty cloudy days. Yet, the shepherds have as many different names for clouds. Does the essence of thriving in this hostile clime begin with an evocative lexis of the land?
  4. BLIND MEN AND THE DESERT: The Indian government calls 68% of the Thar a "wasteland," and plans to "better utilize" it. Actions born of this new lexicon threaten to destroy livelihoods and an ecosystem at a time when monsoons are unpredictable
  5. THE LANDSCAPE GLOSSARY: When we lose an evocative lexicon of the land, when we forget, we lose what Barry Lopez calls the ā€œvoice of memory over the land.ā€ This is an attempt to keep that lexicon alive. Do contribute, and help it grow!
  6. IN SEARCH OF A MINSTREL: Where could I find the desert minstrels who sing a "chhand," a poem, of a fabled people long gone from the Jaisalmer area? Rumor had it that there were only very few minstrels who recited the poem anymore