A life for a life, water is a very essential part of our life, without it there is
no survival of any humans. Drowned Out is a 2002 documentary by Franny Armstrong about
family’s standing against a government dam project which is set to destroy their home and their
The villages of Jalsindhi, in Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the
Narmada River, lived a fulfilling life. With the holy water of Narmada they enjoyed fertile
agriculture and fruitful meditational herbs. The place not only provided them employment but
was a bearing home for many. This utopian was only short lived, with the introduction of Sardar
Sarovar Project laid out by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 5 April 1961. Their dreams
shattered and they were remained stranded.
The Sardar Sarovar Project is one of the largest dams in the world. It is a
gravity dam on the Narmada River near Navagam, Gujarat in India. Four Indian states, receive
water and electricity supplied from the dam. The project took form in 1979 as part of a
development scheme funded by the World Bank through their International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity,
The construction of the dam was a very ambiguous matter it was
simply a communication gap of ideas among government and the common people. Government
provides them no viable alternatives – they offered unusable unfertile land a hundred miles away
or a small sum of money in compensation for their river-side land. They lost their livelihoods
and way of living. Some people were just left on the banks of the river without any shelter to
cover. This angered the people, they started hunger strikes, rallies, and a six-year Supreme Court
case got issued. Arundhati Roy became an active spokesperson behind this people.
In May 2002, the Narmada Construction Authority gave clearance
for the dam to be built up to a height of 95 meters. At this height, there are 8,000 families who
will be submerged and not yet have been resettled. Humans are just killing humans not because
they don’t have a voice but simply because they are poor. It’s costing their lives. People are
getting drowned out to save other families, but who will think about their own family?
It is said that the Narmada River is sacred to the people of India; legend has it that while one
must bathe in the Ganges River to purify the soul, and one need only look at the Narmada River
to get the same healing. The same Narmada cannot be so cruel to mercilessly kill people.
Governments should have been more careful while they had implemented a project; they would
not have been so much of lost of life if a clear framework was prepared beforehand. The life of a
human is precious and no one has the right to take it!
As monsoon season approaches, we do not know whether it is the ending of the last civilization
of the bank, we don’t know the story yet? Will the houses survive or will Narmada gulp them
with the water?
Whatever the ending be, we won’t run away from our home, we will drown, but we will not