In Search of Yamuna

Author: Sarandha Jain

ISBN: 9789380828091

Binding: PB

Price: 400 Rs.



400 ₨

About the Book

The crisis of river Yamuna is pronounced by a deep sense of loss afflicting the lives of riverfront people who were crucial in shaping the river's many rhythms and cultures. In the present mood of transience and conflict, amidst the emerging riverfront politics, these communities seem to be caught in the eye of the storm. This book makes an effort to encapsulate this present conflict. Deconstructing the nature of claims and stakes that riverine communities have on the riverbanks today, it is an attempt to describe the current processes of marginalisation of certain groups, and disengagement with nature for the sake of 'development'. 

The author makes an attempt to capture this current reality of India by discussing it in the framework of one of its holiest rivers trapped in a modern city. It aims to respond to a mood of confusion about what Delhi symbolizes today and what the Yamuna has come to mean to this modern, yet historic city. Tracing the river from Yamunotri to Allahabad, the book delves into her cultural essence and the various meanings she symbolizes across time and space. The Yamuna comes out as a versatile fluid, a cultural mosaic and an emotional power that comprises infinite realities. The book describes the multiple ways in which communities have engaged with the river—religion and mythology, livelihood, recreation, and now, technology and economics.

It discusses the ideologies behind these different notions of the Yamuna and how these conceptions have come in conflict with each other and are now leading to contests over her terrains. The crisis of riverfront communities in Delhi is meticulously illustrated. Alongside, a debate on ecological democracy is unfurled with the lingering question of 'how does one engage with nature today?' Shedding new light on controversies that envelop the river today, this book is a sharp critique of the way the Indian government and economy have dealt with this situation in particular and the larger case of the environment and communities in general. While rooted in current and tangible realities, the narrative transcends that element and engages in a form of philosophical rumination. A personalised narrative with many poetic musings, it is an academic discussion laid out in a lyrical format.

About the Author

Sarandha is a young Delhi-based activist and writer, currently working with the Centre for Science and Environment. After graduating from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, in Sociology, she worked with Goonj, a Delhi-based NGO. In 2008 she completed her Masters in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and returned to Delhi. Having a passion for sociopolitical issues, she has been writing for journals, newspapers and her blog on these subjects. An avid traveller and thinker, she also dabbles with philosophical and travel writing.

This is Sarandha's first book, most of which was written when she was twenty-three. Being twenty-six now, Sarandha is still a seeker. She does not claim to have all answers or ready-made solutions to problems she discusses and questions she poses.

Being the grand-daughter of a non-conformist, maverick thinker and a poetess who has researched and written on Jain scriptures, she belongs to a family with a strong grounding in Indology. Sarandha did most of her schooling from Mirambika, a free-progress, non-conventional school in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi. It is here that her first recalcitrant ideas about the universe were kindled. This unconventional familial and educational background has contributed extensively in making Sarandha a philosophical radical.

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