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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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My Notes on Kaveri Dispute Durable Link to this BLOG
The Kaveri river is to South India what Ganga is to North India, or Nile is to Egypt -- basically a very important river, around which life revolves. The problem is that there is not enough water in the river for all, and nobody seems to agree on how to share the river -- especially the neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu.

But unlike Alabama-Georgia-Florida water disputes the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu are feisty and defiant in dealing with the problem. No matter who mediates, the settlement is unacceptable to one of the parties. It's just like the Arab-Jew problem -- one's gain has to happen at the other's expense. That's the number one problem.

"We've Decided Not to Make a Decision"!

The number two problem is really a problem of India, where political leadership doesn't have the will to solve any problem, and instead postpones making decisions or brokering deals. Even after sixty years since freedom, the leadership of the two states is unwilling to solve the problem for the fear of looking weak.

Incompetence on Karnataka's Part

In 1990, a tribunal was set up to resolve this matter. Most political decisions in Karnataka are made based on the caste, so I assume that the people who were to plead Karnataka's case in front of the Water Tribunal were also picked based on caste or nepotism, and were incompetent to guard the interests of the people. Whereas, the team from Tamilnadu argued its case effectively, and the resulting judgment favored Tamilnadu 419:270 thousand million cubic feet. This judgment is no more than a reflection on the part of Karnataka to argue its case.

The Fire of Regionalism

Add to this complex mix is the problem of regional fanaticism. The Kannada and Tamil communities share an intense love-hate relationship compounded by such issues as border disputes (once the Tamil association of Bangalore had campaigned that Bangalore be annexed by Tamilnadu), politics, crime (Rajkumar, a popular cinema actor was kidnapped by a Tamil mafia), and old-fashioned bickering.

Protest Against Whom?!

The epitome of the tragedy is the behavior of the fanatics who called for suspension of work in protest of the decision. Like my relative exclaimed "What are they protesting against?! We know the judgment was not fair. How will shutting down my business make it right?!" Don't get me started with the silliness of these fools. Now they are campaigning against Girish Karnad because he said something about honoring the decision of the tribunal. They have no weapon than the fear they can cause on the weak, they have no intellect to solve any complex problem, and no wisdom to argue their case in a civil manner.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Last Modified: 2/13/2007 9:02:26 PM

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