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IHT (2004.12.14): The valley vanishes

This sobering commentary, while romantic in its writing, points to a destructive present, where the old Uttarakhand is dying and the new one of mountain slums and environmental destruction is rapidly becoming the universal reality. Not only is this transformation physical, but also cultural — it is the same worldwide the inexorable tide of human insanity.

From the Asian Age: “…Tehri was a revelation to me. That whole wide valley has been devastated by a million rakshasas in the shape of giant diggers and tipper trucks. Over the decades, whole hills have been churned up to take away stone and rubble to the dam site. As we travelled up the valley towards Uttarkashi, I kept questioning my local driver. As the dam fills it appears 60-70 kms of this pristine sacred river valley will go under water. In the evening light we passed prospects each more beautiful than the last: the river in languorous seductive loops shining in the golden sun; little villages on beautiful terraces producing natural paintings by the many pastel shades used by the owners. I could have cried at the coming disappearance of this beauty forever. The road we were on, was to disappear. On both sides of the valley, new roads were being cut at a higher elevation and they were making the mountains bleed dust and stones down the slopes. At each roadside tea stall I saw the young and old strolling about. These are such gentle hill people. I thought to myself, soon they will become part of the disembodied labour force in some arid town in the plains and this valley will only be a lost aching memory.” [more]