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(1964 and doing pretty good.. / Thiruvalla, Kerala)

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The dam and the damned

Some saw undulating hills of bliss
And a stream and a waterfall
They that saw them were lovers and poets
But of no no future consequence at all

Politicians teamed up with engineers
But not to see the grandeur that lay across
All they saw were massive massive dams
And a million mega watts of power locked

And so this often repeated sad story here too began
Of tribal settlements and villages that were damned
As each tribal and villager were very carefully told
How the ground beneath their feet would turn cold

“For the greater good”, they were made to hear
“You must shift and our compensation cheer
Moreover, work and build this dam on this your land
Gainful employment for a long time, please understand”

Big dams are worth such small tragedies
Butterflies and monkeys can move elsewhere
Development is the need of this crying hour
What every nation needs is megawatts of power!

Submitted: Wednesday, November 06, 2013


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

The world over the story of fragile ecosystems being destroyed along with displacement of pastoral folks is becoming all too common. We need to light up our expanding cities even if it means increasing darkness in certain areas.

Comments about this poem (Election Time by krishnakumar chandrasekar nair )

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  • Paul Brookes (11/17/2013 2:53:00 AM)

    ah the old story of progress versus tradition where no one wins but the developer (did you mean tribe not tribal) shows the dichotomy of terrible dilemma. 10/10 BB

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  • Diane Hine (11/15/2013 8:43:00 PM)

    This is a terrible dilemma. Hydroelectricty reduces CO2 emissions significantly compared to other power sources but disrupts local communities and ecosystems. I don't envy the politicians who have to make these decisions.

  • Savita Tyagi (11/11/2013 2:57:00 PM)

    Loved it. There are no easy answers. Every thing starts in the name of human welfare but does it ends like that is always questionable. Just remembered Arundhati Roy's power politics. Really good poem.

  • Valsa George (11/10/2013 11:30:00 PM)

    Everything has a dual face
    As development, in its phase
    Without some sacrifice, no progress is viable
    But compensation should be settled amicable

    When we think of progress, the greater good of the greater number is often taken into account and the lesser number, cruelly sidelined. That is not fair. Those men evicted in the course of development projects should be given adequate compensation! We should also not unnecessarily tamper with eco systems and Nature's ecological balance! ! Enjoyed! The title is quite apt!

  • Kanniappan Kanniappan (11/7/2013 9:02:00 PM)

    Lovers and poets see the beauty of nature!
    Politicians and engineers look at a million mega watts of power locked!
    Repeated sad story of tribal settlements and villages that were damned!
    Butterflies and monkeys can move elsewhere, Development is the need of this crying hour!
    Nice poem, somehow we have to convince ourselves!

  • Heather Wilkins (11/6/2013 6:35:00 PM)

    a good poem realizing the society we live in and our needs.

  • Pradip Chattopadhyay (11/6/2013 10:44:00 AM)

    an intensely sensitive portrayal! sadly it's the price of civilization.

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