Hoover to Bakhra to Sarovar


I visited Hoover dam for the first time this week, one of the million who visit the dam every year. I have a love-hate-hate relationship with large dams. Having been born and raised in independent India, I was indoctrinated that science was the solution to saving India. The Bhakra Dam was termed by the first Prime Minister of the country as the “Temple of Modern India.” Until of course the dam project that defeated the World Bank; the Sardar Sarovar Dam which displaced over 250,000 indigenous people. After decades of protest by environmental activists, the World Bank had to withdraw from the project in 1994. The famed writer-author-activist Arundhati Roy was a major influence on my generation in India, highlighting the rights of indigenous population and the dangers of large dam projects. One of the largest dam projects, the Three Gorges Dam in China flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced over 1.3 million people.

Hoover represents the US’s audacious even if occasionally misguided boldness. This engineering marvel was built in the height of post depression. That takes some balls. It captured the imagination of Americans even before it was completed and continues to be one of the most visited tourist sites in the country. It created thousands of jobs when none existed. An example of American boldness and ingenuity but also a reminder that science, engineering, and technology without consideration of long term impact on the environment is not wise. Paradox, my friends, but one hopefully, we have learned from. The world of big dams is long gone but Hoover still stands as a reminder. A reminder to use science and engineering wisely. A reminder that science and engineering have to to serve humanity and Planet Earth. The tail cannot wag the Dog!

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14 Responses to Hoover to Bakhra to Sarovar

  1. OldenGray says:

    That is interesting to read. Governments do not normally tell anything about the negatives and by the time people find out, it is typically too late!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sonniq says:

    So much has been done in the name of progress with little thought of the consequences. It matters little what the people want for our world. Even now the CEO of Nestle is proclaiming that having water is not a human being’s “right”.That, from the company that has led to the death of people and the destruction of communities – and they will get away with it. I boycott anything from Nestle or any company they own – for whatever good that will do

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the thoughtful comment and for participating in this discussion. I agree with you that as consumers we need to vote with our wallets. And nestle is evil in also the way they have pushing formula on expectant and new mothers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sonniq says:

        I read about that with nestle about 15 years ago and never bought another nestle product – or Coke. What does it matter that they kill people in 3rd world countries. I’ll bet they feel like real people even though we don’t look at them as such. Coke has destroyed the water in entire villages to the point they can’t even wash their clothing in it. But as the CEO of Nestle has said – people don’t have a right to water. It would be nice if he drowned in his statements and then he might feel a little different. We, as a world, are not headed into a very good place and I doubt we can stop it. Money is king.

        Liked by 1 person

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