A fresh understanding of the relationship between rivers and people
Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Environment, Security, Development and Peace (BRIEFSSECUR, volume 36)
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Table of contents (10 chapters)
About this book
Firstly, the concept of water needs to be understood not as H2O, as it is done in physical sciences,but as H2OP4. That is, the meaning of water in social sciences must include not only ‘twice hydrogen plus oxygen’ but also four P’s - pollution, power, politics and profit. This is not to discount the ‘science’ in the conceptualization of water but rather to add elements central to social sciences.
Secondly, the concept of river needs to be redefined and understood not as a carrier of water, as assumedin most of theWestern languages, but as ‘nadi,’ a flow consisting of prana (life), shakti (power), and atman (soul), as etymologically definedin most of the South Asian languages. This comes closer to what critical hydrologists would say, WEBS, that is, a ‘river’ consists of water, energy, biodiversity and sediment. In this light, any fragmentation of transboundary river waterin the name of ‘sharing’becomes an unworkable option, unless of course a mechanism is found to ‘share’the water of the river along with its energy, biodiversity and sediment, and that again, without distorting and harming the life of the river!
Thirdly, the subject of ‘water commons’needs to be approached from the standpoint of ‘rights’ of both human andriver. This is to flag the notion that nature, including rivers, has ‘rights’just like humans, although their manifestations may be different. In fact, empowered humans, particularly those in control of the state, have more ‘responsibility’ than ‘rights’ in dissuading themselves and others from creating conditions of human wrongs, not only against fellow human beings but also against nature.
Finally, if the ‘rights’ ofhumans are to be ensuredthen there is an urgent need to reconceptualize and mainstream the human as a multiverse being. This is because humans are not only political beings but also economic, cultural, ecological, technological, and psychological beings. In this light, if conflicts are to be contained then humans need to be empowered in all possible areasof life – politics, economics, ecology, culture, technology, and psychology. This would certainly require empowering each and every person, all at the same time receptive to nature in general and rivers in particular.
The book is designed to initiate a discourse on the civilizational quest for water commons, indeed, with the expectation that a discussion on rights and rivers would lead to a creative flow of ideas and practices.
- Geopolitics of Rivers
- Women and Rivers
- The Anthropocene and the Riverine People
- River Rights
- Water Dystopia
Authors and Affiliations
Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Book Title: Rights, Rivers and the Quest for Water Commons: The Case of Bangladesh
Authors: Imtiaz Ahmed
Publisher: Springer Cham
Copyright Information: The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-69433-3Published: 10 April 2021
eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-69434-0Published: 09 April 2021
Series ISSN: 2193-3162
Series E-ISSN: 2193-3170
Edition Number: 1
Number of Pages: XVII, 125
Number of Illustrations: 14 b/w illustrations, 35 illustrations in colour