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Work Where It Counts: A Permaculture Way Of Protest

Growing your own food and creating water systems are the two most powerful things you can do in a corrupt political system. We spoke about Food last time, let’s look into Water now, the biggest elephant lounging in Darjeeling’s smallest sofa.

‘Water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink,’ is not the ancient mariner’s chant. It’s ours.
It is possible to change the world in a positive way rather than try to stop the world that we don’t want. We are of the belief that sometimes, subtle actions are the best actions. Problem solving, decision-making, planned actions and creative inspiration are the small shifts that occur within people to create happy, self-sufficient and connected communities. And not to forget in passing, that’s what pisses hegemonic governments and corrupted leaders off the most. So what are we waiting for?

We have always been pushed into putting our passions for creating a better world, a better Gorkhaland per se, into an increasingly corrupt and absurd political contest. What if that energy was instead invested in something worthwhile, something that directly and immediately improved life, community, and the world at large?

Water is at the heart of not just the permaculture design philosophy but apart from being our life source, we are all intimately connected through the water that runs through our lands and taps. The general human approach is to treat water as waste but we can turn that around in ways where we can use water wisely especially our excess rainwater during the monsoon months.

With permaculture design, the methods we utilise slows the progress of the heavy rain water down allowing it to permeate and nourish the land and most importantly for the Hills, it helps prevent landslides by allowing the water to be directed effectively through the property by not keeping it but just slowing down its progression.

It is no unknown fact that landslides have been a major area of fear and concern during the wet seasons for our people and region and it is also a wellknown fact that no government or ruling party has ever deemed it important enough to be addressed so far. But that does not mean that we can’t take matters into our own capable hands.

Here are a few ways to consider that:
* The use of appropriate plants to hold soil in place
* Utilising plants that pump water from soggy patches
* Placing swales to direct the flow of water
* Building wicking beds
* Making the most of existing water courses and collection points
* Redirecting grey water
* Installing gravity fed water collection tanks (rain water harvesting)
* Mulch pits to collect water and release it slowly
* Planting trees to recharge ground water

This is also where localism or local activism comes into play, an essential factor to help save not just the magnitude of our environmental crises but our region and people’s economic concerns too. Local activism is not anti-politics because politics is a good word in the form of good governance; but local activism is anti bad governance in the form of recuperative politics.

Governments are supposed to exist for the sake of providing security and sustaining resources for the people living in it and good governance is required for us too. And we know that for it to work properly people must believe in its ability to do so but for now, we don’t know how long that’s going to take to materialize for us.

Hence, the onus is on us – We the people are the ones who must carve that good governance out of our own positive efforts and implementations, through active citizen participation and investing in localism and by working where it counts, we will be able to pave our way to economic independence, strengthened local businesses, development and finally the ultimate dream of Statehood and identity, while building Pride of Place and social and environmental progress.

The world knows of our bravery, it’s time they knew of our solidarity, our integrity and our ingenuity as a race, a people and a community. Let’s put our khukuris to rest.

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