Himachal voted for BJP; I voted for water


By: V Dogra

Aur phir kisko jitaa rahe ho?” – This was the question, which everyone was asking till yesterday. “Aur phir jitaa diya?” – This is what anyone – a friend or an acquaintance who met me on the Mall, Shimla, was asking today. Barely three months down the line, the question on the Mall would change – “Aur phir paani ka kya haal hai?” Slowly, they would be asking, “Aur phir tanker kab aaya thaa…

Yes, the BJP has won the Assembly elections in Himachal. Elections were a good diversion. For sometime, we all, including the newspapers forgot the real issue in the capital city. But I couldn’t. I didn’t forget to fetch fetch water from the public tap, waiting for 30 minutes in a queue for each can. That tearing backache at nights after a day long hunt for water, haunts me. It pains to remember – having asked my ageing parents not to visit us, because we didn’t have water. I haven’t forgotten shitting on my wife’s dump, because flushing once a day seemed like splurging. And the burn in the pocket and the intestines, caused by eating at a dhaba for three days in a week, because there was no water to wash the previous day’s utensils… it still hurts. Oh Yes! And those two women in my neighbourhood, cursing each other and haggling over a can of extra water as the tanker came to our area after three days.

Then there was a promise. Water shall come to Shimla in October 2007. Some miraculous water scheme was promised. Even better water management was publicised (sic). Meanwhile, municipal elections came and went, with many a promise for water. Monsoons came and went. But water eluded me and all my neighbours (newspapers suggest, it eluded the whole of Shimla town, except of course some VIP areas).

Now the Assembly elections have given us a new government in the state. Before elections, they promised better development in Himachal Pradesh. As a conscientious citizen this should enthuse me. But it doesn’t.

Television pictures showed people dancing and bursting crackers all over the state. It was a big fair. There was more rush on the Mall in Shimla today than on the last New Year eve. At nightfall, everyone will go home, watch television images of celebrations and sleep.

Tomorrow, they’ll wake and reconfirm “BJP wins in Himachal” through newspapers and may be even identify a known face in newspaper pictures of merry making party supporters. The results will be discussed over the next week in offices and tea shops with frequent sprinkles of “Maine kahaa thaa naa…” Gradually, topics of conversation will change… shifting to water scarcity as summers approach.

Yes, water. For me the only thing I want, the only thing I chose, the only thing that looks good to me is water. My back still aches sometimes. I am thirsty. I am sick of wearing unwashed clothes. I am embarrassed of not having a regular bath. The beautiful summers in the beautiful city of Shimla gives me shudders.

So Mr. Dhumal, now that you have taken over, please give us water. I hope it’s not too much to ask for.

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  1. Sir,

    It has been over two and half years since this govt has assumed power. I would like to ask you – Did you get the answer to your question – the true question. Or in simpler words… did you get the elusive water. 

    Govt has made and will make plans but are these plans implemented… can't say…

    Dalhousie and many other places in Himachal were promised an IT Tech Park. 

    Nothing happened.

    Clean industries is what Himachal needs. It will lead to more quality employment.

    More foreign investment and currency would come to the state. The new universities which are coming up will be able to give more placements if more good quality industries come to the state…

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