Saturday, March 17, 2018

Arjun Appadurai's talk at Delhi University on 15th March 2018

The Abstraction of Numbers

 Jairus Banaji suggested to a New Delhi audience,  in  millennial year 2001, that we should be concerned about how our  provident fund and pension savings  are invested in local businesses. In the following years, we saw how global capital created crises after crises, and the relief that Indians felt when concurrent recessions were not experienced in India. However, we know that post office and SBI savings were the spine of the  Indian economy. The agricultural population turned up for work at industrial sites, receiving a minimum wage, and keeping in touch with their families through mobile phones. Those who had their families accompany them, served the nation, built metros and malls, nuclear sites and smart cities, watching their children play in the dust while they worked. The heartlessness of capitalism is perhaps it’s trade mark, and whether it was putting up tin sheds, or plastic tents in work sites, for labourers, it was the substitutability of wage labour that pushed the foreman and the supervising mechanics and engineers forward.

On 15th March, 2018, at Delhi University’s Literature Department, Arjun Appadurai spoke to an audience of university scholars of the puzzle that is global finance. Multi sited, it rests on the idea of ‘contract’, which is also a promise, but a narrative that is ambiguous in nature, buttresses it. This polyphonic language is filled with nuances, such that, the client is ready to believe that profits are immediately to be made, if he or she invests, but if there is a mishap, the ‘narrative’ has already preserved the verbiage of possibilities of risk. According to Appadurai, who is simultaneously referencing a reservoir of literature on the subject, published by Chicago University Press, and weaving them in with his own observations, the game is really endowed with “performativeness”. The media too plays a large part in representing the variety of options that global finance has. The latter plays with abstract numbers, buys and sells, and if the market crashes, the victim was the one who did not guess right.

It is in this perspective, that demonetization was represented as the “search” for
black money.

 Farmers’ suicides because of debt to fertilizer and  seed companies, internet banking which installs itself without electricity, unpaid pensions, promise of currency to already indebted farmers, if  they invest in  complex insurance,…all of these are now everyday conversations, oft repeated. If Prime Minister Modi does not believe in Climate Change, then why provide insurance for farmers to protect them from floods and earthquakes?

Commonsense would tell us, that now news of thousands of crores of scams, divesting banks of their money assail us, that demonetization happened because the domestic economy which consists of house holder’s savings had to be called in. The banks were able to function because the citizens of the country were summoned, and asked to deposit what they had, in person, at the counters. India’s wealth has rested in it’s ordinary lives, the people who have worked hard, and earned little, and saved much. There is a certain grace in which “channa chabanna” (or chewing roasted gram) has been  the way in which a large mass of the population has lived. They have survived millennia, bearing children and accepting fate. Their hardiness is what makes India a land of maya. Nothing will stop the magnetic core of planet earth from pushing itself out, and in the same way, nothing will stop the sun from cooling down. History is made between these two events, as our plans for future existence in future planets continue to be made.
Yet, we know that the life we have is made precious by our interactions with one another. We know that our sense of empathy comes from being human, which involves both imagination and language. The Depression was the site of many suicides, as wealthy and poor struggled to exist in circumstances, which were very much changed. In  America, the poor and the old were hidden away, and did not appear in public, because there was a standardization of life chances, where a welfare economy ran parallel to the extravagance of Capitalism.  The past was always represented as being either Boston Brahmin, White Trash,  or Black. In between, the Assimilation Model used the idea that  the  Irish, Latins, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, followed by Chinese and Indians could co-exist, but in  stable hierarchies. The Vietnam War changed all that, as the music that evolved led to the possibility that anti war platforms could rethink the America of the McCarthy Era. In the 21st century, the protest movements have been so varied, whether it is Occupy Wall Street, or Equal Citizenship for Minorities and Blacks, that one can only look towards niche cultures and resistance movements against the gun lobby, and the odd world of “global finance without a body” as Appadurai calls it.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Partial Obituary for a Monk

“Nobody is above the law of our country.Let the truth prevail and the guilty be punished." said H.H Jagdguru Shankaracharaya Shri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal. As an obituary, it is enough to say that nine years of doubt, while he waited for a court decree, in his favour is a very long time. 

Sankararaman, writing under the name of Somasekhara Ganapadigal had alleged immoral activities in the Kanchipuram Mutt, had accused Jayendra Swami of relationships with women, and issued  him a “last warning” when he was murdered by six men, on three motorcycles, when he was at official duties at his temple. He also had alleged that when the Senior Pontiff went to Thalakaveri, Kaver river dried, when he went to the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal, the entire royal family was wiped out, and when he went to Kumbakonam, there was a fire tragedy, and ‘many innocent lives were lost.” (pg 42 of Kanchi Case:All facts, no fiction, 2004-2013…excerpt from the Supreme Court Judgement granting bail to HH Sri Jayendra Saraswati on 10.1.2005)

Sankaraman had died a terrible death while the Senior Pontiff and the Junior Pontiff had to undergo media trials, the ire and double talk of two Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and wait for the Courts to decide their fate. It could not have been easy.

The terrible nature of the murder was reported in detail, and the description of the wounds too horrible to imagine. The family of Sankaraman submitted to the police the plastic file in which were all the copies of the letters sent by their family member. We have no idea, why the son of a former functionary of the ancient Kanchipuram mutt felt as he did. Was it that he knew of things that others did not? Whatever the allegations, it caused his untimely end. The Puducherry court  in 2013,provided for five lakhs as compensation money to the family for their personal loss, but the memory of that devouring rage will accompany them all their lives.
 On 27th November the Principal Sessions Judge C.S Murugan pronounced the innocence of Swamis Jayendra and Vijayendra, (who had been implicated as accomplice) saying that 17 of 149 witnesses had turned hostile. They did not recognize the weapons that committed the murder, there was no proof of the payments of gratification to witnesses and alleged killers, the six men on three motorcycles had not been seen by the shopkeepers surrounding the mutt, and the case was closed (Full Judgement of the Principal Sessions Judge, Puducherry, Crime 914/2004 delivered on 27.11.13 excerpted on pg 133-227 of Kanchi Case: All Facts, no Fiction, Mumbai, 2013)
What did the Senior Pontiff and Junior Pontiff do, while waiting 9 years for verdict? Jayendra Swami travelled one million miles, opening hospitals, children’s welfare centres, and eye hospitals, Vijayendra stayed in the home mutt, conducting poojas and meeting visitors from all faiths, who visited. Institutions have long histories, this particular one has an eleven hundred year history, and represents that  moment of non dualism where Kamakshi appears as  Adi Shankara in the iconography. What is truth and falsehood only the doers may know...Meanwhile the 5th mutt, legendary in the musical tradition of verse composed by Adi Shankara waits in a chronological moment for the integration of Chandalas into its dispensation.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Because We Believe We are JNU

Attendance in JNU and Skype Vivas: Excuse to Shut down a functioning University

It would seem to the lay public, that a handful of students and teachers, are standing up against the RSS run administration. It is the constantly illegal amendment of the statutes of JNU, by the current Vice Chancellor, Prof Jagadesh Kumar, which is causing daily anxiety and consternation. The protests against his Machiavellian policies have been going on for two years now. The reason is simple: JNU was a laboratory for learning, and students and teachers have a long history of treating one another as citizens of a free country. The alumni have dispersed to follow the traditions of scholarship both in our own country, as well as abroad.
The might of the JNU rests in its happy memories. Since February 2016, there has been a change in the way the institution is run. Immediately noticeable to the general public are the strikes, the demonstrations and the dharnas  which have continued almost with out stop. Exhausted by this long and continuous battle, JNU scholars spent the vacations catching up on their reading and writing, and returned to even more draconian circulars. These suggested that flamboyant and coercive measures were in place to curtail academic freedom on campus and had been passed by the AC and EC. The minutes of each, according to reports of teachers who had attended these meetings as Deans and Chairpersons, did not approximate what had actually happened in these meetings.

The problem with truth is that it cannot be hidden…it always reveals itself. Writing a new history, or amending the statutes is a very visible process.

Take for instance the question of class room attendance in M.A. The students come from hinterland universities, and have worked hard to enter an institution which received A++ from  the NAAC in November 2017. The labour that goes into M.A teaching rests essentially in keeping young adults alert, occupied and interested. Students read before coming to class, are encouraged to be vocal and be presenters of papers on a continuous bases. While heads are not counted, the energy that is always swirling in the class room is the best reward for a teacher. The students who do not come to class are handled in Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU in extra classes, which are taught by doctoral students, who are already eligible to be teachers themselves in the 77 affiliated colleges of Delhi University. Many of these doctoral candidates are hired by D.U colleges, while writing their dissertations. Imagine, getting up in the morning at catching the 7 a.m special and teaching in D.U, and returning by the 3.30 p.m special to write the dissertation and prepare for the next day’s lectures! Impossible to sign in at the office of the School, which opens around 10 a.m. The classes held by the Teaching Assistants are so interesting, because of group activities and discussions, that the students who  regularly attend the primary classes, slotted on the time table, also turn up for Remedial classes, as they are called. Peer group support is huge, and over two years, those who felt they were not included in the regular classroom, become stars merely by dint of hard work.

Phd Students are the hardest working of the JNU community of scholars, spending grueling summers and freezing winters on campus, which has austere provisions and water problems, as like the rest of Delhi, it is dependent on water from Haryana. The life of the Phd student is not at all easy, and while much time is spent collecting data, analyzing and writing up the data is also extremely hard work.. Signing in every morning at the office, to prove one’s presence is virtually to undercut the efforts every doctoral candidate makes to prove that his/her work is original contribution to the discipline. The scholar is most likely in the archives, or in the field, or laboratory collecting data. During the digital age, it seem archaic to have to prove one’s presence physically. If the scholar is in touch with the Supervisor, there is ample belief that he or she is up to date with work. The relationship is based on mutual trust, and the Colleagues in any given Centre in JNU provide collective support to research scholars regardless of the topic of research. Seminars are held annually to compare progress of individual scholars, and every six months, the Chairperson receives a report from the Phd scholars before registration forms are signed. The demand by the VC that the viva voce in consultation with experts be neturalised and skype vivas in the presence of the Dean be the norm is also quaint. The statistic of vivas is so large, that the Dean would never be able to be present in all, and delegation would be necessary.
 Skype vivas in JNU campus where the internet is continuously dysfunctional or hacked, as every faculty member will inform you, is another joke. Since the Phd dissertations are evaluated by examiners from all the Central Universities in India, the alarming question of whether small towns have non stop electricity and internet access in also important. What is becoming very clear to JNU students and teachers is that the VC, who receives his orders from RSS office, Jhandewalan is set on destroying a fifty year old legacy. As no dialogue is possible with RSS functionaries, who do not believe in the legacies of institutions which have been safeguarded by statutes, the damage day by day causes incalculable mental suffering to both young and old. Privatisation of Education as ushered in by the Congress was a death knell, but the erosion of JNU by RSS think tank  (because it had a Nehruvian legacy as an institution, with Marxist intellectuals in some centres,)  is destroying the optimism that rural youth had that the “intelligentsia of the people” were respected and protected in JNU.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Post Modern Contexts of Everyday Survival.

Factory Fires and Ecological Stress

When one thinks about it, the episodes of death by fire in small illegal establishments are too horrible to imagine. TV gives us the instant images, as do newspapers, and the event is marked by the descriptions of the working and living conditions of the poor. The children who are orphaned are taken into their relatives’ already over crowded homes, and there they try to make sense of their destiny.
 These fires which are a symbol of the shift from abusive conditions of rural livelihood to even more abusive situations of urban employment are terrifying to the viewer. The PM on Wion TV on the evening of Monday 22nd January said that  self employment by individuals who borrow from banks, and set up grocery shops or teashops should be viewed as employment. Such a person, according to Mr Modi, takes home two hundred rupees home every evening. How can a debt ridden person support a family on two hundred rupees in the city of Delhi? This kind of success story is a pitiful statement from a representative of the Nation State, who wears designer eye glasses, owns equally expensive clothes. What he pays his barber is any one’s guess.
Because people feel less and less responsible for their fellow beings, they listen to the news and move on to their every day obligations, which are increasingly difficult to meet. Living in a beautiful city, a little over a hundred years old, in order to earn a living, the citizens have accepted every condition of distress such as pollution, traffic jams, a dead river in it’s  vicinity and the burning of petroleum coke. According to Reuters web page,  (13th December 2017)”Supreme Court Allows Cement Industry to Use Petroleum Coke”, a dirtier version than coal, but fast burning, and vehemently sulphur producing. When we think of working class lives, the hazards that they face on an every day bases, whether it is sorting garbage, breathing in dust or cement in the course of their day’s work,  or clearing drains, or the conditions in which they live, one can only remember the descriptions  Charles Dickens left us..

The poor have always been thought both in the Malthusian principles of the 19th century, as well as in the karma principle of ruling ideologies in India to have earned their fate.  However, as young people are concerned with Human Rights interests, they have been empowered with the knowledge that the world they live in is the world that we have created. Activist groups have been many, and the Library Movements in the slums  and country side is one example of how education and literacy provide children with the rights of reading and learning, which the state cuts in  funding, for School Education, have avoided considering.

Young people do believe that as spokespersons for Academia they can now start interlocking the relation between theory and praxis. As a result, in Varanasi, Amrita Dwivedi, from  IIT at Benaras Hindu University, actively believes that class rooms of  students can work hard to change the conditions of life of the urban poor. The plan is to fan out, using their demographic data, and developmental indexes to help the Commissioner to find a solution to waste management and river cleansing. In Kerala,  T.V Anupama, K.V. Vasuki, Dr Sriram Venkatraman and Dr Divya S. Iyer are interviewed on Kaumady tv for Onam  (youtube “IAS officers celebrate Onam” 17th September 2017 over 138,000 webviewers) and the delight that viewers feel in their success stories is primarily based on their contribution as young professionals fearlessly following up causes for the national good.

These are the new models of inventiveness and honour, and while the real task lies in organization and commitment of voluntary work forces, along with salaried people,  these young professionals are persuaded that it can be done.
T.V. Anupama is District Collector for Alappuzha, and ofcourse the fetid 16th century canals have to be cleaned, and the burning of waste immediately stopped. But people always ask, “Who will do it?”  Do citizens not have the same rights as those who live in gated communities? Alappuzha town, which is receiving a large number of tourists from Gujarat, because of the Jain and Muslim populations living in the town, has received no sanitary attention at all. Mechanical dredgers, which cleaned the canals two years ago, were not called in again, since payments to them were pending. The sludge could not be transported to organic farmers since the company (which had not been paid), was not responsible for sludge removal. Clearly, politicians thought bureaucrats were always under their control, but whether it is academics or bureaucrats, a sensible view of life, and a belief in Constitutional rights pertaining to human life and occupations is present among young people today.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Return of the Jedi, published in Financial Chronicle Dec 8th 2017

Rahul Gandhi’s Return

The Congress with it’s pleasant face, over the decades, always assured roti kapda and makan. They were like the nation’s lead actors…all of them had the glib assurance of a dynasty, of what in timid Sociological language, is called guile, cunning and tacit inheritances of political environment. This includes language skills, ability to wear turbans of different sorts, and to engage with the masses. For the Congress, the masses remained what they were, the rural proletariat. Within this they would occasionally target Muslims, women, third gender, industrial workers, farmers and Dalits. It did not make a difference to them. During Rajiv Gandhi’s term the Congress were assaulted by public outcry, when the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi was followed by a huge pogrom of Sikhs, many of them who fled to Punjab. In turn, they were followed by a mass migration of Hindu Pubjabis, who now felt that they would give Delhi the colour it lacked. As a result, they were the harbingers of right wing politics and a commercial revolution which brought in fast cars and shops and a spurious designer culture, which grew in time, to put Delhi on the map with other great haute couture cities of the world. To think that it took 33 or 34 years to change Dlhi from an iconic bureaucratic and university city to an untidy constellation of  consumer townships all jammed together. Rahul and Priyanka are amused by changes, they are not affronted by change. Rahul would quite happily sell the farmers with small landholdings to the industrial oligarchy of landowner and capitalist farmers. Rahul uses his bucolic charm to assure the poor that he is one of them, and now his sartorial attire mimics the University students of the 1970s who could come every day to college in blue jeans and ironed khadi kurtas. He is not offering anything new, or different, but he is saying that he enjoys politics and is here to stay. What skills he learns as he moves on, is hard to say.

When his father said “When a great tree falls, the earth shakes” he was met with aghast observations from the upper middle class, which certainly did not go  along with Rajiv’s banana boat republic of Mayo school and Doon school expatriates. While one remembers them with some alarm, one knows that as advisors to Rahul they could not have done any good. His current mentors are Kapil Sibal, Sheila Dixit and Mani Shankar Aiyar. None of them are known for democratic styles of functioning. So why would the proletariat want to vote Rahul back? The only reason would be, of course, because he has learned a new humility, and with it comes charm and humour. The Indian people, farmers turned clerks, peons and factory workers, are always ready to forgive. Finally, what they are really looking for, in caste biased India, is to be left alone so that they can worship their known Gods, (who might not be the Sanskritic  high Gods and Goddesses,) and to eat the food that they are used to, and have freedom of speech and action. The latter allows them to move across the country, and to find work, as citizens of India. They learn local languages, and while never trying to fit in, as the rules of commensality and marriage are as rigid as ever, they do try to accept the customs and conventions of the places they find work. This minimum requirement of  freedom and mobility is something that the secular Congress does promise. While homogenization, and theological colonization, (where the lesser Gods were extinguished in praise of the cult of the Warrior Ram,) were accepted by the working class, let us remember that they presumed that education and right to work, would go with it. The casteist Hindutva bandwagon does not provide this basic human right of education and standards set by the Man Mohan Singh Government, though the latter were a cartel of free loaders who neglected the poor economically and promoted industrialised agriculture. The present government has always claimed that it continued with many of the policies of the previous government, to the chagrin of the Congress workers. However, when it came to the Educational aspects, they preferred to pump up war machineries. Rahul belongs to a  nuclear family line of dynasts who have  simple oratory skills or learns them…Rajiv used to preface every speech with “Hum ko Dekhna Hai..” which even his speech writers could not dissuade him from. Sonia’s faltering speeches were polished over two decades. And now, the middle aged Rahul, says for TV and audiences, “ Gabbar Singh Tax!” for GST. The totemic cow has already been displaced from the Hindutva brigade’s list, and Rahul will play the Dalit card by offering Ishta Deva as his trump card.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ideologies and Us

Belief, Faith and Superstition in the Context of a Post Modern World

Green Movement activists are always puzzled, when wars are waged and gods are invoked simultaneously. Surely the arms industry is about politics, loot and commercial stakes, with a handful of diplomatic, or alternatively, virulently absurd hate speeches, thrown in? Similarly, when disease is linked by political oratory to past lives, we feel some anxiety. Is this the way that the politicians and their representative sadhus are evading social responsibility for illness and their institutional obligations?

Other people’s beliefs are thought by us to be superstitions, our own beliefs are imagined to be about real faith. However, “faith” could very well be in Science, which takes on the contexts of religious suspension, as well as toleration for other people’s imagined spaces.  Durkheim used the category of sacred and profane to argue that the two are divided, hierarchical and antagonistic. “Sacred” is anything that which is seen to be higher, and valued. The Indian flag was sacred till a young woman wore it as a designer garment and had to go to court to prove that its secular use was acceptable to society and the judge. The Indian flag is used to wrap the coffins of dead soldiers. Therefore, the idea of religious need not be an intrinsic part of the sacred. Anything, anything at all, can be considered sacred, as long as it is kept apart from the mundane or routine which profanes it.

Religious ideas are sacred to those who belong to a particular community, but may not be sacred to those who do not believe in that religion or its ideals.  Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, two important Sociologists who survived the First World War, while many members of their Annales School died, suggested that if the Gods are not worshipped, they die. Therefore, God, religious texts, prophets and priests were social fabrications. Many of the ideological debates that surround us today represent the way in which individuals and communities position themselves vis a vis their religion, their faith, their dogmas and liturgies. So Fundamenatalists believe that if you don’t believe in their religion or their God you will go to hell, if you don’t join the jehad you won’t have houris welcome you to Paradise, and  that your karma gives you cancer.

 Ordinary people, in India, are exalted by their religious experience. They have an intense belief in this world, their place in it, their hopes and dreams are all laced by ideas of beneficence and joy. Their sorrow arises often from their sense of neglect because the Gods and Goddesses have ignored their prayers. As a result cults arise which offer wealth, jobs, and  dreams of travel and recognition are continuously pursued with the help of the guru, who commands the fates to deliver. Max Weber was immensely interested in the idea that the priest was the “magician of the mass”, the idea being that through his prayers, the bread turned into the body of Christ. In parallel form, we understand how simple halwa becomes prasad, an embodiment of the food of the Gods. Faith turns material things into spiritual presences, the aura of the divine is all around us, only if we are open to it.

Recognition of the divine is not given to everyone, just as logic is not the turn of thought of politicians. If it were so, the Nation State would not endorse 33 percent of jail records among  active politicians in parliament. The accumulation of bad karma is what they are best known for. Cheating, lying and looting is their usual modus operandi, ghettoization of the poor and killing them by leaving them to die in the cold or extreme heat  of hunger, is definitely contributing to politicians bad karma.

 Rather than  selectively imagining our past lives, ignoring human rights,  and conceding to the hegemony of cultural tropes, which impose notions of good and evil, based on a variety of religious symbols, we need to get to the root cause of sorrow and death. Sarvam Dukham is written in our biological inheritance, it is compounded by our degradation in an entropy ridden universe. In the last century, humans lived till forty or forty five years, and most likely, dental problems and bone loss killed them off.   Susan Sontag argued that Tuberculosis became the symbol of the 19th century factory system, Cancer of the 2ist century industrial society, and AIDS the curse of post modern professional and information societies.  Human genetic coding will change rapidly with the compartmentalization of the populations of the world into those who are exposed to severe radiation, personally by choice, or collectively by imposition, for who can escape the radiation from the  mobile tower? As Christ said “The meek shall inherit the earth”  translated as  we shall have Gandhian economics.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Coonoor: Chocolate Making : A Home Industry and Water Works

Tourists, particularly honeymooners, come to Coonoor from all parts of the country. The Sims Garden is laid out in such a way that it has all the appearances of miniaturization. There are landscaped lawns, many botanical wonders, shrubs and flowering trees and plants. There is a green house, and also a small pond for boating, as well as a children’s park with swings. The general sense of complacence the town has is partly because Ooty has absorbed the administrative buildings and the  bulk of tourists. Coonoor, Keti, Kotagiri, Udhagamandalam (Ooty) and  Gudalur have to be understood as a constellation of small towns. The tea estates predominate here, and local communities are also absorbed as labor into the cordite factory in Coonoor and the needle factory in Keti. Coonoor is  an army cantonment, and the British in these hill side towns so well known to the gentrified classes, left behind a legacy of cottages, with gardens. Even today,  the gardens support the same array of hydrangeas, magnolias, roses, pine, and interspersed are the exquisitely coloured hibiscus which bloom around the year, in company with the rhododendrons, miniaturized for bushes. The wealthy also come from various parts of the world to stay in hotels, and many of these are prototype British lodges, with typical bungalow architecture of the 19th century. In the digital age, house owners, who cannot stay in Coonoor year around,  advertise and rent their homes in “homestay arrangements”. For the residential elite, there is the Gymkhana, which provides an aura of seclusion, sports and good food. The town itself has temples from the 11th century onwards. It also has several churches, while supporting a Muslim population too and the Badagas, Todas, Kotas, Irulas and Kurumbas visit from nearby villages, for market purposes.
 Ranjit Varghese makes home made chocolates on  personal request. He says that the big companies like Campco and Cadburys provide blocks for about 350 rupees each, and the home manufacturers buy these,  from the local grocers, (such as the shop of  Kuriappan  and Sons,which has been in existence in Coonoor market, since 1910). The blocks which come from Poona and Mumbai, are then melted down, adding almonds, figs, dates, raisins and honey according to specific proportions, which  is each family’s secret. Ranjit and his wife melt the chocolate at night, which  can take three to four hours, before it is cooled in large metal tins they have brought from Kerala.  They have to be very careful as so much is invested in the production of home made chocolate. In the month of March, every home made chocolate manufacturer can sell upto 600 kilogrammes, and the annual production of chocolate in Coonoor is one tonne.

The biggest problem that the Nilgiris faces is shortage of water and the problem of waste disposal. The dam  which was built for a population of ten thousand now serves ten lakh. No collection  of waste happens, and the monkeys, crows, pigs, cats and dogs have taken over the town, as the waste accumulates.  Vijayan, a banker, says that the town has one water drain into which all the garbage is just flung in. The heavy rainfall in mid September 2017, came after twenty five years! The frightening aspect is that Reilly Dam has anachronistic pipes which cannot provide water to the city.  Repair of  the pipes is now postponed, because the dam is  now filled with water.  Worse, contractors are robbing the water from leaking points at the dam, and selling it in trucks. Manoj, a tea shop owner, says that when there is no rain they get municipal water once every ten days.  If separate tankers were filled,  for each locality, there would be queues and water wastage, and the poor would lose out. The domestic taps run only at night,  so the storage and clothes washing all have to be done between 9 p.m and seven a.m., which is very hard on the women at home doing daily chores. He says that Coonoor residents have become so used to water shortage, that they are now all for water saving devices, and even say that water provided to them every two weeks is alright, as they have managed to learn how to store water in syntax tanks, permitting them to self -ration water for domestic purposes. However, for the tea shop that he runs, he buys water.  With the longstanding drought, according to  Coonoor residents, Nitin and Nancy, forest animals had started to come into the town. A honeymooning couple in Sims Garden got killed  in the summer, while taking a selfie with wild bison ( kattu erima) and there are reports of bears taking over tea plantations, and as for wild pigs they dig up the gardens of local people every night, leaving  hoof prints before they disappear.