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West Bengal: When the sea rises: A story from the Indian Sundarbans by Sharanya Chattopadhyay November 20,2020   |  Source: The Wire

In the post-Amphan intellectual and public domain, the devastation in the Indian Sundarbans region – due to the cyclone on May 20, 2020 – has been well-discussed, scrutinised and eventually pitied. However, this is not new: the perception of the Sundarbans has slowly evolved from a romanticism centred on the region’s unique eco-geography to a perception of a coastal rural lowland inhabited by millions of people. But how justified are we to place all the blame on sudden shocks like Cyclone Amphan and the COVID-19 lockdown? In fact, how do the islanders see their lives when there is no disaster looming on the horizon? The narratives here are excerpts from my fieldwork, carried out mid-2018, when there was no disaster around.

“After Cyclone Aila in 2009, the embankment of the southern side was completely devastated. Half of the village was underwater for several days. When the water receded, it was not anymore possible to do agriculture. A few of us decided to set up a small fishery. We applied for a loan, and fortunately we received the amount. Everything was set. By God’s grace everything was running smoothly. But one night, during another storm, water engulfed the fields again. The storm didn?t make headlines, but it was high-tide time. It mercilessly washed away

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)