Pushpa Iyer

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS)


Pushpa Iyer is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Policy and Management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). She has over 20 years of experience in the field of conflict studies. She specializes in identity conflicts, non-state armed groups, civil wars, peace processes, and peace-building in post-war societies. Pushpa is a long-term activist and advocate for the poor and marginalized communities in Gujarat, India. She is also the founding Director of the Centre for Conflict Studies where she remains the Editor-in-Chief for the Centre‚Äôs publications.


The Politics of Muddled Waters in Gujarat, India: Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural Influences

Gujarat, a state in northwestern India, is an environmentally hostile, economically fast growing, politically divisive and socio-culturally conflict-ridden region. For this reason, it is an interesting case study for examining resource distribution among a diverse population. Water, a scarce resource due to frequent natural droughts, is unequally shared. Access to water is a major issue that often gets settled on caste, gender and economic identities. Politically, economically and religiously motivated government run water management programs, including the construction of the contentious Narmada Dam spanning the three states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which has widened the gap between the have and have-nots.

What makes the waters of Gujarat so muddled? What is the impact of the muddled waters on its environment, economy and society? How do government programs and projects contribute to the existing divisiveness in the state? Through empirical research and analysis, this paper addresses these questions and offers a holistic approach to addressing the issues related to water access in Gujarat.

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