The Enviro-Litigators

Introduction to the Enviro-litigators

women bathing in riverThe Enviro-Litigators is a tribute to several exceptional citizens of India. These citizens are exceptional, not because they validate foreign notions of justice and activism, but because they dare to challenge two formidable empires of their own. On the one hand lies the colonial past and the trenchant legacy it plays out in modern institutions. On the other stand the artifices that assist in articulating longstanding cultural traditions with a globalizing economy. The public interest litigators I introduce in this book find their positions by negotiating many systems and crafting their own ideological spaces within and between them. Their stories are especially fascinating and I believe they must be told.

I am choosing to write this as a public exercise in the sense that I am not elaborating my discipline's intellectual history and relevance to give context to the litigators' stories. Here I would like to magnify the multiple relevances of these accounts and render them up to the vast public interest. Many publics, many voices and many institutional systems are at stake in these accounts and reviewing them widens our general understanding of the intersections between specialists and laypersons (or the "public"), between different occupations and professions. The intersections center on specific problems, on specific human-ecology predicaments.

You can explore the lives of these public interest litigators through textual, discursive, visual and graphic methods. You can read their mandates and their communications in letters, discourses and court orders. But you will have to read these materials in their original form, without cosmetic props. You have to be a real fieldworker. You can also explore river ecology, urban and riverine landscapes, and the intersections of land and water through photographs and video clips. When watching citizens interacting with rivers in variegated ways, you can begin to appreciate their particular perspectives and traditions. Through problem analysis tasks you can explore this material critically and reflect upon your own constitution of environmental values and ethics in the process.

The problem analysis tasks ask you to review the material available on this CD and analyze its content with regard to specific questions. You can toggle from data source to task and from the various media points within each data source area. Data source areas are organized on the basis of geographic area (rivers and river basins), activist, and litigation. Toggling between data source areas can be done easily within this interactive frame.

Last Updated: April 02, 2017