Alberuni's India by Edward C. Sachau

By Edward C. Sachau

In 1017 CE, on the behest of Sultan Mahmud of Persia, Alberuni, sometimes called Al-Biruni, travelled to India to profit in regards to the Hindus and to debate with them questions of faith, technological know-how and literature and what shaped the very foundation in their civilization. He remained in India for 13 years, his exploration and learn of the rustic gave approach to a scholarly paintings that, in its profound realizing of virtually all features of Indian lifestyles, remained unrivaled for 8 hundred years.

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Ownership and Rights to Water Apart from questioning people about the sources of water in their village, I always ask another question: Do you know who got the nadi dug in your village? From my sources of information, covering almost 300 villages in the desert zone, I have learned that none of the drinking water sources in rural areas has ever been constructed through the direct sponsorship or patronage of the jagirdar or king. Invariably, it is an individual who has assumed this responsibility, a person with no state or official authority.

In no site is the omnipresence of animals more visible than in Rajasthan's ubiquitous cattle fairs, which have continued to exist through the worst years of drought precisely because of the availability of its most precious resource: water. At Pushkar, where a large number of cows, bulls, horses, and camels are assembled together for the annual fair, the availability of drinking water becomes a prime consideration. Not only for the numerous buyers and sellers coming from different parts of Rajasthan 76 Rajasthan: An Oral History and from many other states of India, but, more specifically, for the animals themselves.

There are also new water resources through the installation of bore wells. Most significantly, there are local initiatives for relief work, which have a tremendous outreach at a grassroot level. One Manganiyar musician, Gazi Khan, who plays the khartal (wooden clappers), has started his own institution called Pahchan (Recognition). Through donations and grants, he was able to supply water and fodder for livestock to different villages during the worst period of the drought in the year 2000. My foreign friends all over the world, who have worked in Rajasthan in one way or the other, also wanted to send donations when they heard about the drought.

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