The Cauvery Dispute: A World Divided Over Water


The Cauvery Dispute: A World Divided Over Water

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza/ Arré


here is a compelling scene in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road: Immortan Joe, the tyrannical warlord who rules over a vast and epic wasteland, stands atop the Citadel. He is about to set his trusted commander, Furiosa, in an armoured truck to collect precious gasoline. Before he sends her off, a large crowd of hungry people, draped in rags, appear. Immortan Joe slowly unleashes a torrent of water from the Citadel. And soon, all hell breaks loose. The people rush toward the gushing water, some dipping their rags to squeeze a few drops on their tongues, and some collecting it in a bucket to keep for later.

This scene is also quite reminiscent of another compelling episode, but from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. Set in St Antoine, which Dickens calls as one of the poorest districts in Paris, a casket of wine falls down from a carriage and spills on the streets. And the people, ragged, dirty, and hungry, descend upon the spilt wine, as if it’s a feast. Soon, a tall, thin man, dips his finger into the wine, and writes in bold letters on a wall – Blood – indicating that instead of wine, blood would flow through the cobbled streets of Paris. This scene allows Dickens to paint a persuasive picture of the social divisions inherent in Europe at the advent of the French Revolution.