KRUPA GE’S SHARP AND NECESSARY INVESTIGATION INTO WHAT CAUSED CHENNAI TO DROWN IN A HEAVY DOWNPOUR IS ALSO THE STORY OF ALL OUR CITIES.
Floodwaters, sewage and the remains of humankind’s greed swallowed a city whole in December 2015. In the face of gross mismanagement by those in power, Chennai lost lives, homes and livelihoods. Waters from the city’s many lakes, canals and rivers, which humans had usurped and eaten into with tar roads and concrete jungles, retraced their old routes and ate anything that came in their way. Like they did in Mumbai in 2005, Surat in 2006, Srinagar in 2014 and Kerala in 2018. As they might in Bangalore someday, or in Kolkata.
To make sense of the horror of those days, Krupa Ge spent over three years filing RTIs, reading government documents and archival material, and interviewing stakeholders, journalists and the people of Chennai. What she arrives at is the shocking truth of how masterly inactivity drowned the city, and how it could happen again. And again.
But the heart of the book is in the stories of the people, including Krupa’s own parents, who were caught up in the nightmare of the floods—of their resilience and kindness, and the fault-lines of caste and class that the crisis exposed.
Rivers Remember : #Chennai Rains and the Shocking Truth of a Manmade Flood