Chennai: For perhaps the first time, a division bench comprising Justices M.Venugopal and S.Vaidyanathan of the Madras high court has authored a judgment relating to marshland/kuzhuveli land/wetland, like a movie script.
The bench began the judgment with a poem, authored by Tamil poet Avvaiyar - "Varappu Uyara Neer Uyarum, Neer Uyara Kadhir Uyarum, Kadhir Uyara Kudi Uyarum, Kudi Uyara Koal Uyarum, Koal Uyara Koan Uyarvan". Roughly it could be translated as "Raising ridges raise water: Raising water raise crops: Raising crops raise the subjects: Raising subjects raise the king".
"This poem has been wrongly understood by our rulers in our Tamil Nadu, as, for the last five decades, they concentrate only on production of artificial waters (liquor) and not in safeguarding of the natural water. Likewise, the Politicians, instead of taking steps to raise the standard of living of subjects, are enriching themselves and ensure that their wards also become rich", the bench added.
The bench said the present order aims to unfold the failure of the Government of Tamil Nadu after 1968 in protecting the Water Bodies and to add fuel to the fire, two government orders were also issued, which are under challenge in this petition for transfer of Kazhuveli/Wet/Marsh lands to the state government departments for elevation of buildings thereon.
The bench said, "It is apposite to state that if water and its storage places are not properly preserved/maintained, the day is not far off for us to beg for water from other states/countries. There was a song in one of the movies of M.G.Ramachandran, namely, Vivasayee, released in the year 1967, which was composed by A.Maruthakasi and sung by famous and illustrious playback singer late T.M.Soundararajan. The substance of the song is - "Which resource is not available in our country? Why should we beg from other countries? Work in agricultural lands and your reputation will be high in alien countries".
Quoting a poem from Thirukkural, written by legendary poet Thiruvalluvar, the bench said the literal meaning of the poem was that wherever it whirls, the work must follow the farmer. Thus, despite hardships, farming was the best. It was pertinent to mention that there was a separate chapter called "Farming" with Kural 1031 to 1040 to illustrate the importance of agriculture. In Kural 11 to 20 ('Van Sirappu'-The Blessing of Rain), the poet has emphasised the importance of rain, the bench added.
The bench said the government should encourage farmers to do cultivation and if the government itself converts the paddy lands into sky touching buildings (like fence eating crops), where will the farmers go for doing agricultural work? Though people practice different religions in our country, the feel of hunger unites all and they all depend on the farmers irrespective of creed, caste and religion. "Even before our independence, the great Poet Subramanya Bharathi suggested by way of a poem that the excess water from the Bengal region may be used to irrigate (and cultivate) the other areas of our country and insisted upon the need to link rivers and the said poem has been composed in a song form in the Movie Kappalottiya Thamizhan. Actually, we do not require any excess water to be brought from the Bengal region, if we properly store it in the wetlands, instead of letting it run to the ocean", the bench added.