- Novanita Sharma
The beloved Brahmaputra River of Assam known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and Siang in Arunachal Pradesh, originates in the Mansarovar lake situated in Burang country of Tibet. It enters India at Tuting, in Arunachal Pradesh after traversing one of the most adventurous trails for any river in the world. This river gushes into the Assam valley at Sadiya, flows southwest across an astounding 3, 969km making the Brahmaputra River the economic, ecological, and cultural lifeline of Assam. Often called the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River, the river drains across one of the most thickly populated regions of Asia. The future of this river decides the livelihood, food and water security of millions living in the downstream. The Brahmaputra River system with its braided flow supports the rich biodiversity of Assam with the numerous tributaries and wetlands. From the famed Kaziranga NP to the verdant Dihing Patkai NP, Assam’s major wildlife expanses are dependent on this Himalayan River for survival. Ironically this river of immense importance is facing great threats to its future existence. The headwaters of this transnational river situated in the Tibetan plateau is subject to Chinese design of exploitation and damage. The Tibetan plateau, its rivers and fragile environment is reeling under the exploitative rule of communist China since 1959. The People’s Republic of China’s hydrological strategy includes disastrous mega dams over Yarlung Tsangpo, which are envisioned to ouster the Three Gorges Dams in its size and immensity. The foreseeable dams over Yarlung Tsangpo, along with its huge water reservoir, when fully developed will act as a water bomb for the millions living in the downstream. With China’s hard pressed water scarcity and mounting economic burden, the Chinese government is very close to implement the controversial south-north water transfer project which plans to transfer water from the Yarlung Tsangpo to the northern rivers situated in mainland China to feed the industrial states of China. These hydrological strategies of communist China constitute an important security strategy of PRC to safeguard its international borders against threats of backlashes from Tibet and India. This hydrological model of communist China ensues the biggest ecological catastrophe for riparian states like Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. This accounts for the worst humanitarian crises of this world. Devastation of this river puts question on the future survival of the thousands of years old ‘Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra’ civilization which binds the people of Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam in a unique fabric of solidarity. With PRC’s outright violation of all environment and international laws, the people of riparian states like Assam and Arunachal Pradesh faces a difficult future ahead. PRC does not heed the plea of any country. In such a scenario, the ‘Save Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra’ campaign led by ‘Free Tibet-a voice from Assam’ is significant for not only Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, but is of great importance for Tibet and India. The people’s movement of Assam supporting the Tibetan freedom movement has raised this river conservation campaign, which is voicing the loudest protest against the exploitation of Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) in Tibet. The ‘Save Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra’ campaign by Free Tibet-a voice from Assam is playing a crucial role in highlighting the ecological movement for preservation of Tibetan environment and transboundary Tibetan rivers like Yarlung Tsangpo at national level. Recently, this campaign was raised by ‘Free Tibet -a voice from Assam’, at the Seventh All India Tibet Support Groups Conference held at New Delhi. This meet where more than 200 people from across India participated, adopted a declaration where the contentious issue of exploitation of Yarlung Tsangpo has been highlighted. The age-old issue of Chinese man handling and exploitation of Yarlung Tsangpo which originates in Tibet and drains across a massive area as the Siang River in Arunachal Pradesh and the Brahmaputra River in Assam is been brought to the forefront for the first time at national level by ‘Free Tibet-a voice from Assam’. This a global environment campaign which is integrally connected with the cause of Tibetan freedom movement. No force in this world can stop PRC from executing this devil’s model over Yarlung Tsangpo, the only hope lies in freedom of Tibet from the Chinese rule. Freedom of Tibet will give freedom to the Himalayan rivers like Yarlung Tsangpo. The ecological disaster taking place in Tibet under the Chinese rule must end, the protection of Yarlung valley, Siang valley and Brahmaputra valley is integral to the preservation of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. India must rise to protect the rights of Indian citizens living in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and every Indian must participate in this campaign to preserve the rich Brahmaputra civilization from devastation in the hands of communist Chinese game plan of coercive expansion under the garb of hegemony over river water and ecological exploitation.