Lav Kanoi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Yale U.

Grant number

Gr. 10123

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Kanoi, Lav, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on "The Changing Waterscape of India's Thirsty Capital City," supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan

Against a backdrop of impending ‘water crisis’ in urban India, my research will examine the changing waterscape of India’s thirsty capital city to ask: how are water and waterbodies managed, or not, to service the city’s biophysical needs as well as to nourish its cultural aspirations? ‘Waterscapes’ here refers to waterbodies and water systems, natural and built, that are entangled in contemporary struggles over water-resources and also embedded in the ecological, cultural and historical landscape of settlement and rule in the city. I seek to study the processes through which Delhi residents relate to the water in their lived environment, as resource or heritage, and as vital life-source of their urban existence. My research will examine how water becomes meaningful and useful–remembered, contested, and conserved–through an ethnographic study of waterbody rejuvenation and other water-access innovations being made by the Delhi Government, NGOs and individuals, as well as resident associations and urban conservationists. The project will investigate how the city’s pragmatic concerns of water availability and distribution are entangled with its natural-cultural heritage, and attempt to reveal and understand water as ecological relations, cultural politics, and contested natural resource in the making of urban places and lives in India.