Experience the splendour of India’s rivers through the perspectives of students and practitioners

What is Rivers of Life?

Rivers of Life is an initiative by Azim Premji University, the first of a series that aims to depict the splendour of our rivers through the perspectives of students and practitioners, which come together to form a multi-layered narrative of the river. The exhibition was aimed to help students understand the lifecycle of a river, civilisations along its source, and the vibrant biodiversity at the interface of water and the earth.

School and college students from different corners of Bengaluru visited to explore various sections within the photo exhibition and interacted with other students, activists, researchers, folk artists, academics, and storytellers.

Rivers of Life was a celebration of all things connected with rivers. We had folk tellers sharing their living associations with rivers, keynote speakers who have worked on rivers for decades, activities for young students to engage experientially, movie festivals on river-based themes, positive stories that challenge the narrative of doom and gloom, and a photo exhibition shared by interns and practitioners that offered a glimpse to the world of rivers.

What led us to the Rivers of Life?

Our goal was to create an inclusive narrative exploring one aspect of nature at a time. Because water is so central to life on Earth, our first event focused on stories of rivers. In later events, we moved on to other, equally fascinating aspects of nature and our interactions with them.

When we begin engaging with nature, we realise that nothing here is a binary. Rivers are never isolated – they are in conjunction with the earth, animals, trees, plants, and humans. The stories of rivers are stories of the living world’s engagement with rivers.

We shared information about the current condition of our rivers — the good and bad, of our symbiotic relationship with rivers that is under stress, and talked of rivers as entities in themselves. We asked what makes a river exist. We also discussed rivers across different bases, watersheds, and mountain ranges, and explored the symbiosis between living beings. Finally, we discussed progress and change in light of the challenges emerging from planetary imbalance. 

Vibrant Biodiversity of India