All Press Releases for December 01, 2004

a small contribution for the struggle to save the earth

\'thirst\', a historical/environmentalist novel will be launched on December 8th, 2004, for free on-line reading, at

    / - daya dissanayake the author of the First e-novel from Asia and the winner of the State Literary Award, will be launching his latest novel, 'thirst', on December 8th, 2004, for free on-line reading, at his website


"The birth of a vast lake among spectacular mountains will only add to the beauty of the Three Gorges. (...) Once completed, the Three Gorges Project itself will become a new wonder of the world. The giant dam will stand upstream to hold back Wushan Mountain's clouds and rain. (...)The hydropower station, as dazzling as a palace, will shoot out its mighty current through an extensive power grid. Like the ancient Temple of the Yellow Emperor not far from the dam, the modern building complexes are bound to draw flocks of travelers from all over the world." - (From the brochure "Three Gorges Project, Key to Development of the Yangtze River".)

’thirst' is a novel about a similar project, which could have happened about two thousand years ago, anywhere in Asia. It is a small contribution to the struggle by all the people around the world who are concerned about the continued destruction and harm caused to the environment

The story focuses around a king who wants to build the largest irrigation tank in the country. He orders the construction of a dam across a river against all objections. The struggle against the project is led by a Buddhist monk, who has to sacrifice his life in his attempt to stop the construction. His sister takes up the fight from then on.

The story is based on an incident near St. Clair s Falls, in the central hills of Sri Lanka when a protest rally was staged against the proposed Upper Kotmale Hydro-power Project, which would result in the drying up of five water falls in the area, in addition to other damages on the environment.

As in his previous novels the author attempts to show that people have not changed over the past several millennia. There had always been people who thought of their own selfish gains, disregarding the harm they would do to all living creatures and the environment, and people who were aware of such dangers and who fought against such actions, and others who would hijack such protest movements to achieve their own personal political victories. Today there is the Chinese journalist Dai Quing, as there were women like Cita in the past, showing that women had always played a very active role when it comes to safeguarding nature and the environment.

No one knows the extent of the damage done to the environment, to the fauna and flora and to the people in the areas that came under the major irrigation reservoirs built by the ancient kings. Chronicles only talk about the benefits, there is no way of knowing what the country had been before the tanks were built, what was lost and what was gained.

All over the world, the major dams and irrigation projects have been politically motivated, and some of them for the financial gains of a few individuals. Several examples are the Aswan dam in Egypt, the Hoover dam and the Bonneville dam in USA, and Sanmenxia dam in China, which were built with great propaganda blitz promising a heaven on earth. The cost of maintenance of the dams and the reservoirs, and the financial, environmental and cultural damage caused by them are enormous. Yet today they are still planning Upper Kotmale, Sardar Sarovar and Three Gorges, as if they had not learnt any lessons from the past.

Jawaharlal Nehru called them “shrines of our times” but a better term would have been ‘Monoliths of corruption and devastation”

author publisher

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Contact Information

daya dissanayake
daya dissanayake
Sri Lanka
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