Event — IIAS Lunch Lecture

Beyond Disaster: Resilience and Indigenous Wisdom Along Indus

In this lunch lecture co-hosted by the Humanities Across Borders (HAB) and River Cities Network (RCN) programmes of the IIAS, architect Sobia Kapadia from Middlesex University London, UK shares her work among communities living in fragile ecologies along the Indus River in southeastern Pakistan.

The lecture

The Indus River, a lifeline for millions, rises in Tibet, passes through the gigantic Himalayas into the plains and end in a large delta of south of Thatta, Sindh Pakistan. While it is a breadbasket since civilisation started in the region of Mohen jo Daro, it also is a source of recurring turmoil due to recent floodings. The escalating impacts of Climate Crisis and the greed of development is only but amplifying the plight of the communities living in these fragile ecologies along the river. 

Sobia Kapadia will explore the indomitable spirit of communities and reveal their strength through a blend of resilience and deep-rooted indigenous knowledge. These singular narratives of survival and renewal offers profound lessons. Central to this talk is her personal experience of working as a response and recovery expert, the conversations with communities as they got involved in the participatory flood recovery efforts, capturing some of the wisdom passed through generations and somehow the unconscious resilience that is embedded in their DNA. 

This talk aims to engage the audience by weaving together compelling narratives and empirical insights. It offers a holistic view of the resilience of the Indus River communities, emphasising their capacity to adapt and thrive despite the odds. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding flood management in the Indus basin and the crucial need for inclusive, community-oriented approaches in tackling environmental and climatic challenges. 

By recounting some challenges, this lecture offers valuable lessons for global discourses on river communities and more importantly it is a celebration of the human spirit and power of community in the face of adversity. 

The speaker

Sobia Kapadia is an architect by training with over 20 years of experience in humanitarian aid and international development. Her recent engagement with the Gender, Justice, and Security Hub at LSE, have enabled her to advocate for gender equality and social justice in South and West Asia. Her focus has been on effective governance, community participatory approaches, climate change and human rights. She comes with a strong understanding of Humanitarian practices and feminist-based approaches. She has a wide-ranging portfolio of working across Disaster recovery and Management, Climate Change, Urban Resilience, Migration and Displacement, Refugees, Gender based Violence, and Rights based advocacy. She has worked with UN, INGOs, Academia and private sector and has published widely on the subject.