Posted in Environment

Desert Rose.

We have media and environment/climate scientists screeching how the desertification of India and/or other parts of the world is extensive, spreading at a lightening speed as we lose the green cover steadily to rapid industrialization and urbanization and/or even global warming. That the ozone depletion is happening at an alarming rate… This sounds ominous and one presupposes arid regions of the world to be unfit for human inhabitation. Far from truth, even the Sahara in Africa which is the world’s largest desert sustains not only human life but also an exhaustive range of flora and fauna native to the terrain. Desert vegetation is an ecosystem as well and as good as any other. For a balanced ecology of Planet Earth, we need not only the rainforests and the tropics and tundra and savannas, but also the equally important and flourishing desert lands that within their bounds host quite an impressive array of wild species from foxes and hares to snakes and scorpions and lizards, apart from specific vegetation unique to this geographic region such as the cacti and other succulents and thorny bushes that thrive with almost no moisture content. Not to leave out the ship of the desert: the camels that can go on for months without water.

(No wonder in Tamil Sanga ilakkiyam, there is mention of Palai (desert) along with other classifications of landform such as Kurinji (hills), Mullai (forestry), Marudham (cropland) and Neidhal(coastal) even if by Palai, Thamizh Nad had only parched drylands to show).

Fifteen years I have been flying in and out of Middle East, residing here on and off. Finally got a taste of the wild today, with a drive to the deserts. There is this adjoining stretch parallel to sea in the south that serves as a bio-reserve which is left untouched (bio preserves are identified for protection by UNESCO the same way they certify World Heritage sites/structures in India such as our ancient temples for instance). This means, any human interference is not welcome in this protected sphere. No development as there is not a hint of civilization. This piece of land is preserved in its true element, the way it has been out of human reach for eons.

Recall such a reserve in Azerbaijan where even scrawling/etching in stone walls in caves by ancient humans (probably Neanderthal) is preserved to this day. A walk through the rocky surface that has withstood the wear and tear of time and climate is in recent memory. Not to be compared with temple architecture please!

An oil country, equally interesting was the crisscrossing of oil pipelines that were terrestrial therein. I expected underground laying. But obviously the scarcely populated breakaway nation from the former USSR could afford it. (More on this later). As someone who has been a resident of oil & gas rich country for over a decade, I have a natural curiosity in these matters. May be I cannot lend a scientific explanation to everything to the dot. But a mixed mumbo-jumbo is possible 😀

Back in our desert drive, we came upon tall shelfs that have stood mute witnesses to the sea erosion that ate away the territorial soil leaving this land parcel in its current state as we may find them today. The shelfs were abutting with their bottoms neatly (or sometimes raggedly) shaved. Like they were some tall sandy mushrooms with heads jutting like the buttons. This earthly projection was visible from afar as we drove in some kilometers. I thought of the vague outline of the Nilgiris or the Tirupathi segment of the Eastern ghats that you could follow from a distance like a shadow, once you would be in certain range. Like moth-eaten piece of cloth, the tell-tale signs were everywhere of this beautiful work of nature. Awe-inspiring. With minimal human imprint, we find something so profound in such a natural setting. It’s as if time stood still.

Not that I have not been to any other desert. The Sonoran deserts of the west coast of the US were a different vegetation over the Asian, stretching all the way from Arizona to California. Interspersed with the impressive and towering Sequoia standing tall like wise old men, the interesting landscape is a beauty that is unique and specific to this part of the world sporting probably the tallest cacti in the universe!

I’ve missed setting foot on the Thar desert of Rajasthan in India. A desert in our backyard with an interesting folk culture and rural life that we love to freeze in celluloid but something most of us have not experienced firsthand…

The deserts of Middle east have a vast expanse. From what little I glean from the men who have been here from building roads in the middle of nowhere to working the oil rigs, I reckon that the waves of dunes differ every few hundreds of miles. These are the toughest men of engineering. Physically and mentally. They have stories to tell me always… of the earliest oil men who lost their track in the deserts and succumbed to heat… of warring tribes… and so on… Oman and Saudi have the silkiest unblemished flow of desert being largest nations. Soil variation (deserts have limestone terrain that explain the non-seepage of surface rain water) lends a degree of difference in the desert pattern and even in vegetation. Oman is well known for the ‘wadi’ or the desert rivers (or perhaps streams) that can erupt in an instance (being seasonal) washing away anything in vicinity including landcruisers and camels in a blink of an eye. A wadi is also essentially like a watering hole or place. In colloquial we may term it an Oasis. A replenishing or watering spot for camels and goatherds. There is some vegetation usually in and around a wadi.

In Azer, the sight of oil pipelines running on the surface amazed me. I came to know, as it is mostly a barren country, this is possible. I learnt a few things about oil production onshore as well as offshore from men working them. Over years I have been hearing a lot in fact. Fortunate enough to see a few oil wells from a distance. A single well means, the pressure is good. This may be just a small shed like we have for motor shed in India (in our homes). A small roofed square piece of land, out there in the desert. Just like that. Boxed in with a single spout. Connected to the pipeline. In such an easy well, oil needed no thrust or external force to bring it to the surface. It was bubbly flowing out free with no pumping. Blessed are such oil wells or nations with such a cheap source of crude oil. Sometimes the oil may be in depth and would have to travel a distance to be brought to surface. Carbon-di-oxide and other gases may be used to bring up the oil in such cases. More points or a couple of oil wells may be clubbed in such an event under one roof to facilitate the mechanical procedure. This may look like an extended hut with tiled roof. Power is solar mostly. A very complex process this is. Even working the oilrig that will bore into the earth for probable source of oil is not without risk, executed with utmost safety precautions in place. If the oil explored needed CO2 to be brought out crossing various other levels of gases under terra (such as the highly volatile and combustible methane), then the CO2 itself has to be managed well, brought in via pipelines. A friend was detailing how like the hot steam condenses into water droplets, the CO2 too condenses into liquid that has to be checked and prevented at every stage to maintain the gaseous state. An oil well had a life of ten years on average after which its yield would start dropping eventually forcing a closedown. Most oil wells in Oman I learnt worked this way. I believe, (lpg) gas is mined pretty much the same way as oil. It is even more risky business because as we know, hot steam is of highest temperature over boiling water. What a technology and how this oil and gas make our lives so simple, far away from where they are mined. In India, Bombay High is the offshore oil exploration we know of.

For this one reason, the deserts are kind of divine to me. Pristine and mostly untouched, yet yield such a black liquid gold so that the humanity can have a better quality of life… We float so many, many political theories… Yet here I find something so profound… that makes the world go on… Despite me I am humbled and lost for words… Mother Earth yields us so… much… with no questions asked…

Interesting that close to the oil wells, camels graze as families! My husband has seen quite a few wild camel families in Oman unlike the domesticated ones of UAE or elsewhere. That is because, the desert there is endless almost. Oman is in my bucket list, let’s see…

Apparently there is one huge untapped oil and gas source in Russia beneath the ice sheet that is the largest in the world, but the cost of mining is discouraging. Even if there are many sources of oil and gas around the world, one goes for cost-effective means always.

My husband was also involved with oil and gas projects in Malaysia where oil was mined offshore. His project was to build massive oil storage tanks (big round ones on elevated platforms). It always used to beat me how the south east Asian nation that was equatorial and so greenish, could be an oil country at the same time. The oil produced there was of aviation quality.

As the world slowly moves over to other energy sources from the fossil fuels, may be the oil wells will become a thing of the past in a decade or more.

Moving over to the north coast, we came upon shallow beaches unspoilt and clean. On the way, we spotted some mangroves as well where one can go kayaking but considering the corona pandemic and the local visitors there already, we gave it a miss. There were historic sites with rock carvings by ancient man who walked this part of earth thousands of years ago. Not as extensive as in Azer but I found the scrawls in the rocky surface equally impressive. The geometric patterns are fit for case study. So does that mean the iron axes were already in vogue. Or was this in Stone age when the etching was done with stone weapons. The beaches in this coast are secluded and so very serene. Beautiful laidback setting for a winter picnic. Will return soon.

I would want to add a few pictures here, not much.

Everything is in my memory, and that is great!

My eyes were on the scraggy bushes and date palms numbering against all odds. Putting up with the heat and sand storms. Bravo to any wildlife that exists here, sustaining this wonderful delicate ecosystem and surviving the tough rigorous life…

I have been on desert safaris yet I think nothing can prepare us for the real desert scene.

A few bedouin make-shift shanty homes here and there spoke of the love of the nomadic tribes for the world’s most earnest way of life. It aches my heart to think that even these folks are forced to civilize and conform with the rest of the humanity

Posted in Environment, Political

NEW EDUCATION POLICY (NEP) 2020 & ENVIRONMENT IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) draft 2020

Let me do a copy-paste recap job on New Education Policy 2020 from the social media.

New Education Policy 2020

1. 10+2 board structure dropped
2. School structure will be 5+3+3+4
3. Up to 5 pre school, 6 to 8 Mid School, 8 to 11 High School, 12 onwards Graduation
4. Any Degree will be 4 years
5. 6th std onwards vocational courses available
6. From 8 to 11 students can choose subjects
7. All graduation courses will have major & minor
Example – science student can opt Physics as Major and Music as minor. Any combination can be chosen
8. All higher education will be governed by one authority.
9. UGC AICTE get merged.
10. All University government, private, Open, Deemed, Vocational etc will have same grading and rules.
11. New Teacher Training board will be setup for all kinds of teachers in the country, no state can change
12. Same level of accreditation to any college and based on its rating college will get autonomous rights and funds.
13. New Basic learning program will be created by government for parents to teach children up to 3 years in home and for pre school 3 to 6.
14. Multiple entry and exit from any course
15. Credit system for graduation, for each year student will get some credits which can be utilized when a break is taken in course and could come back again to complete the course.
16. All school exams will be on semester basis twice a year.
17. The syllabus will be reduced to core knowledge of any subject.
18. More focus on student’s practicals and application of knowledge
19. For any graduation course, if a student completes only one year, will get a basic certificate, if complete two years, then will get Diploma certificate and if completes full course then will get degree certificate. So no year of any student will be wasted if a break is taken in the course in between.
20.All the graduation courses fee of all Universities will be governed by single authority with capping on each course.

Education system to be at par with education in modern countries and future of our children to be brighter.

My Comment:

If New Education Policy is indeed implemented successfully, it will prove to be a turning point in Indian history for the better. Long since overdue. Vocational education and training to be at par with academic studies, which is a welcome move. Education will cease to translate to mere book knowledge. Practical application of one’s learning will gain impetus. School and college drop-outs will be minimal. Education being equally skill-based and on even footing with academic proficiency can ensure dignity of labour and bring about a more equitable society in the long run. Special children will stand to benefit. Knowledge imparted to be qualitative. Quality of manpower will see tremendous improvement. Holistic approach to Education. Development can be wholesome. We can have a far mature society in the making.

However the new policy sounds too very ambitious, but then knowing Modi and his demonetization and Balakot surgical strike and even the implementation of NEET for Medical entrance throughout India in one stroke and of course the revoking of article 370 in Kashmir, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets things rolling as soon as possible, beginning with teachers’ training on war-footing basis (this is more important than going on war really), upgrading our schools’ infrastructures, overhauling the entire education system which is in kind of a mess… although I can’t rule out the possibility of the first few batches becoming the experimental scapegoat… Streamlining such a massive machinery of education is no easy task in India, especially given the very brief time frame…. then again I pin my faith on the one-man-army called Modi. No, he isn’t really a one-man army or your usual sycophant surrounded by gibberish fools. I understand, a totally dedicated, devoted team of thousands of engineers and medicos and technocrats and scientists and educationists and bankers and others work for PM Narendra Modi fashioning his policies for the nation over which the bureaucrats and Delhi Babus of the ministry have hardly a say. This education policy so well outlined could be the brainchild of such an expert team. How to standardize education in rural and urban dwelling. A big challenge here.

Environment Impact Assessment Draft 2020

The best efforts ploughed in by our prime minister with the New Education policy 2020 may come to a naught if EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) 2020 is to be enforced as well.

The draft EIA paves way for environment clearance for future (foreign) (mega) investments in India without adequate notification and assessment of the impact on nature and wildlife in India. Most of the protective measures instituted so far for safeguarding the natural environment in India can be bypassed, should the EIA draft 2020 be approved. This means, our rivers can get even more polluted or even be sucked up dry, and India can be completely depleted of its natural resources such as water, minerals, metals and forest wealth in no time. If the draft EIA is facilitated at the behest of MNCs, then in less than hundred years, India could become the next Somalia so that the present generation capitalists can live life kingsize.

https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/environmentalists-voice-concerns-against-draft-eia-notification-2020

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/tnm-explainer-why-are-activists-and-experts-against-draft-eia-2020-129566

Every highway bisecting the elephant corridor in India is one more nail in the coffin of India’s natural environment. Shiva can never become the Adi Yogi turning back pachyderms descending down the Velliangiri Hills of the Blue Mountain (Eastern Ghats) of southern India. Their home is lost. Pathanjali the ancient Yogic Guru, can have nothing to do with the Ayurveda brand promoted by destroying the forests of Assam. This is the only Dharma that I can reckon with.

https://sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/eia-2020-legitimises-environmental-damage

One of the best things about Nehruvian era was the unwavering protection of our reserve forests that are the natural habitat of some of world’s most endangered and exotic species of wild life, animals, birds and plants. These are the very lungs of India in this 21st century. India’s forest cover has remained vastly untouched over decades. Disturbing or encroaching upon Reserve Forest range and/or harming wildlife are non-bailable criminal offences. Forests department is very much functional. Which is why actor Salman Khan got into legal trouble when he shot the blue buck, a native species.

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/travelnews/story/70392/guinness-world-record-for-indias-tiger-census

Indira Gandhi directed the Project Tiger which is bearing fruits today. India accounts for maximum number of tigers in the wild in entire world. India is also home to over fifty percent of the world’s elephant population.

https://swarajyamag.com/magazine/the-other-side-of-indira-gandhi-how-she-helped-save-indias-wildlife-habitats

Elephant population in the country is estimated at 29,964 as per the census conducted in 2017. The South Region accounted for 14,612 followed by North East with 10,139 elephants. The tiger population across the country is estimated at 2,967 as per the 2018 census

https://www.indiatoday.in/fyi/story/elephants-assam-india-poaching-deaths-population-1314727-2018-08-14

The current government has a policy for compensatory afforestation when prime forests are claimed for development purposes. However in truth, the secondary forests can never make up for and match the primary forests limb to limb. Despite our best and no holds-barred conservation efforts, forest cover in India is steadily shrinking, with loss of natural habitat for our wildlife reported every single day from every corner of the country.

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/wildlife-biodiversity/world-elephant-day-india-s-jumbos-stare-at-a-worrying-future-66127

Science is for arts’ sake, never vice versa. This is my last word on EIA if this controversial amendment is to go ahead.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-gives-over-rs-47000-cr-to-27-states-for-green-activities/article29289605.ece

Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Man vs. wild’ with Bear Grylls seems a cruel joke now.

The rich bio-diversity we have in India is unparalleled in any other part of the world, except for Africa. Gir Lions to Asian elephants, and Bengal Tigers to Single horned Assamese Rhinoceros, with the spectacular array of flora and fauna we boast of, along with the brilliant plumage of avian population co-existing with the 1.3 billion strong humankind is a miraculous feat we can find nowhere on earth. Well, I remember once driving through the sandalwood forests in Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Sheer magic in the air. For how long shall we have this precious cherished gift? Man-Wildlife conflicts are on rise but so far we have been able to arrive at a truce. For the first time in Indian history however, nature stands to be beaten black and blue and man will trudge on merciless, leaving in his wake the carcasses of rotting wild elephant and tiger…

The price we have to pay for wanting to become the next China!

Posted in Environment

Biopiracy of India’s Indigenous/Intellectual Property By Corporate West

I may be an amateur blogger but I have blogged on this before. Pharmaceutical companies from US and Europe have patented what was/is originally traditional Indian home remedy/Ayurvedic medicine robbing us of our intellectual rights and entitlements. They have patented our bovine genes, native seeds, even part of Yoga (!) (and this is just the tip of the iceberg) to such an extent that in a very few years, we won’t have natural reproduction of anything in India. From foodgrains to animal breeding, US corporates will have to be paid royalty as they will hold back the poison seeds that killed the native flora. and the semen for our cattle. This is happening already right across the world and mostly the third world nations in Africa and Asia are since paying a heavy price for what is originally and truly ours. Biggest theft of the century. Recently I was visiting Arni, some 150 km from Chennai. My (regular) cabbie who drove me down, hails from Madurai. One look at the cattle grazing in the agricultural lands, he said the cows were IVF product and from the semen imported from US companies for a price . I was shocked. Such a layman he is, and not even a matriculate. But coming from a rural background, he knew these things growing up with farm animals and forestry, having worked as a farm hand engaging in cultivation before he left for the city in search of a job. He said the ‘Jallikattu’ (bull racing) was not just about reinforcing our traditional practices but about saving the indigenous bulls of India. As i have stated before in my previous blog posts, only the Asian cows can produce the brain stimulating A2 milk that is patented by America now! How is this. Now all efforts are on to deny Asia the A2 gene of cattle itself. You can sadly see the bottled A2 imported milk from US being sold even in Indian groceries! I have never supported foreign NGOs like the UNICEF or CRY or PETA or GREENPEACE for this reason.  No.1 International frauds who steal from poorest of poor nations without an ounce of ethics or morality. Nothing is here in India from America without an agenda. To save our native flora and fauna, the battles we have to fight! South America is an easy scapegoat. We saw the recent fires in the Amazon. For whose benefit.

I am linking a few more of my own clumsy write-ups (!) on Biopiracy of India’s intellectual/native properties by MNCs.

https://vijiravindran.com/2020/02/14/dharma-in-the-times-of-corona-virus/

https://vijiravindran.com/2017/01/21/wto-and-india-rethinking-indias-food-security/

The second link details the Karuvelam tree, an invasive species NOT native to India running dry the Tamil Nadu ground water table. My driver told me, some vested interests have obtained a ‘stay order’ in court stopping the removal and eventual eradication of Karuvelam from Tamil soil. I was beginning to see less of Karuvelam but the parasite species is back now in last one or two years with a vengeance.

Most north Indians could not relate to Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu. The south still has saved hundreds of indigenous cattle and canine species, breeding them exclusively until today. Even at Isha Yoga in Coimbatore,  for instance, they breed native pedigree bull and cow species without gene contamination. If PETA is allowed to have their way in India and if Jallikattu is to be stopped in Tamil Nadu, then there will be no reason to breed the native bulls and cows that are economically not viable. The Jallikattu is the greatest incentive for rural farmers to breed native bulls that are going extinct one by one. Today, natural breeding is very negligible in India where it concerns the cattle. Mostly commercialized artificial insemination. However, the exotic native breeds were excluded until now from the list. Looks like, not any more:

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/sep/02/tamil-nadu-governments-ban-on-the-crossing-of-native-bulls-with-exotic-breeds-angers-farmers-2027650.html

The following link highlights the importance of Jallikattu in preserving the indigenous bovine breed:

https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/jallikattu-may-be-important-to-save-indigenous-bull-breeds-but-its-not-enough-1631855.html

This is what the Jersey and Holstein are about to destroy once and for all:

https://www.biodiversityofindia.org/index.php?title=Native_cow_varieties_of_India

Difference between Indian and western bovine breeds:

Hindu temples play a huge role in the upkeep of pure cow breeds in ‘goshalas’ (cow sheds) within the temple precincts. Why cow dung and cow urine. This is why. Don’t be shocked, even the cow dung and cow urine revered by Hindus who were mocked for their belief systems are now patented by America for their medicinal benefits! Not that this is new to America. They have stolen strains of our turmeric, neem, basmati etc., that we did not bother to patent because we believed, it is ours, been ours traditionally for millennia. Government of India woke up only when an attempt was made to patent the ‘Surya Namaskar’ in Yoga.

“Goshalas’ are integral part of most ancient Hindu temples. However, the recent ones may not have them for lack of space.

The need for saving native seeds similarly:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/why-indias-native-crops-need-to-be-saved-from-extinction/articleshow/73237886.cms

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/these-seed-bankers-are-saving-indias-native-crops/articleshow/70106157.cms

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/reviving-indigenous-seeds-silent-revolution-india-s-rice-growing-states-104257

https://twobrothersindiashop.com/blogs/news/the-way-forward-indigenous-seeds-for-a-stronger-safer-world-for-the-soil-and-its-people

I wish, anyone who browses through this post reads up every link. My small contribution to India in my own way.

The native canine breeds of India at a glance:

https://www.dogspot.in/9-indian-dog-breeds-never-knew-about/

We had what is called ‘panneer rose’ (panneer is rose water in Tamil) in our house until my teens. The yield was like some 20 flowers a day from the plant that was potted in a big rusted tin. The only natural manure we used then was tea or coffee powder after usage. Friends used to get us egg shells to fertilize soil. Our maid used to get fresh cow dung whenever possible. This rose used to be pale rose in colour, smaller in size. Amazingly the scent of the Panneer rose still lingers in my memory. Now it is no more to be seen in entire India, having been outbred by hybrid rose cultivation. I have never smelled that panneer rose scent ever again either. Nearly close, but never the same. Similarly even if you take the original reddish maroon hibiscus, it has become a rarity with more of mixed colours available in the nurseries. May be the originals are available if you search long and wide. Rare lucky instances. Same fate for what we used to call the original ‘December’ flower and Samanthi (chrysanthemum). The original white and yellow Samanthi strains we had at home still stay fresh in my memory. What I get for Puja at home today is the foreign variety Samanthi that is richer in colour and somewhat denser. That somehow dilutes something precious about the original Samanthi i have grown up with. Original native Indian samanthi used to be hardly like this. Not so rich or alluring. But the aromatic scent of the Samanthi was the game changer. Lightly moving in breeze with an elusive scent, pale in colour, the original Samanthi used to look delicate and sweet. As someone coming from a community that relates to different native flowers in daily life – from wearing flowers in hair everyday to school, college, work to adorning our home and pooja (worship) and temples and wedding halls and celebration parties and grooms and guests with flowers, I can vouch for how much even  the flowers of India have altered in last twenty or so years. The native pedigree breeds have vanished almost completely from the scene which is shocking. To what extent the hybrids have done the damage will be next to impossible to gauge. We just no more live in the same India that was our ancestors, that kind of makes me sad. I am sure, the good old flower cultivators of Tamil Nadu/India will agree with me.

I don’t deny, our own greed and demand for more milk, more of food grains and even flowers may be driving our native exotic species to extinction, as we create an atmosphere where hybrid breeding with foreign species becomes inevitable to keep the supply chain moving.

How many of us can give up Chai for instance. I just gave up coffee although for a different reason. Now two months successfully without my passionate coffee. I became one less person harming nature and forcing more forest land into cultivation for coffee. How many of us can give up milk altogether.

Posted in Environment

Elephant At Crossroads

Humans are too very selfish and self-centered. Preoccupied with their list of priorities. What about the Wildlife. What happens to our wildlife. No place to go home to, caught in the crossfires? The case of the Indian/ Asian elephants traumatized by border skirmishes is of a serious nature.

As the CAA protests die down, I have finally chosen to voice my concern about the wild elephants crossing from India into Bangladesh and vice versa.

I am an avid supporter of CAA myself. Ever since I keep wondering, what happens to our elephants now. Are there earmarked elephant corridors between India and Bangladesh. Indian government hopefully allows in the Bangladeshi elephants. Is our government tagging the Indian elephants with any kind of identification collar. How to differentiate between the Indian elephants and Bangladeshi elephants. Census of Indian elephants could be reflecting an inflated figure in the absence of any distinction between the Indian and the Bangladesh elephants in the border areas.

Wildlife knows no man-made boundaries. The border dispute takes as much toll on wildlife as humans. Perhaps, far worse.

Crossing over to hostile territory may cost one one’s life:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/16/elephant-dies-1000-mile-journey-india-bangladesh

The tragic story of the mighty elephants separated by borders:

Elephants in a reserve forest along India-Bangladesh border struggle for survival

Indian elephants ‘strayed’ into Bangladesh ??? The choice of words is intriguing. So are our elephants numbered or radio-collared. I hope so. India to some extent takes care of the wildlife and keeps a headcount.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/nation/2018/12/10/indian-elephant-dies-near-rowmari-border

Elephants caught in human conflicts. Elephants in Burmese-Bangladesh border pay a heavy price thanks to the Rohingya Refugee influx.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/11/rohingya-refugee-crisis-elephants-bangladesh/

The Bangladeshi illegal immigrant elephants in Indian soil keep officials on toes:

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/sep/11/elephants-from-bangladesh-keep-officials-on-toes-in-karimganj-1870363.html

A breather: consolatory safe passage to illegal immigrant elephants :

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/soon-gates-on-border-to-allow-indian-elephants-to-visit-bangladesh-and-return/story-rDybL52QkciEgnbU8jCDVK.html

Indian elephant shot dead in Bangladesh:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Dalma-elephant-shot-dead-by-Bangla-troops/articleshow/46992927.cms

Man-Elephant conflict rages as Rohingya Muslim Refugees displace native elephants from their natural habitat in Bangladesh:

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/rohingya-refugees-face-the-rage-of-displaced-elephants-60531

The list goes on and on…

How many of the so-called liberals and leftists gave a thought to our wildlife bearing the brunt of border conflicts. The distressed elephants have nowhere to go, driven out of their homes to accommodate the so-called refugees. Is it morally or ethically permissible to settle the Rohingyas in elephant habitats that have been their natural home since the dawn of the universe. Let CAA include the Bangladeshi elephants with the list of Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh-Pakistan! The Indian tuskers too need a safe passage into Bangladesh and back. The jumbo population is dwindling at a very fast pace. The gentle giants that grace our beautiful country with their sunny presence may soon go extinct right in front of our eyes. Hopefully the governments of India and Bangladesh will resolve the elephant migration issue as well in our border areas. This is one special case of illegal Bangladeshi immigrant Elephants that may be given an exemption to overstay in India or seek asylum in India!

 

Posted in Environment

Say A Big ‘NO’ To Birth Control For Indian Elephants

Govt of India authorized the Environment Ministry to carry out family planning on Indian Elephants ?

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/environment-ministry-plans-to-use-immunocontraceptives-for-wildlife-population-management/article28307106.ece

I do not know how to stop this in my limited individual capacity. I am recording simply my unhappiness and disbelief and frustration here because of my inability to do anything about this.

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/india-elephants-immunocontraceptives-environment-ministry_in_5d6685dbe4b022fbceb43051

Already the Congress govt introduced birth control TO ONLY HINDUS and reduced our population systematically, limiting our family sizes to 1 or 2 kids maximum. Hindu population has plunged since the independence from 90% to 70% today whereas the minorities have more than doubled, trebled. Now is BJP trying to reduce even our Elephant (God’)s population? This is madness.

Mindless encroachment on wildlife habitat and especially on natural elephant corridors linking valleys and underpasses and mountains the way Mother Nature created it, is happening because of hectic industrialization. Can’t we find other ways to avoid human-wildlife conflict. India is home to wildlife especially Indian elephants, single horned rhinos, monkeys, Bengal tigers, Asiatic lions, cheetahs, first and foremost among other flora and fauna, and then finally to homo sapiens. Because even if we humans perish, nature will continue to have its way.  This wildlife is God given gift to India – and this beautiful nature. Are we even worthy of such a precious gift.

**********************************

Connected Read: https://vijiravindran.com/2017/02/12/stop-cruelty-to-elephants-in-the-name-of-religion-now/

**********************************

I request PM Shri Narendra Modi ji to immediately look into this affair and stop any such horrific plan on its tracks to introduce family planning to the jumbo family. Modi ji,on this Ganesh Chaturthi day, I submit to you this humble plea. Save the Indian Elephant. Please do not enforce birth control on any form on our wild life especially our elephants. Cannot imagine India without our elephants. Can you imagine India without Ganpati Bappa?

Elephants are endangered species already. While wildlife lovers are worried about their dwindling population, it comes as a rude shock that our government is actually planning to control our elephant population. Elephants have none to argue their case or champion their cause. Already domesticated (temple)/captive elephants are denied their right to mating. Forced to feed on imbalanced diet such as too much sweet (sugarcane and jaggery) for instance, leading to their ill-health. Their spirit broken and crushed, chained and enclosed in claustrophobic small spaces. Separated as calves from their herds. Is this not cruel enough. In the wild, every single day, an Indian elephant dies a torturous death either stepping on an animal trap or brushing against an electric fence of a farmer or hit by a speeding train along the railway crossing. Is there none to listen to their anguish. What a heartless society we have become.

I will watch out for any roll back on the government order.

Posted in Environment

Best Gift On World Elephant Day: Man vs Wild with PM Modi and Bear Grylls, on Discovery HD

What a man! Interesting to watch one of his many facets that make him what he is today.

Walking the Jim Corbett with Bear Grylls – doing this at his age even if with invisible security cordon, is a feat. Yoga must be his fitness secret.

Luckily no wild elephant or a Bengal tiger crossed their path although PM Modi was quick and sharp enough to spot elephant dung in the thick bush. His observation is very good obviously. Wildlife spotting is not really that easy. In fact I have always spotted wild elephants both in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu only in the shoulder areas adjoining the national parks. Wild animals do not know of or respect man-made boundaries. Animal/bird watchers also must have immense patience for any ‘sighting.’ Rare are lucky spottings.

I caught my breath as our PM boarded the haphazardly hand-built coracle (by Grylls) (what we call parisal in Tamil). I recently took a (plastic) ‘parisal’ ride in Kodaikanal where the lake depth was not much. Still the risk of tipping over is enormous. In his age and position, I got alarmed and wondered aloud, whether the PM must be doing that. Of course, his security must have been hovering in the background. The coracles originally made of bamboo are very popular with rural Indians when it comes to river/lake crossings in lieu of boats. They come in handy especially when the river depth is not adequate for boating and the river width is easily navigable.

Fully drenched in rain, PM Modi was treated with as much affection like a son by Grylls. That was heartwarming. The PM answered back Grylls in Hindi for the benefit of all Indians including those who may not be knowing English.

To one of the questions on keeping India clean, Modi ji replied that Indians have good personal hygiene but lacked social hygiene. He couldn’t have put it more aptly. That is a 100% true fact. I realized this during our days in Malaysia. We Indians or those of Indian origin showered maximum. The Chinese went to work straight from bed and showered late in the evening. Showering too many times they believed, could get you cold and make you sick! Yet the Indians stank and the Chinese looked better. Probably this body odour is in our subcontinent gene! We Indians sweat more compared to many other races. Many friends and relatives have remarked on this aspect as to how we Indians maintain better personal hygiene. Yet our breath smells!! When it comes to social hygiene, we draw a big blank almost. Just look at the airport restrooms! You just cannot teach the concept of dry toilets to our masses! Water, water everywhere! Never mind, now many in the west are of opinion that wet toilets (meaning those fitted with hand faucets) are more hygienic, less infectious and environment friendly than those with toilet paper roll! In Yoga centers in India, you can see only Indian squatting toilets used by even foreigners comfortably. Its good for your knees and it is regaining its status. May be one day as they say coconut oil and groundnut oil are actually good (after denouncing them for years that is), the west will come around to this point. Even the way we measure hygiene is different in both worlds. That said, India leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to keeping the nation neat and clean. It is a social consciousness, not a government job. Still, ever since Swachch Bharat was introduced by Modi, I notice a welcome change. Even if it is not a lot, it is good and holds promise for a better future.

The conversation was kept minimal and interesting, going with the flow of the nature trail as Grylls and Modi walked through the tall bushes towards the river.

Normally I hope and look forward to wildlife spotting but today I was anxious!  For once, I wished the tigers and the elephants stayed away! Remember it was none less than the Jim Corbett! The weather seemed awesome and amiable. Untiring, more than anything else. I am sure the rendezvous and the trail itself were handpicked and combed and checked out in advance. That may account for no chance encounter with the mighty Indian elephant or the Bengal tiger by the adventurous duo. Or even the venomous snakes.

The dollops of flashback from PM’s life right from his childhood told in his own words lent the show some extra spice. What a humble background and what an austere brought-up PM Modi has had. What a contrast this is from the spoilt Nehru-Gandhi lineage. His ascension to power is not surprising. The spark is still visible!

Critics of course will say, this is all stunt. So be it. Neither I care nor does Modi Ji hahaha!  He is daring as only he can be. And he is curious. Very inquisitive. Open to learning. Not afraid to ask questions. Or try the turf. Not embarrassed an ounce! Comfortable in strange surroundings. It is easy to see why he is what he is and where he is today.  India is truly a very beautiful and diverse and rich country! I am proud of my nation in every way and all ways possible! Grylls seems to share an affectionate bonding with India as well…

However I would request our PM to stay safe in future and let this be his first and last adventure in unchartered territory. As Bear Grylls himself says, PM Shri Narendra Modi is the No.1 and most important man in the country. Precious, priceless gem. We want him to live a 100 years and if possible 200. Please take better care of your health Prime Minister, India loves you. Love and adore your spirit and your sacrificing self. Sometimes I even wonder whether we Indians deserve such a committed man.

My personal request to you Mod ji, is to ban elephants from our temples and palaces and processions and tourism industry and conserve them in our forests. This way, you will be ensuring that Ganpati lives on for 100-200 more bargained years before going extinct (which will happen eventually in under 300 years. Of course, this will earn you the wrath of Kerala Devaswoms, Mysore and Rajasthan palaces and tourism industry. But Lord Ganesha will bless you and the nation. If anyone can do it, it is you Prime Minister. Believe me this has nothing to do with the Church. And even if this is a conspiracy theory by the missionaries, you will still be extending a fresh lease of life for the Indian Elephant. If you don’t, our grand children from 2100 will not be seeing a single Indian elephant in flesh and blood.