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.

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

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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.