Kaushal Kishore | Follow @HolyGanga
Report on Eco-Friendly Home that can sustain natural calamities like earthquake
Shri Nand Lal Gupta is a researcher associated with the Pine Research Institute, Solan Himachal Pradesh. Guptaji is 89 years old, who hails from the Himalayan region. He has started his career in the accounts department of the Punjab University. Later he had resigned that service to continue the research work in 1958. Since thereafter he is occupied in the research activities in Soalan. His works are associated with the utility of the plant like cactus, environment-friendly homes that can sustain the earthquakes, water-tanks, etc. Today in the ripe old age, he is occupied in the research on the issues related to ecology and environment in the Himalayas. His experiences are in the diversified fields of study that is a result of hard work of many decades.
The deaths in the Himalayas due to earthquake and landslide pained him to such an extent that he has started to study the 1905 earthquake of Kangara. The destruction was greater in the area occupied by the British due to the construction of concrete buildings. The destructions were reported least in the other regions. The old homes made of mud and soil was able to survive the natural calamities like earthquake. As such he got convinced to study the structure of the old houses made of mud and soil. The extraction of cellulose from the plant like cactus is another interesting feature of his study. He has used this organic chemical to make different types of long-lasting paints. As a result, the govt. of Australia invited him to share his experiences and work with them on the issue of cactus in 1972. Shri Gupta refused to accept the offer from Australia due to his love for the nation.
Shri Gupta came to know about the initiative known as South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy, and wrote a letter to the SADED office. Consequently SADED invited him to visit its office and also advised to share his views in a couple of dialogues organised by the institutions of the SADED network. As a result of that he has shared his ideas at three different platforms while staying in Delhi for a few days. At this office, he has shared with the author of these lines on 31st December 2015. His research works are based on certain problems like the natural phenomenon of earthquake and ecological balance, especially in the Himalayan region. A couple of his colleagues also shared their views regarding his evolution and working style.
The Himalayas is one of the most seismic sensitive zones on our holy planet. According to news reports, in the year 2015 alone the shaking due to earthquakes occurred more than 400 times in this region. In this case the works done by Shri Gupta can prove to be a necessary tool to cope with the prevailing menace of the earthquake. The organic compounds that he has extracted from the nature may be useful in making houses for a large number of people, especially in Himalayan countries. That day he told me regarding the need of INR 25,000.00 (twenty-five thousand rupees) to finish the construction of a water-tank in the Himalayas. A few days after his return from Delhi, he has informed me again that someone arranged that funding so he is going to finish the tank construction. We have discussed how to build such homes while concluding the session that day.
Next day, Shri Gupta has delivered the talk in Apane Desh Ki Baat. I was present there to moderate this session on January 1, 2016. Advocate Ram Nivas Yadav chaired this session. After his speech pleasant reactions came to from every corner. IT consultant Vijay Pandey and engineer Bhadauria ji advised to form a team to visit the project sites in Solan and other parts of Himachal Pradesh in order to explore further details of his research. Dr. Vijay Kumar, the Vice President of Akhil Bharatiya Panchayati Raj Parishad advised to construct one of such sets of environment friendly houses made of mud and soil in Delhi as a pilot project. A few days later Shri Valmiki Singh, the President of Akhil Bharatiya Panchayati Raj Parishad called a meeting and decided to construct such eco-friendly mud house in their campus.
The cactus-based cellulose is used to make encrustation free paints. He has also established a manufacturing unit in Solan to produce such long-lasting paints. In this session he discussed about it to some extent.
Issue: Thousands of people sustained injuries and tens of incidents of death are in the reports in last five years, but still there is a special significance of events like Jallikattu
The Supreme Court of India has passed an interim order to ban the event of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The game of bull taming will be impossible in case this interim order remains in effect. Sharp criticism and a series of protest began to emerge immediately after the order was passed. Certain regional political parties of Tamil Nadu such as DMK, MDMK and PMK began to put pressure on the government of state and centre respectively. P. Radhakrishnan, the Loksabha M.P. elected from Kanyakumari constituency and MoS for Shipping in Modi Govt. stand in support of the protesting groups. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of the state, wrote a letter to the central government in a hurry. She has firmly repeated the request to issue an ordinance to that effect in this matter immediately. After all these set of events this case turns into a very hot political issue. Consequently a fresh war between the government and the judiciary is facing each other. All the powerful forces of Tamil Nadu appear to be united on this issue. As thus this is an important case in the beginning of this year, and time will tell the fate of it.
The common citizen of India obviously respects the decisions of the judiciary, but the response of public in this case is outrageous. Today, the members of local societies and those who are active in politics are visible on the roads during the protest. The trend of strike, blockade and protest intensified in certain districts like Madurai, Alangnallur, Palamedu, Avnipurm, etc. After all, what is the reason that people took to the streets immediately after that interim order? Isn’t it necessary to look into the issues that the south Indian people oppose today? Whether the govt. of India is going to respect views of Tamilian leaders in order to issue the new ordinance? The organisers of Jallikattu have made elaborate arrangements everywhere—in villages, towns and cities, for this traditional sporting event. The Supreme Court has decided to cancel the game on the name of preventing violence and cruelty to animals. After this interim order the next hearing of the case has been fixed for March 15. It is also clear here that the approach of the court and intent of the central and state governments are not consistent with each other. Ministry of Environment and Forest of the Govt. of India issued a notification on last seventh January. This notification amended the previous regulation imposed in July 2011, and lifted the ban on the display of trained bulls in certain traditional sports such as bullock cart race and Jallikattu. The Animal Welfare Board of India, PETA and certain other organizations joined together to challenge the government in the court. There is a noticeable fact that the case listed for the division bench headed by the Chief Justice T.S. Thakur has been actually heard in the court headed by Justice Dipak Misra and N.V. Ramana, because Justice R. Bhanumati, who is a member of that bench, refused to hear the same. The reports in the media on this topic have not discussed its reasons. There must be some plausible reason behind doing so for Justice Bhanumati, who has started her career from the Higher Judicial Service of the Tamil Nadu cadre. God knows, when this mystery will be solved, but it is evidently clear that the issue at stake alarms the reputation of the judiciary.
There is a special importance to certain games associated with the conservation of gauvansh (cattle of the cow family) in the Tamilian society that is largely dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry. The new harvest festival is celebrated in almost every part of India since prehistoric times in the beginning of the year. In different regions, it has various names such as Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Pongal, etc. The regional characteristics are also evidently clear along with these festivals. The festival of Pongal is celebrated in the Tamil Nadu, as a four-day long series of festivities. There is a special feature for each day of celebration that reflects from their names as well i.e. Bhogi Pongal, Thai Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kannum Pongal. The third day is dedicated to Pashupati Nath that is another name of Lord Shiva. According to the Tamil belief Mattu is the bull of Lord Shiva. This day of celebration is dedicated to animals due to their usefulness in the field of agriculture. The sporting event like Jallikattu is one of its significant parts. The bulls for this purpose are given special trainings. Such trained bulls are known as Jallikat or Jallikattu.
In fact, the festival associated with the performance of strongest progeny of the cow family is a result of long and time consuming preparations. This is a centre of extremely important cultural activities, and also a cause of gatherings that is organized in different villages of Tamil Nadu rest of the year. Almost every village temple has its own Jallikattu; the feelings of most of the villagers are associated with such cattle. The game—to subdue the healthy and strong bull—is certainly difficult and dangerous. The reports of injuries to more than a thousand people and death of 18 people in the last five years are before our eyes. But still there is an extraordinary importance of events like Jallikattu in the protection of animals of native breed, especially the native cow progeny that can produce A2 milk. This fact cannot be denied in any case. The use of machines increased in modern farming. The result of that is in front of us. The utility of bullock is an affair of the gone by days. The farmers, the natural herd of cattle in India, are competing today to sell oxen and bulls to the butcher. The sport like Jallikattu is one of the very limited remaining resources in order to protect the native breed of cows. One more question arises during this process. Whether this effort to prevent the cruelty towards the bulls won’t prove to be an attempt that can wipe out this creature from its roots? In fact, this is the question that provoked the Tamil people to such an extent that they accepted to commit contempt of the court. The people familiar with the Tamil society knows about it.
The observation of facts mentioned in the interim order revealed the unequaled sensitivity of the Supreme Court towards the silent animals. If the sensitivity of the court on the issue of cruelty and violence towards the animals and birds moves a few steps further in the right direction that might lead the dead-body-eaters to resort to a kind of natural reaction. By the way, it is clear in the light of the urgency of Jallikattu and hubble-bubble of the traditional festival that the compliance of this order will be extremely difficult for the administrative authorities. However, a large segment of the society still believes that the govt. will surely bring some sort of solution, because Jallikattu is an ancient traditional practice, which has been continued for centuries.
(Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga)
Sustainable Development Goals have been implemented in India and other 192 countries of the United Nations on January 1, 2016 in order to remove poverty and hunger. This is a resolution to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, which will eliminate poverty and hunger together, and it will further overcome certain serious problems like social and economic inequality. The accomplishment of these goals is bursting with a number of challenges. Today the deep chasm of social and economic inequality has been clearly visible in the modern era of growth-centered development vision, where a handful of wealthy people in every nook and corner of the globe live a luxurious life taking advantage of the latest facilities, on the other hand nearly 800 million people around the world are marginalized, who are undernourished. The member states of the United Nations have shown commitment to curb this menace of inequality. It aims to meet the goals by the end of 2030. It may prove to be an effective initiative in the context of social justice. This is an important and ambitious campaign for certain developing countries like India, where millions of people are deprived of two meals a day almost after seven decades of independence. It has been posing extremely complex challenges before the government and society for a long time.
Last year, upon completion of seventy years United Nations organized the summit in New York during September 25 to 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed this summit. The global community unanimously agreed on 17 goals and 169 targets at the very same summit. This was the result of over two years of intensive public consultation and engagement with civil society and other stakeholders around the world that paid particular attention to the voices of the poorest and most vulnerable. These goals and targets are envisaging a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want. This is the mantra that might assimilate the possibility of prosperity—where all life can thrive. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are focused on five fundamental things: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. All major issues pertaining to education, gender equality and climate change are included in them. In addition to that this declaration claims to envisage a world free of fear and violence, but in the next 15 years whether this dream will come true? This is an extremely complex question. The main points of Sustainable Development Goals are as follows:
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere by the end of 2030. These days 1 in every 5 people in developing countries are living on the daily earning of less than 1.25 dollars a day.
- End hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Eliminate all forms of malnutrition, while increasing the income of food producers two times.
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages. Save the lives of newborn and other children under 5 years whose death can be possibly prevented.
- To eradicate AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, etc. and to control hepatitis and other infectious diseases.
- To minimize the accidental deaths that occurs globally on roads to its half. Reducing the illnesses and number of deaths caused by hazardous chemicals, and pollution of air, soil, water, etc.
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. To stop completely child marriage, forced marriage, female feticide. Ensure the end of all forms of child labor.
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (Restriction on the propensity of defecation in open).
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
The history of fight against poverty in India is time-consuming and complicated. The status of poverty in most of the other republics in the Third World is not exactly unusual. The member countries of the United Nations have worked hard on ‘Millennium Development Goals’ for last 15 years. In the year 2000, they have agreed upon eight goals and issued the declaration to overcome extreme poverty and hunger. But they failed to accomplish that on the ground exactly. Therefore these goals have been included in the SDGs. Today, nearly two hundred million people in India alone are malnourished. The problems of malnutrition among children and non-availability of adequate foodstuff are continued for many years here. Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have done significant progress in this direction in the last decade. The issue of malnutrition among children was assigned to the Anganbadi. This programme has been running for a long time on the aid of the World Bank. The budget allocation for this programme, from 2000 to 2013, has risen drastically—1000 crores to 20,000 crores. Later the World Bank observed it as a failure, and its outcome is here, in the 2015-16 budget, it has been reduced by more than half. The information on the involvement of global institutions in Indian administrative system and governance is fewer in the public domain. This is unfortunate in the modern age of right to information. The possibility of solving the problem of poverty and hunger while this serious issue remains continued is rare. To increase the public awareness on all topics related to governance and public administration is a must in this regard. It is all the more needed now, because of the new problem of pollution that is so serious. The global temperature is rising unprecedentedly at every level due to increasing pollution, and the problems emerging on account of that is making it more difficult to achieve the goals and targets of the sustainable development.
People in need are also deprived of a dignified life. The saint like Nanak spend the money, received from his father for business, to feed the monks considering it as a duty. Today, the followers of the tradition of Guru Nanak are still serving millions of people while feeding them free of cost. There are many such traditional institutions in the country. There is a Dharma in India to give food and water to the hungry and thirsty respectively (Bhukhe ko bhojan aur pyase ko pani). But still the facts and figures present the report of hunger and misery. According to the UNDP report, nearly 190 million Indians are compelled to sleep hungry. This failure is a result of lack of political and administrative will; in addition to that the indifferent attitude of the elite is also clearly visible. Last month, the French economist Thomas Piketty advised Indian elites to learn from the history, while visiting India to take part in the literary festival. This suggestion clearly indicates the indifference of the elites in order to remove the prevailing disparity. He has candidly advocated for tax increase on this class. Widespread public participation is required to achieve such an ambitious goal associated with social problem. The probability of failure in the future will continue on account of its absence. Let no one sleep hungry. A number of organisations are working on this mission over the years in the country. Many such volunteering groups have done remarkable works in the past that cannot be ignored.
Recently, under the aegis of the Human Advancement Institute, several social activists and a bunch of organizations came together to overcome discrimination and economic inequality and formed Bharatiya Nyay Manch (Indian Forum for Social Justice). From the rostrum of this Manch, the pundit of economics Roshanlal Agarwal has raised burning issues. He is leaving the issue of poverty line behind in order to draw a new line to fix the limit of wealth, and by doing so he seems to expand the ideas of Thomas Piketty. The issue of determining the limit of wealth instead of drawing poverty line has been already raised in the gone by decades. Our policy makers need to realize that the way of social justice might be paved only after removing inequality and hunger. The fight against poverty can be handled victoriously only if the close coordination between government and civil society is ensured. Everyone needs to show enthusiasm to achieve the aims and objects of sustainable development goals.