Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Friday, March 13, 2020

காஸ்மோரா...

ஒடிஷாவில் ஆதி வாசிகளுடன் சந்திப்பு- மற்றொருமுறை வாய்ப்பு சமீபத்தில் அமைந்தது..எனக்கு மிகவும் பிடித்த‌ இந்த 'கோந்த்' என்னும் ஆதிவாசிகள் ஒரு பெரும் அதிசய வர்க்கம்..அவர்களிடம் கற்க ஏராளம் உண்டு..எல்லா ஆதி வாசிகளிடமும் உண்டு, இவர்களிடம் ஏராளம்..
சமத்துவம் - இவர்களின் வாழ்க்கையில் பின்னிப்பிணைந்தது..காடுகளை நேசிப்பதில், அதனுடன் இசைந்து வாழ்வதில், இயற்கையுடன் கை கோர்ப்பதில், காடுகளில் உணவு (இரை)தேடுதலில், பயிரிடா உணவினை பாவிப்பதில், இவர்களை மிஞ்ச யாருமில்லை..அதிலும் நீடித்து நிலைக்கும் வழிமுறைகள் எப்போதுமே முக்கியத்துவம் பெறும்..உதாரணத்திற்கு- அவர்களது விறகு காட்டிலிருந்து தான் வர வேண்டும், ஆனால் அதற்காக மரம் வெட்டப்படவே மாட்டாது..உலர்ந்த கிளைகளிலிருந்தோ வீழ்ந்த சருகுகளிருந்தோ தான்..எளிதாக இயற்கையை ஒட்டிய வாழ்க்கை முறைகள்..??

இப்படி ஒரு முறை அவர்களுடன் பேசிக்கொண்டிருந்த போது, சமூகமாக, கூட்டாக வாழ்வது இவர்களுக்கு எவ்வளவு எளிது என புரிந்தது..'இணைந்த உலகம்' என்பது அவர்களுக்கு இயற்கை வரம்..
அவர்களது குடியிருப்புகள் ஒரு (ஒரே) மாதிரியாக இருக்கும்.. எல்லா வீடுகளும் ஒன்றோடு ஒன்று இணைந்தே ஒரு தொடராக இருக்கும்..அப்படி இரு பக்கம் அமைக்கப்படும்..தனி (individual) வீடுகள் இருக்காது..(அதுவே இவர்களுக்கு வேறு விதமாக பிரச்சினை ஆனது. அரசின் ஒரு திட்டத்தின் கீழ், சிமென்ட் வீடுகள் கட்டிகொள்ள மானியம் வழங்கப்பட்ட போது, அதில் தனி வீடுகளாக இருக்க வேண்டும் என்பது ஒரு விதி!  இவர்களுக்கோ அப்படி இருக்காதல்லவா? அதனால் பண பட்டுவாடா நடைபெறாமல், பின்னர் சரி செய்யப்பட்டது!) பெரும்பன்மையினர் இன்னமும் அழகாக சாணியால் மொழுகப்பெற்ற மண் வீடுகளிலேயே வசிக்கின்றனர்.
ஓரிரு பெண்கள் மட்டும் காட்டிற்கு இரை தேடி (கீரைகள், பழங்கள், கிழங்குகள், போன்றவை)  சென்று திரும்புகையில், தத்தம் வீடுகளுக்கு எடுத்து செல்ல மாட்டார்கள். ஊர் நடுவில் பொதுவில் வைக்கப்படும்.. பின் அவரவர் தேவைக்கு எடுத்து செல்வர். இப்படி போகும் பெண்களின் குழந்தைகளுக்கு கூட அவர்கள் தனியாக வீட்டிற்கு எடுத்து செல்ல மாட்டார்கள்.. அந்த குழந்தைகளும் மற்றவர்கள் போல் 'பொது'விலிருந்து தான் எடுக்க வேண்டும்..
என்னே ஒரு அருமையான சமூக வாழ்க்கை முறை..இப்படி பல கதைகள் உண்டு..
அவர்கள் மிகவும் பரிணாம வளர்சி அடைந்த மக்கள்..அவர்களுக்கு சட்டங்கள் கிடையாது..("சட்டம் என்று இருந்தால் அது மீறப்படும்..ஆகையால் அவ்வப்போது, நிலைமைக்கேற்ப பொது நியதி கையாளப்படும் அல்லது பிரச்சினைகள் எதிர்கொள்ளப்படும்- கூட்டாக‌.." )
பெண்கள் பூப்பெய்த உடன், தனி இடத்திற்கு வேறு ஒரு இடத்தில், ஒரு முதிர்ந்த பெண்மணியின் வழிகாட்டுதலின் கீழ் வாழ்கிறார்கள். பின் அப்பெண்கள், தங்கள் ஜோடியை தேர்ந்தெடுத்து, டேட்டிங் போல் சில காலம் கழித்து, தொடருவார்களா இல்லையா என்பதை நிர்ணயிக்கிறார்கள்! பெண் உரிமையும், சமத்துவமும்மிக எளிதாக, வார்த்தைகளோ ஆர்பாட்டமோ இல்லாமல் எளிதாக வாழ்கை முறையாக உள்ளது..
அவர்களது உணவு முறை மிக சிறப்பு வாய்ந்தது..70% காட்டிலிருந்தே வருகிறது. இவர்களும் எல்லா ஆதிவாசிகளைப்போல் நாடோடிகள்(அல்லது அப்படி இருந்தவர்கள்) எளிதாக பல கி மீ க்கள் நடப்பர்.. அதுவே அவர்கள் உடற்கட்டுக்கும் நலனிற்கும் ஒரு காரணி.. மேலும் சிறுதானியங்கள் அவர்களது முக்கிய பயிராகவும் உணவாகவும் இருந்தது..அதை தவிர மேலே கூறியது போல் பல பயிரிடப்படாத உணவும் (நாம் களை என்று கூறும் பலவும் அவர்களுக்கு சத்தான உணவு), அவர்கள் காடிலிருந்து சேமிக்கும் இலைகளும் பழங்களும், காளாண்களும்- இயற்கை தந்த சத்தான நல்லுணவு..கறி உண்ணும் பழக்கம் இருந்தும் பால் உண்ணவில்லை இவர்கள். அது கன்றுகளுக்கே என திட்டவட்டமாக கூறினர்!
நீடித்து நிலைக்கும் தன்மை, பேராசையற்ற அணுகுமுறை, பொது அறிவு, இயற்கை சீற்றதிடமிருந்து தப்பிக்கும் அடிப்படை அறிவு, சுற்றுசூழலுடன் இசைந்து வாழும் முறை எல்லாம் இணைந்து விளங்கிய சிறப்பான‌ வாழ்க்கை முறை..
அவர்களது பயிர் பருவம் 'விதை திரு விழா'வில் தான் தொடங்கும்..இங்கு விதைகளே கடவுள்.. (இவர்களுக்கு மலையே கடவுள்.. நம் போல் மலையில் கடவுள் அல்ல!) அதே போல் விதையே கடவுள்..வியாபாரம் கிடையாது, பரிமாற்றமே..எல்லோரும் தத்தமது விதைகளை கொண்டுவந்து பொதுவில் வைத்து வணங்கி, பின் அவரவர் கேட்கும் விதைகள் அவரவருக்கு கொடுக்கப்படும்..ஆம்! கொடுக்கப்படும்..அப்படி ஒரு அழகிய விதை விழா, அதன் பின் தான் பயிரிடும் வேலைகள்..விஷ ரசாயனக்கள் அறியா அற்புத மனிதர்களாகத்தான் இயற்கையோடு பிணைந்து இருந்தனர்..

ஆம்! இருந்தனர் என்று தான் சொல்ல வேண்டும்..மேற் கூறிய இரண்டும் தற்போது மிக மோசமாக க(கு)லைக்கப்படுகின்றன..ரேஷன், அரிசியை கொண்டு வந்து கொடுத்து, இவர்களை அதற்கு அடிமையும் ஆக்கி விட்டது..வெள்ளை அரிசியால் இவர்கள் முன் போல் சிறுதானியங்கள் விளைவிப்பது இல்லை, அப்படி விளைவித்தாலும் 'கீழே' கொண்டு வந்து அரிசிக்கு கைமாற்றி செல்கின்றனர்..அப்படியே தொற்று நோய்களுக்கு வழி வகுகின்றனர்..
அடுத்தது, பயிர் செய்யும் முறை- ரசாயங்கள் கொண்டு, மனமற்ற, தவறான பாதையில்..
இங்கு தான் அவர்களின் பேராசையற்ற வாழ்க்கை முறையை பார்க்க வேண்டும்..சில ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் அவர்களுடன் அமர்ந்து பேசும் வாய்ப்பு கிட்டியது..அவர்களிடம் பல கேள்விகளை கேட்கும் சந்தர்ப்பம் அது (ஒரு மொழிபெயர்ப்பளருடன் தான்- இவர்களது பாஷை 'குயி' என்பதாகும்) 'பிஜோனி' எனப்படும் பூசாரிப்பெண்மணியே பல முடிவுகள் எடுப்பவர், வழி காட்டியும் கூட..அவர்களது பயிர் முறை, பிரித்து வழங்கும் முறை பற்றி எல்லாம் கேட்டு அறிந்து வந்தோம்..அப்போது பண மதிப்பை குறைத்த சமயம்..அவர்களுக்கு ஏதும் பிரச்சினை இருந்ததா என்று கேட்ட போது சிரிப்பே பதிலாக வந்தது! ஊரில் ஒருவரிடம் கூட 500 ரூ அல்லது அதை விட பெரும் பணமே கிடையாது.. "எதற்கு வேண்டும்"??
"குடும்ப்" என்று அழைகப்படும் அவ்வூரிலுள்ள  மொத்த சமூகம் கூடி தான் எல்லா முடிவுகளும் எடுக்கின்றன..அவரவருக்கு பயிரிட நிலமும் அப்படி தான் பிரித்தளிக்கப்படுகிறது..தனி நபர் இருப்பு என்பதே கிடையாது, பின் எப்படி வரும் பேராசை..
அவர்களது பயிர் முறையும் கூட அற்புதம்.. எல்லோரும் இணைந்தே வேலை செய்வர்.. மகசூல் எல்லாம் பொதுவில் வர, அவரவர் தேவைக்கு எடுத்து கையாள்கின்றனர்.
இதனை புரிந்து கொள்ள முதலில் பல்வேறு கேள்விகளைக்கேட்டேன்..அந்த பூசாரிணிப்பெண்மணியிடம், நான் எது கேட்டாலும் கொடுப்பீர்களா என்றேன், 'ஆம்' என்றார்..அதற்கு முன்பே பயிர்கள், அவரவர் வீட்டில் உள்ள கையிறுப்பு பற்றி கேட்டிருந்தேன்..அகையால் எனக்கு அவரிடம் 25கி துவரை இருப்பது தெரியும்..
10 கி துவரை கொடுப்பீர்களா? ஆம், எடுத்துக்கொள் என்றார்.
25? அதுவும் எடுத்துக்கொள் என்றார்..
40 கி என்றேன் (எனக்கு அவரிடம் 25 தான் உள்ளது என்று தெரியுமல்லவா) இத‌ற்கும் ஆம் என்றார்..உடனே நான் சிரித்துக்கொண்டே உங்க‌ளிடம் அவ்வளவு கிடையாதே, எனக்கு தெரியுமே என்றேன்! அவர் ஆம், என்னிடம் கிடையாது, ஆனால் நீ கேட்கிறாய்..உனக்கு தேவை என்று தானே.. நான் என்னிடமிருக்கும் 25 மற்றும் அவரிடம் (அருகிலிருக்கும் வேறொருவரைகாண்பித்து) அல்லது இவளிடம் பெற்று தருவேன்..இதில் என்ன? என்றார் சர்வ சாதாரணமாக..
அவர்களது நில பிரித்தளிப்பும்..அவரவர் தமக்கும் வேண்டியதை (தம்மால் முடிந்த) கேட்பர்..கொடுக்கப்படும்..
அதிலும் நான், ஒருவர் 40 கேட்டால்? 50 கேட்டால்? என்றேன்.. அதே சிரிப்பும், கொடுப்பேன் என்ற சைகையும் அந்த பாட்டியிடமிருந்து.. எல்லா 100 ஏக்கரையும் கேட்டால் என்றேன்..அதற்கு பெரிதாக சிரித்து, கொடுத்து விடுவோம்!
அப்படி என்றால் எங்கள் எல்லோருக்கும் வேலை இல்லை.. அந்த ஒருவரே 100 ஏக்கருக்கும் பொறுப்பு..எப்படியும் மகசூலை எல்லோருட‌ன் பங்கு தானே போட்டுக்கொள்வோம்!
எப்படி பேராசை வரும்? என்னே ஒரு சமூகம்!!
வெளி கூலியாள் என்பதே கிடையாது அவர்களுக்கு..அனைவரும் இணைந்து எல்லா நிலத்திலும் வேலை செய்வர்..உன், என் என்று எதுவும் கிடையாது!மகசூல் மொத்தாமும் பொதுவில்..
ஆனால் இந்த வழிமுறைகளும் சிறப்புகளும் கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமாக அழிகிறது..அழிக்கப்படுகிற‌து..மீட்க முடியாத வண்ணம்..
'வளர்ச்சி' அடைந்த இந்த வெளி சமூகத்தால் அழிக்கப்படுகிறது..அவர்களின் வியாபாரிகள் இங்கு வந்து, (மரபணு மாற்றப்பட்ட‌ விதைகளையும், அதனுடன் களைக்கொல்லிகளையும், வேறு பல விஷங்களையும்) கடனில் கொடுத்து, மகசூலில் கழித்துக்கொள்கின்ற‌னர்..இதனை மேற்கொண்டவர்கள் பல பிரச்சினைக்கு ஆளாகின்ற‌னர்.,அவர்களுக்கு சொல்லப்பட்ட கனவுகள் நிகழ்வதில்லை..மண்ணும், காற்றும் அவர்களது நிதி நிலைமையும் கேடாகின்றன..
பேராசை அறியா இந்த மனிதர்களுக்கு அதனை ஊட்டி, அவர்களை பெரும் பிர்ச்சினைகளில் தள்ளி, அவர்களது நிலங்களையும் வாழ்வாதாரத்தையும் கெடுத்து..
கடந்த 2 ஆண்டுகளிலேயே பல பிர்ச்சினைகளை பார்க்கின்றனர்.. மண் மலடாவது கண் கூடு..ஊர் முதியோர்கள் இப்பொழுது தான் குரல் கொடுக்கின்றனர்..க்ளைஃபோசேட் என்னும் கொடிய விஷம் - உலகெங்கிலும் பெரிதாக எதிர்க்கப்பட்டும் தடை செய்ய பட்டும் வரும் இது, இந்த அழகிய கன்னி நிலங்களிலும் காட்டிலும் வரத்தான் வேண்டுமா? இந்த க்ளைஃபோசேட் வந்த சில ஆண்டுகளிலேயே பல உடல் உபாதைகளும் புதிதாக தோன்ற ஆரம்பித்துள்ளன.. ஆய்வுகள் நடத்தப்படவில்லை தான்..படிப்பினைகள் இல்லை..ஆனால் வாய் வார்த்தையாக, யதார்த்தமாக பலரும் இதனை கோடிட்டு காட்டுகிறார்கள்..
இவர்களது சிறந்த போற்றி பாதுகாக்கப்பட வேண்டிய பயிர்களும், பயிர் முறைகளும், விதைகளும், மண்ணும், காடும், வாழ்வாதாரங்களும் அழிக்கும் இந்த மரபணு மாற்றப்பட்ட பருத்தியும், களைக்கொல்லியும் தேவையா? ஒடிஷாவில் பி டி பருத்தியே தடையில் உள்ள போது ஹெச் டி பி டி எனும் இந்தியா முழுவதும் தடை செய்யப்பட்டுள்ள கலைக்கொல்லி தாங்கும் மரபணு பயிர் எப்படி சாத்தியம்? அதுவும் இவ்வளவு பெரும் அளவில்?

பேராசை எப்படி இந்த மாதிரி புனிதமான சமூகங்களையும் அசைக்க‌ முடியும்!
தம் விறகு தேவைக்கு கூட மரம் வெட்டாத சமூகம் இது! உணவினை தேடும் போது கூட மற்ற ஜீவராசிகளின் உணவினைப்பற்றியும் யோசித்து செயல்படும் பெரும் சமூகம் இது..அள்ளி சேர்ப்பது, தனி நபர் சொத்து என்னும் கேடுகளற்ற பெரும் கூட்டம் இது..

இவர்கள் இந்த கலைக்கொல்லியை தான் 'காஸ் மோரா' என்கிறார்கள்- அப்படி என்றால் புல்கள் கொல்லி..ஆம்! கொல்லி தான்..
எதை எல்லாம் கொல்கிறது என்பதை யார் இவர்களுக்கு விளக்குவது? அரசும், சமூக ஆர்வலர்களும், அரசு சாரா குழுக்களும், சிவில் சமூகமும் தான்..

காஸ்மோரா...இன்னும் என் காதில் ஒலித்துக்கொண்டே இருக்கிறது..அவ்வப்போது தூக்கத்திலும்..

Thursday, March 12, 2020

GhaasMora..

One more opportunity to go closer to the Tribal comunity in Odisha..I always love these Kondhs..one has a lot to learn from them, for that matter from any of the tribals, there will be so much to learn..
equanimity- is so easily on practice; nature loving; living in harmony with nature/forest; uncultivated food; foraging; using moderation even in small things -like they will never cut a tree for fire wood sake, it will only come from fallen n dried ones; they would cooly walk miles;so many such fantastic values..blended and etched in lives so well..
once we were talking with them and i found how easy the community living for them was..they all live in a 'together world'..their settlements/villages are always unique and similar..they live in continuous houses like ow houses..one has to be in 'touch' with the other.. so a govt scheme for construction of houses for the poorhad a problem as it wud be disbured only if each one had walls around and was 'individual'.. these people wud never have houses that are separate!! anyways this was later averted by the odisha govt..and its not that all of them wanted to construct concrete houses..till a few years back it wud all be well doused beautiful mud houses in row.even now one can witness that in most places..
if a couple of women go foraging in to the forest (for leaves, fruits, tuberss or such like) when they come back they place them all in the village centre..not take them home..so any one who wants it, shud go to the centre and pick up..even if it is the kids of the people who went foraging to the forest, the kids will not have any special treatment but will have to be 'normal' and go to the common center and pick up..
such a beautiful community living..there are more such stories.. some so evolved- about how they will have 'dates' and finalise on their life partner and how there is women equality so easily blended in to their lives..
their food practises were one of the best with 60-70% coming from the forest.. most of the tribes were nomadic and so used to long walks and thus so fit.. they wud grow millets and many local fauna..there were so many greens that they wud harvest, all uncultivated- what the other world wud call 'weeds'..they knew the safe n nutritious mushrooms..a balanced diet from nature, almost..a meat eating community that they are, they rear cattle but never consumed milk for they thought it was for the calves and not them..sustainability, commonsense and ecology was so easily embedded in thoughts n action..
Their 'season' always started with the seed fest, where the seeds are the gods..like the hills are the gods for them (not like us, gods in the hills!!) there shall be no commerce.. each one brings 'all' the seeds in their command, they are put up for display and puja is offered and then distributed..exchange is the only mode..such a beauty.. and only after this 'beej parab' do they start their agri season..a community that didnt know of the chemicals nor used them.. was so much natural in their living..
the last two have been disturbed very bad now..the PDS brought in rice and many of them have fallen for this grain and we can even say they are addicted..so the result? millets are not been grown as they wud be nor consumed like before. if they grow millets they take them and go 'down' to the towns and exchange for rice..thus slowly letting life style diseases too to come to their communities..
the other one is the crop pattern and  chemicals that come in..mindless!!
but before that we shud see how lack of greed was..a few years back we were sitting with them.. we were posing so many questions to the Bejouni (priestess-always a woman, who takes most decisions). we were trying to understand the distribution of land for agri amongst the community, even asking what was the effect of demonitisation on them.. they all laughed it off, saying none of them ever possesed a bigger note.. why (there was no need!!)and so just no effect of the 'demon' on them..
each Kutumb as they call it (theirs is always about kutumb and decisions n discussions at kutumb level, that settles all) distributes land for agriculture after the seed fest! yes, there is no individual land holding..so where is the chance of greed??or accumulation?
to understand it more i asked a few more questions(ofcourse thru the translator for they all speak a language called 'kuyi').. i asked the bejouni if she will give what ever she is asked for? i had earier asked them what all they have in their house (which is a beutiful small mud house but very small..functional though. ) just to get an understanding of what all grains get stored and how much they keep..so pulling out from that i asked her if she will give me 10 kgs of toor? she said yes, then i asked if she will give me 25kgs (i knew that is what she had in total) and she said yes..and the yes comes with so much ease n conviction, mind u..
then i asked what if i asked 40 kgs (knowing fully well she didnt have that much) she said yes, i was startled..i asked how can u- with such glee that i have cornered her!
she cooly said, yes i shall give, i will take the rest from her or her or him pointing at the neighbours.. bcos if u need it, you need it.. we shall give u that..some how..
thats so casual..its such a beauty.. to see how things flow in their daily day to day life..

similarly on their 'allocation' of land..
There is no such thing as external labour.. they all put in labour in each others land...one day they are in yours to sow/weed/harvest.. next day in mine and so on..
what to grow is also colectively decided..
so when i asked her, what if some one wants 10 acres of the 100 to be distributed among all? she said they wud gladly give.. what if its 50? she said yes, we wud still give.. what if some one asked 100.. she laughed and said we wud happily give..
why? its bcos all harvest is for the community.. so if one wanted to cultivate in huge tract of land, it means one is ready to slog for all.. so where will "my" "mine" "my land" etc and the greed/accumulation come in?? hmm..
such a beauty, as I told u few paras above, has been disturbed :-( irreversibly..
 by the 'developed world'..these agents of greed (and pesticides & seeds..) come here looking for newer 'markets' sow greed and sell dreams..
These agents come with bt cotton seeds along with weedicide n other chemicals as a 'package', give them on loan and then deduct it in the harvest..the weedicide sold illegally is glyphosate and the seeds are Bt cotton which is also illegal in Odisha..but its happening so easily, far n wide..slowly eroding the crops, seasons, soil and livelihoods..as much as lives..
the Glyphosate, the known carcinogen, killer of not just weeds but lives n livelihoods, killer of soil, air and water, killer of their economics too..is in..and is being called "ghaas mora" by them..
without knowing what it is, what is its ill effect on them and on their pristine nature..
the Greed is such a thing.. a community that used moderation in everything.. that wud not cut branches or trees even for their firewood, which wud not harvest everything but leave for the other species, that wud not aggregate & accumulate, that wud not even eat the fruits it foraged in the forests but share with all, that didnot even bother about how many acres was held or distributed, is being disturbed..irreversibly.. but our mainstream with its dream and greed..and its making inroads.. now they are in to debts..they are screwing up their lands and ecology..just a couple of years and its effects are telling..and many elders in the community are concerned..
we are told by the people working on health that there has been a rise in life style diseases in these tribal hamlets, which was never the case for ages..
Time to act... for the govt..for the NGOs working there.. for the tribals themselves.
after all ghaas mora will not kill just the ghaas but everything including them..
now u know why i hear ghaasmora even in my sleep? pch..a beautiful community slowly destroying itself..in the pristine and forests there in the hills that they consider as their gods..where they wudnt allow mindless mining for they say u cant cut the breasts of the mother instead of just sucking milk..
but some how ghaasmora is making inroads..
can we stop it? will they stop it??
or is another of the sad glyphosate story unfolding here too??
ghaasmoraaaaaaa....isnt it  submora?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Democrazy! no discussions..passing a finance bill in 30 mins!


http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/in-30-minutes-lok-sabha-clears-finance-bill-218-amendments-without-debate-118031500115_1.html
most dangerous is the passing of this : Foreign funding to political parties which will allow them to escape scrutiny with retrospective effect for 42 years. Protection from judicial enquiry.
(yes by BJP the incorruptible!)

In 30 minutes Lok Sabha clears Finance bill, 218 amendments without debate

The bills were the contentious Finance Bill, 2018, and the Appropriation Bill, 2018

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

In 30 minutes on March 13, 2018, Parliament’s lower house, the Lok Sabha, passed without debate funding demands from 99 Indian government ministries and departments, including two and 218
ADVERTISING
As many opposition members of (MPs) protested, Sumitra Mahajan, speaker of the Lok Sabha–controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)–used a parliamentary procedure called the “guillotine”, which empowers her to pass grants without discussion.
Among the demands passed:

  • Controversial foreign funding to political parties, which will allow them to escape scrutiny with retrospective effect for 42 years
  • Salary hikes for members of parliament, the president, and state governors
  • An Appropriation Bill passed by voice vote on March 14, 2018, which allows govt to draw Rs 80,000 crore from the Consolidated Fund of India (Rs 57 lakh crore), the government’s total revenue.
  • A long-term capital gains tax, which has received mixed reactions since it was announced in February. Investors will now have to pay 10% tax on profits from shares sold, even if they have had these shares for more than a year.

The were the contentious Finance Bill, 2018, and the Appropriation Bill, 2018.
No had passed over the last eight days, with the Opposition protesting the Rs 11,000-crore Punjab National Bank scam, special compensation packages for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and defacement of the Periyar statue in Tamil Nadu.
On Wednesday afternoon at 12.35pm, speaker applied the guillotine to pass the budget 2018 in time for the new financial year, which starts on April 1, 2018. At the start of the week, the had issued a three-day whip to its members to be present in the House. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government holds an absolute majority in the
How the speaker applied the guillotine
The speaker of the can apply the guillotine on the last day of the period prescribed for discussions on the demands for grants. In so doing, all outstanding demands are put to vote at a time specified in advance. The aim: To conclude discussions on financial proposals within the time specified. Once the guillotine is invoked, all outstanding demands for grants must be voted on by the House without discussion.
After all the demands for grants were passed, speaker Mahajan passed two money bills–the Appropriation Bill, 2018 and the controversial Finance Bill 2018–with only a voice vote.
A money bill can be introduced, amended and voted on only in the It can then be referred to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament), which cannot vote on or hold back such legislation for more than 14 days.
Using guillotine to pass all demands only twice before in 18 years
A significant number of demand for grants are passed every year under the guillotine without discussion as the chart below shows.
It is rare to see all grants passed without discussion. Since 2000, a 100% guillotine was previously recorded in 2013 under the United Progressive Alliance and in 2004 under the previous term of the
However, with the railways budget now merged with the general union budget, the demand for grants guillotined without discussion is significantly higher than previously.
Since funding demands from six ministries were due to be discussed today, was denied the chance to debate a significant proportion of grants, equal to 28% of the budget, said an analyst–requesting anonymity–at PRS Legislative Research, a think tank. These include funding demands from the allocations to the ministries of railways, agriculture, youth affairs, road transport and highways and social justice and welfare.
2018-03-14

Why these ministries needed scrutiny

Discussion on funding to these ministries is especially significant:In 2017, lives lost in train derailments across India were the highest in a decade, agricultural distress roiled several states that witnessed farmers protests, while the Skill India programme to get youth job ready controversially rescaled its targets, as IndiaSpend reported (here, here and here.)
Other budgetary issues flagged for discussion:


Indeed, allocation for reproductive and child health within the NHM has been cut by 30%, as IndiaSpend reported on February 2, 2018, while details of the newly announced National Health Protection Scheme, cited as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme, remain unclear.
The budget also reports a 9% decline in spending for affordable housing for the rural poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Mission Housing For All) by 2022, and no increase in allocations to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the world’s largest make-work programme, as we reported.
Opaque foreign funding, salary hikes, capital gains tax
Under the guillotine, passed the Finance Bill 2018, which, as we said, includes 218 amendments, without discussion and moved it to the Rajya Sabha where it cannot be voted upon on held back for more than 14 days.
Some of the important passed without discussion include:
Foreign funding to political parties: Among these 218 changes in the Finance Bill lies a contentious amendment to the repealed Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (2010) or FCRA.
The amendment substitutes “26th September, 2010” in the FCRA Act with “5th August 1976”. In so doing it legalises all foreign funding to political parties over 42 years and protects the parties in question from judicial inquiry.
The retrospective move is likely to benefit the and the Congress, both held guilty by the Delhi High Court for receiving foreign funds from two subsidiaries of Vedanta, a U. K.-based company, the Hindu reported on February 2, 2018.
Last year too, the government passed the Finance Bill, 2017 (now an Act) under the guillotine without discussion and without interference from the Rajya Sabha through the money bill route. This Act introduced electoral bonds (scheduled to launch on April 1, 2018), to bring “substantial improvement in transparency over the present [electoral] system of no-transparency”, as the government said.
However that may not be the case as Factchecker reported on January 17, 2018.
Through electoral bonds, donors and political parties are guaranteed anonymity; donors can donate no more than Rs 2,000 in cash but can make repeated donations of that amount; loss-making companies are now allowed to make donations, which could spur the creation of shell companies; and parties do not need to declare donations or reveal who made them.
Salaries: With effect from April 1, 2018, MPs’ salaries, daily allowances and pensions have now been cumulatively increased by Rs 55,000 to reach Rs 127,000 per month.
The salaries of the president and state governors salaries have also been hiked by a cumulative Rs 350,000 and Rs 240,000, respectively, with arrears from January 2016.
Long Term Capital gains tax: Key among 21 related taxation and investment, the government has passed without debate the re-introduction of a long-term capital gains tax in the 2018 Finance Bill. Any listed equities valued over Rs 1 lakh bought after January 31, 2018, will now be subjected to a capital gains tax of 10%, according to the amendment.
Rs 80,000 crore more for government
After the demand for grants were approved, also passed the Appropriation Bill, 2018, through voice vote. This Bill is passed every year after budgetary estimates are approved. It authorises the government to make payments and take out certain approved amounts from the Consolidated Fund of India, which is the total of government revenues. Once the Bill receives assent from the president, it becomes an Act. The Appropriation Bill passed on March 14, 2018, let’s the government withdraw Rs 80,000 crore from the Rs 57 lakh crore that constitutes the Consolidated Fund of India.

(Mohan, an MA from Mumbai University and Sanghera, a BA (Hons) from King’s College London, are interns with IndiaSpend)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Potato sad story - road to more suicides:-(

Really wanted the potato story to be read n its message assimilated..so plugging it separate from that WB blog of yesterday..
Jayasree Singh grows only native traditional potatoes.. they can be stored for a year! Unlike the hybrid ones that is grown mostly, have very short shelf live..but yields a bit more..so the greed takes over..
the previous year was a bumper year for potatoes in Bengal..farmers shud be happy isn’t? but no..sadly that was the year of higher farmer suicides in WB..that is bcos of this variety..the potato that they all grew and had bumper crop had very short shelf life..so farmers always had to sell them immediately after harvest..that wud still be ok as long as the market was ok.. like what happens for onions else where, some traders come in and skew the pick up rate and hoard..still farmers were growing it..but that year when they had bumper crop, due to glut, rates fell..ofcourse traders wud have connived too..
so they had to throw the potatoes and were stuck..those in deep loan loop were forced to commit suicide..such is the market dynamics of farming..not so easy for us all to get a grasp..u never know what hits them..govt policies or high interests or lack of financial support or insurance or lack of fair/right prices or traders cartel or seed monopoly or high input costs..
Jayasree also wrote about it (thankfully in Bengali media and says strongly that if she has to point at one thing that is the reason for farm suicides it is ‘mono crop’)
but sadly, most of the policies of governments today, the thinking of ICAR or agri universities, the seed lobby, cash crop mentality all point to mono crop..

if only they had grown this traditional variety they cud have atleast held on for long and saved.. their lives and livelihoods..how sad..

Monday, August 07, 2017

The west Bengal trip- Shantiniketan and more..

The West Bengal tour started with Desi- the cotton story workshop in kolkata followed by Tula exhibition..as always Kolkata interactions throws many interesting characters..so many questions, ideas and ideals..this time too it was full of that..so many exchanges around khadi and muslin and weaving..
Thanks to MGGSS- arup & rubi combo for a very productive and useful time..

Then we went to the weavers place in Burdhman about which we have seen earlier..so we go on to new ones..
next was to shantiniketan..so many attractions there..
first and foremost is the ToTos- the battery run small autos that take people and go all over shantiniketan..




its such a quaint place with so much greenery and am told when rabindranath tagore came in, it was a barren land..like auroville it was turned in to a sanctuary in a few years with a few individual's brain and bran..each building is a beauty..RT is demi god here.. people even forget to breathe when they start talking about him and its all anecdotes every where..and while u r in the museum, there is so much oof’s and haa’s bcos people are over awed at seeing his chair or pipe or glasses or stick or some such thing..oh man, Bengalis and Robindranaath..




Arup our dear friend himself is full of RT stories and so much adoration..
RT himself has tried so much out there.be it the different mud houses or variety of trees or path ways or gardens or the institute itself..the man used to live at diff buildings each time and has tried so many things and like Gandhi has improved up on the construction each time..



 

what a place shantiniketan is..in its full glory days it wud have been such a sight..so many art and craft, students, books, library, hostel…but many say its not the same any more..sadly, like most gandhian institutes this also has gone the mainstream way:-(

Arup is a man with so much knowledge of the terrain and interior Bengal..each time he takes us anywhere there will be so much..food will always be in the most interesting of places.. here too he takes us to a nearby tribal village and a traditional food that one can never stop gaping and gulping..wow..lipsmacking tasty traditional food..served in non-plastic neat ecofriendly cutleries..



and then we are taken to the next village where this Gentleman works on wood..what a work..see some samples here.. on fantastic old wood..mostly recycled..and what all he makes..


We are then taken to a beauty of organic farm..one of the first organic farms in this side.. that of BirendraKumar roy! This 4 acre farm has been organic since 18 years ..Biru da is a great man with a big history..and such a self reliant man with so many sustainable practices..his market?  at his gate..and gate alone..people come from all over and buy.. infact most of it is pre booked..even tribals living here buy from him! he converts most of his products..to squashes, juices, pickles..and has small machines to aid him..simple mostly non-energy dependent machines..he hardly goes out of his farm..so much diverse crops..so many fruit trees. 22 varieties of mango, roseberry, falsa, wood apple & more..What a diversity..all vegetables for the house is grown out there..turmeric too!
cows, the native ones..there is a beautiful farm pond with fishes..surrounded by so much greenery..its all there, thriving..when am overawed and mention about the greenery and diversity he mutters ‘its only the macro and micro climate environment that helps an organic farmer..’
what a man.. the only thing he cant do is travel around, rather go out even.. as they both are busy with one or other activity in the farm..










And his wife is a great lady who was well read has been very much a part of the whole farm activity..she also works with local weavers near by And gets fabric from them and embellishes them and creates market for them..thus better some of the local livelihood..no end to what all one can keep adding if u have the right intent!
And its dark..and we think its all over.. what more one can see or get as the day has come to an end..or so we thought..but this man arup is full of surprises and stuff..and he quietly takes us to an outstanding place in a near by village for staying..
Jayasree’s farm..oh man..what a lady she is..a typical urbanite till recently and worked in travel agency who got bored and burnt out – bored of chasing money..so shifts over to this village and starts farming..yes organically and runs a small beautiful very tastfully done home stay..and food- out of the world..and u think iam deprived bcos I travel so much..infact I always end up adding weight bcos of the sweet hospitality in all these organic places and the amazing persons and the sort of good safe food one is offered..this one rates so high up..

Right from unbelievable welcome drink to herbal tea to snacks to meals..
and Jayasrees experiments, explorations in to farming is such a great story..
Her experiments amazes..what all she tries..be it the crops or the trees or the diversity she has brought in such a short time..
what all she tries..what all she experiments..what all she accomplishes..
her Lorena stove - 3 base mud stove is a beauty..





she has quails (and ducks too I think) which are housed in a caged shelter right above her pond..the base of this is a sieve metal sheet meshed thru which the excreta of the birds fall in to the pond..and in the pond her fish has free food (from this!)..the pond itself is her rain water storage..
Her house, dogs kennel are all wonderful imaginative structures..








She started building a big gallery and see how she starts of..with some cute plates before she raises the wooden columns from the ground to save the wodden structure from the termites which are hungry for anything that they can gobble up..


She has a small canal that is flowing in her land, wide enough that doesn’t allow humans o cross easily..so when she approached architects and engineers they told so many ways to build bridge but all around 10lakhs and above..and our lady is not ready for expensive solutions..she doesn’t have that kind of money anyways..necessity is the mother of inventions, they say..here is the proof.she builds one with her own ideas and a beautiful bridge stays there serving the purpose so well..

 
Jayasree narrated me lots of stories from her corporate days that involved travel..the best was a potato story..(that will be the next post)..she keeps saying money is asuch a menace..it is the source of most problems..people get lost in to chasing that..now am happy am not doing that!
if u go to West Bengal and shantiniketan side, if u don’t visit her, the loss is yours..if u believe in one life time, just go there..enjoy, learn and share..jayasree is such a wonderful soul with so much insights and idea(l)s..






 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kathiramangalam..



If you thought the ‘Development’ and ‘growth’ that the politicians sell is so nice and worth the chase, u can see the gory (real) side only if  you are the affected party..else its just a far away story..
Some small poor life pawned/battered/murdered for the better good- of a distant urban elite!
We had  gone there in 2014 and covered the story in Thalanmai in 2015!
See here: kaani.org/vaikasi2015/2.html
We had gone bcos Sriram had adopted the ‘Alankudi perumal method’ and had doubled the paddy yield for many traditional paddy varieties..a great production practice.
Even then I had noticed the ONGC’s drilling point and a rig out there near his farm and asked him why they were there? Why were they allowed..and he said they just came and said one fine day “ this land has been ear marked for some helium extraction test’..’ur land has been acquired’ and that’s it..
one cant do anything!
That’s how most acquisitions happen dear friends- for dams, for industries, for oil rigs, for high tension wires, under ground piplelines of ambanis n adanis, for any ‘development project’ like this..and its always the farmers’ lands that are taken at will..
if its tribals or adivasis its even more gory and violent..they are displaced, shoo-ed and thrown far away..and put to so  much physical n mental torture- in te name of Development and GDP!
So here too this monster put its foot long back..but we all thought it will not be as dangerous and evil as it is showing to be now..
Now, come to 2017..one fine day there is a sudden burst of pipeline and a huge artesian well like spray of oil n murky liquid that comes out suddenly just outside this great organic farm..and the oil spill starts getting in to their land..and people of the village are all stunned..
So many rumors go around about its dangers, (in)flammability, etc..but no official statement from the offenders- the ONGC nor any word form the govt..infact the pollution control board that shud have been worried was not there anywhere..the govt and police thought they had to take care of the corporate and oil sharks and not its people and their environment..
A few weeks before there had been another blast and there was fire too, that time..and a women got caught in its vicinity and had severe burns on her body..ONGC and its cohorts acted swiftly, and ensured this news never came out..the woman n her family was warned..ofcourse no media was going to cover this..after all a small poor life..
Now, as 1000s gather outside sriram’s  this discussion about burns, fire  etc are discussed in hush-hush voice..and there is a sudden flame in one corner and immediately all people (1000s) and the police run.. after all the police were the first to flee the venue bcos they always knew there was some thing wrong and dangerous..and so did 1000s who had assembled there..these villagers who were assembled there were not allowed to go in to the farm..not even sriram the owner of the farm..
infact the police was not only outside his farm not allowing him entry, they even were put outside his house and ensuring he never left his house from next day!even when we went day before, the police wud stop us from entering the land..infact i wanted to show the beautiful 50cm X 50cm transplant and his great ecological practise..and the bounty that they harvest - to my other friends..and the police attempted to stop us..
and we explained and went in and when we were coming back, to our surprise we saw bunch of police that had gathered there! such intelligence!!
Oh, yeah, we are a free country, striving for Development at all costs!
And to continue that story of the evening- as all were running away from the leak venue, a fire engine comes in and just runs amok in to the crowd that was running away..and suddenly the police start lathi charging the public randomly and arrested many who are still kept in custody..
The offender ONGC is happy there..the collector has not visited the venue nor spoken to the citizens..obviously politicos are in the hiding..
the village is in such tension..there are 7 such sites in kathiramangalam..and the whole place is mired with under ground pipelines..
Probably carrying this infamous dangerous liquid..and ready to burst and leak anywhere..
Who is accountable here? Who is responsible?
What is the Govts action? (except ridiculously stating its not a big issue)

why shud police treat the public as such villains instead of treating the corporation, its contractors and other offenders as guilty and accused?
Why shud corporate goons like ONGC be allowed such free hand- to take over any space at their will?
Why the respective stake holders  are never consulted & their permission sought?
This is the biggest problem of the ‘development craze’..and for the state to unleash violence at will against the already grieved and affected citizens..to think that their role is to ONLY safeguard the corporate and their interests and not public..
Shame on such democracy..and its not only the state govt..its the centre too (whether cong or BJP..

And we cannot and should not be sitting in our distant urban safe confines and think ‘its after all for the country’s good..its after all Development..its after all some small cost paid for bigger growth’..
no..#notinmyname
 #notoKathiramangalams

Thursday, April 06, 2017

One (other) organic source falls:(



One (other) organic source falls:(
caught by us..
It started like this: This man Reddy walks in to give us samples of his mango..his farm was visited and we wud still not pick from him bcos he was a big farmer.. those days we at restore wud strictly take from small  & marginal farmers..(later on for some specific crops and veggies n fruits we deviated a bit)
He wud come again and again, making us feel bad.. then one day he comes with a bottle of mango pulp..value additions are something we always wanted farmers to do.. and so were excited but told him there shud be no synthetic additions
when we asked him how will the shelf life be achieved if he doesn’t add any preservatives, he says he experimented by adding some kachcha (unripe)mangoes while pulping and the sour/citric from that helped..we were very happy..here was a shrewd farmer..a natural scientist we hailed..
And then we told him it shud not come in plastics..
so this man goes back and packs it in glass bottles and brings it..and tell us that infact helped him!! Bcos he could dip the whole bottle after filling in to 350 degrees hot water and that enhanced the shelf life..
we were so thrilled..”see that’s how one shud improvise..” some of us lauded..
So mango pulp bottled in glass bottles came to our shelves..
then in our regular process of random checking (some random 3 products are sent to lab for checking chemical/pesticide residues) this was selected too. And it didn’t have pesticide residues..we were happy again.
oh! Please wait..story is not over..
suddenly we think its not enough if we check only for pesticide residue but for preservatives..
and lo:-( there is benzoic acid..a known preservative..with ill effects and proven hazards..

so it is with heavy heart and a sad bitter taste we have to announce that the Mango pulps sold in neat glass bottles (now sold in almost all organic shops bcos of us recommending it) is not so organic as we thought..
So time to stop it..all organic retailers, pl take note and take the right action..to stop it..