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, April 29, 2011

just missed..

so the GEAC meeting of the experts did happen on 27th April..and luckily, by the skin of teeth, we have escaped..ok, it would have been just a recommendation to the ministry to allow, still..
The pace of the industry and the intensity with which the scientists and the industry are hobnobbing, its amazing and shocking!
Its good to remember what Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, geneticist, and environmentalist recently commented about GMOs: “Any scientist that tells you they are safe is either ignorant or lying to you.”

So the simple question here is- even if a few scientists stand up and say GM is not safe why are we even considering it until they all discuss, test and come out with the safety in clear terms.

But then its not just about scientists ain't? Infact they have failed us more in the recent past..almost all the products they delivered had more ills and negative impact than positives - including the supposed medicines!
still if we give the scientists some rope, we should also look at the long term impacts like water, soil, other species, farmers' livelihood, seed sovereignty, etc.

so for now, keep your eyes and ears open..Voice out where ever you can against GM and esp this BT brinjal now, which is in news.

Say No to Bt Brinjal.
Will you???

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

to hell with the World cup!

a very nice article..really resonate with his thought..


Monday, April 25, 2011

Bt brinjal - inching to our plates? wake up!!

There has been mention of Bt brinjal here and here..

A very important GEAC meeting is to take place on 27th April on BT Brinjal.

This is following the Moratorium that was passed by the MOEF under Mr.Jairam Ramesh last year against the commercial release of BT Brinjal. after that historic public consultations by him! One of the first times a democratic process in full flow in India, thanks to Mr.Jairam Ramesh, happened then. Amongst the various issues raised by the Minister for Environment & Forests in his moratorium decision note, there was a crucial point on alternatives to chemical pesticides.

Now a 16 member panel meets on 27th April to review the situation!

Meanwhile there were also lots of questions around the members of this panel itself, because many were seen to be part of the GM industry and were obviously floating in conflict of interest. The constitution of this 16 member panel is very questionable. No social scientists or genetic toxicologist!

There has been no improvement on the ground situation from the time Moratorium came in to effect.No specific development to re-consider Bt brinjal at all. Infact there has been major setback for this technology and GMO food in general with many independent analysis and tests across the globe showing inadequacy of safety of these foods as well as risk assessment.

No independent analysis or testing conducted by the industry nor the regulatory Govt body.

The independent analyses that was undertaken by American and New Zealand scientists (Prof David Andow and Dr. Lou Gallagher) of the Bt brinjal biosafety dossiers of the company (Mahyco) have already shown that the test protocols were inadequate, that findings were masked or wrong interpretations made, and that our regulators don't take up detailed independent analysis, leave alone independent testing!

All of this is apart from what emerged during the bt brinjal debate, which includes what state governments and their experts pointed out and what jairam ramesh himself pointed out in terms of lack of conclusive evidence on the safety, including through long term tests for chronic impacts etc. The entire bt brinjal biosafety dossier as it exists today should just be rejected.

Ofcourse when so many scientists across the globe questions its safety and necessity, there is no urgency to consider the commercial release of the Bt brinjal.

Especially when sensible states like Bihar are even asking for ban of GM trials where is the question of commercial release?

Beyond biosafety, it is clear that issues around farmers’ rights and sustainable livelihoods, as well as consumers’ rights have not been addressed so far. It is also known that there is no liability regime in place with regard to GMOs in our food and farming so far in India.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011


My yahoo id has been compromised..Many of you have received some sexy mails from me..
Am sorry, it’s a virus or malware..

So don’t think I have taken new dealership and click on those 'enlarging' invitations;-)

I always thought only Gates was very obsessed with enlargements..what with hotmail full of such mails of Viagra and yahoo too has fallen for size, I guess..lucky that its my rarely used yahoo..(used only for subscription to yahoo groups)

Oh man! Long back I was really jobless one day and wrote back to the invisible and famous Nigerian! But here I don’t dare..

I see that some of you tried clicking on the links..brrr…high hopes..I might have forwarded many interesting mails and jokes..but don’t stretch ur imagination and click on these very innovatively named links..if u did click, hard luck..join the fun.

Mistake is mine, I guess..In January, inadvertently, when I was hard pressed for time to finish some compilation and typing of docs, I just disabled the anti-virus in my laptop bcos it was so slow. I told myself, I shud enable it again later..which never happened..and it ended here..

Meanwhile if you can help me, throw ur ideas how to save myself from such raids.. wud anti virus alone suffice?


Monday, April 18, 2011

Touching and inspiring! Motivating too!!

Loganathan- lost his father when he was very young and hence had to work to win bread for him and family..but wanted to study..couldn't do due to domestic pressure..
So what will one do? He resolves to save 10% of his monthly income (which amounts to Rs 300/-) and collect over an year and donate it to some one who wants to study but is unable to pursue due to lack of money..
Not big amount..but the heart?? Yes, I too brace to hear more as I think this is stupendous..
And then? This man meets a toilet cleaner who was just out after donating blood.. so loganathan is impressed and asks him about his story.. That man says, 'I am from a lower caste and hence there isn’t much acceptability, but for blood there's no I do this very regularly..' This man is as they exchange stories, the blood donor is impressed by this ‘educator’ and says, what will u do if u get more?
But how asks Logs..and this man says, 'I have been asked to clean toilets in a few additional places but lack of time, am unable to take them up.. are u game? This means cleaning the toilet in an office that will get u Rs 400 a month and another private premises which can fetch u Rs 300/-..'
Oops- This is a 3 times jump and this means 1k a month for my Logs jumps at it..
He now has to spend 2 hours extra in the morning and 2 in the evening..he does that with glee as he now gets a 3 times higher amount to donate!!
An amount that most of us would just throw for a dinner- has such inspiring story!!

Rajini- a student from a very poor family..gets top mark in his public is being felicitaed and gets a grant..He then checks out the value of his fees in the next year..does a quick math and tells the ones who give him the grant to take the rest 90% of the value and support 9 more poor students.. every one is blown over! Actor surya who was witness to this is flabbergasted..and so he starts his own agaram foundation motivated by this extraordinary move by a kid..

A grave yard keeper (vettiyan) in some interior TN village wants to help poor students study well and so saves money from his income and ‘over time’ and helps organise tuition for poor students to fare well in exams..

An old poor couple who have no children, suddenly get this wave to adopt banyan trees and take care of them as their own when they were last visited their score was how many 100s does a tendulkar need to score to come near them?

So whats this? Where did I hear all these touching and inspiring stories??

Jagan from Pakkam village 40kms from Madras near thinanoor was the one who stumped me with such stories..He himself can fit in to one such story..that comes later..
He was given this challenge to bring some lesson (education?) to students without being part of text book, additional period or he got this brain wave to go around identify great men from humble settings and show case them.
He travelled around TN and identified such great men from very ordinary background and small places and would take them to a big school in the near by town or city.. this way he managed to educate (open eyes?) the city students and also bring these great gentlemen to forefront..

He has 500 such stories…hmm…pant..pant..This collation of extra ordinary stories is called “ennangalain sangamam-எண்ணங்களின் சங்கமம்) he even organizes a meeting of all such amazing folks the first Sunday of every January!

So if you did some small deed somewhere, contributed an amount once in a blue moon for a cause, please come to my side and stand humbled..yes you can cringe like me..

This man jagan came to the meeting in the beginning of this year, where I had shared my Kisan swaraj yatra experiences. Even there he impressed me with a fantastic observation he made..
He came up with one of the best observations backed with stats that I have ever come across.
He said he had asked all his fellow villagers to note down every expense and income for 3 months. Then he collected it from all the 120 house holds in his village.
And found that just above 1 crore Rupees is spent on only 3 items.and this is more than 80% of the total expense!
Now take a guess on the 3 top expenses..

No u wudnt have, am sure..
Its Pesticides n chemicals, Drugs (medicines) and Tasmac (the great TN entertainer- alcohol)..
His observation was this full amount was a bleed and went out of the he said it was unfair economics and a needless drain..
But what he told next was the steal..
He said if they went back to traditional farming (organic/natural) the 1st 2 could be avoided..and to avoid the 3rd he has already started youth groups to campaign against drinking alcohol and has faced fair amount of success..when I visited his village,I did meet some of the youth who had vowed not to drink in their life and also working on rehabilitating others.Jagan also runs a school for poor and orphans in his village. For more info see here. This by itself needs to be another story, for later.

Now he has turned his eye on organic farming..he has taken some land on lease and has even hired and motivated some local farm labours to work along with him in his land..he has contacted many families and asked them to be a part of this organic movement by being captive market for next one year by contributing some money in advance and in turn get organic veggies and fruits from his land.. a Novel idea and am sure it will succeed, going by his energy and pace..i for one has assured to work closely with him and wish to help him achieve his goals and even do more..

Way to go jagan..its on seeing people like you that I renew hopes on humanity..I feel motivated and start expending right energies..hats off and you keep walking..some of us will get influenced and contribute in some ways like the squirrels of Ramayana..

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tea- organic, hand made and hand rolled!

Tea is the largest consumed beverage on this planet, after water ofcourse! Tea is not just a beverage but more than that, as the Swiss would vouch for. There are so many versions of tea that a swiss would consume and sincerely believe it addresses most ailments. (ok, confession, I have believed it too and been a part of it;-))

Tea plants live for at least a 100 years and are hardly propagated naturally any more. BTW, it was a news for me to hear that tea is a tree and not a herb or shrub as one would imagine. This grows over 10 metres in to a big tree, if let free. . It could have come from China but there are so many million hectares covered by this..yes, a dreadful monoculture after all!
We not only abuse it with mono culture practice, but just don’t let it grow to its natural height either. There was a story that I heard which adds to the woes of agriculture, monoculture especially. In the Nilgiris from the time tea was propagated (earliest ones being brought in 1820), the lovely land of grassland and various trees was lost to all but one crop. Nilgiris’ bio diversity being the main sufferer. In effect the huge trees that mingled with the clouds above Nilgiris and helped condensation and hence rain, no more was the scene and so the lesser rains. The other fall out being soil. The grassland arrested the soil erosion and also helped in some water retention before it rolled down from the hills. whereas tea has led to water and soil depletion. And let us forget the ramification of chemicals – fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, etc. for now that is.

So what was essentially a visit to look at tea, organic at that and especially hand made and hand rolled Organic tea in the Nilgiris, ended up in such ecological awareness.

Kothagiri is a beautiful place in the Nilgiris – away from touritsy ooty. Tea plants probably planted a century back is what is seen as far as the eye can see interspersed with Silver oaks to provide shade. Tea, as said before, is actually a tree (not a shrub) which is pruned regularly (once in four years or so) to make plucking easier and to maintain quality of the tea leaves.

Tea plants can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. Seeds are rare, hybrid saplings are the norm -a variety unimaginatively labeled B661 is what is prevalent.
This is what Nilgiris is full of! A clone from one particular farm is what found all over Nilgiris. The clone from one particular plant - the 61st shrub in the 6th row of a farm called Brooklands or such like!. want to talk of monoculture here? Hmm..

There is, like every where else, a big shortage of labour and tea which is such labour intensive faces it even more pronounced. So as a way of escaping the shortage, mainly thanks to NREGA and other industry/urban run, weedicides are used excessively. Since labour is a must for harvest (there is very minimal mechanization in harvest front ) weedicides are used to avoid labour employment in de-weeding. So Round up and cancer are increasing phenomenon here now.
Small and large farmers alike use weedicides to kill whatever else dares to grow between their precious tea shrubs and pesticides are also sprayed in abundance esp for the red spider “pests” which is prevalent. Ofcourse these red spiders are less in organic farms and easily controlled with bio-methods.
Essentially the teas are either China or Assam variety. Assam ones have broader leaves. Assam has more liquor (strength?) as they call it and grows in low lying areas too. World wide Darjeeling tea is rated the best. The altitude out there is just right it seems.
The tea leaves are harvested every 15 days- the top 2 leaves and the bud is what is harvested. When I tasted it, I found so much similarity to neem leaf. Seriously! On average a kilo of leaves fetches Rs11/-.
These green leaves then are withered, heated, rolled, then ready!
Green tea- is not withered but steamed or pan roasted and sold. This is supposedly more healthy with anti-oxidant property being the steal.
CTC is crush tear and Curled and Orthodox is the old process.
But what we get in market Blended! The last quality and blended will ofcourse be blended not with best for customer but best for business economics.

Now to Organic! SLOE is a 10 acre organic farm owned by our courteous hosts Ramesh babu and Susheela. There is a strong belief (myth?) that tea can be organic only in huge acreage and not in small holdings. To break this and to ensure many small planters can and should venture organic Ramesh Babu is trying to set an example- economical and ecological.
Theirs is a fantastic 10 acre land beautifully surrounded by reserve forest on 3 sides and a deep ravine on one end. So not even the run off from neighbouring lands add chemical unmindfully in to theirs. Their farm looks very different because it has a variety of trees and lots of plants (weeds?) grown and also has grass in-between. This grass was cited as a reason to reject subsidy for them by the Tea board! (oh! The ‘educated’ and ‘university specialists’ can only encourage ‘fast forward’ practices, not eco-friendly ones). BTW the subsidies for tea is a big story that has to be reserved for another post.

Before machines were invented for tea processing, tea was rolled by hand for centuries in China, Japan etc. At SLOE they hand roll their tea, and this is a very laborious, exacting and highly time consuming process. Tea rolled at body temperature gives the best quality, as opposed to machine rolled teas which generate high temperatures, due to the high volume of tea and the high speed of the machine. The high temperature interferes with the enzyme activity in the tea. Modern tea factories produce thousands of kilos of tea daily. Small organic ones can only make around One kilogram of handrolled tea daily.(Scaling up production of this product is not an easy affair, if QUALITY has to be maintained). One character of this tea, is that the Leaf regains its original shape and size, and greenish colour after steeping. Thus Organic hand rolled Tea is a speciality. And if you value quality, organic, traditional methods- consuming organic hand rolled is the way.
Once you taste organic tea you will realise that all this colour, fragrance, strength that are advertised by the industry,are all external characters (obviously more chemicals and unhealthy entrants)

Did you know adding MILK is a NO NO for Tea! The right way is to just pouring hot water in to tea leaves, then cover it and let it steep. In the process witness the leaves unfurl. From now on drink tea like Tea connoisseurs – without sugar or milk and prepared as said above.

Now where do you get it? For Organic hand rolled tea or hand made tea which is made without any mechanization but hand rolled and hand processed, go to restore. We at restore get them from SLOE, Kothagiri, from Ramesh babus organic farm all processed by manually by him and his wife.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Barkha Dutt hoi hoi

see this!
am happy that people shouted at her when she visited India gate during the lokpal protest..
ha ha..she deserves it:-)
but this wud never surface in the media..
even when she and Vir Sanghvi were embroiled in that scandal, the media kept mum..they (MSM) are really a cartel, ain't they?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

secularism again..

oh yeah!
our skewed secularism is surfacing again..
to hit back at Anna Hazare - the cong and NCP cohorts are trying their best..they poke at Anna not being secular bcos he, apparently, praised Modi (and Nitesh too, but thats to be sidelined) as a performing CM! Oh! how can he?
come on..atleast contextually,it suits..Modi is supposed to be incorruptible..atleast ManMohan's bosses the Americans too think so..Infact RahulG said so do all of them become anti-secular?oops will any cong man think that way? against a G? preposterous..
meanwhile, i am happy NCP is training its gun on Hazare..wish this boils in to a bigger fight and Anna wipes Pawar out..i really salivate at that thought..

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Fair ending to Annas fast!

atlast after 98 hours Anna Hazare ends his fast. There was such an overwhelming response from the public, its a great thing to happen. The media showing interest (prolly bcos the cricketers were on a small hols- between world cup and IPL) was a big fillip..i saw the print media had more restraint and reason, surprisingly.

Meanwhile this fats and the swelling of ordinary citizens on the road is not the end of it..not even will i describe this a victory..
But a welcome change..
for once the public mind was expressed clearly across India..
also this was a fantastic way of communicating our wish and will..

may be the bill needs more thinking..there could be pressing practical issues..
for once the public participation in articulating, understanding and even communicating about a law was intense..democracy at work in a very welcome way..
hope this is the beginning..hope there is more transparency in all the bills from draft stage..hope there is more active civil society participation and more sanity infused in to our hitherto non-functional democracy.

Another very striking feature was the large participation of the youth..hope this sustains and continues to be a watch dog and walks the full distance.

Its also commendable how people like Kiran Bedi conducted..its a great understanding of why a single tall leader is always important for movements..

Go Anna go! as was demonstrated, whole nation is behind you. now accomplish the 'asks'. set the stage for more victories.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

King Hazare

Anna Hazare, the living Gandhi, one of the greatest examples of ‘be the change’ is on an indefinite fast in his fight against corruption.
Anna has been a great personality who changed the face of a whole area in Maharastra by employing water harvesting and many disciplines. Thus changing the whole area water sufficient from water starving and also the livelihoods from labours to self contained farmers!He is an unparalleled social reformer.
(Iam ashamed that I have not done one long post in my series of ‘interesting folks’ about Anna, bcos I was never happy with my half done piece on him. Will do soon. My experience of meeting him and spending 2 days out there is one of the highlights of my life!).

Now he is on a fast and I urge all of you to participate in any which way you can. Go and participate in the various cities where there are many solidarity fasts and events held by locals (in Bangalore go to Freedom park).. Spread the word..make as many forwards as you can and popularize it..He is ably supported by great stalwarts like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and such like..
This is one chance we get…
IMHO this is the best shy at corruption in India ever and we all have aa big responsibility of pitching in, not just showing solidarity.

I am so thrilled with the media coverage and the response he has evoked this time..I see lots of activities in support all over India. The MSM is covering this heavily (now that even tendulkar's maid and Dhoni's dog have all been interviewed exhaustively) and that’s a welcome move..
Please make a lot of noise..This is our only chance..
Else theres no point in us all talking in private parties about corruption being such a big evil..
Go do something! Asap..

See here:
For actions at various locations here
To write to the PM and for more info see here!

If theres any one who hates sharad pawar more than me, its him..and I really love it when ever he takes a dig at Pawar.Even now the first wicket has fallen:-) Pawar has shied away from the GOM on corruption.
Way to go Anna and co..we are all with you.

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Monday, April 04, 2011


did i hear it right? ICC doesnt want to pay the customs and our enlightened BCCI (some top BCCI official blabbered on the TV) claims that Customs has no national pride and are 'charging' for the cup to be brought to India!

are these guys so nuts?
if u can make 1000s of crores on one tournament, paying a few lakhs to customs,a right fees, is found anti national and illogical, eh?
hey..if at all some one shud get something free in this- it shud be the ordinary citizen..bcos he wastes his time, goes stands in queue, gets caned by police, screws up the nations productivity and lives thru a match a full day with meagre facilities (nasty stinking toilets, no water, sucking food,etc on the ground)..
so next time on, let the gates be opened free for these crack cricket fans instead of for the pawars and tendulkars..(yes, its important to remember tendul the great was cheapo too- he pulled all strings to avoid paying the tax n customs for a ferari he got free in 2009! see here)

and to see that many states are jumping to give the cricketers (who are richer than most of our industrialists today) loads of money and free sites, is such a shame.

finally to see that cricket minister who also feigns as agri minister at centre to jump and announce some crores to these 'poor' cricketers is nauseating.. This man Pawar who hasnt bothered to look in to the lives or loss of lives of the farmers or the man who hasnt visited Vidharba- capital of farmer suicides- in his own state is such a shame..and that he doesnt miss any match nor miss an opportunity to announce a few crores as reward to cricketers..

are you all able to digest the way these cheap politicos and the media are jumping to share the moment of glory, which is actually belongs only to the players?
its all a huge bundle of WTF?

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This and that..

have been traveling for the last weeks..immediately after that organic mela in Chennai, I went to OOty (yes, that beautiful organic tea story is coming soon), Coimbatore, Tiruchengode etc..the last week was in orissa! was on a fact finding tour - reg the hybrid invasion in East esp in Orissa and checking on the Monsanto juggernaut..had lots to learn from that inimitable KK..lotsa learning, lotsa travel, lots to document now..
an official report wud come and then a personal post and insight from my view point also to feature here soon..

meanwhile- I know that the whole nation was very busy with wars esp shown the one last week between India and Pakistan was nauseating..all channels, all talk shows, all and sundry just devouring that one item..oh man! the very few times i had access to TV showed how much these TV channels had nothing else to cover..dunno how all of you just could go thru such a grind for so many days..
whole nation immersed in in the happy that for the next 28 years u all can have a new footage:-0

In my home state TN, there is lot of fun happening..iam sad that am not there during this build up to the election..but its nauseating out there too..with so many freebies by each of the parties..from next time on there could be some competitions run to come out with wild ideas to offer for freebies..