February 01, 2020

Medaram Jathara: World's biggest Tribal Festival

Medaram Jathara

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Sammakka Saralamma Jatara or Medaram Jatara is a tribal festival of honouring the goddesses celebrated in the state of Telangana, India. The Jatra begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal in Mulugu district.[2] It commemorates the fight of a mother and daughter, Sammakka and Saralamma, with the reigning rulers against an unjust law. It is believed that after Kumbha Mela, the Medaram jatara attracts the largest number of devotees in the country. An estimated 10 million people gathered in 2012. It is celebrated in Medaram during the time the goddesses of the tribals is believed to visit them. Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Mulugu.

There are many legends about the miraculous powers of sammakka. According to a tribal story, about 6-7 centuries ago,that is in the 13th century, some tribal leaders who went for a hunting found a new born girl (Sammakka) emitting enormous light playing amidst tigers. She was taken to their habitation . The head of the tribe adopted her and brought up as a chief tain (She later became the saviour of the tribals of the region) she was married to Pagididda Raju a feudatory tribal chief of Kakatiyas(who ruled the country of Andhra from Warangal City between 1000 AD and 1380 AD).She was blessed with 2 daughters and one son namely Sarakka, Nagulamma and Jampanna respectively.


Medaram Jathara

Sammakka Saralamma Jatara is the time for the largest tribal religious congregation in the world, held every two years (biennually), with approximately ten million people converging on the place, over a period of four days, which is 90km from Warangal city.[3] The Sammakka Saralamma Jatra is a State Festival of Govt. of Telangana. Many tribal Devotees from different states of India (M.P, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of Jharkhand)reach to the festive place to celebrate the Jatara. People offer bangaram/gold (jaggery) of a quantity equal to their weight to the goddesses and take holy bath in Jampanna Vagu (stream). It is a festival with no vedic or brahmanic influence.

Until 1998, the only way to reach Medaram was by a bullock cart. In 1998 the state government declared the 1000-yr old festival as official and laid down a motorable road. In 2008, nearly 8 million people were estimated to have attended the festival. And in recent times the gatherings in the jatara are roughly near 10 million. This fair is said to be the largest repeating congregation of tribal communities in the world. The traffic jam during the festival sometimes goes as far as 60 km on the Warangal highway. In 2012, approximately 1 crore people would attend the world's largest tribal festival.

Jampanna vagu

Medaram Jathara

Jampanna vagu is a tributary to River Godavari. According to the history, Jampanna is the tribal warrior and the son of Tribal Goddess Sammakka. The Jampanna vagu took his name as he died in a battle fighting against Kakatiyan Army in that stream .The Jampanna vagu is still red in colour marked with the blood of Jampanna (Scientifically the red colour of the water is attributed to the soil composition). Tribal's believe that taking a holy dip in the red water of Jampanna Vagu reminds them the sacrifice of their gods who save them and also induces courage into their souls. There is a bridge constructed on top

Pakistan’s debt surges by 40pc in 15 months

Pakistan’s debt surges by 40pc in 15 months

Updated February 01, 2020
In a statement laid before parliament, finance ministry admits to debt limit violations. — Reuters/File
In a statement laid before parliament, finance ministry admits to debt limit violations. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: With around 40 per cent increase in Pakistan’s public debt and liabilities in 15 months, the government on Friday conceded major violations of the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act (FRDLA) for massively exceeding debt acquisition limits.

In its debt policy statement laid before the parliament, the ministry of finance noted that total debt and liabilities that stood at Rs29.879 trillion at the end of the fiscal year 2018 crossed Rs41.489tr at the end of Septem­ber 2019, showing an increase of Rs11.6tr or 39pc.

At the end of the fiscal year 2019, the total debt and liabilities were reported to have increased by about 35pc or Rs10.344tr to touch Rs40.223tr.

Ramsha Jahangir
Ramsha Jahangir

The report said the FRDLA required that the federal government take measures to reduce federal fiscal deficit and maintain total public debt within prudent limits thereof. As such, it was required to limit the federal fiscal deficit excluding foreign grants to 4pc of gross domestic product during the three years, beginning from the financial year 2018-19 and maintaining it at a maximum of three and a half per cent of the GDP thereafter.

“The federal fiscal deficit (excluding grants) was recorded at Rs3,635 billion or 9.4pc of GDP during FY 2018-19, thus, remaining higher than the threshold of four per cent,” said the debt policy statement.

In a statement laid before parliament, finance ministry admits to debt limit violations

The ministry, however, justified this due to a series of factors, most of them emanating from its policies. It said the one-off factors, which were not expected to carry over into FY 2019-20, contributed around 2.25pc of the GDP towards federal fiscal deficit. These included delay in renewing telecom licences, delay in sale of envisaged state assets and weaker than anticipated tax amnesty proceeds contributed around 1pc of the GDP. A shortfall in the transfer of State Bank profits contributed an additional 0.5pc of the GDP.

Profit of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) witnessed a steep decline during FY 2018-19 as the SBP incurred heavy exchange rate losses on its external liabilities. Payments of accrued interest on account of re-profiling of the SBP borrowing at end June 2019 also contributed 0.75pc of GDP in federal deficit.

In addition, the finance ministry said some other factors were beyond the control of the fiscal authorities, which contributed to higher than budgeted federal fiscal deficit during FY2018-19. These included a sharp rise in domestic interest rates and exchange rate depreciation (that escalated the debt servicing burden), legal constraints on the revenue side and an overall slowdown in the economy resulted in lower than budgeted revenue collection.

The policy statement said the law also required the government to ensure that within a period of two financial years, beginning from the fiscal year 2016-17, the total public debt shall be reduced to 60pc of the estimated GDP by end June 2018.

“However, total public debt to GDP ratio reached 72.1pc while total debt of the government to GDP ratio was 66.5pc. Total public debt and total debt of the government as percentage of GDP stood at 84.8pc and 76.6pc, respectively at end June 2019, thus, increasing further during the FY 2018-19,” the finance ministry conceded.

Apart from fiscal deficit, it said, unprecedented revaluation loss on account of currency depreciation and build-up of liquidity buffer contributed significantly towards the increase in debt to GDP ratio during FY 2018-19.

The ministry also put on the record that total debt and liabilities increased by 86.3pc of GDP at the end of FY18 to 94.3pc of GDP at the end of September 2019. It said the government’s domestic debt increased by Rs6.234tr or 38pc in 15 months (end-June 2018 to end-September 2019). It said the government domestic debt that stood at Rs16.416tr at end-June 2018 increased to Rs20.73tr by end-June 2019 and reached Rs22.65tr at end-September 2019.

Government’s external debt during the 15-month period also increased by 36pc or Rs2.8tr to Rs10.598tr from Rs7.796tr. External liabilities on the other hand increased by 160pc to Rs1.6tr by end of September 2019 from Rs622bn in June 2018.

The finance ministry, however, said it fulfilled the limit on new sovereign guarantees. It said the law required the government not to issue new guarantees for any amount exceeding 2pc of GDP in any financial year and “during FY2018-19, the government issued new guarantees including rollovers amounting to Rs489 billion or 1.3 percent of GDP”.

Pakistan’s External Debt and Liabilities (EDL) represent debt and liabilities of public as well as the private sector. The EDL part that falls under government domain is the debt which is serviced out of consolidated fund and owed to International Monetary Fund (IMF) whereas remaining includes liabilities of central bank, debt of public sector entities, private sector and banks.

“EDL was recorded at $106.3 billion by end June 2019, registering an increase of $11.1bn compared to an increase of $11.8bn recorded a year earlier. One half of the increase in EDL was due to rise in SBP liabilities in the form of deposits placed by bilateral partners (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar),” the ministry said, adding “these deposits only provide balance of payments support, add to foreign currency reserves and do not come as an extra resource in the budget”.

Short-term external public debt maturities as percentage of official liquid reserves stood at 159pc at the end of June 2019 compared with 81pc at the end of June 2018. The higher proportion of external public maturities falling in a year compared with the level of official liquid reserves resulted in an increase in this ratio. Around 35pc of total public debt stock was denominated in foreign currencies, exposing public debt portfolio to exchange rate risk.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2020

A U.S. Plane Crashed in Afghanistan. Why So Many Believed a CIA Chief Was On It.


The wreckage of a US Bombardier E-11A jet is seen after it crashed in mountainous territory of Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, on January 27, 2020.
The wreckage of a US Bombardier E-11A jet is seen after it crashed in mountainous territory of Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, on January 27, 2020.
UPDATED: JANUARY 31, 2020 11:36 PM ET

The wreckage of a U.S. military plane that crashed and burned in a snowy mountainous region in Afghanistan on Monday was still fresh when Iranian state TV ran a story claiming a top CIA officer was among the dead. Like all good propaganda, the story was mostly false, but with a scintilla of truth. Two American service members had been killed when the U.S. Air Force jet slammed into the side of the mountain, but U.S. officials insist there was no CIA onboard.

A combination of bad weather and Taliban gunfire kept U.S. and Afghan forces from reaching the site for more than a day. By the time the U.S. military put out a brief statement saying that the downed plane carried two U.S. Air Force pilots, the dubious story had spread around the globe.

After a couple of fringy Iranian and pro-Kremlin news outlets reported that Michael D’Andrea, head of the CIA’s Iran Mission Center, was onboard the E-11A communications jet, the story was picked up in The Daily Mail, a major British tabloid, and a second British newspaper, The Independent, carried the news of D’Andrea’s alleged demise to London, albeit with some skepticism. While the Pentagon confirmed to TIME on Friday that there were only two Air Force officers on the plane, none of the official public statements say they were the only passengers. And the CIA has refused to comment on whether D’Andrea or any other CIA personnel were onboard.

The U.S. military says it could not have gotten the news out sooner. But the Iranian version of events that circulated in the information vacuum had people inside and outside the U.S. wondering who to believe. The Trump Administration’s now-familiar pattern of slow, incomplete and sometimes disingenuous responses to events has ground down public and internal trust of its messaging and created an opportunity for adversaries like Iran and Russia to spread disinformation and sow confusion among allies and U.S. officials. The wrong information can spread about an event whether it happened on a remote Afghan mountainside or a maximum-security American compound. “If false reports are not authoritatively or convincingly disproven, they can take on a life of their own,” James Cunningham, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan told TIME. “Once that happens, it’s very hard to undo that.”

Critics and some U.S. officials say the growing dearth of trust in America’s word is symptomatic of an Administration led by a President who calls journalists “the enemy of the people”, frequently labels factual or unflattering news coverage as “fake news”, and has himself made more than 12,000 false or misleading statements during his tenure, according to a count by The Washington Post. A trust gap has formed between journalists and Administration spokespeople who often see challenging questions as political attacks, and treat offending outlets with disdain.

Overall, there are fewer on-record press briefings in the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House and other agencies in this Administration, says a former senior Trump Administration official. He says that’s due in part to the top-down nature of the Administration and in part to subordinates’ efforts to protect the President. There is an internal battle afoot with some senior Administration officials arguing for more public briefings, and while the White House Press Secretary hasn’t briefed from the podium since March 2019, the Pentagon and State Department have resumed holding more frequent press conferences to win back that global public trust. But it’s an uphill battle against the megaphone of the Twitter presidency —and the active disinformation campaigns being waged overseas against the U.S. “No one believes us anymore,” one frustrated senior U.S. official said.

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FOR THOSE COUNTRIES that similarly see the free press as an enemy, the Trump Administration’s approach to the media works just fine, and the case of Iran and the downed U.S. jet shows how. The U.S. Bombardier E-11A, which was providing troop communications in a remote part of Ghazni, crashed early Monday in an area that’s under Taliban control. Video of the smoldering aircraft was almost immediately posted to social media by eyewitnesses, and the Taliban was quick to claim responsibility for shooting it and other aircraft down. “Many senior officers were killed,” Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan emailed TIME on Monday.

Roughly three hours later, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett issued a brief statement denying the militants’ claims, but it did not provide many details. “While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire,” Leggett said in the statement. “The Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false.”

Multiple U.S. military and Administration officials told TIME that the delay in getting the details of the crash out was due to the fact that the plane went down in Taliban territory and that bad weather prevented them from flying directly to the site. The officials also said it wasn’t immediately clear whether there were any survivors; if there were, they didn’t want to signal to the Taliban to go looking for their troops. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

In the meantime, the Iran story that a high-level CIA officer was on board took off. It wasn’t until late Wednesday afternoon – more than 48 hours after the crash – that the U.S. was able to release the names of two Air Force personnel who were killed on the jet: Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam; and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire.

The lag time in releasing information gave time for the Iranian disinformation about D’Andrea to circulate, even reaching senior foreign officials in Washington, D.C., who told TIME they were uncertain which account to believe. As of Friday, the CIA has declined to comment, and no Trump Administration official would deny the CIA rumor on record, citing concerns that publicly commenting on the report only spreads the lie further. “That’s not how your fight disinformation,” one frustrated senior U.S. official tells TIME. “On the record should be our default standard.”

The CIA’s reticence has frustrated some of D’Andrea’s colleagues, two of whom tell TIME it’s “business as usual” for the senior official. If someone as senior as D’Andrea were killed, he’d likely be buried with full honors in Arlington Cemetery, within 24 hours of his demise because he’s an observant Muslim, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

David Lapan, a retired Marine Colonel who served as a senior spokesperson for multiple administrations, including Trump’s, says it’s not unusual for it to take hours before the military can report the facts of an incident, but that the current atmosphere of mistrust in information coming out of the Administration make unavoidable delays ripe for both misinterpretation and exploitation by adversaries.

This particular case could have been handled differently, Lapan says. The three-hour lag between the video of a U.S. aircraft smoldering on social media and a U.S. statement “is too long,” he says. “We should get out and acknowledge what we can. That delay — on top of this distrust that now exists — made the situation worse.”

The crash follows close on the heels of other recent events that have sparked fake news from adversaries and left U.S. officials worried or confused over what version of events to believe.

After the Jan. 8th Iranian ballistic missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, President Donald Trump first reported on Twitter there were no U.S. injuries, while Iranian sources were reporting dozens of Americans were dead and injured in the attack. The Pentagon has since acknowledged that were more than 60 cases of mild to severe traumatic brain injury among the troops who were buffeted by massive shock waves that broke glass windows 1,000 yards from the missiles’ impact.

It can take hours, days or more for symptoms of traumatic brain injury to manifest, and the Pentagon’s own rules classify an officially reportable injury as loss of life, limb, eye or life-threatening injury, something Administration officials say they are now reviewing. Trump was briefed along those rules and wasn’t trying to mislead the public, the military and Administration officials said.

But when later challenged on his initial account, the President dismissed the injuries as “headaches” adding, “I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen” — a comment that U.S. military officials privately called demoralizing and insulting. Senior diplomats said that shifting narrative of whether American troops were hurt on U.S. bases that day was yet another notch in their dwindling trust in public statements from Trump and his officials.

Something similar happened just weeks later, when unidentified attackers launched an aerial assault on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The absence of information about the attack from the Embassy was followed by conflicting information from senior Administration officials, a frustrated U.S. official tells TIME.

The aerial bombardment on the U.S. compound was first acknowledged by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, and then mentioned in a State Department statement describing a phone call from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Iraqi leader, in which Pompeo condemned “continued assaults by Iran’s armed groups against U.S. facilities in Iraq, including yesterday’s rocket attacks against our Embassy, which resulted in one injury.”

U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank Mackenzie has since told reporters that it was in fact mortars that were used. In this case, identifying the weapon helps identify the attacker: rockets are almost exclusively used by Iranian-trained Iraqi armed groups, but simpler mortars are commonly available throughout Iraq and could have been fired by any number of disgruntled actors.

In the confusion, fake news also took root, with stories being published in local media that the U.S. Embassy was being evacuated, and the people were dead and seriously injured, the official said. “It just makes people question what’s true.” The U.S. Embassy itself still hasn’t put out a public account of the attack and a State Department official, speaking anonymously as a condition of offering comment, told TIME they would not offer further details of the Baghdad embassy attack due to security concerns.

THE PENTAGON SAYS it’s doing everything it can to stop disinformation about U.S. military personnel and interests overseas from spreading. “We live in a time of widespread misinformation from the U.S.’s adversaries, and the Department of Defense is constantly working to counter it,” Alyssa Farah, Department of Defense Press Secretary told TIME. She said the Defense Department regularly engages with the press in on- and off-record briefings as part of that effort.

But the Pentagon is only one agency in what is sometimes a discordant cacophony of messaging, and at others, silence. The recent string of problematic messaging has frustrated veterans of the fight on terrorism who want to react to state-sponsored propaganda with the same speed they learned to counter messaging by al Qaeda in Iraq under the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Now-retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in his memoir My Share of the Task that a key part of defeating militants in both countries is getting your version of events out first — lest, for instance, an adversary paint an overnight U.S. Delta Force raid on militants as a slaughter of innocent civilians, a rumor that would make it harder to win the trust and cooperation of the local population.

Bret Schafer, of the Washington-DC-based Alliance for Securing Democracy which tracks Russian disinformation, said the U.S. regularly fails at getting its own version of events out first. He said he first heard of this week’s plane crash in Afghanistan from anti-American social media accounts. “By leaving gaps in the information space, you are on your back feet,” he said.

Getting in front of the story is also important to how people back home digest news of the events. If adversaries plant stories that end up reinforcing Americans’ skepticism of own government or media, they’ve won, says Schafer. “The Iranians or Russians don’t have to prove their theory,” he said. “There just have to be enough versions of the story out there so we can’t know what’s happening and we can’t trust anything.”

—With reporting by W.J. Hennigan and John Walcott/Washington

January 30, 2020

Learning and Farming: An Indian View

Clause Alvares

Source: IndiaInspire TALK

I am happy to speak to you on something more hopeful. We are extremely good at analysis and criticism and I would like to spend some more time in this particular exchange on what people are doing in this country in terms of providing new signs of hope. And that's why I told them I would like to speak on the issue of creativity and what the new signs that are emerging so that when we leave this event many of us at least will have some idea about more hopeful signs that are emerging all over the place. And because of my expertise, I work besides publishing; I also do a lot of work on learning and on organic farming. I have been involved with the Organic Farming Association now since 1974 and its various avatars and now with the Organic Farming Association for the last ten years and that's one of my main loves. I have travelled all over the country looking at organic farms. The second major interest is on learning because the cultivation of the soil and the cultivation of the human being, more or less follow similar principles. They cannot be… you cannot have principles in one which are contrary to the principles that you are using in the other. So if you are a good organic farmer, you will also be a person who understands very naturally the business of learning. And you will be a good creative person as well. And since it's more practical the things people are doing to raise food or to raise kids and children, I thought that I could be something that would be more interesting to go into right now, during the course of this presentation. If you look at agriculture, whatever India has done… suppose we want to be one of the biggest, most competent agricultural societies in the world. As a matter of fact, Alexander Walker, Albert Howard whom Arun Dighe has translated; most of these English people came to India to teach farmers how to do farming. They ended up writing a work saying that we are not able to teach them anything, because they are already doing optimal science. There is nothing that we can really teach them, as a matter of fact there is much that we can learn from them. There are more than half a dozen tracks of English agricultural scientists who came to India, to look at how they could improve Indian agriculture. In the end they said we can't improve it. They probably didn't say if we do anything we will rack it. But that happens only after a period of time when we introduced the so-called Green Revolution in 1966. In education also, we have had a very similar situation; very similar scenario. As I said I referred to the Adam's reports on schooling all over; but forget about the Adams reports. Just try and do a thought experiment and try and conceive of all the output that this country has produced. For more than 5000 years, how it has transmitted this if it did not have any effective learning system? Its physically impossible… Its physically impossible for a society to maintain itself for so many centuries without successfully replicating itself. And not just replicating itself; each generation adding on, each generation subtracting; each generation modifying what is happening. So, a priori, you can say that, a society that has lasted for 5000 years, I am just taking a minimum, could not have functioned without a very effective education system. Education is basically transmission. At least that's what we understand it today. How do you transmit competence, how do you transmit knowledge etc. and how have you done it. How did this society survive with its philosophies; with its Yoga; with its language; with its music; with its dance and all that without an education system. We had something it. We didn't look for it. We assumed that it was different; like when now-a-days they use different type of terminology. If you go for Wikipedia, and look for universities you won't find Nalanda and Takshashila there. They are given a separate category as institutions of ancient higher learning. The real university begins with Bologna in 1158. That's according to Wikipedia, which is all written by westerners. You write anything on Wikipedia, which they don't accept; they strike it out the same evening. So the university is not set up; India was not the first to set up universities; its Europeans who set up, because part of the mythology that everything good has always come either from Greek sources or it has come from Europe. So it depends on how you look at it. If you look at the vast canvas, how could this society you know, create this enormous output of human experience then you say it must have had an education system. And it must have been a thriving education system; not a boring education system that we have today where the first sign of happiness in children is when the bell rings for the recess. Not only the children, the teachers are happy when the bell rings for the recess. It's one of the most rotten systems of transmission in the world. I am not talking only about our Indian education system, I am talking about the education system in England, which is far worse, and the one in the US, where you have seen, even children get out with guns and start shooting. So when I began looking at both these problems I thought that they were inter-related and that's why one of the first things that I did was to move out of university. After I finished my PhD I said there is nothing here that is really going to be of any use. And my PhD was written for political purposes to settle my scores with European professors. After that was done, there was no more need to be in university, because it was one of the most sterile places on earth and therefore I went back directly into a farm and I have lived with farmers, with masons, with coconut pluckers, for the rest of my life, after my university. I have never been bored for a single moment. I had good company, all of them intellectually honest, I can say, compared to my forbears in other places and looking very closely at how they live life and how they function. When I was running a farm, where 65 km away from the nearest marketing centre, and we had to tie some things up, some plants had to be tied up, and I asked somebody go to the market and bring rope. So the person had to get on a motorcycle, go all the way 55 kilometres to Mhapsa town, bring rope and come back; and one of my workers who was working on the farm said, why do you that, it's not necessary, because we can manufacture rope for you here on the spot. So I said how do you manufacture something like rope? We have coconuts and rope is made from coconuts. So, but finally we decided to leave many of these things into their hands and what they did, they went to a tree, a very particular type of tree and with their sickle they just started stripping the bark. And very soon, they had a large number of things to tie plants with, which are organic, not made of plastic and which served their function. And we said, look at these people and their lives very carefully, compared to our lives. We are 95% on the dependent on the market; they are 95% dependent on themselves and on their environment. And if something happens to us, well we would perish. Because many of us don't know how to grow our rice anymore. We don't know how to make an income anymore without offering ourselves in employment to somebody else and we are not able to manage in any sense. I mean, there are some people who are 100% dependent on what they call the system. The system has to give it, either through corporate or its through a bank, or through government, or somebody. The system has to make available your livelihood so that you can survive. Or if you don't have that, you can't survive at all. You are an abject penury. All your mortgagees cannot be paid and you are out. Now this type of dialectic was something which I found very interesting and the solution I found came from the farmers and not from my own because the books I read had no solutions. The books I read are all written by what is the famous Buddhijeevis. The skill of our Buddhijeevis is to be able to quote the stuff of ten other guys or fifty other guys and put it afterwards as his product with neither an ending nor a conclusion. Ask a professor, what is it you want to say which is yours alone and which is not from those 30, 40 guys and he is not capable of giving you that answer. I do it now as a nuisance at most conferences. If I find any youngster starting to deliver a paper and he quotes even two paragraphs I stop him on the spot and I tell him now you stop quoting, please close your paper, and please tell us your story or what you want to say. I have done it with Europeans, they break down and they start crying. So don't think it's our problem. It's a disease that has infected all academics everywhere. The result is they produce these books; we give them to our kids to read but they have absolutely no value. Because they have no creation potential, they have no way I which they can stimulate anybody to any creative thinking. Because as I said they are all borrowed. The terminology is borrowed; the words are borrowed; the concepts are borrowed; the theories are borrowed. So in that sense what creativity is left? I am right now, presently editing the conference papers of an international conference and my wife was helping me with the editing. She is a good editor. And she was surprised that most of the papers were totally unreadable. And it is an international conference. People have come and given you a paper, as you said: they download; they do a lot of patchwork from all sorts of places, put it there and then expect that it's a great paper. And most of the papers had to be rejected, because they don't meet any normal standards, forget about international standard, any normal standard: is this something that you have produced after some thinking? Have you used your own language? I have asked youngsters as an exercise to write a paper in which they don't quote anybody and they collapse. Compare that with Gandhiji, who wrote 90 volumes without quoting anybody. Again, another very great sign of… you can't go to professors to learn anything. Our farmers realize that very soon because they went into after 10,000 years of good farming, they got sucked into the Green Revolution thing because it was made very easy for them. Scientists came and told them you don't need to thing anymore. That's what we are doing in school. They told the farmers also. You don't need to think anymore. We will give you the magic solutions. You put them into the soil; we will give you the seeds and you just become contractors for a way of farming which is decided by corporations, chemical corporations which are marketing fertilizers, pesticides and so on; they will take all the decisions for you. They will do all the research; all that you have to do is implement what they are saying. And over 40 years, this is what we did. We implemented and implemented and implemented, with the result today is that all the soils which have had these massive doses of chemicals are now devastated, they have become sterile. All living things have completely fled from them, and the effects on human beings in terms of cancers is now being documented very well in the Punjab with that famous cancer express which leaves Punjab and goes off to Chandigarh, which has all these people who were suffering from cancer from the waters they had drunk from the ground from the contamination from the pesticides, they have used. And what have we done in the end of it all? We have created a production system for supplying 1.2 billion people with poisonous food. Food is not supposed to be poisonous. In the old theories which were in these novels which were written, where you have to find out who poisoned somebody? Because that is something you intentionally did. You poisoned something, you had to kill them, you have a murder mystery, and you have a detective who will find out what was the poison you used. Today everybody is eating poisonous food and it is taken as a matter of fact that you can eat poisonous food; you can eat vegetables which have got toxic chemicals in it; you can drink milk which has got chemicals in it. The President of India, I have been in exercise with school students what is the difference between the President of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, this Prime Minister and today's Prime Minister. And the only answer I could get was, J L Nehru with all his faults, at least could eat food which was without any pesticide residues. Manmohan Singh does not have that choice. He himself is a toxic pesticide. Because most of these pesticide looks very harmless; but they can be quite fatal to your economies and to people at large. But see the transformation and look how we have accepted that we live with. The scientists tell us that it is no problem. It is a matter of only residues. What is residues? Europe begins this high then they keep coming down with the residues. We began that high but we say we can't come to, because we are a poor country and we have to produce more and therefore we can't have as strict a measure of those residues as those Europeans have. So even if we are going to kill ourselves a little bit faster, it is no problem at least we are feeding people. Maybe they are dying sooner, but at least they are living, and then dying. Because they should have died at the age of 20, now they are living till the age of 55. Mar gaya to mar gaya. At least they have added 30 years extra. I don't know what the logics that are being used are. But try and understand how we have come to this conclusion where we can eat food which has got poison, without complaining. And may take it as a natural thing. I am in charge of the Organic Farming Association office and I can tell you that I can't get food which is free from pesticides. I can get it only when we plant the Moolis and the Spinach and the Brinjals and the Tendlis or whatever it is; in our own garden at the back and that is what we have started doing now over the last several years. Otherwise it is not possible to get. And still if sometime I have to go and bring some vegetable from the market I know that it is contaminated and there is no choice in the matter. So how have we landed up in such a situation because all the farmers unquestioningly obeyed and said that we will follow what you guys say. They began using it then they found that as per the law of diminishing returns, your chemicals don't produce every year, what they produced year; and after 18 to 20 years you find that you are using 5 times the chemicals to produce the same output. And the same thing with the pesticides, you find that you begin with low dosages and then you begin with cocktails and mocktails and all sorts of bizarre mixtures and then finally when it doesn't work like the people do in Vidarbha and many other places and you have the cocktail yourself and the entire agony of it. And now we have a destructive system; nobody really knows or cares how many farmers are committing suicide. But one thing I can tell you, there is not a single organic farmer has committed suicide. And in my entire experience from 1974, not a single organic farmer has committed suicide. Now this is something that maybe… you may say that there are not that many organic farmers in any case. But we have got a lot of people who don't use pesticides; we have got a lot of Adivasis who don't use lot of... All the people in dry land areas, for example, by law cannot use pesticides; because you know you need water to convey the salt to the roots of the plant; when you don't have water, there is no use putting that pesticide. I mean using that chemical nutrient, there is no use. So all the dry land areas which are still the bulk of the land in this country are still not using chemicals; they are not using MPK at all, because there is no point in using it. A lot of people in the high rainfall areas are using it without knowing that half of it goes into the water, into the rivers because the plant cannot absorb that type of nutrient. If you look at the theories of science in relation to plants, how plants survive, how they function, where they get their nutrition. 80% of the plants' nutrition is oxygen and carbon, both coming from the atmosphere. Okay. 17% is nitrogen, also coming from the atmosphere. 3% is what they get from the ground in terms of minerals, trace elements etc. etc. If you want, proof of that; go to any forest and look at the forest. Do you see anybody putting fertilizer in the trees; have you gone to see the Amazon forest? Have you seen anybody putting any chemicals there? Have you seen anybody spraying the Amazon forest to keep it alive? No. All these things are growing without any chemicals because the plant is designed to survive with only the stuff that it gets from the air. Now why is it that our modern agricultural science reverses everything to put 97% in the ground and assume that the remaining 3% they get from the air? I have spoken at so many agricultural scientists; they are not able to explain. Why is it, that our theory of nutrition of plants is just the reverse? Now because it's the reverse, it creates havoc. If you take a child and keep on pumping it with all sorts of junk food and all sorts of you know carbon-hydrates and milk and butter and cheese, what happens to the child? It becomes a symbol of ill health, obesity; it's not able to look after itself anymore. It becomes sick. Its sick for the rest of its life. I am very-very unhappy with children who are… parents don't even see that their children are becoming obese because that type of imbalance will never leave that child, I do not know for how many years. So we see things in front of our years, and we don't what to. Now many of the organic farmers realize it, they say that something is going wrong. Because they found that bees have disappeared, birds have disappeared, the termites have disappeared, the earthworms have disappeared. Earthworms, according to conventional scientific evolutionary theory, which is a builder of civilization, because an earthworm creates the soil, is in modern agriculture removed from agriculture. Now you say, ye kya hua hai? Now who is this great scientist who created this system? Something that is being supplied to you naturally by an earthworm is now sort of eliminated and you are then setting up fertilizer plants which are not based on your own resources, but are based on oil which you import from other country; set up these fertilizer plants which themselves their own brand of pollution. They are highly polluting plants; fertilizer plants and then that whole missionary data set up of subsidy. In two years ago the subsidy had reached to one lakh twenty thousand crores. Completely economically bankrupt agriculture. How do you get out? There is nobody to show you a way out; because the professors in the universities are all teaching chemical farming. I have gone to Orissa Agricultural University. I have gone to Gujarat Agricultural University, Punjab… All of the universities; not one of the professors is willing to entertain the idea that plants can grow without chemicals. For me it was the one of the most devastating discoveries in my life. To find that we have created an entire generation of human beings who sincerely believe that plants cannot grow without chemicals. When they can see on the roads, when they can see in their universities campuses that there are huge trees growing that nobody is fertilizing them, nobody is putting any pesticide for them and at least that should shake up the heads and say itna bada ped aa gaya, nobody has put anything for it. Why is this that this chhota plant and we are pumping it with MPK, 3 times, 4 times for the whole season? Nobody is asking? Something very remarkable has happened here. The entire generation is like this. The old generations used to believe that the earth was flat and nobody q