Mechanical Pets with Character..

4 10 2005

Recently, I read an article about the launch of Mechanical Puppies launched by Sony. These toys develop a character based on the way their owner is treating them. I really didn’t understand this desire in humanbeings to control their loved ones. Why people have pets? Its because they like to love and be loved in return. Admit it or not, pets are more loyal! Pets and especially dogs give a feeling that they need you. The kind of loyalty and affection they shower on their owners is tremendous. If a person really loves pets, can’t he get a real pet? Why does anyone want to manufacture a mechanical pet with manufactured character? What’s the purpose in that? It seems that there is no end to the human imagination and greed. Is that really a need? Or is it that the current generation became so mechanical that they can only be loved by machines?

I marvel at the creative effort and the dedication of the members who design new and innovative products. What upsets me are the assumptions inherent in the new products. They really make me wonder as to where are we heading as a civilization? It catches me in the ageless discussion of Man Vs Nature. Yet, I know the beauty of discussion lies in the lack of solution. Certain issues are just too complex, aren’t they?

Chinchni Trip..

13 04 2005

I went to visit the Pravin Chordia’s Chinchni farms as a part of our Science, Techology and Ecology class. Pravin Chordia by sheer grit and dedication has taken up around 200 acres of barren land at Chinchni to turn it around to a fertile soil with the organic farming inspired by the ideas of Shripal Achyut Dabholkar.

The idea here is to do a multi-level farming by incorporating as much varieties of plant species as possible. It helps to enrich the soil, as different kinds of plants give and take different kinds of nutrients. The various levels are planted this way. Fruit trees and immobile plants are surrounded by movable vegetable plants which are further supported by the biomass plants. This creates a bio-diversity, which makes a forest-like ecosystem, thus there is a symbiotic growth of all plants. You can find an odd sunflower, rose, teak, spinach, tomatoes, papaya, mangoes, curry leaves, henna, and just about anything. Diverse needs of the people are also kept in mind, for example, Eucalyptus for bio-mass; or Teak, Sandalwood as cash crops, mangoes for economic returns and fruits to be self-sustaining.

The soil is made fertile by a process in which 9 alternating layers of ordinary soil and biomass are made. The biomass is covered by a soil heap and then diverse varieties of seeds are planted to regenerate the soil. After 21 days one-third of the plants are cut and kept in soil and this process is repeated thrice, which enriches the soil and makes it ready for farming.

The experiment has proven successfully that a 10Gunta or a one-fourth acre plot can support a whole family and also provide them with a decent living. Truly, we undermine the potential of the soil but it is a living soul which is like a mother to the mankind. The use of chemicals over the years has made the soil sterile, which could be enriched again only through Organic Farming, or farming which is compatable with nature. Man should realize that he is a child of the nature not the master. I hope its not too late before it dawns upon him.

Hiware Bazaar..

4 04 2005

As a part of course in IMDR, we went to check out Hiware Bazaar and I was completely unaware of the place before. Here is the summation of my experiences that little trip has bought.

Hiware Bazaar is a village located in the drought prone district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra State. The district receives little rainfall, approximately 250 mm per year ion the normal rainfall but since the past three years it has received very scanty rainfall as much as 50mm. The condition is worsened still by the perennially low water table in highly porous soils that hardly retains any moisture. Today, it not only serves its own needs of water but also provides drinking water to other neighboring villages. The villagers became self-reliant with their efforts under the able guidance of Mr. Popat Rao Pawar.

To deal with the water crisis, the watershed programme was planned and implemented. For soil and water conservation the villagers came together and offered voluntary labour to facilitate the implementation of the watershed programme. For this the near by hill is covered with CCT (continuous contour trenches), loose boulder structure, earthen bund, earthen nala bund and check dam. And all this reduce the speed of rain water and thus give it more time to seep down, and also checks soil erosion. The seeping of water helps in increasing the ground water table, thus making more water available for the people of Hiware bazaar.

Mr. Pawar said that Hiware bazaar is just like any other village, the only difference is in the people of Hiware bazaar and their values. With Mr. Pawar came the five principles that changed the game rules:
* Charai bandi (Ban on free grazing)
* Kurhad bandi (Ban on cutting trees)
* Nasha bandi (Ban on liquor)
* Family planning
* Shramadan (Voluntary labour)

The trip to Hiware bazaar is very inspiring and interesting. To listen to Popat rao pawar and see the work he has done is very memorable. I have seen some Development programmes, but Hiware Bazaar is the showcase for all the right and good things that a man of conviction can do. Changing the village with a bad reputation and with little resource into a self sustaining model of development is a mighty task. The efforts spilled by Popat Rao Pawar to educate and to empower the villagers marks the hallmark of leadership. He comes across as a very well-informed person. His knowledge is much wider and deeper in scope. It was refreshing to listen to a man who is completely satisfied by the work he did and the life he has in contributing to the betterment of the people.

Being Rich in True Sense..

23 02 2005

Through a lot of discussions I had, I came to wonder what’s being rich? Is being rich means having loads of material wealth, most of which you don’t really put to use? Is rich means having a lot of comfort in life that everything comes to your footsteps and you don’t even move your body? Or is being rich means being in content with what one has, having the ability to say enough, enjoying little things of life, having a rich inner life which is reflected through outward actions? Somehow, I find myself being evaluated on the kind of possessions or money I possess rather than the kind of individual I am. Does this really have meaning for me? Somehow, being rich for me is having self-worth which is not affected by an alien, having the courage and confidence to stand for one’s values and the ability to make a positive difference in the world through a meaningful existence. As Gandhi says, ” Nature provides for everyone’s need, not greed”.. I muse on the meaning of being rich if it doesn’t lead to an enriching life.

In Companionship with Nature!

31 01 2005

Today is one of the most beautiful days of life. Though I say that happiness is a state of mind, the day went in quite well.. I have no words to express the exquisite joy I felt in experiencing the day. Morning I had a lovely walk in the Kamala Nehru Park and had a nice tea with my daily Daily. The day was picture perfect and quite pleasant. I experimented with Rajma and was just about to doze off when a friend of mine rang me up. We went to the Osho Theerth Park, which is otherwise known as the Naala Park. Wow! I have no words to describe the eternal bliss I felt being at the park. The songs of birds, the mild rumbling of trees and the flowing water…Never knew that a park could be so beautiful. It looked so natural and perfect. I just wondered how would the world look like if I find such scenic beauty everywhere instead of concrete jungles. How to describe the surreal experience of joy and love? Words fail me!

Industry and Environment, Good or Bad Neighbours?

29 08 2004

First of all, Do we limit our environment to surroundings or do we extend it to include people also? If we consider environment as Nature, Nature can exist independently and it is we people who are dependent on it. Even if we consider any industry, it can’t exist in isolation. It is made up of people. So even in the industry the internal environment consists of people and the industry is made to satisfy the needs of people. What does an industry do? It either trades the resources or converts them (manufactures) into useful products which are useful to the environment. Can we really differentiate industry from the environment? We can identify an industry as having specific boundaries and taking specific inputs, it is giving useful outputs. But who is ultimately benefited by the industry, it is the people who constitute the environment. If the people decide not to have a particular industry, it simply can’t exist. Let’s see it this way, do any cacophony producing industries exist in the residential areas of the people. Answer is clearly no. It is just because people don’t prefer industry to be around the residential areas. Does all the industries are bad in any ways? So let’s consider those industries which are considered bad by people.- If we see the case of tobacco industry, why does the tobacco industry exist? It is just because there are smokers. Some how I wonder why people debate so much! Industry exists in Environment and can’t act in Isolation, and hence it has to be a good neighbour to exist, What say?