Is Narmada water being made to flow in Sabarmati not supplied to city of Ahmedabad? This has furthered the idea of river...
I have been selling glass for commercial buildings talking about light, thermal/solar heat gain etc.etc..but I...
Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
Karelal lives in the forest colony of Auraghoghra near Mavai town in Dindori district, Madhya Pradesh. The courtyard of his house is a diverse exhibition of Baiga faith/local ecology. (Researchers estimate that the Baiga collect more MFP than any other forest-dwelling community in the world.) On the fence sits a cow's skull, warding off the evil eye. In a corner lies dried grass that will make the rough brooms called chhind jhadu. Two dogs, a hen and some chicken. Red flowers called amta, eaten as well as used to garnish food. Ramvati, Karelal's wife, offers some; it tastes sour. There is mushroom lying in the shade. Karelal pulls out a seed from a bag. This is harra; Karelal has a cold, harra helps.
I ask him to take us around the forest. He reluctantly consents. A little way from his house he points to some dry foliage, reaches under, and shows a creeper. With his pick, he pulls out its tuber. It is called tin paniya and is a tonic for general weakness. A few feet further, he digs out another tuber called ravi kanda, which alleviates indigestion. Then there is van rai (to treat asthma), bai biding (for arthritis), muhmundi (for swelling), dudhiya (which increases milk yield of cattle) and phulbuhari (the long, soft grass used for brooms sold in cities). In fifteen minutes he has shown me more plants and their uses than I care to note. I have been chewing. The sour taste of amta has changed to the bittersweet of harra, finally giving way to astringent aonla. I have had a taste of the forest, literally.
My guide Naresh Biswas asks Karelal to describe a few Baiga traditions of forest use. He does so, desultorily. At the time of delivery, the Baiga need the bark of the kalla tree. The tree is offered food and incense, followed by an incantation to the vegetation god. Thereafter, the bark is taken off with an axe -- but only as much as comes off in one strike. The bark of the tinsa tree is used to treat headaches. But one has to hold one's breath, walk around the tree thrice, and then take out as much bark as comes off with one strike. Some trees require coconut offerings, others marijuana, and some others prefer liquor. If these customs are ignored, the medicinal agents fade away. The inherent idea is ecological -- that the source of benefits should not be exploited mindlessly. Such is the core of the Baiga ethos.
Here is their creation myth: Naga Baiga, the first human, refused to be the ruler of the world and recommended that it be given to his younger brother, the Gond. God was so pleased with such selflessness that he appointed Naga Baiga guardian of the earth. This required that he not tear into the earth with a plough. So, he was given the concession of bewar (shifting cultivation). "You will cut down trees and burn them and sow your seed in the ashes. But you will never become rich, for if you did you would forsake the earth, and then there would be no one to guard it and keep its 'nails' in place."
These 'nails' are the trees that hold the soil together. But today, the Baiga cannot keep it in place. The forest department does (it has also banned shifting cultivation). Baiga people were forced to 'settle down' and till the soil. As for Karelal, Baiga customs leave him impatient today. As we prepare to turn back to the village, he quietly asks for a tip. I comply.