Issue Date: Jan 15, 1995
I read the article Cooking up honey by Bhanusingha Ghosh (October 31, 1994) with interest. Although it is informative from a historical point of view, at some points it lacks clarity and analysis.
It is incorrect to say, "Gathering honey was a harrowing experience in ancient times." If one studies the methods of African honey hunters in Babati district, Tanzania, or the Kurumbas in the Nilgiris, one sees that it is an skill performed with reverence, in which the entire community participates.
Issue Date: Dec 31, 1994
The views of G Azeemoddin in A weed maligned (October 31, 1994) do not conform to the findings of researchers from Texas and my own experience of growing Prosopis chilensis. This weed is inappropriately called "honey mesquite". The species commonly known as honey mesquite include Prosopis glandulosa, Prosopis reptans, Prosopis torreyana and Prosopis velutina, which, to the best of my knowledge, are not found in India.
Issue Date: Dec 15, 1994
Life endangered under water
Development in India has largely been at the cost of the environment. One such glaring instance is water pollution and the increased incidents of poaching on aquatic life. Concern for these damages have been late in coming. The World Wide Fund for Nature's Mission for the 1990s has come not a day too soon. The sections dealing with aquatic life in this programme envisage the conservation of different stocks of fish and their habitats, and their sustainable use to meet food and employment requirements.
Issue Date: Nov 30, 1994
Show more concern please
Issue Date: Nov 15, 1994
I was surprised to read in Rogue Elephants in the Backyard (August 15, 1994), that the Bombay Natural History Society (bnhs) allegedly "debunks" my study on crop raiding by elephants. While the bnhs study provides an additional or a different perspective to the subject, it cannot claim to debunk earlier studies. I wish I could see the results of the BNHS study first in journals reviewed by my peers. (The only paper published in their 11-year study has been in their own journal!)
Issue Date: Oct 31, 1994
Modem abattoirs: blood sport
Of late, there has been a spurt in media
attention on cruelty towards animals in
slaughterhouses all over the country.
Animal welfare groups, too, have voiced
Nevertheless, those who have the
welfare of animals in mind fail to send a
clear message about a complete ban on
such killings; they merely suggest that
no cruelties should be inflicted. This is a
half-hearted approach, making it easier
fo r the government propaganda
machinery and other vested interests to
Issue Date: Oct 15, 1994
Don't trundle into oblivion
The West Bengal state transport minister declared on August 20, 1992, that tramcars would be phased out from Calcutta due to enormous financial losses which the government could no longer subsidise. The tramcars, he said, would be substituted by buses.
This decision does not appear to be reasonable because 5 lakh people still use tramcars. If these passengers are diverted to single-decker buses, the number of buses required will be 5 times more, causing greater air pollution and congestion.
Issue Date: Sep 30, 1994
Slaughter, too, has its standards
The suggestion made by N S Ramaswamy, former chairperson of the Animal Welfare Board, that slaughterhouses be shifted to wastelands in rural areas, has been endorsed in the article Caught by the horns (June 15, 1994). Lack of water is a major criteria in determining so-called "wastelands". If so, how will the huge water requirements for cattle be met?
Issue Date: Sep 15, 1994
This is in response to the letter by B K Verma (June 30, 1994) on my article on the Malabar civet (April 30, 1994). I had said that one of the "reported" uses of civet-musk, among several others, is as an aphrodisiac. In saying this, I am neither promoting nor decrying its use. Would Verma support the use of the musk if its "reported" use was to decrease virility?
Issue Date: Aug 31, 1994
Watering down the truth
The statement by P K Thungon, minister of state for water resources and urban development, that groundwater is either underutilised or overexploited (April 30, 1994), is a surprising one. In fact, in most states groundwater has been so overexploited that many areas have been declared "dark zones". In others, sweet water has given way to saline/brackish water.