Mother, I want to Live

I want to live, maa I want to live

Create a world of peace

A world of colors, where I am recognized

A world that understands me

No abortion, but love around

No grief on my birth

Surround, it with humanity and belief

Maa, I want to live, I want to live

Don’t forget our place and importance

Don’t play politics, no fatwa,

Cease ….where is my fault?

Rape..put a permanent halt

I am like others, its my world as well

Let me live, A request to the world

Let me live, I want to live

Scared every moment

Every day I step out

Embrace ogling eyes and lusty sprouts

Nudging, assualt, rape

And more embarrassment

Every drop of our tear goes unnoticed

Suicide, suppression befriends us

Don’t let it go in vain

I am leaving, but let my sisters live

I wanted to live…but 

By Saurabh Verma, Manul

MSP for Forest Produce- Step towards Tiger Conservation

   Tendu Trade- A step towards Save the Tiger Mission

Last year, I went to Kanha National Park to visit some nearby places like Katanga and Sarhi for a community development program. The basic motive was to find all the problems the villagers were embracing unwillingly despite several government schemes to elevate their social status. TPG India, an NGO for Tiger conservation, took this tough task to develop the villages and train the villagers by setting up handicraft classes to make earnings to alleviate their life style. The motive was very auspicious and it sounds very humane, when a team comes all the way from Delhi to commence with survey in the area to dig up more about the lurking problems. We were assisted by Foundation for Ecological Security to talk to the senior members of the villages.

Other than the normal issues, their biggest problem is their dependency on Tendu leaves and some other agricultural produce, which is not paying them much. Though, the traders are making good sum out of that, but the poor remains poor there. Now, the Tribal Affairs Ministry has taken very judicious step that not only is in favor of the tribes but also saves the stripes by announcing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Forest Produce like Tendu, Bamboo and Resin from 1st Jan. The total business of Forest Produce is around Rs 50,000 Crore, which is fully managed by the middlemen and traders. To know more about Tendu Trade.

I was informed by one of my friends Vibhav Srivastava, who is a conservation Biologist and was the main surveyor there in Kanha, that Tendu leaves collection has one of the biggest share in the NTFP (Non Timber Forest Produce) collection from the deciduous forests of India which is also the major habitat for the Tiger. The economic security of the community will in turn give boost to the effort of the tiger conservation.

The villagers who extract the produce like Tendu used for Bidi and Bamboo for Paper, get pittance, though business of hundreds of crores run mostly by traders in full control. The center has decided that providing economic advantage from their native business would help them improve their social status as well as increase support for Left-wing extremism. Its Kishore Chandra Deo, who took over Tribal Affairs Ministry, finally announced the MSP for Forest Produce.

This is the official data of Incentive Wages to Tendu leaves pluckers:

Collection
Season

No of pluckers
(in Lakhs)

Incentive
wages paid
(In Rs. crores)

1989

21.31

150.00

1995

15.76

10.76

1996

18.02

12.29

1997

22.41

15.30

1998

18.84

57.27

1999

15.50

48.22

2000

4.50

7.30

2002

5.23

8.22

2003

4.64

5.51

2004

8.21

11.80

2005

9.78

13.23

2006

10.87

27.41

2007

12.31

118.58

2008

7.98

38.73

2009

62.11

2010

82.57

Data Taken from M.P.State Minor Forest Produce.

But, we found a different story when we visited the villages and interacted with the locals. The data and the reality are just poles apart. This is not just about Tendu leaves; they face such situations with all the agriculture produce like mustard.

Coming back to the issue prevailing in the villages close to the core area of Kanha and Mukki is the low earning from Tendu and other agricultural produce, which compel the villagers to commit illicit activity by helping poachers track Tigers in the jungle. Poachers take advantage of the poor status of the villagers, as for a mere sum of Rs. 500 they can assist a poacher to track Tiger and put up a trap in the area.

I, as a Tiger Conservationist, would like to thank Mr Kishore Chandra Deo for the great step taken and also thanks from all the NGOs working for community development program in the villages close to core area of Tiger Reserves.

Such steps are very important to save our national animal before they become history.

See more about the story in TOI.

Saurabh Verma, Manul
www.manulverma.wordpress.com

The crucial time in Bihar

When tsunami hit eastern and southern coast of India at the dawn of year 2004, it was seen as a massive natural calamity in many-many years and rightly so. For impact of the natural fury was so much that lacs got affected. Whole nation stood up and extended helping hands towards affected states. Every year, there happens situation similar to Tsunami in Bihar, but has anyone bothered to take that seriously ever? It is a question every Bihari has in their mind.

It happens year after year without failing. This year, on 18th August, 2008, catastrophe hit the state and many lives were literally marooned and doomed to strive for survival. Entire north Bihar region got badly affected by the worst floods in the history of Bihar caused by several kilometers long breaches in the embankments of Kosi river near Indo-Nepal border. Fifteen districts of Bihar have been hit by the impact of one of the worst floods in recent memory with the worst hit being Araria, Supaul, Madhepura and Saharsa.  

And while relief measures and funds have been going on but the quantum of the severity of this flood of furry is yet to completely seep in, even though the overflowing Kosi—the sorrow of Bihar—has been sinking most of the human habitat that has come on the way of its new, changed course has been victimized.

A close look at the history of this North Bihar river, and one realizes that the worst is yet not over.

Like many other rivers of North Bihar, Kosi gathers water from Himalayas in Nepal. However, it is a trans-boundary river and flows between Nepal and India.

Kosi is also one of the largest tributaries of Ganga and after flowing through nearly 70,000 sq kilometers confluences into Ganga near Kursaila in Katihar district of Bihar.

In Nepal, this river lies to the west of Himalayan peak, the Kanchanjangha and has seven major tributaries namely Sun Kosi, Tama Kosi, Dhudh Kosi, Indravati, Likhu, Arun and Tamar. That is why it is known as ‘Sapta Kosi’ in Nepal.

This river has earned notoriety since time immemorial due to its unruly, turbulent and unpredictable behavior.

On an average, it carries 70-80 million tons of silt every year and it is perhaps due to this feature, it tends to change its course after a definite period of time. This is also one of the most important differences between Himalayan rivers and rivers of Europe or America.

The speed and velocity of the river’s flow is also very high, causing devastation that is most often unthinkable. As the river is relatively new, experts suggest that it has not matured enough to settle a definite course.

The impact of this catastrophe is also manifold—the pace of development of Bihar is certainly going to come to a grinding halt, or may even get reversed.

Many would agree that history is going to repeat itself. The irony is that the international community is sitting quite and except for few announcements there has been no initiative as such to help the nation and the state tide over the disaster that is fast turning severe than the recent Tsunami.

The magnitude of devastation and destruction is such that no government will be able to tackle it single handedly. The job is enormous and response so far has been cold.

This is the time to fight back; Bihar is looking for help from all corners, all agencies and many nations. And while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the entire state machinery are struggling hard, so are the denizens of entire North Bihar.

Let helping hands come out and take Bihar out of this ‘national calamity’.

When tsunami hit southern coast of India on BIHAR is devastated either by water or the lack of it. Presently the entire State has been flooded and according to official reports, over 600 people have perished in the current floods, with more and more casualties being reported. Nearly 20.5 million people continue to reel under the impact of the floods in 20 districts of the State.

Approximately six lakh people have been evacuated but still 25 lakh people remain to be trapped. Running water is the only breather that people have from this flood, because it keeps epidemic diseases off the bank. But, once water starts receding, an epidemic is only inevitable. Administration had better start thinking about this aspect of Bihar flood as well.
Note: The article was originally posted in a different WordPress Blog of mine in 2008. I have moved this article here as I am going to delete that Blog.

Saurabh Verma, Manul & Sumi

www.Manulverma.wordpress.com

Why is this rumpus over Valentine’s Day celebration?

It’s a matter of mere 5-6 years that almost all India has started celebrating this Valentine’s Day festival. This is a recent phenomenon in India but it has caught the fancy of people to a great level that people have started celebrating it with full pomp and show. Day 14 of February month signifies as a day of Love for the young people of our nation.

Euphoria of Valentine’s Day festival can be experienced weeks before the festival. Television, Radio and Print media start creating hype about the festival by covering all facets of it. Gift marketers and card companies launch a rigorous campaign to lure the youngsters. Card and gift shops are interestingly decorated with symbols of Valentine’s Day including roses, cupid and heart shaped balloons. Shopping malls in metropolitan cities organize fun-filled competitions and distribute discount coupons to lure the consumers says stvalentine’sday.org.

It’s a day to celebrate love so let them love. Why are we torturing them and causing unnecessary hue and cry over it. There are other major issues India is facing from politics to terror, why aren’t we marching for them? Why aren’t we protesting what we are supposed to do and we are not doing for our nation and family? There are numerous issues and things to be discussed and those are put across to the politicians to handle, for you are implicated in this.

There are so called and self-proclaimed culture protectors, call themselves Moral Police, who have taken the job to get India rid of the western influence (On V’Day only). The Hindu Right Wings of Karnataka identify Valentine’s Day celebration as an instance of Western sexual license corrupting Hindu women.

Wendy Doniger has said it correctly” People marking V’ Day as the license to corrupt Indian women is just one of the examples of  a problematic Hindu male attitude to women and sexuality that we can trace back to a fork in the road in the Upanishads, perhaps as early as the 6th century BCE”. There we find the remains of positive Rig Vedic attitudes toward fertility and sexuality, such as passages that offer mantras to make a man’s wife love him or to keep her from becoming pregnant, or to destroy the virility of her lover (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.9-11); or that respect even a woman of blatant promiscuity (Chandogya Upanishad 4.4). Both fertility and eroticism have continued to play a central role throughout Indian history. The exuberant sexuality found in Indian poetry, painting, and sculpture provides evidence of the celebration of women both as mothers and as lovers, in art, religion, and, sometimes, real life. This clearly shows the intentions of these so called groups and Dals that they want to encash the situation. I have seen on India TV that in Jalandhar an SP was beating a girl by dragging her hair. She was crying like anything and the remorseless SP was showing to people. You will be shocked to know why they have beaten the Boy and the Girl mercilessly. The Boy and girl went to call at one of their friends. The friend went out to manage stuff for their guests and the hooligan neighbor saw them enter the room. They locked the door and called the police.

Why are they called Moral Police when they become the cause of someone’s death. We have seen the girl in Mangalore’s case committed suicide after being humiliated by them. She could stand the humiliation. How ugly does it look when some groups are ready to vandalize and go on sabotaging the public properties or punishing the couple caught anywhere be it a Park or secluded place or friends house and on the other hand there are groups who are ready to protect them from being humiliated? The All India Confederation of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and the Northeast Support Centre are some of the other organizations protesting moral policing and celebrating the day symbolically at various locations in Delhi.  Several other groups like the Earth Saviours Foundation and the the Delhi unit of the National Panthers Party are ready to “rescue” any hapless couple harassed by the moral vigilant.

Women are harassed everyday in busses and roads. Why and how have these groups mushroomed overnight? Why is not Shiv Sena doing anything for women’s status and for their protection. Its not their job. The government is educated enough to handle such issues, though its not an issue at all. We already have borrowed half of the western culture and imbibed that in our day to day life. This is the time of globalization. We are exchanging culture, thoughts, style, modus operendi and God know what not then why are they asking to put a FULL STOP on it

Note: The article was originally posted on my other WordPress Blog in 2008, I have moved the article here as I am deleting that account.

Saurabh Verma, Manul
www.Manulverma.wordpress.com