Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tiger Reserve in Pilibhit

The government of Uttar Pradesh , India today(February 26,2014;Wednesday) approved the proposal to declare Tiger reserve in Pilibhit , marking a great step forward  in the conservation of Tigers .The decision was taken by the cabinet  in a meeting, held in Lucknow, chaired by the Chief Minister of UP, India.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Youth Cafe on Environment , and Shades of Nature

Shades of Nature is a book of 64 pages, which was released jointly by  Sri Abid Surti( Painter and Cartoonist,Mumbai) , Sri Ram Bhooj(Unesco, Delhi)  and me on February 22, 2014(Saturday) in the auditorium of Science City Centre , Lucknow.Edited by Dr. Shikha Tripathy , it is a book on environment , introducing the concept of Youth Environment Cafe, and demonstrating the effectiveness of this innovation  in creating social consciousness through youth ,on issues of importance , like environmental issue.The event was organized very professionally by the Director of Environment , Uttar Pradesh , Sri O. P. Verma and his team.The concept of Youth Cafe in  creating ideas and awareness on issues related to environment , is powerful as well as revolutionary , with immense potential and possibilities.
                 Shades of Nature is a goldmine of 320  ideas , generated by young Lucknow students on Ways to conserve environment in the city of Lucknow.It is innovative as well as highly do-able.The book has elegant content and style and makes you want to read it .It is aesthetic , with excellent designs , cartoons , and  error-free printing .It has used very effectively the art of cartoons to make the subject full of fun , energy and excitement.The book  inspires ,and reflects the purity of its purpose .The ideas contained in the book are replicable on a wider scale, by forging a partnership between the government and the civil society.It has the potential to create a movement for clean and green environment .
              Youth Cafe is a method , a process and a technique to generate and harvest ideas.It gives youth a platform to contribute ideas for better environment.It brings out unity , togetherness and leadership among the youth.The young boys and girls converse , discuss and enter into dialogue in small 15 groups of five to six students each.Each group sits around a small table and discusses  on one theme related to environment, making a total of 15 themes.Inter-group mobility is possible.Each group finally comes up with a list of ideas on environment.When all the ideas of all groups are collected , these are reflected and harvested , and then assessed by a team of experts on environment, in an unbiased manner .Shades of Nature records 320 such ideas generated by 82 students of 15 schools of Lucknow on August 19,2013.These 320 ideas were on water conservation , transport, encroachment , stray animals, noise pollution, municipal waste, e-waste, pollution control, energy conservation  and energy efficiency, bio-diversity , greening , recycling , reusing and reducing consumption.
                    I hope , this experiment of Youth Cafe on Environment is replicated in each town and city of  Uttar Pradesh , and in India.I am sure ,it will create a wealth of ideas and awareness on preserving our environment and ecology .It will make an impact on our culture , which tolerates pollution and polluters too easily .Youth Cafe and Shades of Nature give us hope and optimism .
                      I lke Abid Surti for his  sincerity ,his  ability to inspire  , his capacity to laugh and take life with fun and humour .He is a living example of a water- conservationist, apart from being a famous painter , writer and a cartoonist.He has fans like Shah Rukh Khan and many other  celebrities all over the world.He cautions us from spreading negativity and cynicism   .I like his following quote:"We must not get possessive with our ideas.People follow and promote ideas only if they own these ideas."

Friday, 14 February 2014

On praise and criticism

There is a symmetry between praise and criticism .They are the two sides of the same coin .
2.Don't feel happy when someone praises you and  don't feel unhappy when someone criticises you .Weigh your response to praise and criticism .If it is genuine , it should be examined and then accepted .Don't retaliate if criticism in unfair .Don't be greedy when praise  is not due.
3.Public praise can give more happiness than private praise or approval.Public criticism can give more unhappiness than private criticism .
4.Don't seek or make efforts to get praise. Don't fish for compliments. Don't covet popularity or fame , because there is a difference between  praise and the reality it seeks to describe .
5.Be careful when praise becomes flattery and when criticism becomes accusation .This is so when criticism is born out of malice.
6.Praise and popularity should not be allowed to become our weakness.We should stay away from them.When seeking praise , popularity , name or fame or high profile  becomes an end in itself , we deviate from our real mission or goal  or values.
7.We must take right decisions and not popular decisions.We should not defer a decision because it is likely to be criticised or become unpopular.We should not be afraid of such  possibilities.If needed , we should be willing to go against public opinion and swim against current .Our decisions should be based on evidence , truth and equity.
8.There is a relationship between conformism and seeking approval.
9.When seeking  praise becomes a habit , we start accepting false praise and rejecting true criticism .We should watch out against such tendencies.
10. Don't divide the world between two camps ;those who praise you and those who criticise you .
11. Don't let praise or criticism have power over you and your freedom .
12.Be self-effacing , work below the radar and maintain low profile.
13.Don't feel hurt when you are singled out for criticism .
14.Kill your desire for praise , name , fame or popularity.
15.Don't indulge in self-praise or self-criticism.Both are harmful for  your reputation and self-esteem.

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Herzog is a brilliant masterpiece by Saul Bellow.In stead of talking to people , he writes letters , mostly in his mind , and some on paper , some to living persons , some to dead, some to ordinary persons , some to the famous.It is autobiographical, and has a style which only few writers  can  reach in a life time .It is not that I could understand and grasp the novel in full .It is too subtle and complicated to be fully understood  on first reading .But it makes you feel that you are on a journey , in the company of a great and honest mind .
                              The book is a series of meditations , philosophical musings , emotional depths and  sublime experiences , woven around and inside a story.It  deals  with  multi-layered  relationships , from the purest love of Herzog for his daughter , to the most complicated one with  Madeliene who brought an" ideology" into his life .He searches for truth through the maze of hypocrisy , alienation and boredom .But the novel  is not only about ruminations ;it has a story and a well developed structure also.
                             Herzog is a Professor in a university .It is natural that he frequently meanders into the thoughts and works of other well known philosophers.But as the book approaches its end , he seems to have found an equilibrium .
                     If you are the type who wants to read light , lucid novels , this one is not for you.For the rest , I recommend  to read it , just to admire Saul Bellow for the style of his writing and honesty of his content.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

World Wetlands day, February 2. . .

Any area of water, natural or artificial,static or flowing , the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6(Six) meters is a wetland .Article 1.1 of Ramsar Convention ,1971 and Section 2(g) of Wetland(Conservation and management) Rules, 2010 of India  support this definition .Practically all tanks , lakes ,and rivers are wetlands. Uttar Pradesh in India has 2508 wetlands with an area above 3 hectares and 1193 wetlands with an area above 50 hectares and above.Some of the well known wetlands of U.P. are Nawabganj , Samaspur, Lakh Bahosi,Sandi, Patna Jheel, Keetham Lake(Sur Sarovar, Chambal), Sarsai Nawar  and  Samaan.
 Ram Sar is the first of the modern , global international treaties on the conservation of natural resources.The convention was held in 1971 and has 160 member states.India formally ratified the convention on February 1 , 1982.It was only in 2010 that India enacted Wetland(conservation and management) Rules.The mission of RamSar Convention on wetlands is:"The conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local , regional and national activities and international cooperation , as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development through out the world".
                                       What values and benefits wetlands bring us?These are:
1.Water supply .By 2025, two out of every three people on Earth may face life in water stressed conditions .
3.Agriculture through maintenance of water tables and nutrient retention in flood plains.
4.habitats supporting  biodiversity,  flora and fauna.Plant genetic materials.
5.Hydel energy.
7.Recreation and tourism opportunities.
8.Cultural heritage.
9.Wildlife sanctuaries.
             Wetland are the world's most threatened eco-systems because:
1.Agriculture's growing demand for land and water.Wetlands continue to be drained and reclaimed to make farming land available.
2.Urban expansion .
4.Aqua culture.
6.Sedimentation and siltation .
7.Climate change causing reduced rainfall in some areas and excessive rainfall and flooding in some other areas.
8.Over exploitation due to various  benefits.
For all these reasons , we need to take steps to conserve and manage wetlands better.
                      For conservation of wetlands , there are three pillars of action :
1.Wise use of wetlands.
2.Identifying and managing wetlands of international importance .U.P. has only one such wetland , Upper Ganga Canal.There are 26  such sites in India.
3.Co-operating internationally .
                 The wise use of wetlands has three distinct areas:
1.Adopt National Wetland policies .India did it in 2010 by framing Rules.
2.Develop programmes of wetlands inventory,monitoring , research , training , education and public awareness.
3.Integrated management of wetlands.
The  Central and state governments , local bodies and communities are responsible for such wise use.
Every state has a State level Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary.The National Wetlands Conservation Scheme provides funds for conservation of wetlands, 70% from centre and 30% from state.These funds  are highly inadequate  to meet the needs of wetlands.
                           The theme for 2014 world wetlands day is:"Wetlands and Agriculture;Partners in growth".
We need to focus on those agricultural practices which support and preserve healthy wetlands.Agriculture is important for wetlands because 70% of all withdrawls from surface water and ground water is used for agriculture.Also 19% estimated increase is likely to happen  by 2050 over current rates of global agricultural water consumption.
          There is a need for awareness to conserve wetlands at community level .Many departments like Forests , Environment , Agriculture , Urban Development and Land (Revenue) departments need to act in co-ordination  to conserve wetlands .Involvement of local bodies , Panchyats ,as well as urban local bodies is also essential .Agencies entrusted with eco-tourism should take a lead to preserve wetlands and encourage bird watching .
          I end with this quote by Adlai Stevenson:"It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them'