A Crappy Affair

World toilet day
The UN has declared Nov.19th as the world Toilet day.
We have lived and grown up with toilets, of course during our younger days when we travelled we never used public toilets since we were worried about hygiene with the advent of pay toilets those are taken care off too.
The impact of open defection never really struck in, after all at school we were thought that one method of seed dispersion was undigested seeds in the faecal matter.
At the medical school the impact of water borne disease and zoonosis kind of seeped in.
Last year when I went with the Banega Swach Bharat drive of NDTV I realized the greater impact of it, there was a man who wanted toilets constructed because he wife died when she slipped as she went out the fields. Gone were the days people looked at costing, the issue that the public presented was know how, they knew they needed toilets, they wanted the toilets too, the issue was how would the sewage handle it self they did not want it let loose into the fields and rivers as it would cause contamination. The knowledge partners organized by NDTV addressed this fundamental issue.
maybe if a year back somebody told me that the international toilet day was linked with equality, dignity and gender violence and sanitation I would have rolled with laughter. But the exposure a year ago and working with the migrant workers have really opened my eyes to something larger.
I heard stories of villagers who want to send their daughters to school but the fact that there were no toilets and the trees had been cut off to widen the roads made them aware of the desperate need for toilets and trees.
On the flip side were elders who were psychologically comfortable doing their daily rituals in the open environment so they had bowel constriction when they had to use the toilets. Interestingly the resource person suggested roofless toilets and planting of trees, or keeping flower pots.
When we are dealing with the migrant labour and informal work force things take a different turn. In a supermarket or a mall there are staff toilets and toilets for the public, but in a village market, or construction site we have neither.
Some village markets have now come up with pay toilets but construction sites are still open. The workers have nowhere to ease themselves through their 10hrs of working. Neither do they have access to potable water unless they are carrying it.
It is easy to say that India as a nation has no sense of hygiene/dignity/whatever, to a certain extent yes, but if we do not provide the toilets where on earth are the people to go, they have to ease themselves so they will go into the shrubs if they are available or go in the open.
An year back I met a company that dealt with portable toilets, when we asked them why were these not used in places where temporary toilets were required, we were told
• Their initial costing is high
• They were western toilets and Indians were not comfortable using it.
By the way the company has come up with an Indian model this year. The waste was dealt with chemically so there was no odour emitted.
The sanitation maintenance people on the Indian railway have another thing to say. Yes, the train toilets are public places. The Indian railway has recently shifted to bio-cleansing toilet units, they put up signage’s to tell people not to throw their diapers, the sanitary towels and tissues down the toilet , yet people do so, particularly in the first class section which is supposed to occupied by the more educated aware citizens as opposed to the plebiscites of the sleeper class.
The international toilet day would be a great point to start an awareness drive, and toilet training—yes I use it deliberately because we need to learn how to use a public toilet, keep it clean and conserve resources.
https://wordpress.com/posts/parwatisingari.wordpress.com?s=NDTV
https://parwatisingari.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/sanitation-for-the-roadside-worker/
http://www.un.org/en/events/toiletday/
http://www.lifestyletodaynews.com/green-living/a-visit-to-one-of-the-weirdest-museums-in-the-world-the-toilet-museum/

Earth Day

April 22nd it is Earth day again.

Each Earth Day we faithfully put out the power for an hour, I really wonder who we do this farce for.

Anyway let’s get back to the “celebration of the day” I was looking up the events, it is an absolutely America oriented climate law. The theme for the year is March of science, and science has become euphemism for Pharma and computers, gone are the days when Science emcampassed the botany, zoology, and the bio-cycles.  Oh! Yes it is also about climate literacy, maybe we should start with climate defining climate, then go with the factors that influence climate, once we reconnect to the roots we might take stock of the damage and go for damage control.

By the way if I were to quote the Earth Day 2017 theme and event then it is March for Science, Climate literacy, to create Green Voters, this to me creates a image of a humoid with chlorophyll in the their cells, green technology, green environment.

Let’s start with greenery, green leafy vegetables, well nature has leaves of various hues, if you doubt me, have a look at the crotons, and the Bougainville’s you will can see the hues for yourself.  This entire Earth Day was created in 1970 as a peace vending event there are 193 countries today negotiating loopholes through the climate laws, and America safe guarding her interest.

Let’s look at Goa, this entire creation of fly-over’s which is unnecessary we are only going to have more tourists zooming and more accidents, trees have been mercilessly chopped, the Goankars who keep talking about “Indians ” have not bothered about the massacred trees, which was one of the things that brought people to Goa. There is not a single PIL or RTI about this issue, Goa as has very little agriculture land, the existing little has been grabbed by the Land sharks from Delhi and Bombay the land being pimped by Goans. We will be dealing with increased Pepsi bottles, coke bottles, and lays wrappers.

Airtel has popped up its towers all over the state, this disturbs the birds, their flights and even their very existence, I do not know who authorizes these installation, neither do I see any RTI or PIL with regarding to this, all the environment groups seem to happy that their Airtel network is working.

Turn on the television, and you have the over-exposed irritatingly monotonous Mr.Bacchan talking about composting… well Mr.Bacchan that has also been your way out of dealing with Shit…yes the biologic waste because that is the carrot dangled in the rural areas for building toilets. While I do agree with this, my point is simple,

Earth or nature has what is called as a chain, the bio-waste of one species feeds another, when it comes to seed dispersion the bio-waste is a vehicle, it no doubt also disperses pathogenic components like maybe worms and cholera, we were so focused on those that we forgot about this. Now with compost it is not the natural one, we talk about collecting wet waste and processing it, when we go overboard what next? Someone has come up with a bus that runs on Human-waste and I thought Naravahana was the epithet of Kubera the chancellor of the Gods.

With all this anguish vented, I wonder if

  • we can plant more trees than people for a change,
  • if we can do away with the concrete layer around our buildings and quench the earth’s thirst
  • If we could revive the old rainwater harvesting instead of ripping the ocean and river bed?
  • We could go back to those architectural techniques that did not violate the environment?

I guess to this we need to be Earth citizens who in their mind and heart know the Earth is the foundation of everything they do, and they care for the earth like they care for their own bodies.

What I found interesting is a citizens group in Hyderabad, has taken on the reforestation of a public park space, they do not have any architect or landscape person there, they have the urban re-forestation department, which educates children on the natural plant habitat they let the children choose the plant from the natural habitat and plant and nurture it, the child has to take the onus of digging planting and rearing the urban reforestation department does not assist in labour or they are the knowledge partners this is hands on learning process.

I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the earth, noticed exceptions, those who wantonly damage it and those do not, but the Earth is wiser, it has given itself into the keeping of all and that makes all of us accountable.

 

World Gypsy day

One of the dance forms we learnt in our Bharatnatyam curriculum was the gypsy dance, the costume would vivid, with gold spangles, and colourful hair tassels’, a tambourine in the hand and quick beats. Most of us loved it for the sheer energy it created. Gypsies seemed exotic.

Gypsies the Nomads..

Travelling in caravans, in their own habitat, camping at night the sound so romantic, authors I read be it Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle they all have gypsies the mysterious, mystics who listen to the soul.

Something very romantic, mysterious about them their closed lifestyle and passionate living, their constant run in with the laws of  the so called civilized society these community has fascinated many creative writers, the Banjaras of Hindi movies the Romani’s of Europe.

The term gypsy was applied to the Roma by outsiders, possibility assuming that they were Egyptian in origin.  Gypsies or Romani are nomads of Europe they are believed to have ethnic origin in the northern region of Indian subcontinent like Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. The exact origins are not really known but the history as retold by the clan family customs like singing and storytelling talk of a migration from India, the motives could be anything from famine, or military invasions from Alexander the great (356-323 BCE) or Mahmud Ghazni (971 – 1030 CE)

Though Kuntari or the Hindu based concept of universal balance is the fundamental of Romani spirituality, they tend to practise the dominant religion of the state.

Pope John Paul           II exhorted his followers to treat the Romanies with compassion and respect and proposed the dedication of April 8th to understanding Romani culture as part of international civil culture awareness.

2003 saw the Dalai Lama light a candle to commemorate the day.

2004 Adam Ereli of the US state department brought up the human rights issues on the abuses faced by the Romani’s in Europe.

2006 Maud de Boer-Buquicchio of council of Europe brought up the issue of antiziganism, and discrimination.

2009 Hillary Clinton spoke about protecting their rights.

2016 the external affairs minister of India, Sushma Swaraj wanted the Romani’s to be recognised as part of Indian Diasporas. Gypsiology or Romani studies are an emerging interdisciplinary ethnic studies field concerned with the experiences of the Romani people.  Terms like Zignology, Ciganology, Romology, Romalogy and Romistics are often used.  The focus, of these studies however includes the origin of the Romani people, the sociology, anthropology, linguistics, politics, the experiences of persecution, and political oppression. This study has its origin in the United Kingdom, and was designated formal in 1990.

Yet when one says Gypsies this how it resonates –“I have always considered myself a person with a gypsy heart, and I Surrender my dreams to my soul, for it’s a free sprit who believes in no boundaries of region and religion.”
― Megha KhareWrite like no one is reading 2

No HouseWork Day

There are something’s akinned to Chinese torture.. Endless… repetitive and monotonous one of them is house work. The clean becomes soiled, the soiled is cleaned over and over again, dust-bunnies seem to invade the minute you take a shut eye. It is kind of like growing up never finished.

April 7th is that utopia day of #NoHouseworkDay, I put in the twitter status and went right back to making breakfast, maybe I should have called few friends and we should gone out for coffee, well instead, I am serving left-overs and finishing my outdoor work.

This holiday was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy, at Wellcat.com; you are permitted to do anything this day except doing house work. It feels good when the reason not do house work is legit.  Initially it was the National No Housework Day at Uncle Sam’s Land, now it has gone worldwide.

I was wondering how I could celebrate it

Maybe trade places, I lie in bed and get MrD to do all the housework…maybe book a slot at Relooking for a head massage. Maybe head to this club with a wonderful library and great coffee and camp for the day… no still better I plan to ignore the sunken sink, the grimy floor, and damp laundry, at the end of the day, if the item does not multiply, smell, catch fire or block the refrigerator door, turn a blind eye, apparently no one else cares, so why should you?

Happy No HouseWork day…

Manusmriti and Forbidden Food.

Goa University runs what is called Visiting faculty public lectures, these are usually a one credit course, for those who want accreditation else it is just a learning process. Most of us are there many taking time off from work the classroom is a pleasant mix.

Initially I had the time I attended a lot now I choose. Prof.Dr, Kumkum Roy is a faculty I love listening to. And this time she had the right mix that interested me, the Theragathas, Manusmriti and more.

Actually what we like to visualize as ancient India, the glorious age of Hinduism, had no Hinduism, it had a way of life with right and wrong,  and Manusmrithi was not really very touted or adhered to, having said that lets just have a look into what does Manusmrithi actually say about meat eating.. What Manusmrithi prohibits is the meat of an unconsecrated animal (5.27 – 57).

They don’t for a Brahmin is quite stringent but since I was curious about meat I am just focusing on it.  The Manusmrithi of course prohibits all carnivores’ birds, and single hoofed animals, but interestingly it allows a lot of poultry.

The Manusmrithi calls a man who eats the meat of some animals as eaters of that animal’s meat but a fish eaten is referred to as eater of every anima’s meat, therefore he must avoid fish. The pathhina, the rohita fish are allowed when they are used in an offering to gods or ancestors, while Rajiva, Simhatunda and Sasaka fish can be eaten any time.

While wandering and unknown animals or birds are prohibited. Animals with five nails are permitted, like the porcupine, hedgehog, monitor lizard, rhinoceros, the tortoise and the rabbit get edibility permit, so do animals with incisors in only one jaw with the exception of camel.

On the other hand a village hog, garlic, a village fowl, onion or leek intentionally eaten topples the Brahmin off his caste (11.213, 219)

Sacrificing animals and birds and feeding their dependents is permitted to Brahmin.

Eating meat is allowed if it is sacrificially consecrated at the behest of the Brahmin.  The Brahmin is also allowed meat when his life is at risk.

The food chain as created by the Prajapati is the hierarchy of the life breathe or the prana… mobile and the immobile need nourishment for life breathe, the immobile are food for the mobile, the fangless for the fanged, the handless for the handed, the timid for the brahve, the eater does get defieled byh eating living beings suitable for eating if if he eats them day after day, for the creator himself fashioned both the eater and the what is being eaten.

The Manusmrithi very specifically states that when a man eats meat whether it was purchased, procured by himself, or offered by someone else after making an offering t the gods and ancestors, he does not become defiled. The twice born is also allowed meat when faced with adversity. But eating ritually consecrated meat is allowed.  But killing an animal for futile reason or eating because of an urge is not acceptable.

Interestingly a person abstaining from meat and a man who offers the horse sacrifice every year for hundred years gain the same merit and the horse sacrifice or the ashwamedha entails, eating the meat of the sacrificed horse.

Very categorically the Manusmrithi says there is no fault in eating meat, in drinking liqueur, or in having sex these are natural activities of creatures, however abstaining from such activity, however brings great rewards.

Waste Water and Water Waste

Waste Water… and Water Waste

This is blog is inspired by www.BlogAdda.com

But I have not written it over weekend, simply because I was researching and I needed to get my information right.

So lets start at the very beginning.. No we are not going to a place where water was common resource but to this event called the world water day. It’s on 22nd of march, which means this article is almost a week late and most of us are probably already looking at 1st April for the all fools day. this year the UN focuses on waste waters and the ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the waste water from our homes, cities industries and agriculture flows back into nature polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.

The UN also has a goal 6 which is ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The target of this is is to halve the proportion of untreated waste water and increase water recycling and safe re-use of water.

Some facts from the UN

  • Globally over 50% of the water waste generated by the society flows back into ecosystem without being treated or reused.
  • 8 billion People use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.(data courtesy WHO/UNICEF)

After all this not really relevant data, let’s look at waste water,  how many of you saw sewage, kitchen flow etc. etc. the imagery of cattle bathing in the river, or clothes being washed in the river. Well cattle bathing in the river is their right I do not what gives us the right to deprive them, but that is another war, not the agenda here. clothes being washed at the river side is an issue because the detergents that are marketed so heavily subtly ridiculing the traditional washing aids, contaminate water.  I doubt if the policy makers also thought of the real pollutants from urban sewage, trucks being washed at the water bodies, industrial waste etc. etc. Contamination also occurs right up to the groundwater through septic tanks.

The theme this year is about reusing waste water

The Water Resource Department,(WRD) has come up with a sequential water reactor, the first level of treatment allows the water to be used to flush the toilets and to be used in gardens, while the second level allows the water to become drinkable.  Government provides assistance to bring this into action; somehow housing societies are rather reluctant to pick this one.

The area that WRD is supposed to work on, is creating awareness on rainwater harvesting and assisting people to do so. the government gives a subsidy of 50.000 – 2 lakhs, to individuals or societies to achieve this. Every panchayat has an officer appointed by the government to do this, yet the citizens are totally unaware of this.

Ground water act calls for all wells to be registered, so do the water tankers. – Details are found on the web of WRD, printed copy of this act is not available, and translation to quite a few vernacular language is also required. The job and funds for doing so is available to the information department. The PWD takes on the cleaning of the existing wells,

The government has allotted funds for de-silting, and cleaning existing wells. The wells need to be registered to avail this. The directorate of health, which is in charge of checking the water quality, has required equipment, and a designated officer but is absolutely clueless on how to use the equipment as no one has demanded that it be done, the resources undergo disuse atrophy.

Know the department involved in water saga,

  • Sewage and Infrastructural Development Corporation. Every state has one.       In charge of the waste water treatment.
  • Water resource department — water supply, rainwater harvest education, registration of wells, and water transport trucks.
  • Directorate of Health Services water quality maintenance, and watch dog for waterborne diseases.
  • PWD water cleaning and de-silting and maintenance of ground water

The information I have handed is also incomplete, since time is a constrain. But amazes me is when we buy a television we check out the service etc. etc. we do not take the trouble of seeing where our tax money is going. Nor do we take the responsibility for any of this when we buy our flat.

http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/rooftop-rainwater-harvesting-gujarat-utthan

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Smart Auto

The Telangana government has definitely been proactive,

At the Hyderabad Litfest there was the electric auto’s on display. With two owners giving passengers a tour round the literary festival zone.

The auto’s felt good, amazing colours that it came in and some how it did not look like the harassed communters rescue operation, but it felt like a luxury ride, smooth and clean.

Aslam Haidiri one of the drivers who is one auto driver who opted to volunteer to use this for 6mnths and give a feed back to the government. Impressive exercise in itself.

The noise level was extremely low.

Passenger leg space in the current scenario is extremely good.

At the drivers space it is good, too, it does have the option of self start but the drivers are advised against it.  the engine needs intial 24hrs after which the charge has to be maintained, at least that is what Mr.Haidiri explained to me, according to him it works to about 70paise for a km, which seems a very good deal.

auto rani (3)
Auto-Rani

There are also built in billing system, which gives a printed bill to the customer.  This comes with zero pollution.

As a driver Mr.Haidiri was commenting that it takes, few minutes for the bill to be generated and customers tend to be impatient.  After the trail ride I was however left with a few questions, where will the charging points be? I mean will we have public charging points like the mobile chargers have… again Mr. Haidiri says there is a move to have solar charges that will allow the auto to get charged as it is parked.

I only hope it won’t go the same way that the electric run two wheeler or the Rewa went.