Monthly Archives: January 2009

लडाख – भुतान छायाचित्र प्रदर्शन !


हिमालयाची शुभ्र हिमशिखरं सर्वानाच साद घालत असतात, नव्हे अगदी वेद काळापासूनच आपणा सर्व भारतीयाना त्याच प्रचंड आकर्षण आहे. जसे देव, ऋषी- मुनी तिथे वास्तव्य करतात असं आपण मानतो, तसाच निसर्ग देवतेचा नित्यनेमाने नवा अविष्कार आपल्याला तिथे पहायला मिळतो. आपल्या देशाला पुर्वेकडे अरुणाचल प्रदेश पासून उत्तरेकडे काश्मिर पर्यंत हे देणं लाभलं आहे. जगभरातील निसर्गवेडे इथे धाव घेत असतात.

वॉन्डररर्स चे छायाचित्रकार गेले ते थेट लडाखला, जिथे त्यांनी टिपलाय एक अनोखा हिमालय. इतर ठिकाणांहून जवळ वाटणारं क्षितीज इथे पार दूरवर गेलेलं असतं. चोहिकडे रंगांची रांगोळी घातलेली दिसते. एवढ्या रंगछटा, आकार आणि भव्यता खरचं स्तिमीत व्हायला होतं. एक वेगळं जग, जिथे आहे चांद्रभूमी, जगातील सर्वात उंच मोटार वाहतुकीचा रस्ता, बौध्द गूंफा तर आहेतच पण आपल्याला नेहमी दुरावली असं वाटणारी सिधू नदी सुध्दा सामोरी येते. हे सर्व पाहून स्वर्ग भुमीवर आल्याचा भास होतो. हे झालं लडाख विषयी पण तिकडे पुर्वेला आहे भुतान. लडाखच्या अगदी विरूध्द असलेलं हिमालयाचं आणखी एक रुप, जिथे आहे नेत्रसुखद हिरवाई. चिड आणि पाईनचे भले थोरले वृक्ष व त्यातून बागडणार्‍या नद्या. नंदनवन म्हणाव तर हेच. दर मिनीटागणीक बदलणारे सृष्टीचे विभ्रम, वर्णन करणे केवळ अशक्य. हे सर्व पहण्याची संधी आपल्या दारी आणली आहे वॉन्डररर्सने. वॉन्डररर्स या हौशी छायाचित्रकारांच्या गटाची स्थापना श्री. आत्माराम परब यानी १० वर्षांपुर्वी केली, ती छायाचित्रकाराच्या सुप्त गुणांना जनतेसमोर आणण्यासाठी.

अशाच “वॉन्डररर्स ” पैकी आत्माराम परब,हितेंद्र सिनकर, तुषार निदांबूर,नरेंद्र प्रभू, अतिष बँनर्जी, दिपांकर बँनर्जी,केदार मालेगावकर, सागर कर्णिक, संजय तिकोटीकर, विनायक परब, विश्वेश आठवले, जीतेंद्र सावंत व डॉ. घनश्याम बोरकर यांच्या छायाचित्रांचे प्रदर्शन पु.ल. देशपांडे कला दालन, रविंद्र नाट्य मंदिर आवार , प्रभादेवी, मुंबई येथे ३१ जानेवारी ते ८ फेब्रूवारी २००९ , सकाळी ११ ते सायंकाळी ८ वा. पर्यंत सर्वंसाठी विनामूल्य आयोजीत करण्यात आले आहे. या प्रदर्शना दरम्यान हिमालयातील भ्रमंती, लडाखवारी, भुतान तसेच अन्य ठिकणांची माहिती, स्लाईड शो, चित्रफीत आणि मार्गदर्शन विनामूल्य उपलब्ध करुन दिले जाईल. संपर्क: ९८९२१८२६५५, ९३२००३१९१०

नरेन्द्र प्रभू

http://prabhunarendra.blogspot.com/2009/01/blog-post_28.html

गांधीहत्येचा प्रवास…

स्वातंत्र्यानंतरही सर्वसामान्यांच्या मनात जातीधर्माचा आधार घेत विद्वेष भिनवण्याचे काम काही शक्ती अविरतपणे करीत आहेत. विचारांची लढाई विचारांनी लढावी, हे सूत्र नाकारत ते व्यक्तिद्वेषातून हत्येचा आधार घेतात व विचार संपविण्याचा प्रयत्न करतात. ही धर्माध मंडळी इतिहास विपरीत स्वरूपात मांडतात. गैरसोयीची ठरणारी इतिहासातील पाने पुसतात. अशाच मनोवृत्तीने ३० जानेवारी १९४८ला महात्मा गांधींची हत्या करण्यात आली. ही हत्या ज्या नथुराम गोडसेने केली तो एक व्यक्ती नव्हता, तो विद्वेषाचे राजकारण करणाऱ्या शक्तींचा प्रतिनिधी होता. गांधीहत्येनंतर महात्म्याचे विचार संपतील हा धर्माधांचा भ्रम होता. आजही जग गांधीवादाच्या मार्गाने चालले आहे. महात्मा गांधींच्या हत्येची कारणे खोटी होती हे इतिहासाच्या दाखल्यांवरून सिद्ध होते.
गांधीजींच्या हत्येचा प्रयत्न १५ वेळा झाला. त्यातील दोन हल्ले तर नथुराम गोडसेनेच केले होते. त्यामागचे एक कारण मुस्लिमांचे तुष्टीकरण व दुसरे ते फाळणीला जबाबदार होते, असे सांगण्यात आले; पण द्विराष्ट्र ही मुस्लिम लीग व हिंदूमहासभेची मागणी होती. मुस्लिमांचे तुष्टीकरण हे कारण होते, तर स्वातंत्र्यपूर्व काळात १९३५ साली नथुरामने हल्ला का केला? इतिहासाच्या विद्रूपीकरणाचे मोठे उदाहरण म्हणजे भाजपच्या निवडणूक प्रचारात नरेंद्र मोदींच्या बाजूला लावण्यात आलेला कै. सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल यांचा फोटो. महात्मा गांधीजींच्या हत्येनंतर सरसंघचालक गोळवलकर व श्यामाप्रसाद मुखर्जी यांना लिहिलेल्या पत्रात, ‘राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघाच्या विचारांच्या प्रचार व प्रसारामुळे गांधीजींची हत्या झाली’, असे वल्लभभाई पटेल यांनी म्हटले होते.

महात्मा गांधीं

महात्मा गांधींची आज ६१वी पुण्यतिथी. या महात्म्याचे स्मरण करताना समोर ठाकलेला वर्तमानकाळ मात्र हेच सांगतो आहे की 'गांधीहत्या' नामक विक्रुतीचा आपला प्रवास अजूनही तसाच चालू आहे....

महात्मा गांधींची धर्माबाबतची कल्पना व्यापक होती. परमेश्वराची उपासना करणे अथवा धार्मिक कर्मकांड म्हणजे धर्म असे त्यांनी मानले नाही. त्यांनी धर्मातीत तत्त्वाची संकल्पना स्पष्ट केली व हीच संकल्पना पुढे भारताच्या धर्मातीत घटनेचा आधार बनली. आज दुर्दैवाने हिंदुत्व हा धार्मिक नव्हे, तर राजकीय कार्यक्रम झाला आहे. महात्मा गांधींची हत्या करणारा नथुराम हिंदू राष्ट्राचा पुरस्कर्ता होता. मालेगाव बॉम्बस्फोट प्रकरणातील आरोपी हे नथुरामचेच वैचारिक वारसदार आहेत आणि त्यांना पाठिंबा देणारा संघ परिवार वा शिवसेनाही त्याच पठडीतील आहेत. या हिंदुत्ववादी शक्तींचा हा संधिसाधूपणा व दुटप्पीपणा वर्तमानपत्रांतून रोजच लोकांसमोर येत असतो. दहशतवाद्यांना रोखण्यासाठी बलिदान देणारे हेमंत करकरे व त्यांच्यासारखे कर्तव्यनिष्ठ अधिकारी २६ नोव्हेंबरपूर्वी हिंदुत्ववाद्यांना सत्ताधाऱ्यांचे एजंट वाटत होते! ‘करकरेंच्या बायकामुलांची धिंड काढली पाहिजे’ असे म्हणणारे १२ तासांच्या अवधीत लगेच करकरे व हौतात्म्य पत्करलेल्या अधिकाऱ्यांच्या प्राणांचा राजकीय सौदा करण्यासाठी सरसावले.
मालेगाव बॉम्बस्फोटानंतर दहशतवादातील नवीन चेहरे भारतीयांसमोर आले. स्वत:ला शंकराचार्य म्हणविणारा दयानंद पांडे व त्याच्या पायाशी लोळण घेणारे उजव्या विचारसरणीचे हिंदुत्ववादी नेते यांना कदाचित महाराष्ट्राची संत परंपरा माहीत नसावी. येथील संतांनी ईश्वरभक्ती ही जाती-धर्माच्या पलीकडची असते हे सांगण्याचे धाडस केले. कर्मकांडाविरुद्ध आवाज उठविला आणि समाजातील सर्वच घटकांनी, त्या काळच्या चालीरीतींना विरोध करीत भक्तीचा नवीन मार्ग स्वीकारला. त्याच काळामध्ये सुरू झालेली मुसलमानांमधील सुफी परंपरा आणि इथल्या संतांनी सुरू केलेली भक्तीची मोहीम हे आज निर्माण झालेल्या धर्मातीत भारताचे बीज रोवणारी ठरली, पण साध्वी व संत म्हणविणाऱ्यांनी धर्मद्वेष शिकवत सत्तेचा मार्ग स्वीकारावा म्हणजे महाराष्ट्रामधील संत परंपरेच्या विचारांचा अपमानच होय. सहजीवनाचा मार्ग दाखविणारे संत कुठे आणि संतपदाचा बुरखा घालून विद्वेषी विचारांचे विष समाजाला पाजत, धर्मसत्ता आणण्यासाठी दुसऱ्या धर्माच्या तिरस्काराची शिकवण देणारी, स्वत: साध्वी म्हणवून घेणारी प्रज्ञासिंग ठाकूर आणि स्वत:ला शंकराचार्य म्हणवून घेणारा दयानंद पांडे कुठे?
मालेगाव बॉम्बस्फोटामध्ये वापरण्यात आलेले आरडीएक्स हे काश्मीरमधील अतिरेक्यांकडून जप्त करण्यात आले होते. एवढेच नव्हे तर येथे धार्मिक गदारोळ उठावा म्हणून आरएसएसचे प्रमुख प्रचारक मोहन भागवत यांच्या हत्येचा कटही रचण्यात आला होता. परकीयांचे आरडीएक्स स्वकीयांचे जीव घेण्यासाठी वापरणे याबाबत हिंदुत्वाची भाषा करणाऱ्या राजकीय पक्षांनी बोलायला हवे.
इतिहासाचे विद्रूपीकरण, धर्माच्या नावाने मांडलेला बाजार हाच या देशाचा खरा शत्रू आहे. मुस्लिम धर्मातील धर्माध व हिंदू धर्मातील धर्माध यांचे ध्येय व मार्ग एकच आहे. धर्माच्या आधारावर निर्माण झालेली राज्यसत्ता म्हणजेच ‘तालिबान’. जिथे स्त्रियांना किंमत नाही, जिथे मोकळ्या वातावरणात श्वास घेण्याची कोणाची हिम्मत नाही. सर्वसामान्यांच्या स्वतंत्र अस्तित्वाला धर्मसत्तेत स्थान नसते.
हिंदुत्ववाद्यांना बहुसांस्कृतिक भारत मान्य नाही. जसे जिहादी हे खरे मुस्लिम नाहीत तसे हिंदुत्ववादी हे खरे हिंदू नाहीत. त्यांना येथे हिंदूंचे नव्हे, तर हिंदुत्ववाद्यांचे राष्ट्र आणायचे आहे. हे राष्ट्र ‘तालिबानी’ पद्धतीचेच असणार आहे; कारण हिंदुत्ववाद ही धार्मिक नव्हे, तर राजकीय विचारसरणी आहे. धर्माचा निव्वळ वापर ही विचारसरणी करते. त्यासाठी राजकीयच नव्हे, तर सर्वांनीच पुढे आले पाहिजे. तसे झाले नाही, तर भारताचा पाकिस्तान होण्यास वेळ लागणार नाही. स्वातंत्र्यानंतरच्या ६० वर्षांच्या प्रवासात महात्मा गांधींच्या विचारांना विश्वमान्यता मिळाली. अमेरिकेचे राष्ट्राध्यक्ष बराक ओबामा यांनीदेखील महात्मा गांधींच्या विचारांना जाहीर मुजरा केला, पण भारतात मात्र नथुरामांचे वारसदार विद्वेषाचे विष पेरतच आहेत. पाकिस्तान पुरस्कृत दहशतवाद्यांना प्रत्युत्तर त्यांच्याच भाषेत देणे हे आमचे कर्तव्य ठरेल, पण त्यांचीच नीती जेव्हा स्वकीय आपल्या मायभूमीत स्वत:चे उद्देश पूर्णत्वास नेण्यासाठी अमलात आणतात, तेव्हा म्हणावेसे वाटते- ‘गांधी, हम शर्मिदा हैं, तेरे कातिल जिंदा हैं!’

जितेंद्र आव्हाड
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साभार- लोकसत्ता

http://loksatta.com/daily/20090130/vishesh.htm

सुंदरलाल बहुगुणा यांना ‘पद्मविभूषण’ !

सुंदरलाल बहुगुणा

पद्मविभूषण सुंदरलाल बहुगुणा

हे नाव उच्चारले की पांढरीशुभ्र दाढी आणि डोक्याला रुमाल बांधलेले गृहस्थ, असा चेहरा डोळ्यासमोर समोर येतो. ‘चिपको’ आंदोलनाशी त्यांचे नाव जोडले गेले आहे. हिमालयाच्या कुशीतल्या वाडय़ा वस्त्यांमध्ये, जंगलांमध्ये ठेकेदारांकडून होणारी वृक्षतोड थोपवण्यासाठी बहुगुणांनी महात्मा गांधींच्या अहिंसेच्या मार्गाचा अवलंब केला. विशेषत: महिलांना त्यांनी या मार्गाची शिकवण दिली आणि सांगितले की वृक्षतोडीसाठी जे कुणी येतील, त्यांच्याशी वाद न घालता झाडांना घट्ट मिठी मारून उभे राहायचे. हे ठेकेदार पोलिसांमध्ये जातील, तक्रार करतील आणि शेवटी तुम्हाला ते अटक करायला भाग पाडतील, पण तेवढय़ाने आपले अहिंसक मार्गाने चाललेले आंदोलन सोडायचे नाही. उपनिषदात एक झाड हे दहा मुलांएवढे सामथ्र्यवान असते, असा दाखला असल्याचे त्यांनी गावकऱ्यांना पटवून दिले. चिपको आंदोलनापूर्वी त्यांनी ग्रामीण भागात वाढलेला दारूचा प्रसार पाहिला आणि दारूबंदी साठीची चळवळ हाती घेतली. घरेदारे त्यांनी उद्ध्वस्त होताना पाहिली. घराघरात महिलावर्गाच्या आणि लहान मुलांच्या हालअपेष्टा त्यांनी पाहिल्या होत्या. भारत-चीन सरहद्दीवरून दारूची आयात होत असल्याचे पाहून त्यांनी त्याविरुद्ध चळवळ उभी केली. याच सुमारास हिमालयातली उत्तम वनसंपदा नष्ट करायचा चंग सरकार आणि ठेकेदार या दोघांनी मिळून केला. उत्तमोत्तम वृक्षांची कत्तल झाली तर हिमालय जागेवर राहील का, या शंकेने त्यांना अस्वस्थ करून सोडले. १९७२ मध्ये टेहरी धरणाच्या कामाला प्रारंभ झाला. त्यांनी सरकारला आवाहन केले, की हे धरण विनाशाला निमंत्रण देणार असल्याने ते उभे करू नका. पर्यावरणाला खो बसू नये, या उद्देशाने त्यांनी उपोषणास बसायचा निर्णय घेतला. वयाच्या १७ व्या वर्षी गांधीजींच्या विचारांनी प्रभावित होऊन समाजकार्यात त्यांनी स्वत:ला झोकून दिले. गावागावातून छोटे गट तयार केले. गांधीजींनी खेडय़ात जा, असे सांगितले होते. बहुगुणांची गांधीजींवर श्रद्धा असल्याने त्यांनी ग्रामीण भाग कधी सोडलाच नाही. गांधीजींच्या जयंतीदिनी २ ऑक्टोबर १९४९ रोजी त्यांनी रात्रशाळेचा उपक्रम हाती घेतला. दिवसभर काबाडकष्ट करणाऱ्यांना रात्री अक्षर ओळख करून दिली. ज्या घरात अजूनही अस्पृश्यता पाळली जात होती, तिथे जाऊन त्यांचे दुष्परिणाम पटवून द्यायचा प्रयत्नही त्यांनी केला. सर्व जातीधर्माच्या विद्यार्थ्यांसाठी ठक्कर बाप्पा वसतिगृह बांधले. या वसतिगृहाच्या बांधकामात त्यांनी स्वत: मजुराप्रमाणे काम केले. गांधीजींच्या ब्रिटिश शिष्या मीराबहेन यांनी हृषिकेशमध्ये ‘पशुलोक’ हा पांजरपोळ सुरू केला. १९४९ मध्ये गंगेला आलेल्या  पुरात ‘पशुलोका’ची सर्वाधिक हानी झाली. मीराबहेन यांच्या लक्षात आले की जंगलतोडीमुळेच केवळ गंगेला पूर आला. त्यांनी टेहरी गढवाल या दारिद्रय़ाने पिडलेल्या जिल्ह्य़ात वास्तव्य करायचे ठरवले. हरतऱ्हेच्या वृक्षराजींना खुलवायचा प्रयत्न मीराबहेन यांनी केला. पंडित नेहरूंचा पूर्ण पाठिंबा असूनही, नोकरशाहीच्या आडमुठय़ा धोरणाने टेहरी गढवाल सोडून त्यांना काश्मीरमध्ये स्थायिक होणे भाग पडले. गांधीजींच्या दुसऱ्या शिष्या सरलाबहेन यांच्या सहकारी विमला यांच्याशी सुंदरलाल यांचा विवाह झाला आणि कुमाऊँ टेकडय़ांमध्ये दोघांनी मिळून समाजकार्याला वाहून घ्यायचा निश्चय केला. १९६० मध्ये आचार्य विनोबा भावे पदयात्रेने आग्य़्रात आले असताना विनोबाजींनी सुंदरलालना तिथे बोलावून घेतले. त्या वेळी त्यांनी दारिद्रय़ नष्ट करायचे तत्वज्ञान चीन जगतो आहे, अशावेळी तुम्ही ग्रामस्वराज्याला बांधून घ्या, असे सांगितले. त्या दिवसापासून सुंदरलाल दुप्पट उमेदीने कामाला लागले. दारूबंदीचे आंदोलन त्यांनी उभे केले. दारूगुत्त्यांसमोर ते विष्णू सहस्रनाम म्हणत बसायचे. आजूबाजूचे बघे हसायचे, पण काहींना त्यांच्या समोरून दारूगुत्त्याची पायरी चढताना लाजही वाटायची. १९८० मध्ये जंगलतोडीच्या विरोधातले उपोषण त्यांनी मागे घ्यावे म्हणून तेव्हाच्या पंतप्रधान इंदिरा गांधी यांनी १५ वर्षे वृक्षतोडीवर हिमालयाच्या परिसरात पूर्ण बंदी घातली जाईल, असे त्यांना लेखी आश्वासन दिले. अशाच एका उपोषणाच्या काळात समाजवादी नेते जॉर्ज फर्नाडिस यांनी लोकसभेच्या सभापतींच्या वतीने येऊन उपोषण सोडायचे त्यांना आवाहन केले. त्या वेळी धरण परिसरात सुरूंग न लावायचे आश्वासन दिले गेले. ग्रामस्वराज्य, वनराई, पर्यावरण रक्षण यासाठी संघर्ष करणारे सुंदरलाल बहुगुणा यांना राष्ट्रपतींनी पद्मविभूषण किताब जाहीर करून त्यांच्या कार्याचा योग्य तो गौरव केला आहे.

साभार- लोकसत्ता

http://loksatta.com/daily/20090129/vedh.htm

The public relations republic ! By- Sunita Narain

Let me dare to predict how regulatory and corporate India will resolve IT major Satyam’s scandal/saga. The government will stand tall, its arms and branches spread out in never-ending enquiry, to provide tactical cover. Some fall-guys might be found: now-disgraced chairman B Ramalinga Raju could be sentenced, as could the auditing

My India !

My India !

company official who signed the accounts; but it takes time to prove guilt, so that they will probably live a retired life in the comfort of their homes, out on bail. Meanwhile, the media will bray for blood. Corporate India honchos, particularly Satyam’s competitors, will jump out of TV screens, express disgust and shock. But each will shrug the incident off as a one-rogue affair and quickly put a lid on the issue. Soon, it will be business as usual; that is, creative accountancy and cover-up by using corporate image-fixers. The media, too, will fix itself. And Satyam will not lead to change.

But why should I, an environmentalist, worry about corporate (mis)governance? The reason is simple: it is clear corporate India, today working its way to development, is doing so at the cost of the environment and the livelihood of the poor. It is also clear such damage can be minimized if industry works within a strict, vigilant and credible regulatory system. In other words, industrial growth need not necessarily be destructive of the environment. But this challenge of the balance can be managed only if policy is public, regulatory institutions are made and kept strong, and democracy deepened.

So what do we find behind this scam to see the ‘nature’ of the cover-up? Satyam did everything by the best of global books and principles. It had process-loaded internal systems and an army of internal auditors. It had hired one of the world’s most reputable external auditors, M/s Pricewaterhouse Coopers, to check and validate its accounts. It had highly credible independent directors on its board, to ensure best practice. Not surprisingly, the company received the prestigious Golden Peacock Award in 2002, from a jury made up of the world’s big and famous, for its work – believe it – on corporate governance. In other words, it polished its image, in a world of make-believers, to perfection.

This is the problem in today’s dominant system. It is about form, not substance. It can work its shine because the agencies responsible for credible action have been degraded, debilitated. It has madly backed the expensive business of public relations, making the media, democracy’s watchdog, toothless.

We need to crack this problem. Let us be clear, companies today hire the biggest auditing companies and hi – fi consultants not because they want the work done diligently but because the latter have the public image and the public-relations wherewithal.

A few years ago, my colleagues, investigating the sale of carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), found the auditing agencies hired to certify the project were indulging in nothing less than fraud. They were simply cut – pasting parts of different reports, dealing with different projects, to get their clients certified. The auditor, in this case, happened to be the same Satyam – soiled agency, Price waterhouse Coopers; equally acclaimed Ernst and Young were also involved.

When we published our findings, we indicted the CDM process more than the auditors. The international community, in this case, has designed a process in which the project proponent hires a consultant to do the project design and the same company hires a validator agency to certify the project report its own consultant prepares. The Bonn, Germany – based CDM board authorizes a select number of validators it believes are world class. It can ‘trust’ these processed reports, all of which are paid for by the project proponent. In addition, the board has made convoluted rules to determine which project can qualify its criterion for ‘additionality’ – projects that are more than business as usual in its books.

The obfuscation in the procedure makes it important to hire a big fish certifier who knows the ropes. Result: a flourishing business for creative carbon accountants. This adds to the transaction cost of getting CDM projects cleared – the price is so high it excludes large numbers of smaller companies and communities, who should actually be doing projects to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The system is made for complicity, profit and big business. But the form is perfect; who cares about the substance.

The national system for environmental impact assessment (EIA), to provide another example, is no different. There have been cases, reported in this magazine again and again, of consultant companies preparing fraudulent documents. But not a single agency has been publicly blacklisted. Not one project proponent has been sent to prison for fudging books to get clearance.

What encourages this system, fundamentally, is the lack of scrutiny. What emboldens it, forever, is the lack of penalty for misdemeanour. But this is not an accident. This is the result of deliberately changing the nature of India’s democracy, by weakening institutions responsible for oversight and regulation.

Perhaps this is about a changing phraseology; describing the democracy that is being spawned in India. There exists ‘banana republics’; but now there we need to add to our lexicon, the ‘Public Relations (PR) democracy’ – where problems merely require the right kind of gloss.

Satyam is a crack in this system. But are we willing to prise it open? When will we be?

By- Sunita Narain

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/cover_nl.asp?mode=1

‘Earth Hour’ India Announcement ! to switch off lights for just one hour !

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to invite you to participate in Earth Hour™, one of the world’s largest climate change initiative.

switch off !

switch off lights for just one hour !

62 countries including India have committed to switch off for WWF’s Earth Hour in 2009. The campaign, which hopes to reach out to more than one billion people in 1,000 cities around the world, asks individuals, businesses and governments to switch off lights for just one hour on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 8:30pm to create a platform of support for action on climate change. Cities already committed to Earth Hour include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rome, Manila, Oslo, Cape Town, Warsaw, Lisbon, Singapore, Istanbul, Mexico City, Toronto, Dubai and Copenhagen.

2009 is a critical year in terms of the political decisions that will be made at global climate negotiations in December 2009. Earth Hour aims to highlight the voice of the people of the world and represent a visual mandate for meaningful policy on climate change.

We would like you to join us in celebrating Earth Hour by pledging to turn off the lights in your homes and offices on March 28’09 and to get involved in the campaign. We will be in touch with you subsequently about simple actions that you can take and ways in which you can support the campaign.

Please log on to www.earthhour.in to sign-up.

Commit to Earth Hour and see your world in a whole new light www.earthhour.org

Sincerely,

Earth Hour India Team

WWF-India; 172-B,

Lodi Estate New Delhi-110003

Web: www.earthhour.in , www.wwfindia.org

इसवी सनापूर्वी पहिल्या शतकातील जलसंवर्धन!- विनायक परब

इसवी सनापूर्वी पहिल्या शतकातील जलसंवर्धन!

इसवी सनापूर्वी पहिल्या शतकातील जलसंवर्धन!

येत्या काही वर्षांत यादवी युद्धाला जगाला सामोरे जावे लागले किंवा मग तिसरे महायुद्ध झाले तर त्याचे कारण असेल पाणी.. ही भीती इतर कुणी नव्हे तर संयुक्त राष्ट्रांनी व्यक्त केली आहे. इतर कोणत्याही गोष्टीशिवाय माणूस राहू शकतो मात्र पाण्याशिवाय राहू शकत नाही. आता जगभरात सर्वत्र पाण्याविषयी चिंता व्यक्त होऊ लागली आहे आणि जलसंवर्धनाचा मंत्र जपला जावू लागला आहे. पण बोरिवलीच्या संजय गांधी राष्ट्रीय उद्यानात असलेल्या कान्हेरीच्या लेण्यांमध्ये इसवी सनापूर्वी पहिल्या शतकापासूनच जलसंवर्धनाचा मंत्र जपला जात होता, हे मात्र फार कमी जणांना ठावूक आहे. कान्हेरी लेण्यांच्या वरच्या बाजूस डोंगरावर जाताना ही पुरातन जलसंवर्धन पद्धती आपल्या नजरेस पडते. लेण्यांच्या वरच्या बाजूस वेगवेगळ्या रेषा खोदलेल्या पाहायला मिळतात.

या रेषांचा माग काढता लक्षात येते की, या रेषा कोणत्या तरी एका लेण्याच्या बाजूला खाली उतरतात. मग लक्षात येते की, ही एक प्रकारची दगडी पन्हाळीच आहेत. पावसाचे पाणी या पन्हाळीतून येते आणि खाली पाण्याचे टाक आहेत. या लेण्यांमधील सर्व टाक म्हणजे पाण्याच्या दगडी टाक्या या एकमेकांशी जोडलेल्या आहेत. लेण्यांची रचना डोंगर उतारावर तीन स्तरांमध्ये करण्यात आली आहे. सर्वात वरच्या स्तरांतील टाक भरले की, त्यातील पाणी मधल्या स्तरांवर येते तेथील टाक भरले की, मग ते खाली सर्वात उतारावरच्या स्तरांवर येते. प्रत्येक ठिकाणी त्या त्या गरजेनुसार त्याची वेगळी रचना करण्यात आली आहे.

येथे पावसाळ्यात साठवलेले हे पाणी वर्षभर विविध कामांसाठी वापरले जाई. पिण्याच्या पाण्यासाठीही वेगळी रचना म्हणजे पाणी शुद्ध करणारे फिल्टर्स कान्हेरीमध्ये अस्तित्वात होते. हे फिल्टर्स म्हणजे वेगळ्या प्रकारच्या दगडी रचना आहे. यात पहिल्या दगडी चौकोनात वाळू ठेवलेली असायची. पाण्याबरोबर येणाऱ्या अनेक बाबी तिथेच अडकायच्या. त्यानंतर एका दगडी गोलामध्ये हे पाणी फिरत असे. त्यातला गाळ त्या दगडी रचनेत खाली बसत असे. त्यानंतर ते पाणी आणखी एका शेवटच्या दगडी गोल रचनेमध्ये जात असे. दोन प्रक्रियांनंतर उरलेला गाळ तिसऱ्या दगडी रचनेत खाली बसत असे आणि मग शुद्ध पाणी पिण्यासाठी उपलब्ध होत असे.. जलसंवर्धनाचा उत्तम आदर्श अशाप्रकारे कान्हेरीमध्ये इसवी सनापूर्वी पहिल्या शतकातच घालून देण्यात आला होता. या सर्व बाबी कान्हेरीच्या सिटीवॉकमध्ये वाचकांना पाहाता येतील!

साभार- लोकसत्ता

मेट्रो एडिटर-विनायक परब

http://www.loksatta.com/daily/20090123/mvrt.htm

डॉ. विनायक सेन की अजब कहानी ! – कुमार केतकर

पाकिस्तानपुरस्कृत दहशतवादाचा बीमोड आज ना उद्या करता येईल; पण ‘शासन’ नावाच्या संस्थेनेच ज्या दहशतवादाला बळ दिले आहे, त्याचे उच्चाटन कसे करणार? दहशतवादी हल्ल्यानंतर भयग्रस्त झालेला सामान्य माणूस ज्यांच्याकडे आशेने पाहतो, तेच प्रशासन लोकशाही मूल्ये पायदळी तुडवून लोकांना भयभीत करू लागले, तर अशा व्यवस्थेत लोकशाहीला तरी काय भवितव्य उरणार? हे सारे प्रश्न आज अचानक उपस्थित झालेले नाहीत. सरकार कोणत्याही पक्षाचे व आघाडीचे असो, शासनसंस्था नावाने ओळखली जाणारी ‘अपौरुषेय’ व्यवस्था आपला अदृश्य दरारा बजावीतच असते. आणीबाणीच्या काळात इंदिरा गांधींना अशा शासकीय दराऱ्यासाठी जबाबदार धरले जात असे.

डॉ. विनायक सेन

डॉ. विनायक सेन

प्रत्यक्षात त्यानंतर आलेल्या प्रत्येक पक्षाने वा आघाडीने कुठच्या ना कुठच्या निमित्ताने प्रशासकीय दहशत बसविली आहेच. नक्षलवाद्यांच्या दहशतवादाचा प्रतिकार शासकीय दहशतवादाने कसा केला जातो याचे उदाहरण म्हणजे विनायक सेन यांच्यावर छत्तीसगड सरकारने लादलेला १९ महिन्यांचा तुरुंगवास. सेन यांच्या या अटकेचा निषेध जगभरातील सर्व विचारवंतांनी व मानवी हक्क संघटनांनी नोंदविलेला आहे. मात्र, अद्यापही यंत्रणेला जाग आलेली दिसत नाही. गोरगरीब-वंचित लोकांच्या प्रश्नांनी व्याकुळ झालेले डॉ. विनायक सेन नावाचे बालरोगतज्ज्ञ जाणीवपूर्वक छत्तीसगडमध्ये आले ते तीन दशकांपूर्वी आणि त्यांनी सार्वजनिक आरोग्यासाठी आपले आयुष्य झोकून दिले. मग असा कोणता गुन्हा डॉ. सेन यांनी केला आहे? छत्तीसगडच्या भाजप सरकारला वाटते, की ते नक्षलवादी आहेत; पण त्या संदर्भातील एकही ठोस पुरावा नाही. फक्त संशयावरून एखाद्या प्रख्यात डॉक्टरला- सामाजिक कार्यकर्त्यांला – अशी दोन-दोन वर्षे अंधारकोठडीत काढावी लागत आहेत. भारतासारख्या देशात ते घडावे, ही घटना भयावह आणि लाजिरवाणीही आहे. डॉ. विनायक सेन यांची कर्तबगारी अवघ्या जगाला ठाऊक आहे. सुवर्णपदकांसह वैद्यकीय पदव्या मिळवणारे सेन छत्तीसगडमध्ये आले तेच मुळी एका स्वप्नाचा पाठलाग करीत. बडय़ा कंपन्यांच्या, गलेलठ्ठ पगाराच्या अनेक ऑफर्स नाकारून ते या दुर्गम परिसरामध्ये आले. त्यांना सार्वजनिक आरोग्याच्या क्षेत्रात मूलभूत काम करावयाचे होते. त्यांनी ते सुरू केले. त्याच वेळी ‘पीपल्स युनियन ऑफ सिव्हिल लिबर्टीज’ नावाच्या संस्थेचे कामही ते करू लागले. छत्तीसगडमधील उपेक्षित माणसाला स्वातंत्र्याचे आरोग्यदायी मूल्य शिकवू लागले. हळूहळू त्यांचे काम वाढत गेले आणि त्यांना मिळणारा पाठिंबाही. मात्र, त्यामुळे राज्य सरकारला धक्का बसला असावा. तसाच धक्का बसला तो नक्षलवादी चळवळींना. कारण हे दोन्ही घटक सर्वसामान्य माणसाचा ‘विश्वास’ जिंकण्यासाठी प्रयत्न करीत असताना प्रत्यक्षात मात्र लोकांना डॉ. सेन यांची कृतिशील शिकवण अधिक जवळची वाटू लागली. त्यामुळे सेन यांची धरपकड सुरू झाली. पोलीस त्यांना त्रास देऊ लागले. दुसरीकडे नक्षलवादीही हल्ले करू लागले. या सगळय़ा संकटांना तोंड देत डॉ. सेन यांनी आपले काम सुरू ठेवले, हे त्यांचे वेगळेपण! मात्र, दुर्दैवाने नक्षलवाद आणि ‘सलवा जुडूम’ या साऱ्या वावटळीत होरपळ झाली ती डॉ. सेन यांच्या चळवळीची. कार्ल मार्क्‍सच्या विचारांकडे ऐन तारुण्यात आकृष्ट झालेले डॉ. सेन हे सामाजिक समतेचे आणि समाजवादी मूल्यांचे अनुयायी. तेवढय़ावरून त्यांना नक्षलवादी ठरवले गेले. नक्षलवादाचा मुकाबला करण्यासाठी जी ‘समांतर’ यंत्रणा राज्य सरकारने परस्पर उभी केली आहे, त्या यंत्रणेसाठी डॉ. सेन हे शत्रू क्रमांक एक ठरले. ‘पीपल्स युनियन ऑफ सिव्हिल लिबर्टीज’चे राष्ट्रीय सरचिटणीस म्हणून तुरुंगातील कैद्यांना भेटणे हा त्यांच्या कामाचा भाग असताना या सर्व कैद्यांशी डॉ. सेन यांचे थेट ‘गुन्हेगारी’चे संबंध आहेत, असे बेछूट आरोप केले जाऊ लागले. डॉ. सेन यांच्या सुटकेसाठी जगभरातून मागणी होत आहे आणि २६ नोबेलविजेत्यांनी त्यासाठी संयुक्त पत्रक काढले आहे. नोम चोम्स्कींपासून अमर्त्य सेन यांच्यापर्यंत सर्वानी सरकारला त्याविषयी लिहिले आहे. ‘जोनाथन मॅन अ‍ॅवॉर्ड फॉर ग्लोबल हेल्थ अ‍ॅण्ड हय़ूमन राइट्स’ हा जगातील अत्यंत प्रतिष्ठेचा (जो आजवर भारतातच काय, दक्षिण आशियातही कोणाला मिळाला नव्हता) पुरस्कार डॉ. सेन यांना मिळाला, तेव्हाही ते तुरुंगातच होते. जगभरातून मागणी होत असूनही, सुटका सोडा; त्यांना साधा जामीनही मिळत नाही. म्यानमारच्या हुकूमशाही राजवटीविषयी किंवा आँग सान स्यू कीच्या स्थानबद्धतेविषयी आपण चर्चा करीत असतो, पण आपल्या देशात त्यापेक्षाही भयानक असे काही घडू शकते, याची आपल्याला कल्पना नसते. डॉ. सेन यांच्या पत्नी डॉ. एलिना यांच्या तोंडून ही संपूर्ण कहाणी ऐकताना तर आपण नक्की भारतातच आहोत का, असा प्रश्न पडतो. कायद्याची अंमलबजावणी हे ‘स्टेट’चे काम असले तरी त्यामुळे लोकशाही माध्यमातून शासनाला जे अधिकार मिळतात, त्यांचा दुरुपयोग तर होत नाही ना, हे भान या यंत्रणेला असावयास हवे. नाही तर, कायद्याची अंमलबजावणी करणारे घटक आणि मानवी हक्कांसाठी प्रयत्न करणारे कार्यकर्ते हे परस्परांना शत्रू वाटू लागतात. खरे दहशतवादी त्यातून बलदंड होत जातात आणि सामान्य माणूस मात्र पिचून जातो. मुंबईवरील दहशतवादी हल्ल्यानंतर दहशतवादाची चर्चा उच्चरवात सुरू झाली आहे; पण शासनपुरस्कृत दहशतवादाचा मुद्दा आपल्याकडे अद्याप हिरीरीने मांडला जात नाही. गुजरातमध्ये ‘स्टेट’ने प्रायोजित केलेली दंगल असो वा छत्तीसगडमध्ये हा ‘स्टेट स्पॉन्सर्ड’ दहशतवाद असो, या घटना लोकशाही व्यवस्थेला असणारा धोका वाढविणाऱ्या आहेत. भारतीय राजकारणाने असे वळण आज घेतले आहे आणि सर्व पक्षांमध्ये गुंडांचे अशा पद्धतीने स्वागत होताना दिसत आहे, की कोणत्याही पक्षाचे सरकार हे करू शकते. राजकारणाचे गुन्हेगारीकरण झाले आहे की गुन्हेगारी क्षेत्राचे राजकीयीकरण झाले आहे असा प्रश्न पडावा, या थराला आपली राजकीय प्रक्रिया जाऊन पोहोचली आहे. त्यामुळे छत्तीसगडमधील घटना हा अपवाद नाही. डॉ. सेन हे जागतिक ख्यातीचे डॉक्टर असल्यामुळे ती उजेडात तरी आली; पण असे कितीतरी सामान्य लोक असतील की ज्यांच्यावरील अन्यायाची कुठे नोंदही नसेल. दहशतवादाने सर्वसामान्य माणसाचे आयुष्य भयग्रस्त करून टाकलेले असताना, त्याने ज्या ‘स्टेट’ नावाच्या संस्थेकडे अपेक्षेने पाहावे, त्या संस्थेचेच अपहरण होत असल्याचे आपण अनुभवत आहोत. आपल्या लोकशाही व्यवस्थेवरील हा आघात वेळीच परतवून लावला पाहिजे. डॉ. विनायक सेन यांना तर न्याय मिळाला पाहिजेच; पण ‘स्टेट’ने आरंभलेल्या दहशतवादाच्या विरोधातही सजग नागरिकांना आघाडी उभी करावी लागणार आहे. छत्तीसगडच्या नुकत्याच झालेल्या निवडणुकीत डॉ. सेन यांच्या अटकेचा मुद्दा कोणाच्याच अजेंडय़ावर नव्हता. केंद्र सरकारचे गृहखाते वाटल्यास छत्तीसगड प्रशासनाच्या या दहशतवादास वेसण घालू शकते. परंतु तितपत संवेदनशीलता केंद्रीय आघाडीतील कोणत्याही पक्षाने दाखविलेली नाही. आता लवकरच लोकसभा निवडणुका होणार आहेत. सर्व लोकशाहीवादी आणि मानवी हक्कांची कदर असलेल्या संघटनांनी व मीडियाने डॉ. सेन यांच्या सुटकेची मागणी अधिक जोराने केल्यास त्यांना न्याय मिळू शकेल.

साभार- अग्रलेख लोकसत्ता

संपादकः कुमार केतकर

http://www.loksatta.com/daily/20090116/edt.htm

NatureNews

Jan, 2009

WELCOME to NatureNews from the Library & Documentation Centre, WWF-India, New Delhi.

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NEWS

Environment – General

7-foot wall to shield Ridge greens. After getting brickbats for many of its Commonwealth Games projects on the environment front, Delhi government has finally proposed a project that could get it kudos. For the first time, it is planning to build a wall around the Ridge area. The wall, which is to be 7 feet tall, will be the first such initiative to protect the green space. The move came after several strictures from the courts as well as environmental bodies on the rampant encroachment in the Ridge area. Said a senior government official, “The proposal was originally initiated some time ago, but no concrete decision had been taken on it till date.” In a high level meeting by the CM, it was decided that the wall would come up before the commencement of the Games in 2010. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/7-foot_wall_to_shield_Ridge_greens/articleshow/3928279.cms

Climate Change & Energy

Tibetan glacial shrink to cut water supply by 2050. Nearly 2 billion people in Asia, from coastal city dwellers to yak-herding nomads, will begin suffering water shortages in coming decades as global warming shrinks glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau. The plateau has more than 45,000 glaciers that build up during the snowy season and then drain to the major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Brahmanputra and Mekong. Temperatures in the plateau, which some scientists call the “Third Pole” for its massive glacial ice sheets, are rising twice as fast as other parts of the world, said Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, who has collected ice cores from glaciers around the world for decades. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/Asia_in_water_crisis/articleshow/3996496.cms

51 cos participate in carbon emission disclosure programme. It’s a sign of the country’s increasing eco-awareness. A recent voluntary carbon emissions disclosure programme had 51 companies participating, of which more than 40 per cent were from Maharashtra. In its second year in India, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has partnered with the Confideration of Indian Industries (CII) and WWF India to administer an eight-page questionnaire about the companies’ stand on climate change, their policies and finally, an accounting of their greenhouse gas emissions. City-based Thermax industries was part of the project, and voluntarily provided information on its carbon output. “Since it does not have greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting measures in place, the company was unable to share its emissions data, but shared information on what they perceive. Thermax said it would provide detailed disclosures in the next process,” Shirish Sinha, director of the climate and energy programme of WWF, told TOI. For more:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/51_cos_participate_in_carbon_emission_disclosure_programme/articleshow/3965031.cms

Computing industry CO2 emissions in the spotlight. The global computing industry is starting to rival aviation in its contribution to global warming, but not yet equaling its criticism as Britain gave the green light to expand London’s Heathrow airport. The computing sector has come under increasing scrutiny over energy consumption and carbon emissions of data centers, in particular, as a climate debate widens beyond traditional targets including coal plants, heavy industry and planes. The information and communication technology (ICT) makes a similar contribution to global warming as aviation, and this is growing fast, analysts say. For more: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE50E5QO20090115?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews

Pakistan to be hit hardest by climate change. Pakistan is among countries that will be hit hardest by climate change though it contributes only a fraction to global warming, environmental experts including India’s R K Pachauri have said. Pachauri, chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said Pakistan is witnessing severe pressures on its natural resources and environment. “Climatic changes are likely to exacerbate this trend. Water supply, already a serious concern in many parts of the country, will decline dramatically, affecting food production,” he said. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Global_Warming/Pakistan_to_be_hit_hardest_by_climate_change/articleshow/3981363.cms#

Forestry & Biodiversity

Amazon being deforested at faster rate than before. Brazil’s Amazon forests are being axed at a faster rate than ever before, according to new annual figures recently released by the country’s space agency INPE. From August 2007 to July 2008, Brazil deforested 11,968 square kilometres of forests in the area designated as the Legal Amazon, a 3.8 per cent increase over the previous year and an unwelcome surprise following declines of 18 per cent over the previous period. From 2003-2004 to 2006-2007, annual deforestation totals from the agency fell from 27,423 sq km to 11,532 sq km. There were fears that the current trend could have been worse but for new measures introduced part way through the year when it became apparent that annual deforestation was accelerating towards a possible 15,000 hectare level. WWF-Brazil has lauded restraints on credit for properties not complying with environmental rules on deforestation licences, legal reserve and permanent preservation areas, strengthened land ownership rules, increased patrolling activity and a sharing of responsibility for halting deforestation with states and municipalities. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Amazon_being_deforested_at_faster_rate_than_before/articleshow/3945489.cms

Corporate support for biodiversity. Conservation of forests and wildlife in the rain-swept, biodiverse western Ghats is a national priority. Although these mountainous forests have been depleted owing largely to clear felling and conversion to plantations in colonial times, the remaining 15 per cent designated as protected areas host a grand assemblage of plant and animal species. Remarkably, even private agricultural plantations in the Ghats have well-preserved forest fragments stretching across several hectares. These, in fact, are a major trove of trees and rare animals. Such resplendent islands of life in a sea of tea and coffee monoculture are viable sites for conservation and restoration. What they need is policy support. Evidence underscoring the conservation potential of the fragments located in the 220 square kilometre Valparai plateau of the Anamalais is strong. Degraded land in the estates of this region has been restored through a research-based protocol. It is noteworthy that the healthy stands of endemic trees and the restoration sites managed by scientists owe their existence to active support from private plantations. For more: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/01/07/stories/2009010753811000.htm

Marine & Oceans

Illegal exports endanger box turtles in Malaysia. The box turtle is disappearing across Malaysia because of increased illegal hunting for its meat and use in traditional Chinese medicine, wildlife activists said. TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said in a new report that the Malayan Box Turtle “is in peril due to overexploitation” despite a Malaysian government ban on its export since 2005. Since the ban, export of turtles for the pet trade in Japan, Europe and the United States ceaseo the obvious conclusion: stop the over-exploitation of Malayan Box Turtles, before we lose them,” she said. She said the vast majority of the illegally exported Malayan Box Turtles, distinguished by three yellow stripes on the head and a dark olive carpace, are adults. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Illegal_exports_endanger_box_turtles_in_Malaysia/articleshow/3945960.cms

Bush to establish largest marine protection area. Seeking to add an environmental boost to his legacy, President George W. Bush is to announce the creation of the world’s largest oceanic protected area in three parts of the Pacific. In a bid to protect pristine coral reefs, rare fish and underwater volcanoes, Bush will mark out an area spanning some 195,000 square miles (505,000 sq km) in the Pacific Ocean as a trio of “marine national monuments,” a spokesman said. The areas include the Mariana Trench and northern Mariana Islands, the Rose Atoll in American Samoa and a chain of remote islands in the Central Pacific. Fishing will be barred or limited in many island areas while the 21 volcanoes and hydrothermal vents along the ocean floor beneath the Mariana Islands will also be protected. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Bush_to_establish_largest_marine_protection_area/articleshow/3940645.cms

Acidification, climate change killing off corals. Ocean acidification and rising temperatures are gradually killing off the biggest and most robust corals on the Great Barrier Reef since 1990, the “tipping point” year, says a new study. The study, authored by Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) scientists Glenn De’ath, Janice Lough and Katharina Fabricius, is the most comprehensive one to date on calcification rates of Great Barrier Reef (GBR) corals. Calcification is how much skeleton the coral puts down each year. Reef corals create their hard skeletons from materials dissolved in seawater. When large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide enter seawater, the resulting chemical changes effectively reduce the ability of marine organisms to form skeletons. For more: <!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Acidification_climate_change_killing_off_corals/articleshow/3937175.cms

Barak turtles, last spotted in your neighbour’s soup. Freshwater turtles and tortoises that laze around on the sandy banks of the Barak are ending up in the chef’s pan, thanks to a group of unscrupulous hunters who don’t mind sullying their hands with the blood of an endangered species. In Assam, the Barak basin was considered the turtles’ last home where they sunbathed in swarms and swam back at leisure. That was till fishermen discovered how profitable their delicious meat could be. Every monsoon, as the reptiles leave the waters and crawl to the banks to lay eggs, fishermen wait with their nets, hooks and lines, and occasionally even spears for their “prize catch”. “The predators among men are the main enemy of the turtles. They continue to butcher the freshwater reptiles in Barak Valley districts in general and Cachar district in particular for pecuniary gains,” said Abhik Gupta, a professor of ecology in Assam University, 18km south of Silchar town. For more: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090116/jsp/northeast/story_10391789.jsp

Wildlife & Endangered Species

Tigers shining in Karnataka. The dwindling population of tigers in the country is a major concern. But Karnataka gives reason to smile: a recent study reveals that the state’s tiger population is stable. The study, ‘Distribution and dynamics of tiger and prey populations in Karnataka’ by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies, was done covering a 22,000 square km landscape – Malenad-Mysore Tiger Landscape (MMTL). A tiger abundance index was derived which shows there are about 200 adult/juvenile tigers in the MMTL region. Intensive monitoring in three prime tiger habitats – Nagarahole National Park, Bandipur National Park and Bhadra Tiger Reserve – indicate that tiger populations in Nagarahole and Bandipur are relatively high and stable with tiger densities ranging between 11 and 15 adults per 100 square km. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/Tigers_shining_in_Karnataka/articleshow/4014441.cms

Poaching poachers. The tiger, living flame of the Indian forest, is dying out. And there seems to be nothing we can do to prevent what would be a conservationist catastrophe. The statistics are damning. At the beginning of the 20th century there were an estimated 40,000-45,000 tigers on the Indian subcontinent. A little over a hundred years later, as of February 2008, there were just 1,411 of these magnificent animals surviving in their natural habitat. Between early 2008 and now, their numbers have almost certainly dwindled further. All efforts to protect the tiger including the most ambitious and concerted of such programmes, Project Tiger, launched in 1973 have failed. And the single cause of their failure has been poaching. Many strategies have been devised to curb this murderous menace which is pushing the great carnivores to the irreversible edge of extinction: recruit more forest guards, and arm and pay them better; involve villagers and forest dwellers in the task of conservation by highlighting the importance of the tiger, both as top-of-the-food-chain proof of a healthy, self-sustaining environment and as a source of tourism revenue and employment generation. Nothing has worked, and poaching continues to take its deadly toll. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3934618.cms

Tiger reserve waiting for some ‘cosy’ news. The Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan’s Alwar district awaits action from its two felines now roaming the 881 square km expanse as the rare feat of re-introducing wild tigers completed six months early. The cats — one male and one female — are reported to be comfortable in their new terrain after their transfer by air from the Ranthambhore National Park but to the consternation of the park lovers and the authorities they have not done much to help their tribe increase! “One welcome development is that now they are found together. Whether their proximity would deliver results is yet to be seen,” said the Field Director of the Park, P.S. Somashekar, talking to this correspondent on phone from Sariska over the weekend. A sense of relief in his voice was all too discernible considering that the tigers had kept away from themselves at least for the first three months after their re-introduction into the reserve, which had lost all its wild tigers some time in 2004-05. There is further good news with an enthusiastic Divisional Forest Officer, Sunayan Sharma, vouchsafing sighting them cosying up to each other a few days ago though Mr. Somashekar would like to play safe in this regard. For more: http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/18/stories/2009011857870700.htm

‘Project Snow Leopard’ launched. The government launched ‘Project Snow Leopard’ to safeguard and conserve India’s unique natural heritage of high-altitude wildlife populations and their habitats by promoting conservation through participatory policies and actions. The Project Snow Leopard is an initiative for strengthening wildlife conservation in the Himalayan high altitudes, covering Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. It aims at promoting a knowledge-based and adaptive conservation framework that fully involves the local communities, who share the snow leopard’s range, in conservation efforts. Launching the project, Minister of State for Forest and Wildlife S. Regupathy said predators such as the snow leopard — at the apex of ecological pyramid — suffered the most partly on account of their relatively smaller population and also because of man-animal conflict. This situation got aggravated by the hostile landscape forming its habitat. For more: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/01/21/stories/2009012160591300.htm

Sanctuary breeding endangered clouded leopards. The endangered clouded leopard seems to have got a new lease of life in the Sipaheejala Sanctuary which has witnessed two births annually of the species whose population has declined to just 31 in India. The sanctuary is the only conservation breeding project for clouded leopards, sanctuary veterinarian Dr Sajal Das said. Of the 31 of the species existing, named after the cloud-like spots on its coat to provide camouflage in its forest habitat, there are 17 in Tripura, district, five each in Dhalai and North Tripura districts and four in West Tripura district, according to the census report of the Forest Department. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/Clouded_leopards_in_Tripura/articleshow/4001646.cms

500th dancing bear rescued in India: UK charity. The International Animal Rescue (IAR) charity organisation has claimed to have rescued the 500th dancing bear from the streets of India. The Uckfield-based animal welfare organisation described the recent rescue as a ‘major milestone’ in the campaign to free all the dancing bears in the country and provide them with a safe haven. Alan Knight, chief executive of IAR, told the local media: “We are well on the way to end the trade in dancing bears in India altogether. “By nominating 2009 as International Animal Rescue’s Year of the Bear we aim to give a new impetus to the campaign and rescue all the remaining bears off the streets. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/500th_dancing_bear_rescued_in_India_UK_charity/articleshow/3945488.cms

Pink iguanas discovered on Galapagos Islands. A team of Ecuadoran and Italian researchers have discovered a unique species of pink land iguanas living on the Galapagos Islands, the scientist who wrote the report said. “It is surprising to have made a find of this magnitude in the 21st century,” said Washington Tapia, head of research at the Galapagos National Park. Researchers at first thought that the iguanas, which are pink with black spots, simply had skin pigmentation problems, Tapia said. The first pink iguanas were discovered in 1986, and after years of research scientists concluded that it was a unique species. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Pink_iguanas_discovered_on_Galapagos_Islands/articleshow/3940646.cms

Wildlife rangers in Kashmir tackle man-animal conflict. The Wildlife wing of the Jammu and Kashmir government’s Forest Department has been conducting a research on Asiatic black bears in the Srinagar region of the Dachigam National Park. Rangers and volunteers wildlife enthusiasts are studying the bears’ home ranges, seasonal movements, habitat use, breeding nature and behavioural traits. In a bid to control rising incidents of man-animal conflict, particularly during the winter season when bears tend to move into human habitat, the rangers have launched a drive to fix radio collars on these majestic mammals. According to the rangers, this is the first time that bears are being fitted with radio collars. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Wildlife_rangers_in_Kashmir_tackle_man-animal_conflict/articleshow/3936678.cms

Central team finds shortcomings in tiger-combing operations in Ghazipur. Experts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) are in Ghazipur district to assess the operations of catching a tiger that had strayed nearly a week ago. Experts found that the operations could not become successful because of several shortcomings. The experts ruled out the possibility of declaring the tiger as a maneater. “We are still assessing the situation but it has emerged the Forest Department could have done better,” said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary NTCA. For more: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/central-team-finds-shortcomings-in-tiger…/406434/

Bid to save endangered red panda from extinction in Sikkim. Sikkim is making efforts to save endangered Red Panda from extinction. The Himalayan Zoological Park (HZP), Gangtok in collaboration with the State Forest Department has initiated a programme for the conservation and breeding of Red Panda at a natural enclosure in the park.” Red panda is an endangered species. We are in an initial stage now. We have already set up a small venture-breading centre for Red Panda. Presently, we have six animals, two females and four males. In the conservation breeding programme, we have been successful since 1999 when a male was brought from Darjeeling zoo and a female was brought from Holland,” said Gut Lepcha, Additional Director of Forest, HZP. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/Saving_red_panda_in_Sikkim/articleshow/3982762.cms

More than 600 elephants found in Malaysian park. Researchers said they have found a surprisingly large elephant population in Malaysia’s biggest national park after new survey techniques revealed a community of more than 600 animals. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and Malaysia Department of Wildlife and National Parks estimated that there are 631 Asian elephants living in Taman Negara National Park in the center of peninsular Malaysia. The survey showed Taman Negara to be “one of the great strongholds for Asian elephants in Southeast Asia,” said Melvin Gumal, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s conservation programs in Malaysia. For more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/600_elephants_found_in_Park/articleshow/3983595.cms

China’s wild camels increasing: Report. The number of wild camels, rugged creatures living in a former nuclear test zone with increasingly scarce water, in China’s western Xinjiang territory has grown to about 500, making up about half of the world’s population of the animals, state-run media reported. Scientists estimated that in the 1990s, only about 400 wild Bactrian camels were living in a national nature reserve in Xinjiang’s Lop Nur region, while another 400 or so were in Mongolia, the state-run news Web site quoted camel expert Yuan Lei as saying. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Chinas_wild_camels_increasing_Report/articleshow/3987057.cms

Dubai to crack the whip on animal smugglers. A crackdown on the smuggling of rare and endangered animals into the UAE was announced by Dubai Customs. The move comes as new figures reveal the number of cases brought against people trying to smuggle endangered species into the country increased by 20 per cent in 2008. Abdul Rahman Al Saleh, Senior Executive and Director of Corporate Affairs at Dubai Customs, said traffickers attempted to bring endangered lions, stuffed crocodiles, stuffed foxes and rare birds, deers and falcons into the UAE in 2008. For more: http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10275308.html

Vietnam police seize rare animal parts. Vietnamese police have seized two tonnes of rare animal remains including bear legs and tiger skins from a store in Hanoi, an official said. Nguyen Viet Tien, deputy head of Hanoi’s environmental police, said the animal parts were found at a store in the capital’s Dong Da district. These include seven frozen bear legs and gall bladders, six sets of tiger skins and the intestines of six porcupines. Police arrested the store’s owner, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam. She reportedly admitted to having traded in wild animals for the past ten years. “Each kilogram of animal remains sells for an average price of 300,000 dong ($17) on the black market,” said Tien. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Flora__Fauna/Vietnam_police_seize_rare_animal_parts/articleshow/3972630.cms

Scientists hope to resurrect extinct Indian Cheetah. The Indian Cheetah, which has gone extinct, may be resurrected if cell lines from their cousins in Iran could be procured, scientists say. A group of Indian scientists at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, is working on the ambitious project of gathering and storing genetic material of the wildlife species in a DNA bank which later may be used to resurrect the extinct species like Indian Cheetah and increasing the population of endangered species. The Asiatic Cheetah, a variant of Indian Cheetah, is found in some pockets outside India, including in Iran. “If a cell line made from the Cheetah was available, it would have been possible to resurrect the species. It seems there are at present a few Cheetahs in Iran. If tissue or cell samples could be procured from Iran it should be possible to clone the Cheetah using Leopard as a surrogate mother,” S. Shivaji, a scientist at CCMB, told PTI. For more: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/008200901131411.htm

Birds

Kerala conducts survey on birds. Kerala government has launched an ambitious ornithological survey, following the footprints of renowned ornithologist Salim Ali, who undertook the first ever mapping of birds’ population in the state, 75 years back. The project, which would last for a year, was launched by the State Forest department along with Kerala Bio-Diversity Board at Marayur in Idukki District on January three. Ali had also started his journey of collecting details about birds from the same site in 1933 on an invitation from the then Maharaja of Travancore. Ornithologist and Ali’s disciple R Sugathan, who drew up the chart for the endeavour, said 19 major spots explored by Ali would be revisited by the present team for one year. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/_Kerala_conducts_survey_on_birds/articleshow/3955687.cms

Bustard makes a comeback. The great Indian bustard, believed to be on the verge of extinction, is suddenly proliferating. In 1998, only 29 birds were found in Gujarat and now its population registered a rise by 20 birds, majority of them female, which is an even more encouraging sign. According to a study conducted by Gujarat Ecological Education Research (GEER), bustards were distributed in Abdasa and Nalia taluka of Kutch district in Gujarat over a 996.4 sq km area. The study reveals that a total of 35 Indian bustards were counted in the winter population survey and they had hit 48 post monsoon in Gujarat. For more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Flora__Fauna/Bustard_makes_a_comeback_/articleshow/3944886.cms

Nepal’s ‘birdman’ spreads conservation message. In the centre of Kathmandu, Gautam Sapkota raises his hand to his mouth and emits a series of loud screeches. Within minutes, the sky above him is full of hundreds of crows answering his call. Sapkota can mimic the calls of 150 birds, and in 2008 was named a “young conservationist of the year” by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for his ability to entertain and educate young people about nature. “Right now I am saying in crow ‘Come, I am your friend’,” said the 26-year-old, as the noisy black birds wheeled overhead and settled in nearby trees. At the regular presentations he makes to schools, Sapkota astounds crowds with his bird calls, and encourages children to learn about wild animals and the importance of protecting the environment. For more: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20090109/tsc-nepal-s-birdman-spreads-conservation-c2ff8aa.html

Two-day Uttarayan festival grounds over 100 birds in Vadodara. The two-day kite extravaganza held during Uttarayan saw at least 106 birds sustaining injuries in the city. While nearly 20 of them succumbed to their injuries, the Forest Department and city-based NGOs expected the number to rise in the post-Uttarayan season. The dead birds included a huge number of pigeons, lapwings, egret, bats and kites. “Even though the wind velocity was less this year, we did not find much difference in the number of injured birds,” said Vishal Thakur, who heads NGO Canine Group, which is involved in the bird rescue operation. While the Forest Department had received over 150 cases of injured bird last year, the department anticipates the number to go higher, as 106 cases have been reported in just two days this year. For more: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/twoday-uttarayan-festival-grounds-over-100-birds-in-vadodara/411302/

Reptiles & Amphibians

Govt steps in to save gharials. Fast vanishing crocodiles from Chambal wildlife sanctuary have forced the Department of Science and Technology to use science to monitor the endangered species in the area spread over three states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Close to 2,500 captively bred crocodiles have been released into the Chambal since 1983 but less than 1,000 are estimated to be surviving in the river. The department has asked the WII and forest departments of the three states to use radio collaring to monitor the crocodiles released into the river from captive centers. Radio collaring is a technology, which uses Global Positioning Response System to record movements of the animal on a daily basis after it is released in the wild. The WII will soon be starting a pilot project in this regard,” a department official, who was not willing to be quoted, said. “There was a huge population of wild crocodiles in the river but nobody knows where so many of them have vanished,” said Professor R J Rao, a crocodile expert with the Zoology Department of Gawalior University. For more: http://in.news.yahoo.com/32/20090123/1053/tnl-govt-steps-in-to-save-gharials.html

When Ganga was born, By- Mayank Singh

Haridwar and Banaras did not exist either. That would come later.

Even so: the world was already old and sufficiently civilized to boast of kings and kingdoms and shaded forests.

So it came to pass that an angry and aging mother named Aditi sat down to fast and pray that Lord Vishnu –

Mother Ganga

Mother Ganga - According to Hindu mythology, came from Swarg-Lok to wash the sins of people.

the preserver of the world – would aid her in a moment of distress; her sons, who ruled several planets in the universe, had recently been vanquished by the great king Bali Maharaj, who wanted to become the sole ruler of the entire celestial world. As the humiliated mother of defeated sons, Aditi refused to eat, and closed her eyes, with a hurt soul eager for retribution. She kept praying to Vishnu, till at last he appeared after twelve long days of penance.

Moved by her devotion and strength of purpose, Vishnu promised the aggrieved mother that the lost kingdoms would be restored to her sons.

And so Vishnu disguised himself as a midget Brahmin ascetic answering to the name of Vamandeva. He appeared at the glorious court of Bali Maharaja to plead with the victorious king to give him “just” three pieces of land. Dulled by a sense of invincibility and amused by the midget, the great king lightheartedly consented to the appeal.

In that very moment of thoughtless consent, Vamandeva decided to take his chance and started expanding his form to gigantic proportions. To the king’s horror, the giant dwarf walked his first step, which, to the everlasting despair of Bali Maharaj, covered the whole universe. That is how Aditi got her sons’ kingdoms back.

But it was the second step that assumed crucial significance. Vamandeva then kicked a hole in the shell of the universe, causing a few drops of water from the spiritual world to spill into the universe. These precious and rare drops of the Other World gathered into the flow of a river that came to be known as the Ganga. That was the sacred moment when the great Ganga emerged came into being to become integrated with history.

Ganga’s dilemma
But even so, Ganga remained in the heavenly universe, fearing that stepping onto the earth might render her unsanctified because of the multitude of its sinners. Indra – King of the Heavens – wanted Ganga to remain in his domain so that she could soothe the cods with her cool waters, rather than move to some other world.

The Ganga at Gangotri

The Ganga at Gangotri

But in that earthly world of sinners, there was the great kingdom of Ayodhya ruled by the childless king Bhagiratha, who desperately yearned for Ganga to come down and wash away the sins of his forefathers. Bhagiratha hailed from a royal family that claimed its ancestry from the Sun God himself. Even though he ruled over a peaceful country, with hardworking, honest and happy people, Bhaigiratha remained melancholic, not only because no child had sprung from his loins to continue the illustrious dynasty, but also because he was bearing the heavy burden of completing the task of bringing salvation to his ancestors.

And then there was something else. A long time ago, King Sagar, the then ruler of Ayodhya, had sent his grandson Suman to search for his 60,000 sons which were borne to him by his second wife Sumati. (She had actually borne a gourd which burst open to give way to these sixty thousand.) Now these sons, who were fostered by nurses in jars of ghee till they grew up to youth and beauty, had disappeared mysteriously while they were searching for a lost horse let loose by King Sagar as a part of the great sacrifice known as the Ahwamedha Yagna. If this sacrifice had reached its logical conclusion, Sagar would have become the undisputed master of the Gods.

Searching for his uncles, Suman encountered four elephants in the four corners of the world. These elephants were responsible for balancing the earth on their heads, with all its plenteous hills and forests. These elephants wished Suman success in his noble enterprise. Finally, the dutiful grandson came across the great sage Kapila who, impressed by Suman’s demeanor, told him that all sixty thousand uncles had been turned to ashes by his angry gaze when they tried to blame him for stealing that special horse. Kapila warned that the dead princes would not arrive in heaven by immersion of their ashes in just any river water. Only the celestial Ganga, which flows with its sacred water in the heavenly world, could provide salvation.

Down to earth
Time passed. Sagar died with a heart grown heavy with his wish for the salvation of the souls of his sons. Suman was now the king, and he ruled his people as if they were his own children. When old age crept upon him, he offered the throne to his son Dileepa and proceeded to the Himalayas to practice ascetic disciplines he wanted to impose on himself. He wanted to bring the Ganga down to the earth, but died without fulfilling this desire.

Dileepa knew how deeply his father and grandfather had longed for this. He tried various means. He performed many yagnas on the advice of sages. Pangs of sorrow at not being able to fulfill the family’s aspiration infected him, and he fell ill. Seeing that his physical strength and mental stamina were declining, he placed his son Bhagiratha on the throne; entrusting him with the mission of completing the task still left undone.

Bhagiratha soon handed the kingdom over to the care of a counselor and went to the Himalayas, performing terrible austerities for a thousand years to draw the Ganga down from the skies. Eventually, humbled by the dogged dedication of the ascetic king, Ganga appeared in human form and agreed to purify the ashes of Bhagiratha’s ancestors.

But the great river feared earth, where sinful people would bathe in her waters, sullying her with bad karma. She felt that if the sinners of the earth, who do not know what kindness is and who suffered from egoism and selfishness, came into contact with her, she would lose her sanctity. But the noble Bhagiratha, eager for the salvation of his ancestors’ souls, assured Ganga: “Oh! Mother, there are as many sacred and devoted souls as there are sinners, and by your contact with them, your sin will be removed.”

When Ganga agreed to bless the earth, a fear still persisted: The land of the sinners could never possibly withstand the great pressure with which the frothy waters of the holy Ganges would descend upon ungodly earth. To save the world from unimaginable calamity, Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Shiva – the God of Destruction – who that Ganga would fall first on the matted locks of his head to enable the waters to exhaust their, furious energy beforehand and then descend to the earth with diminished impact.

The joyous moment
The great Ganga rushed in a mighty torrent onto Shiva’s gracious head and, making her way through his tangled locks, the Mother Goddess fell upon the earth, in seven distinct streams: Hladini, Nalini and Pavani flowed east, Subhikshu, Sitha and Sindhu flowed west, and the seventh stream followed the chariot of Bhagiratha to the place where the ashes of his great-grandfathers lay in heaps, awaiting their journey to the heavens.

The Ganga at Haridwar

The Ganga at Haridwar

The falling waters crashed like thunder. The earth was slashed into a silvery white ribbon. Every earthly being marveled at the arrival of the majestic and beautiful Ganga, who rushed on as though she had been waiting for this moment all her life.

Now she plunged over a cliff; now she made her way through a valley; now she took a turn and changed course. All the while, during her dance of joy and exuberance, she followed the delighted Bhagiratha’s chariot. Eager folk flocked to wash away their sins and Ganga flowed on and on: smiling, laughing and gurgling.

Then the holy moment came when Ganga flowed over the ashes of the 60,000 sons of King Sagar and so unshackled their souls from the chains of rage and punishment and delivered them to the gilded gates of heaven.

The waters of the holy Ganges finally sanctified the ancestors of the dynasty of the Sun. Bhagiratha went back to his kingdom of Ayodhya and soon, his wife gave birth to a child.

Epilogue
Time passed. Kings died, kingdoms disappeared, seasons changed, but the celestial Ganga, even at this moment, is still falling from the heavens, rushing and frothing through Shiva’s tangled locks, down to the earth, where sinners and worthy men alike flock to her waters.

May her journey continue past the end of time.

By – Mayank Singh ( Journalist ), New Delhi.

http://www.cleanganga.com/articles/october/birth_ganga.php

हिरकणी !


रेणूताई गावस्कर

हिरकणी बुरूज सर्वानाच माहीत आहे आणि जिच्यावरून हे नाव पडलं ती हिरकणी सुद्धा. हिरकणी आणि बुरूज काल दोन्ही पावन झाले. इतिहासातली ती हिरकणी काल मी प्रत्यक्ष पाहिली यशवंत नाट्यगृहात. हिरकणीवत अपार मायेने ओथंबलेली आणि त्या रायगडाच्या बुरूजा प्रमाणे अभेद्य न डगमगणारी. मृदुमुलायम आणि कर्तव्य कठोर एकाचवेळी दोन रुपात.

रेणूताई गावस्करांचे लोण्यासारखे शब्द कानाला गोड वाटत होते, पण ह्रदयाला भिडायचे तेव्हा थांबा, पुढचं बोलायच्या आधी हे पचऊद्या म्हणावं असं वाटत होतं. माझी १० वर्षाची मुलगी रेणूताईंना म्हणाली तुमची मुलाखत सिनेमा सारखी बघत होते.” खरच रेणूताईनी सगळ्यांच्या ह्रदयाचा ताबा घेतला होता. त्याची ती पावती होती.

हल्ली सारखं अंतर्मुख व्हायला होतं, मुंबई वरचे ह्ल्ले, रेणूताईची मुलाखत…, मुळापासून हादरवून टाकणार्‍या घटना. आपल्यासारख्याना भिती निर्माण झालीय की आपल्या अस्तित्वाचं काय होणार ? या ब्लॉग मध्ये मी पुर्वी उल्लेख केलाय (जागे व्हा ! अजून हल्ला बाकी आहे !!! त्या मुलाखतीत तज्ञांच्यामते आपलं अस्तित्व रहाणार का ? “ हाच आता खरा प्रश्न आहे ) पण या मुलाखतीत ज्यांच्या अस्तित्वाला जन्मा पासुनच समाजाने नाकारलंय त्यांचा हात रेणूताईंनी हातात घेतला आणि काय घडलं ते अनुभव ऎकून थक्क व्हायला झालं.

मुलांना गोष्टी सांगताना एक आटपाट नगर होतं अशी सुरवात असावी असं रेणूताई म्हणाल्या. (माझ्या ब्लॉगची सुरवात तशीच झाली म्हणून मला खूप बरं वाटलं) तर तीन तास मंतरलेले होते यात शंका नाही. संवेदनाक्षम मनाला जागं करणारी ही मुलाखत चिकाटीने काम करायला लावेलच. कृतितून बोलावं असं रेणूताई म्हणाल्या तेव्हा थांबतो, पण एक गोड बातमी आहेः दुर दर्शनच्या सह्याद्री वाहिनीने रेणूताईंना यंदाचा हिरकणी पुरस्कार जाहीर केला आहे. ” खरच खुप आनंदाची गोष्ट. रेणूताई, अभिनंदन! अभिनंदन!! अभिनंदन!!!

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