Friday, January 28, 2011

Biodiversity and Sri Lanka

For those who do not know about Sri Lanka, it is one of the world's most endangered biodiversity hotspots. Some of the greatest specie richness in the world is located in this beautiful paradise, that was ravaged by war for over three decades, till it was finally ended (worth a thought though).

Efforts on reconciliation and restoration of the environment in the North of Sri Lanka are now being undertaken on a war footing. What role does biodiversity play in it?
David Without Borders is a brilliant initiative started by two guys in recording efforts on biodiversity conservation, and their recent episode on Sri Lanka reconciliating through biodiversity conservation is certainly worth a watch.

07 Sri Lanka - Building peace for Sri Lanka, the power of biodiversity from David Without Borders on Vimeo.



Dr. Sarath Kotagama came as a pleasant surprise. An ornithologist by profession, he is a delightful person to know. He certainly deserves an award for this initiative of his.

Try and search more about him all of you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

That Thing Called Bamboo

Indian culture has a wonderful relationship with Bamboo. Most prominent among them must be the fact that the flute is made out of it, and the flute was played by none other than the revered Lord Krishna. However, among other things, it is a material of great commercial importance across the world.

What surprises me is the way in which the media tends to ignore such critical issues of development and internal security, and how these issues are so critically interlinked. So it was great surprise for me to read that the Times of India (more appropriately the Trash of India *nudge nudge wink wink*) came out with this article that discussed in great detail the great fraud we did till recently with the marginalized people in our country over the past fifty years.

What is bamboo? Most people, including scientists, say its grass. But according to the Indian Forest Department, it was a tree! Why? Here's the answer.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/its-a-grass-not-a-tree-bamboo-off/shoots/articleshow/7330876.cms

And to think we wonder why issues like Naxalism take birth in our country.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Water Privatization and the Media

It is interesting to see the kind of issues that gain coverage in the Indian media, as I have often stated. What makes it interesting though is the selective screening of certain kinds of news items that could be of potential national interest. There is never a debate conducted over matters of national importance in an objective manner. One such area is the privatization of water supply systems in India.

It is of no surprise to me that very few papers in India dare to discuss the issue of water supply systems being privatized in the name of reforms. The side usually taken is the one that is often quoted by proponents; it will be a panacea for all the ills that plague the current systems. Thus it is rare to come across articles on opposition to it in Karnataka, especially in cities like Mysore and Bengaluru. Moreover, the issue is being discussed about the inclusion of the private sector in Delhi as well, with the electricity distribution privatization being quoted a 'success'.

Read more about it here and do let me know what you guys think about the whole issue.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/310878/This-problem-can%E2%80%99t-be-watered-down.html

P.S. The first city to have private water supply was incidentally Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, and the firm operating is a consortium of government financed companies. So is this really privatization?????

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why is Sanitation Not an Issue for the Indian Media?

A scan of the media coverage of issues poses an insight into what are the hot topics of today's media. It is easy to list these issues, for they number only a few. Be it the Hindutva terror, Karnataka land deals, the CWG scam or the 2G spectrum allocation, these issues are still a rage with our media. Though it is shameful to see shameless politicians scream their lungs out saying "My corruption is less than your corruption", it is fascinating to note why issues of grave importance are either dropped quickly or are not even picked up by the Indian media. A lot of them, which I believe are the real issues India faces, are never covered by our so called 'senior' journalists, which is shameful because their voice might lend credence to the efforts of the activists, workers and government servants who are struggling on this issue for decades now.

Ms. Teresa Rehman has been a revelation in that sense. An award winning journalist from Assam, she has been a strong insight into a region that is conveniently forgotten in the mainstream media (a story to be talked about on another day). But it is her struggle about bringing the issue of sanitation to the forefront that is worth a thousand bows. No other 'senior' journalist has seen it within his/her mandate to question why sanitation is not being paid attention in the media. Her blog http://thesanitationscribes.blogspot.com/ is a fantastic eye opener as well as a great attempt to cover what should be a really big issue for the Indian media, and not just remain an issue to be discussed all the time within the academic circles.

http://www.thehoot.org/web/home/story.php?storyid=4648&pg=1&mod=1§ionId=20&valid=true

Please read this to understand the plight of what truly is the aam aadmi of India.

The Economic Slowdown Needs Immediate Address

The Buck Stops With the Duo (Courtesy: Bloombergquint) The fracas in Maharashtra notwithstanding, things are at a critical juncture ...