Dances like kathak, Bharatnatyam, kathakali, chhau are very popular and much loved in our country for their grace and beauty. Tribal dances of these regions are as beautiful and diverse as folk and classical dances.
Tribal dances have a beautiful history and a deep connection with the divine. Dance is an important part of several religious rites and rituals and there is a different dance for each festival.
There are several stories telling us about the history and origin of folk dances in India. The Natya Shastra says that the Divine couple Shiv and Parvati were the Gurus of Tandav and Lasya, respectively, and they form the foundation of all other dances that originated further.
Today we will visit the tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh, Charttisgarh abd Maharashtra and have a little peek into their dances and spiritual beliefs.
Tribal people however, being nature worshippers have different beliefs and origin stories for their dances.
People of the Gond Tribe believe that their deities incarnated as a peacock to show them the beauty and divinity of dance. That is why they wear colourful clothes and accessories themselves to bear resemblance to the peacock’s tail while performing dances. They appreciate the beauty in nature and try to recreate it with their dance.
The Baigas have a different story. According to them, once upon a time, in the moonlight, their ancestors saw that a tiger was playing the nagada , a panther was playing the dundubhi and a peacock was dancing to its rhythm. They then learnt the dance steps from the bird and the rhythm form the two animals and taught it to their clan. Since then, the Baigas started performing the peacock dance with percussion instruments on special occasions.
In folk culture, dances are performed during changing seasons, during harvest, to bring good luck to soldiers before they go off to wars, to celebrate victory, to celebrate births and marriages and also to ward off evil spirits. Dances have their special place in many cultures, for tribal communities too.
Whirling is an important part of tribal dances, as they believe that the constant movement of the body elevates the spirit and the dancer becomes one with the divine.
Surprisingly, Sufis believe the same. Whirling dervishes perform the Sema ritual dance to become one with the divine. Two civilizations, worlds apart, have a similar belief. How fascinating is that!!
As they say, we are all part of the same consciousness.
In tribal culture, when the dancer falls to the ground, and becomes one with the divine, they believe that the Gods talk to them through the dancer. They ask them for solutions to their problems and to predict their futures.
Tribal dances are inspired from nature, from animals and birds, from flowing water and winds. They are simple and full of energy. Tribals perform dances in groups or as couples and anyone who is able to match the energy and keep in sync is welcome to join, except in some religious ceremonies and rituals.
One of the most interesting things about these dances is that they are not formally taught to the children in a dance school under some guru, but the knowledge is passed on from the elders to the children at home. The children start by imitating their parents and grandparents and gradually get the hang of it until they are perfect.
The accessories for these dances like flower-bracelets, necklaces, bangles, earrings, headgear and props are also not expensive and are mostly DIY. The tribal people fashion them at home from bark of trees, dried twigs, leaves, flowers and clothes.
When talking to one of the dancers of the Gond tribe, just about to perform the Saila dance in the Museum of Mankind, I complimented her on her wood-shaving necklace, and she took it off and put it around my neck. It was one of the cutest gestures ever! 😀
These dances are performed to please the duties and to seek their blessings. The Bhivsan Pooja performed by the Gonds to please the Lingal Dev is an important festival of the community. Dandar is performed by Kolma Adivasis of Maharashtra, while the Bhils have two major dances, Dindan performed on Holi and Dandaar on Diwali.
There are many such dances of the Baiga, Korku, Bhil and Kol communities too that make the culture of the tribal people colourful and diverse.
As a journalist I was lucky enough to witness many of these dances in the Tribal Museum and Museum of Mankind in Bhopal. They are so colourful and joyful and the dancers are just amazing who love to share the stories behind these dances with you.
Another popular tribal dance, a form of the Dandaar dance is performed by the tibals of Maharashtra. This dance stands apart from the others for its emotional expressiveness. This is called Bhavand (from the word Bhawana, meaning feelings). This dance has been documented by many researchers too for its high emotional quotient. There are rock paintings that depict Bhavand. This dance form is more popular among the Varli tribes of Maharashtra.
It has a great significance for the tribals as it is a dance performed to pay respect to their ancestors. The dancers wear masks of deities like Rama, Krishna, etc and of demons like Ravana, and also of other characters form epics like Mahabharat and Ramayana. It is basically a dance-drama performed to express emotions and tell a story.
Earlier families in the Varli community used to make these masks of clay, wood, paper-mache or of hay at home. After the dance performance they used to decorate their homes with the mask and immerse them in a waterbody after a year, when they created a new one. But now, they mostly get the masks on rent from a shop that sells these accessories for dances.
The Varli people perform the dance with such devotion like they are worshipping the Gods. It is close to their hearts and a big part of their beliefs. A devotee makes a vow to perform the Bhavand dance if his or her wish is granted. Once that wish comes true, the devotee organizes the three day long festival of Bhawad wherein many villagers participate. One narrator or sutradhar introduces the characters by their masks as they enter the stage.
On the first two days, the masked characters act according to their designated roles and characters and script. It is on the third day when all the characters come together to perform this dance when the performance reaches its climax. Bhawar concludes with the appearance of a 24-handed Goddess Bhavand, with devotees paying their respects.
Many such beautiful tribal dances and cultures are now on the verge of extinction with only a handful of people left to pass on the tradition.
This was all for today. Hope you had a good time with this little podcast on tribal dances. Keep listing for more such sneak peeks into the beautiful tribal culture of India.
See you next week with a new episode. Till then like and subscribe to @groundtales on Instagram, twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You can also visit www.groundtales.com for more information.
When it comes to sports, along with sports like cricket, football, basketball etch, tribal people are no novices to inventing amazing games too. These games, which do not require sporting equipment, and are easy to play.
The indigenous people are outdoorsy and have a good time hanging out in nature, near rivers, mountains and trees. These earthly elements also form the basis of many of their games, creating a strong bond between them and mother nature. While indigenous people worship nature, they also explore their creativity and design games to learn life lessons while playing outdoors. Some of their games are played during the day, while others take place on full moon nights.
Indigenous people of Western Madhya Pradesh are noted for their fair play as the games do not have a referee. Both teams play honestly and own up to mistakes and fouls when there is one. This is something I find really amazing because I was under the impression that without a third party, teams often end up fighting more than playing.. well, these were gully cricket lessons I had learned as a kid, so, are probably not very true. Heh, so much for playing outside, well.
Coming back to the point, these referee-free games ensure they learn how to function as a team and be a good sport. As they say, these games teach them how to lose, but also how not to be a loser.
Played in the moonlight, a guessing game involves locals as well as their oxen. This game is called ‘ghugamal’. In villages, locals know and can recognise each other’s cattle from their markings and sounds of bells. Taking advantage of this, youth create riddles about each other’s oxen and the player has to guess about who’s ox they are talking about. While this is a game, it holds a practical importance for the locals because when they can recognise their neighbours; cattle, it is sure they can plan a role in protecting it too. If they see an injured ox or cow or goat, they immediately know who to call and help reaches the animal soon. The game also increases their powers of observation and allows them to find and remember minor differences as well as similaritties.
They get three turns to guess the name of the cattle owner, and if they are unable to do so, the other team tries to touch their goal ( a small stone near the starting point). If the enemy team touches the stone before they give the right answer, they lose and the other team wins. To make the game more difficult, the enemy team only gives banal hints in the riddles instead of specific markings.
Another game enjoyed by the tribal children of the Bhil tribe is Dhukdhukdiyan, played in shallow ponds by children while grazing cattle. In this one child who is designated to find others in the water, kind of like an underwater Hide and Seek or you can say a desi version of Marco Polo. The one who is supposed to find others can also swim inside the pond and seek them out, but in case one of the players touches him in the water, he continues to be the finder.
This game makes tribal children expert swimmers as they spend many minutes under water, holding their breath, and swimming to get away from the finder. They pass many sunlit hours enjoying themselves and getting a lot of physical exercise while takeing their cattle out to graze.
Hunting used to be another tribal sport until a few decades, but now that has been banned, tribal people have started teaching their children how learn to fire arrows by making targets on trees and stones. Parents encourage their children to learn to shoot arrows to make them able marksmen in time of need, and keep the traditions alive. They also fashion beautiful and aerodinamically correct arrows from wood by themselves and pass on the knowledge to their children.
Some childen assist their parents in fishing when they learn to use bows and arrows properly as they are able to catch fishes by trying a long thread to their arrow before firing. During fish season, many families make their children compete against each other, and the child who catches the maximum number of fishes with his/ her arrow wins. After the game, the familes get together and cook the fish to have a big meal with their friends and families.
Most of these games played by the Bhil, Baiga, Saila, Gond and Korku tribes of Madhya Pradesh have a practical approach and hidden life lessons for their children, be it a guessing game, a swimmig game or fishing one.
They also play many board games similar to the Indian version of ludo – ashta-changa to help develop the mental prowess of the children. One such game called ‘chahrmar’ is played between two players, and it’s rules are quite similar to that of chess. The players can strategize their moves to win, which increases their powers of observation, planning and thinking ahead.
As a person who loves to play chess, but always looses, I think it’s great there’s another game like it, perhaps, someday I’ll learn that and hopefully win one game in my life, but given my tract record, I shouldn’t be counting on that… Oh well, one can only hope.
This was all for today. Hope you enjoyed this little peak into the sports played by tribal people, and their practical approach.
These are not mere games, they are life lessons that aid indegenious people in their day to day lives along with making them physically stronger and teaching them how to handle defeat gracefully.
Though there are no spectators for these low-budget games, they are no less thrilling than our modern-day sports.
Hope to see you next week for a new episode of Ground Tales to take you on a journey to the remote areas of central India. You can subscribe to www.groundtales.com for more details and don’t forget to follow us on twitter, instagram and facebook @groundtales.
Banner Photo- Effigies of tribal boys playing tug of war. Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum, Bhopal
Being considered an important part of beauty, tattoos also hold spiritual importance for tribals of central India. Women especially consider tattoos of utmost importance as it is said in their culture that while all the beautiful clothes and ornaments would be left behind, the tattoos on their skin will go with their soul.
By Shuchita Jha
The indigenous people of central India are very fashion forward, and tattoos have been an important part of their culture since time immemorial.
When I meet tribal women, I love to see the richness of their culture. They proudly carry their ‘gudna’ on their forehead, arms, neck, shoulders and bellies. Each tattoo is different and they all happily smile and tell you all about them when you ask. For most girls, the day they get inked is unforgettable, as it was the day they passed the test of their endurance and their journey forward begins. It is like a passage of rites.
From girls as young as 7 to those as old as 70, have tattoos on their skin. This practice takes place two times in a women’s life- once as a spinster in her maternal home, and later as a married woman at her in-laws.
Women especially consider tattoos of utmost importance as it is said in their culture that while all the beautiful clothes and ornaments would be left behind, the tattoos on their skin will go with their soul. It is something that cannot be separated, and along with the skin, it is also inked into their souls. While the practice of getting inked seems to be painful, the indigenous women make it sound so beautiful that you yourself want to get one! I for one feel super scared of getting inked, but for the first time in my life I felt like having a little tattoo after an elderly woman said this to me. However, the feeling passed when I saw a guy crying in a tattoo parlour later in the city mall later that day. 😀
According to the tribal women, the practice of tattoo making goes back ages, when humas were able to summon Gods with their devotion and prayers. Once upon a time a married woman went on a hunger-strike after having a fight with her husband. On the seventh day of her hunger-strike, a Goddess sent her messengers to bring the woman to her. When the woman met the Goddess, she made a tattoo or gudna on her cheeks with milk form the sal tree with the help of a bamboo needle. The Goddess told her that like she had inked her, she would now have to ink other women of her community as a mark of their endurane and patience. The women who will bear tattoos on their skin will be able to endure all kinds of hardships in their life. So the women of the tribal communities like Gond, Korku etc love to get inked.
Along with this, the Adivasis also believe that tattoos increase sexual desires of women, helping them become more fertile to bear children. Tattoos of scorpions, bees, peacocks-pea-hens, rooster and hens etc are made to increase prospects of getting pregnant. Literally birds and bees! 😀
I wonder if that’s where the saying comes from? Who knows?
Gudna or the practice of getting inked is considered as auspicious as any other ritual like birth, marriage and last rites.
The practice of covering large parts of the body is not just limited to the tribes of central India. Many indegenious communities of the North East, Wastern and Southern part of India also love to get inked. They are like their acquired beauty-marks, like jewellery in absence of jewels and their belief in high powers who they say look after them and ward off evil. Indigenous communities of Africa, Australia and Polynesia also get inked.
With so many purposes, it becomes inevitable for women to not get inked. Young girls follow the standards of beauty in their communities, watching their grand-mother, mothers, aunts and friends, which makes them eager to get tattoos too. It is like when little girls wear their mother’s saris, their jewellery and high heels to look more like them.
Even to this day tribal women use traditional methods to make tattoos. They dip the needled in mustard oil to make them smooth and then arrange 3-4 needles in a pattern to make a design. The ink is prepared from the soot of mustard oil, and is diluted with water and filled into the engraved sign. To prevent infecion, the inked area is cleaned with water and mustard oil, and then the lady who makes the tattoo called ‘gudanhari’ applies a paste of turmeric power and mustard oil to it as it has anti-septic properties. The inked area gets healed within a week and the tattoo becomes a part of the girl’s body and soul.
Indigenous people prefer to get inked in winters as there is a lesser risk of infection in winters. The designs of tattoos also vary from one tribal community to another. For example, women of the Uraun tribe get three lines inked on thier forehead- this is called lammar, Gond women go for a floral design called ‘jat’ and the ‘Kanwar’ community goes for the ‘elephant’ motif’. They also get symbols and insignias of thier tribes engraved into their skin to ask their ancestors to protect them. Totems, flowers, plants and animal tattoos are also popular in tribal communities.
Women also sing songs while engraving tattoos on the skin of girls. It is believed that it was Lord Krishna, who first made tattoos on the bodies of his ‘Gopis’ and the practice started back then. They sing hymns in praise of Krishna while doing the art.
While it is mostly women who get inked, men from a special community of Chhattisgarh called the ‘Ramnami’ community. They are devotees of Lord Rama, who is regarded as the most righteous and honourable man to have ever lives. The men inscribe the deity’s name into their skin several times to imbibe his qualities.
Earlier men used to cover their whole faces and bodies with the detiy’s names, but now the younger generation prefers to get the tattoo only on the arms or chest. They are ardent followers of the Ramanaya and thier rites and rituals are very similar to those practiced in the holy book.
That’s all for today folks. Hope you enjoyed this little piece on the importance of tattoos in the tribal communities of central India. To connect with us follow @groundtales on twitter, Instagram and Facebook .
Banner– A tribal hand tattoo in a market in Jaipur, India. Photo by Meena Kadri/wikimedia commons
Welcome to the fourth episode of French Tales from Ground Tales. We have with us our new guest, Mr. François Le Cardinal, a French professor, and also an amateur connoisseur of wine and liquor. He will enlighten us today about the different kinds of wine or cider and whiskeys that are found in France along with champagne, which I guess most of you know, and how they are made, what is his favorite? How did he have an interest in becoming an amateur connoisseur and some more things that we don’t generally know about wine because we just concentrate on Bordeaux and champagne? We are going to learn a lot more about the different regions that produce other kinds of wines and deciders which are less known but are tastier. And this I say, after having tasted from François collection, let us hear from the master himself.
Welcome to the third episode of French tales. Today with us we have a very special guest, Mr. Laurent Guerin who has a very deep knowledge of the Normandy beach invasions, the lives of the people, and how they turned around with the invasion. He also interviewed and met the Higgins family, who actually supplied the boat to Europe, from America for this special invasion that was held in 1944. He owns a very cute place on the Omaha Beach, which trains people in sports like kayaking, surfing, parasailing, waterboarding, and etc. And he has been running this place since the last 25 years, and has held around 5000 sessions in the past 10 years. So right now, the place is not really open because of the COVID restrictions. But hopefully, when the restrictions are lifted, it will be back to its original life and a buzz that always surrounds the beach, especially in summers. So today, we will hear from Mr. Laurent Guerin his experiences of meeting people and what they have shared with him through these ages. Welcome to our show.
Gambini who “partied” hard in his youth has given up alcohol for the past 25 years. A practicing Buddhist, he now embraces life with the “live and let live” principal, while enchanting the audience with his music.
When I started, I had a big, big ego. When I was younger, I wanted what I used to play in a heavy metal band and touring in England. And it was not Buddhism at all, because it was like cigarettes, alcohols, drugs, you know, rock and roll stuff. Party every day.
Shuchita 0:00 Hello, everybody, this is Shuchita. Today we’ll start with our first episode of the series French Tales. And with us today we have Mr. Sylvian Gambini, a professional musician who has been practicing Buddhism for the past 20 years in France. He has also adopted vegetarianism as a way of life, and follows the principles of Buddhism with the core of his heart. Today, we will interact with him and know what sparked his interest in Buddhism. And what led him to be such a great follower of the sect, which is very rarely found in France. He was the first Buddhist I met in France. And I have also been inspired by him. So let’s talk about him and come to know his journey. So, hi, Sylvian
Sylvian Gambini 0:52 Hello.
Shuchita 0:53 So would you like to tell us how did you come in touch with Buddhism when you were younger?
Sylvian Gambini 1:02 Well, actually, as I told you, when I was really young, when I was hearing somebody talking about Buddhism, when I could hear Buddhism as a subject, I always thought I was going to get interested in Buddhism later, but I was convinced it was something for later, I was not ready for it. I didn’t know what it talked about.
Shuchita 1:24 Okay
Sylvian Gambini 1:25 Except maybe, that it’s something that represents respect and peace and all this kind of stuff that we all quite know.
Shuchita 1:35 Yeah
Sylvian Gambini 1:35 And then when I was like, 30 years old, I started to read books about Buddhism. You probably know that there are quite different kinds of Buddhism, like Theravada, Buddhism, like Hinayana, like all these kind of Buddhism. So the first books I read about Buddhism didn’t interest me at all. I thought, Yeah, right. I’ve read this before. I’ve seen this before. I’m not so interested. And one day, one day, I had this book from about Walpola Rahula. He is a monk from Sri Lanka. This book was written in 1961. So it’s quite old, but it’s reference. And this is a monk who practices, the Theravada Buddhism, the old Buddhism that the Buddha used to practice
Shuchita Jha 1:49 like the oldest Buddhism..
Sylvian Gambini 2:30 absolutely. The original Buddhism. Theravada actually, can mean Buddhism of the ancients.
Shuchita Jha 2:36 Okay.
Sylvian Gambini 2:38 And when I read this book, first, I learned that I was a Buddhist, because I was following the five principles, not a, like Buddhist monk, I mean, a Buddhist, that is not a monk. Real life Buddhists. I want to tell you the principles quickly. It’s like, not taking life not hurting, not taking things from people not stealing, like not lying, not drinking alcohol, taking drugs. And finally, about you being honest to your wife and not going (cheating) what was the term? Fidelity.Absolutely yeah. So I was following all these precepts. Unconsciously. I didn’t know it was something that has to do with Buddhism. I’m reading this book. I felt like I could have read every word Well, not really, because it took me far away. And I learned things I didn’t know. But I thought, alright, this is home. You know what I mean? Right, right. I know this, this talks to me, this is exactly the way I can see life.
Unknown Speaker 3:48 Right? Is that is that? You know, were you a vegetarian before you started, before or when came to know that you were a Buddhist, or afterwards,
Sylvian Gambini 3:56 yes, I was a vegetarian before because before getting interest in Buddhism, I just couldn’t kill any animal. Like even a mosquito that is on your arm, I can’t kill it, just like this. It’s not intellectual kind of stuff. It’s just I feel if I can, last time I killed it. I thought about it for three days, just to myself. Why did I do this, that he didn’t deserve to die, and he’s not going to kill me. So there was no reason for this. And one day, a friend of mine just killed his sheep because he wanted to eat it. And I told him, how could you do such a thing? And he told me, well, you eat sheep. I said, Yes. He said, Well, if you eat it, you should be able to kill it. And this this meant to me and I, I could understand if it was right. I mean, it’s hypocrisy. To say I eat but I don’t want it to hurt it. But if you eat when you pay for the meat, you pay the guy to kill it. Yes. So, to be honest. And it made sense. I thought, Yes, that’s true. So I became a vegetarian and I like it. I appreciate it.
Shuchita 5:10 Right. So like, you also once told me that You don’t try to dominate vegetarianism on other people. That is something that many vegetarians try to do. Oh, yes. Sylvian Gambini 5:26 Yeah, yeah. It’s funny, because I can see many vegetarians, quite angry. And they feel anger towards people that eat meats. I mean, I have nothing against people eating meat, everybody is made his own way. And, I mean, if you see the nature, eating meat is quite normal. I mean, this is an equilibrium. So it’s just I feel like I don’t want to eat meat. I feel very well with this. But I will never try to convince someone not to eat meat because he knows what he wants to do on he, I mean, killing an animal to eat it is quite normal. So I have no problem with this. I just don’t do it.
Shuchita 6:08 Okay, so like with the principles of Buddhism, do you try to tell your kids about it also?
Sylvian Gambini 6:15 Well, even the simple things like eat properly, they don’t do it. So I don’t tell them anything. quite complicated. I think maybe they can see the way I behave on what I do. For example, I have engagements with lacco, which is a Association this thing to help people this week, I’ll be free days I’ll be working has a benevolent. Yeah, volunteer, volunteer, to drive some people- refugees and driving some refugees. There is a for example a in Arromanches to help them to have some papers and tomorrow I’ll be going to a place where you put old people so to help the visitors and to organize this event. I’ll donate my blood on Wednesday, in Bayeux there is a blood collect. So my kids see what I’m doing. And I think this is much better than telling them, absolutely. Sylvian Gambini 7:23 an example. Yeah, in France, there is a sentence we used to say, “Ne fais pas ce que je te dis ce que je fais.” Don’t do what I tell you to do, do what I’m doing.
Shuchita 7:34 Right. Right. That’s wonderful. I mean, that’s like the basic principle of parenting, that should be, because if you don’t practice then it will not have an impact.
Sylvian Gambini 7:44 They’re intelligent, they see if you are correct or not. If you don’t behave in a logical way, they will notice it. This guy is about something wrong.
Shuchita 7:56 Right, right. Okay, and then, one more question. Let’s also talk about your journey in music and how, you know, while touring to so many different places, how easy or difficult was it for you to, you know, be a vegetarian, and also be like a Buddhist.
Sylvian Gambini 8:16 So I never clashed with some of the bandmates, they are the people you know, because being a Buddhist is quite simple and just behave normally. It’s just the way you see life. And, of course, I think a real Buddhist has not hate and anger, and is really tolerant. So this helps. I mean, I’m really thankful about the fact that I can do what I like to do music, I love my passion, I get money from it. So I’m so thankful about this. So I have this attitude, and I’m really happy. And I like to go playing and I feel really, really light, you know, on. I like everything in my job and meeting people is something I like, listening to people in pubs or places bars, I like to listen to the people’s problem. I’ve always liked it. I’m interested, you know, it’s funny. So it’s not a problem at being Buddhist. Being vegetarian can be a problem, especially in France, because they don’t really know what it is. And most of the time they forget to give you some proteins. So we will have a simple plate and they think that vegetarian doesn’t eat much. I don’t know why. They think so. Most of the time when I say I’m a vegetarian, I have like a little plate with a little bit of salad and a little bit of bread and that’s it. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with this. I’m on stage for three hours. I will be carrying many heavy loads of amplifier on the PA for an hour and I will go to bed at four o’clock in the morning. I can’t make it with a little plate of salad. It’s impossible so well. Now maybe I don’t say I’m vegetarian, no more. I just take the meat off. Okay. I’ll have the other tgingsy, all right, yeah….
Of course. I mean, you have to feed yourself also.
Sylvian Gambini 10:06 Yeah, yeah. I give the meat to my friends. Sometimes they give me some vegetables and cheese and say, Oh yeah, let’s make an exchange.
Shuchita 10:13 That’s a good, that’s a good technique so that at least you have the other things. Absolutely. But being Buddhist..
Sylvian Gambini 10:19 Buddhist, I mean, it’s so easy to me because it’s just, there’s no ego, for example, a Buddhist is working a lot on the ego stuff. Theory of anattā tells you that ego just doesn’t exist. It’s a construction of your mind. And I quite believe in the more and more I believe in this, I can feel it every day. I can see it through elements, things. And in the music, there’s a big thing about ego. You know, it’s like, I want to be the leader. I want to be the one that’s got the most success and what if I wasn’t good was this, you know, like fighting for girls, small mattering things is ego. So, if you are reducing your ego, I’m starting to see there no ego, you don’t fight for nothing (anything). You are just thankful to be doing what you like to do. So it’s really easier, we will never argue on we never have problems with my bandmates because I let them decide quite most of the things and they do it well. I respect that.
Shuchita 11:20 Did you change the things about you that you didn’t like? I mean, is this like a change that you observe in yourself? Or were you like that from the starting?
Sylvian Gambini 11:27 No, I was not like that. When I started, I had a big, big ego. When I was younger, I wanted what I used to play in a heavy metal band and touring in England. And it was not Buddhism at all, because it was like cigarettes, alcohols, drugs, you know, rock and roll stuff. Party every day. So no, no, no. But it was interesting, because I could see what it was made of the real texture of all this…. that it is all fake. Actually, it’s all fake. It’s it’s not…. It’s not peaceful stuff, you’re always kind of trying to fit you’re always kind of frustrated. You’re always trying to be what you are not. At the end. You are the loser. When you behave like this. That’s what I know today. So it was great to experiment.
Shuchita 12:14 Right? And it was like a very major lifestyle change for you. Because once you told me or not had alcohol for 25 years….
Sylvian Gambini 12:21 Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I was behaving stupidly, you know, like putting my my life in danger. Well, I’m really thankful to that I didn’t die during this period. Because, believe me, I did really, really crazy things. Like walking on roofs and driving cars really fast being stupid….
Shuchita 12:41 like, very risky.
Sylvian Gambini 12:42 Yeah, yeah, it was. People with me, we’re taking risk, too. And so if I had died….. we were talking yesterday about it yesterday that life could change in a second. You know, maybe at this time, if I had just a little accident, or for a second just I could have killed like three people or four people with me. I know I will be or an alcoholic today. Or maybe dead or crazy or Well, you can’t live with this. Such a crazy thing…. So I’m really thankful about it. I was a lucky guy, I was really lucky guy. Yeah, I know.
Shuchita 13:14 So, apart from the book that you read the first book that you read, what are more books have you read about Buddhism?
Sylvian Gambini 13:20 Oh, so many so many books. Theravada Buddhism, Buddhism books, but unfortunately, this guy, Walpola Rahula wrote only one book. Well, he did some articles in other magazines,l could get, but many things from Theravada Buddhism, like agents of other (branches of Buddhism) or agents of Chan (a branch of Buddhism) ,or many or whatever they call ….mmm.. the School of the forest. Okay. Yeah, it’s kind of Buddhism. So simple. You know, like, just living in the forest and being alone. Shuchita 13:55 I like the eat from the trees that grow. Just like existing with nature. Yeah. And harmony in harmony? Sylvian Gambini : Absolutely. Shuchita : Are there a lot of people in France who practice Buddhism? Sylvian Gambini : No Sylvian Gambini 14:09 Actually, when I was really interested in the monasteries, I tried to find a Buddhist monastery. So you have some Buddhist monastery in France. But there are zero Theravada Buddhist monastery, and I visited some in England that are really, really working well. And they really do follow the principles of Theravada Buddhism, they get no money they possess nothing. So can be like, you know, on a really peaceful happy people. I mean, a Buddhist is quite happy. Yes. Shuchita 14:42 content with yourself.
Sylvian Gambini 14:44 Yeah, yeah. They don’t waiting for anything and they just appreciate you being there. They freed their mind. So it’s just like, I feel so this is a good state of mind. And visited a few monasteries in France. And it’s not What I, what I was waiting of a Buddhist monastery, I mean, the monks would have alcohol party would possess cars. Yeah, true, true. So I can’t see how they can really.
Shuchita 15:17 That’s just like lip service for saying,
Sylvian Gambini 15:20 it’s really trendy Buddhism, you know, so like a I’m a Buddhist, I know some people that say that Buddhists because they like they have a Big Buddha in their house and they think it’s beautiful. It’s materialistic stuff, you know, I mean, being a Buddhist is be behaving a certain way. And you can see these people are not Buddhist, even Walpola Rahula. He says, in Sri Lanka, and in India, there are so few real Buddhists, many, many people say they are but they don’t behave like they are. They kill mosquitoes, or they are getting into you fight for stupid things they do. Yes, Sylvian Gambini : this is not a Buddhist attitude, you must be peaceful, respectful. Humidity, not talking when you did you don’t have to talk. I’m trying to help people, trying to be a good person and that makes me really happy. I think so. Shuchita 16:12 And it’s, it’s like, like, there are some religions that believe in like penance or something and where you have to punish your own self or fast for long days to please a higher God. I mean, but Buddhism is very simple… I mean, as compared to them, because it’s just like, you be clean (pure) yourself and you are done.
Sylvian Gambini 16:39 Absolutely. You don’t need to go (for fasting or tough rituals) and all actually in Buddhism. Buddha didn’t say what God was deciding for us. So we all we don’t go to Paradise or hell because we behave great or bad. It’s just like, it’s the common law. You need to know this, I guess.
Shuchita 16:57 Yes. Exactly. The karma.
Sylvian Gambini 16:59 You don’t need any good to be in the karma. The karma law is just working alone.
Shuchita 17:04 Yes, absolutely. It was a… a major, major lifestyle change for you then.
Sylvian Gambini 17:13 Yes or no? I mean, I’m still the same person. I’ve never been an aggressive person or trying to (dominate)….I was never interested in power or money or materialism.
Shuchita 17:27 Even now, like you say, like, all these… you are grateful for the things that you have but you don’t feel like you possess them…..
Sylvian Gambini 17:35 Oh, no, absolutely not. I know I can lose everything. I can lose my wife. I can lose my house. I can lose everything. In one second. I know it. Yeah. No, no, no, no. No possession.
Shuchita 17:48 Would you like to say something Amélie (his wife) ?
Sylvian Gambini 17:52 I don’t think so. I know. She forgot how to talk. I absolutely don’t feel you people possess people. I feel I just even don’t possess me. That’s how I really feel it. So how could I possess someone else?
Shuchita 18:07 Yes. But what does that mean, like for for a person who doesn’t think as, I mean, as deeply as you do? Does it scare you that… nothing in this world is yours?
Sylvian Gambini 18:21 Oh, no. It will scare me that I possess things because I know people really rich who possess things and they want more and they are very afraid to lose them. On the contrary, I mean, I am really I feel at peace.. I personally feel great, it is great because I can’t lose anything.
Shuchita 18:41 Yes, right. That’s one way to look at it. You don’t have anything you can’t lose anything either.
Sylvian Gambini 18:45 I know you don’t possess things. Or maybe if you possess one thing it is your karma. And the way you you behave. This is what you do, what you say….you possess it. Shuchita 18:55 Yes. That’s That’s true. Yes. And that’s like the for the longer. Yeah, it’s not like this with this life. That gets carried along.
Sylvian Gambini 19:04 Oh, yeah. You can ruin your future.
I walked where in their talking graves, and shirts of earth five thousand lay, When history with ten feasts of fire, had eaten the red air away.
By Shuchita Jha
The Second World War shook the world in a way humanity can never forget. Keeping alive the memory of the martyrs, the Bayeux War Cemetery pays homage to the soldiers who died in the war.
The largest cemetery of the commonwealth soldiers lies in a Quaint town of France, Bayeux, away from the hullabaloo of the big cities, so that the departed can rest in peace.
The Bayeux Memorial also immortalizes countless other soldiers who died in Normandy, but do not have a known grave.
The memorial became the topic of one of the poems of Cornish poet and school teacher Charles Causley. He wrote the poem ‘ At the British War Cemetery’ after paying a visit to the Bayeux War Graves. His father had died as a result of the First World War, which prompted him to pay a visit to the war cemetery, where he was shocked out of his wits.
“I was deeply shocked when I went there. Absolutely awful. They had tried to make the landscape sort of rather British there – English flowers and all that but it didn’t matter. I went to Singapore to give some readings and I visited the cemetery there where a lot of the British boys had been buried, you know, and I went with a young chap there and he said to me, ‘They’re just kids – they’re so young.’ Awful.”
The War Memorial is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states, namely, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
The epitaph on the graves, with the insignia of the infantries that participated in the war have some heartfelt messages from the loved ones of the departed…
It makes you think of the people, who could have been, who could have seen more life, who could have raised their own children or spent some more time with their wives and mothers.
The cemetery has graves of 4,648 martyrs from different nations- 3,935 from United Kingdom, 466 from (Nazi) Germany, 181 from Canada, 25 from Poland, 17 from Australia, 8 from New Zealand, 7 from Russia, 3 from France, 2 from Czech Republic, 2 from Italy and 1 from South Africa.
The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom by France in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire for the defence and liberation of France during the Invasion of Normandy in 1944, also known as Operation Overload.
Every year on June 6, the anniversary of D-Day invasion, The French government and CWGC pay their respects to the departed in a grand ceremony.
छत्तीसगढ़ के दुर्ग जिले के चंदखुरी गांव में खुशी का माहौल है। यहां पशुपालन करने वाले किसानों ने गोबर बेचकर बम्पर कमाई की है। महिला किसान द्रौपदी 70 गाय पालती हैं। उन्होंने 10 दिन का गोबर इकट्ठा कर सरकार को दो रुपये प्रति किलो के हिसाब से बेच दिया। पांच अगस्त को उनके खाते में 31 हजार रुपये का भुगतान हुआ। द्रौपदी की तरह ही सावित्री ने 65 गाय से 25 हजार रुपए की कमाई की। गांव के ही रामकृष्ण यादव एवं सूरज यादव ने भी इतने पैसों का गोबर बेचा। पूरे गांव को मिलाकर सरकार की तरफ से दो लाख का भुगतान हुआ है।
छत्तीसगढ़ सरकार गोधन न्याय योजना के तहत किसानों और पशुपालकों से गोबर खरीद रही है। इस योजना का पहला पेमेंट 5 अगस्त को पशुपालकों को हुआ। योजना का सबसे बड़ा लाभ पहाटियों अर्थात चरवाहों को हो रहा है। किकिरमेटा की कलीन बाई के खाते में 23 हजार रुपए आए हैं। उनके पति संतरू पहाटिया हैं। गौठानों में पशुओं को लाकर रखने पर वहां एकत्रित किया गया गोबर चरवाहों का होता है।
इतने गोबर का क्या करेगी सरकार
गोधन न्याय योजना को 20 जुलाई को हरेली त्योहार पर शुरू किया गया था। एक अगस्त तक लगभग 10 हजार किसानों ने 50 लाख रुपये का गोबर बेचा। एकत्रित गोबर से शहरी क्षेत्रो में वर्मी कम्पोस्ट, गोबर की लकड़ी, धूपबत्ती, गमले, दिया, मूर्ति आदि उत्पाद बनाने की तैयारी चल रही है। महिला स्वसहायता समूहों को गोबर से दीया, लकड़ी, टोकरी आदि बनाकर बेच सकती हैं। जैविक खाद से शुद्ध अनाज और सब्जियां पैदा की जाएंगी। इस योजना के तहत राज्य के सभी वर्गो के 65 हजार 694 पशुपालकों में से 46 हजार 964 पशुपालकों ने एक अगस्त तक 82 हजार 711 क्विंटल गोबर बेचा है। गोबर बेचने वालों में से 40 हजार 913 पुरूष और 24 हजार 781 महिला है। इनमें 25 हजार 474 अनुसूचित जनजाति वर्ग के 5 हजार 474, अनुसूचित जाति के 5 हजार 490 और 71 हजार 724 अन्य पिछड़ा वर्ग के पशुपालक शामिल है।
For Fourteen-year-old, Akbar, who lives in Gurugram lockdown was not less than the worst dream of his life turning into a reality. With neither jobs nor money after the announcement of nationwide lockdown, most of the people in his locality left for their respective villages after the lockdown, leaving entire area deserted.
Online classes have become a new challenge for me now. We are three siblings and we have only one smart phone at our family. All the three of us have to attend classes but only one could access it in a day. I will be appeared in class 10 board exams this year, how am I going to manage my studies this way
Purnima, a 15-year-old student
“My locality suddenly started looking like a site of a haunted movie. There were hardly a few faces visible in the area, all my friends left for their village along with their parents after the lockdown was announced. There was no one to even talk with. It was the worst ever experience of my life. Every vacate shanty was haunting me. Those were the days when I only prayed with the God to make everything normal like before”, said Akbar.
On the other hand 15-year-old, Purnima from Delhi is struggling with online education system during pandemic every passing day. With limited excess to digital devices and internet, Purnima who is going to pursue class 10 board exams this year is extremely concerned about her studies. “Online classes have become a new challenge for me now. We are three siblings and we have only one smart phone at our family. All the three of us have to attend classes but only one could access it in a day. I will be appeared in class 10 board exams this year, how am I going to manage my studies this way”, she said.
Purnima also shared about the challenges of other children in her locality. She said her cousins are very young and cannot handle smartphones themselves, while her uncle and aunt are also not much literate about using the phone and enable access to online classes for their children.
Akbar and Purnima and many other children narrated and discussed their life during COVID times and challenges during 2-day long Children for Children Model United Nations held virtually by Child Rights and You (CRY). This was for the first time a virtual MUN was conducted by the organisation in wake of COVID 19 pandemic. Children from different sects of the society were part of this event, where they shared their experiences and views over different national and international issues related to children.
Addressing the MUN, Regional Director of Child Rights and You (CRY), Soha Moitra said “We at CRY perceive the youth as being instrumental in being the executors of the changes we aim for. Children for Children MUN and Model UNs in general are a manifestation of this philosophy. Model UNs has played a relevant role in building the next generation of leaders and will certainly build a body of aware, empathetic and innovative students”.
She further said “This MUN, however, is a bit different from the others. While many MUNs discuss issues of international peace and security, we at CFCMUN discussed issues which have a direct effect on the people and the society around you. We hope to create young leaders who are adept and empathetic about problems that will affect this generation and the next at both micro and macro levels. The issues that were discussed; education, heath, children in conflict zones vulnerability of children and the risks they face are even more amplified during ongoing COVID 19 pandemic”.
“The issues of vulnerabilities especially for children have become larger and larger in COVID times and these are not just issues affecting marginalised communities; it will affect all of us. The two day long exercise of MUN gave us this opportunity to discuss this in detail and has broken the barriers of the notion that the possibilities are limited when it comes to young people”, Moitra added.
Delegates on COVID -19 and its impact during session
During the session, the delegates spoke about how health care systems in almost all countries have seen a shortage in medicines, vaccines and mostly importantly ventilators. Most developing or underdeveloped countries were not only facing the coronavirus disease but were struggling with issues like malnutrition as well.
The delegates also spoke about how low-income nations cannot implement lockdowns and curfews as most of their citizens depend on daily wages. The COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 resulted in a pandemic on a scale the world hasn’t seen since a long time. All the health and social workers are risking their lives as this virus has left no nation untouched.
The delegates also spoke about how low-income nations cannot implement lockdowns and curfews as most of their citizens depend on daily wages. The COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 resulted in a pandemic on a scale the world hasn’t seen since a long time.
They also highlighted how hygiene kits, soaps, masks, sanitisers should be provided to all students and workers free of cost. They also discussed the role of civil society in dealing with cases of domestic violence during pandemic. For children who are facing mental issues due to the lockdown, the committee discussed introducing tele-psychiatry and tele-medicine for providing pharmacotherapy for the vulnerable groups of children such as those in low income families with pre-existing chronic diseases and disabilities.
A Model United Nations conference is a competitive simulation of United Nations and its various organs and agencies. For years, it has enlightened students on how diplomacy takes place at an international level. It has also enabled them to have an open and critical approach on the current global crises and come up with possible solutions keeping in mind the various stakeholders. In today’s testing times, student volunteers at CRY have come together to independently organise Children for Children MUN.
It is unique because it is prime moved by children who are discussing issue of safety, education and rights of children across the world – therefore the name – Children for Children. Team CFC comprises entirely of child rights ambassadors from CRY, belonging to different schools across North India. The team is dedicated to the cause and through this to bring conscious young delegates in on the mission.
To give further boost to the Soil Testing facility in the country for promoting appropriate use of fertilizers, NFL has launched five Mobile Soil Testing Labs for testing the soil samples at the doorstep of farmers free of cost.
These Mobile Labs, loaded with latest soil testing equipment, shall be used for macro and micro nutrient analysis of soil. In addition to this, these Mobile Labs are also equipped with Audio-Video system to educate farmers on various agricultural topics. Other than the Mobile Soil Testing Labs, the company is also serving farming community through six Static Soil Testing Labs located in different parts of country. All these Labs tested around 25,000 soil samples free of cost in the year 2019-20
V N Datt, C&MD along with Directors and senior officials today flagged off one such Mobile Lab from the premises of NFL Corporate Office in Noida. —PIB
The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) predicts that there would be a 24% increase in the expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries by 2021 and another 24% expansion by 2026 from its 2016 positions. The prediction made by NCPOR is based on a 16-year-long satellite-based observation that covered an area of 60,000 sq. km across the AIS. Scientists feel that this study would help understand the ongoing changes in the ocean and atmospheric forces better.
The floating sheets of ice called the ice shelves play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier. Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass. The ice sheet mass balance, sea stratification, and bottom water formation are important parameters for the balancing of a glacier. Latent and sensible heat processes do play important roles here.
The study is based on the satellite data collected from 2001 to 2016
The AIS is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world, located on the east coast of Antarctica, at about 70ºS Latitude, 70ºE Longitude. The AIS dynamics and mass balance help in understanding the changes in the global climate scenario.
The insulation of ice shelves from atmospheric forcing is dependent on a temperature gradient that the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelves provides. It is the pressure exerted by the ice shelves upon the ocean cavity that determines this temperature gradient.
There is always a stress on the sea ice and ice sheets itself plays an indirect role in reducing the amplitude of the ocean swell. This is assisted by the freezing atmospheric temperature, which is capable of promoting a change in the morphology of ice shelves.
The AIS extended by about 550 m in 2017, 1470 m in 2018, and 2200 m in 2019
NCPOR carried out this study based on the satellite data collected from 2001 to 2016. The data were collected during the austral (relating to the southern hemisphere) summer months of January to March to understand the advancement of AIS extension and the influence of ocean atmospheric forcing in East Antarctica. The NCOPOR scientists observed a spatio-temporal change in the ice shelf as reflected by the extension of the Pridze and Mackenzie and the extension of a 200-km stretch between Mackenzie Bay (68.5ºS Latitude; 70.2ºE Longitude) and the Sandefjord Bay (69.65ºS Latitude; 74.3ºE Longitude), which is a part of the AIS.
It becomes clear from the study that the AIS is losing its stability owing to the impact of a downstream giant glacial drainage system over the past 19 years, thereby advancing the ice shelf boundaries due to higher freezing rates than basal melting.
NCPOR has also estimated the rate at which ice shelves have extended for the last three years (2017-2019). The AIS extended by about 550 m in 2017, 1470 m in 2018, and 2200 m in 2019. If this continues, it is entirely possible that in the next six years (2021 to 2026), the positions of the ice shelf would closely coincide with the actual boundary conditions.
The study clearly shows that the AIS is losing its stability owing to the impact of a downstream giant glacial drainage system over the past 19 years
NCPOR observations also revealed a critical cooling of the sea surface temperature (SST), resulting in an advancement of the ice shelf by 88% in the past 15 years. These changes would contribute in a major way to climate variability.
Referring to the NCPOR study from 2001 to 2016, Dr. Avinash Kumar, a senior scientist at NCPOR who is involved in the research, said: “In the background of the global warming scenario, the study reveals that the advancement in the predicted ice shelf extent closely corresponds with the actual extent. The study clearly demonstrated the application of satellite observations and statistical techniques methods for the determination and validation; the reconstruction of the past; and the prediction of the future dynamism of ocean heat fluctuation and Antarctic Amery ice shelf mass shifting-extent. These are some of the groundbreaking methods crucial for monitoring and quantification of climate change effects and its consequences. The methods could be replicated elsewhere as they are necessary for the understanding of the response of global climate change, its monitoring for sustainable environmental management.”
Led by Dr. Avinash Kumar, the research team comprised Juhi Yadav and Rahul Mohan of NCPOR, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Goa, and Aakriti Srivastava of the Department of Earth Science, Barkatullah University, Bhopal. The research paper has been published in the Journal of Environmental Management.
Rice is one of the main staple foods across the world since it has very high carbohydrate content and provides instant energy. In Southeast Asia, where it is consumed more than in the other part of the world, it accounts for more than 75% of the calorie intake. India has the largest area under rice crop cultivation: almost all States grow rice. However, it suffers from a problem of low productivity.
In order to meet the demand of the growing population of India and the world, production of rice needs to increase significantly, say by about 50% of current productivity. Traits like number of grains per plant and weight of the grain mainly determine the yield in rice. Thus, one of the main aims of the researchers and breeders has been to develop superior rice varieties with heavier grains, which can give higher yield and better nutrition.
In a new study, researchers from the Department of Biotechnology’s National Institute of Plant Genome Research (DBT-NIPGR), ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-IARI), ICAR-National Rice Research Institute (ICAR-NRRI), Cuttack and University of Delhi South Campus (UDSC), have identified a region in the genome of rice, which seems to have the potential for improving productivity.
We believe that in future efforts, this LDR region could be utilized for improving rice production by targeting various traits including the seed size QTL identified here
Jitendra Kumar Thakur, Team Leader
The scientists conducted their study by sequencing the genomes of four Indian genotypes (LGR, PB 1121, Sonasal & Bindli) that show contrasting phenotype in seed size/weight. After analyzing their genomic variations, they found that the Indian rice germplasms had much more genomic diversity than that estimated so far.
They then studied the DNA from 3,000 rice accessions from across the world along with the four Indian genotypes sequenced in the study. They identified one long (~6 Mb) genomic region, which had an unusually suppressed nucleotide diversity region across the centromere of chromosome 5. They named it as `low diversity region’ or LDR in short.
An in-depth multidimensional analysis of this region revealed that it had played an important role during domestication of rice varieties as it was present in most of the cultivated rice genotypes and absent in wild varieties. Most of the modern cultivated rice varieties belong to japonica and indica genotypes. They had this region prominently. In contrast, it was less prominent in the aus group rice varieties, which are closer to the wild type. Further studies revealed that the LDR region contained one QTL (Quantitative Trait Locus) region that was significantly associated with grain size/weight trait.
The new study assumes importance as in addition to genome-wide exploration, it has highlighted an important and a long domestication-related genomic region, which was found to be evolutionarily crafted to carry multiple agronomic traits associations. “We believe that in future efforts, this LDR region could be utilized for improving rice production by targeting various traits including the seed size QTL identified here”, team leader, Jitendra Kumar Thakur of DBT-NIPGR said.
The study team included Swarup K. Parida, Angad Kumar, Anurag Daware, Arvind Kumar, Vinay Kumar and Subhasish Mondal of DBT-NIPGR, Akhilesh K. Tyagi of University of Delhi South Campus, Gopala Krishnan S and Ashok. K. Singh of ICAR-IARI, and Bhaskar Chandra Patra of ICAR-NRRI. They have submitted a report on their work to The Plant Journal. It has accepted it for publication.