Tag Archives: Sci/Tech

Power or Perdition — Public Concern over a Nuclear Andhra

atomandhrapng

A BOLT FROM THE BLUE

‘Andhra Pradesh set to become a nuclear power hub,’ the headline of a report in The Hindu dated July 21, 2016, says. It quotes a central minister as saying, ‘In Andhra Pradesh six nuclear centres are going to be created, totalling thousands of megawatts capacity.’ As against the government’s goal of 53,000 MW installed capacity by 2031, AP will account for 30,000 MW.’

One is free to feel elated and take the ‘bonanza’ granted to AP as solely out of immense love of the Centre.  One is also free to feel that Andhra Pradesh is playing host to so many nuclear reactors at its own peril. The states of Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are not so hospitable as AP, in the teeth of uprising of their people. Two of the centres proposed in AP are by transfer one each from West Bengal and Gujarat.

Interestingly, in Gujarat, besides the opposing people, the Tatas, the Adanis and Essar are not ‘comfortable’ with the gigantic plant proposed as they are owners of power plants there. What a euphemistic word to be used by the paper—not feel comfortable; instead of the word opposed. Some people of AP at the proposed locations may at best be ‘feeling uncomfortable,’ not more than that yet. Are they fatalistic or are so pragmatic that they are not prepared to break their heads against a stone wall? Even at Kovvada in Srikakulam district the people seem to be giving up their struggle of years. What is the tactic of governments? They wait to the extent possible and tire out the people whose struggle in opposition is intense. Then the poor and fatigued people, who are fatalistic basically, can be lured into accepting packages by making them appear attractive to their eyes—offers they cannot refuse.

Is it coincidental or paradoxical or both that at a time when the global nuclear industry is in doldrums and the global share of nuclear power has fallen from its historic peak of 17.6 to 10.7 per cent in 2015, the proposal to make AP a nuclear hub has come about? One thing, however, could perhaps be said. For nothing in return those in governments take such major decisions, which have far reaching consequences, in the name of national interest. Who decides which is in national interest and which is not? Not the people, but the governments which are not afraid of the people except in an election time. India does not have a history of the people of an entire state taking up cudgels against setting up nuclear plants; those who are away from a site chosen feel comfortable of the fact that, after all, it is not going to happen in their own frontyards or backyards. In a selfish world why should one bother oneself by taking a holistic attitude and contracting others’ headaches?

In the backdrop of the government’s decision, those who are going to live in the company of so many nuclear reactors—just in one statein their neighborhood need to know some basic facts concerning nuclear energy with a historical perspective. The safety of generation after generation to come over thousands of years is now at stake. Let us question ourselves as to what moral right we have to drag future generations into dangers by a step the present generation takes. Once the people in the state of AP know enough of the issues involved and what they entail to them, it is up to them whether to take to a path of agitation or to resign themselves to the potential dangers. But how will they know, in the first place? It is not just an issue of displacement of people, more serious concerns are involved in the proposal. What is happening in reality? Once the displacement issue is taken care of nuclear concerns are ignored by the people.

Nothing new is going to be attempted here other than giving an account of the facts which already are in the public domain as results of brainstorming by those who are far better qualified than me. I want to re-echo them in prapancha hitam—by a ‘collection’, beelike, from various sources. This honey is bitter unlike its sweet cousin; but both intend to do good. This is a layman’s narrative for laymen’s sake. There is no guarantee against a feeling of already being familiar with these facts, while going through them—except that it is worthwhile.

Proposed Andhra Pradesh Nuclear Power Projects in 2016
$ – Rosatom is likely to build 6 power plants in the state. Srikakulam & Nellore Districts among the locations.
$1 Russian nuclear power project to build 6 VVER reactors in Haripur, West Bengal is likely to be moved to Andhra Pradesh due to protests by locals.
$ –  Westinghouse Electric announced that it will be relocating 1 proposed project to build 6 nuclear reactors from Mithi Vardi in Gujarat to Andhra Pradesh.
$ – GE-Hitachi: allocated a site in Andhra Pradesh to build 6 Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors. the project has been put on hold as India is wary of GE- Hitachi nuclear reactors as they have not been tested before.
$ – “if everything goes according to plan, Andhra Pradesh will be home to more than a dozen nuclear reactors.” [3]
 ~18 Reactors and ~9 Nuclear Plants to be constructed in Andhra Pradesh

 THEIR NUCLEAR LOVE IS NOT BLIND

The nuclear issue goes beyond the need of energy security, defence and foreign policy points and there’s the rub.

Dr Anil Kakodkar, former head of the Department of Atomic Energy, said in a Marathi article that India must import reactors with billions of dollars because, “We  also have to keep in mind the commercial interests of foreign countries and of corporates there.” That preposterous altruism should be read in conjunction with what Dr A. Gopalakrishnan, a past chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, said in his article of DNA dated March 17, 2011: “Even in the negotiations of costs, the safety and liability of imported reactors, the official nuclear agencies today are operating hand-in-glove with their friends in the corporate houses and federations.” He further says, “Ever since the UPA government has taken over in 2004, the collusion between the PMO, DAE, NPCIL and the various corporate houses in India and abroad has substantively increased.” In the wake of the nuclear deal with the US which would pave the way to the lifting of international nuclear embargo on India, the UPA government had to face a no-trust motion in Parliament.

To save itself it bribed some Members of Parliament by paying Rs.10 crore each involving a total amount of Rs.50 to 60 crores as revealed by Wikileaks. The US embassy at that time informed Washington that the Congress party officials boasted that they would buy opposition MPs to win the trust vote. Why was even the continuation of the government risked on the nuclear issue and corrupt practices resorted to if the intentions were bona fide? If one argues that in the national interest it will not be bad even if dubious means are adopted, that will be a different case. In an article dated at countercurrents.org, Dr Kakodkar is quoted by Capt Buddhi Kota Subbarao, PhD, as saying: “America, Russia and France the countries that we made mediators in the efforts to lift sanctions, and hence, for the nurturing of their business interests, we made deals with them for nuclear projects.” A quid pro quo shamelessly admitted to have been made.

Capt (Dr) Subbarao debunks the conception that nuclear power plants are needed to make nuclear weapons. The plutonium that was used in Pokhran I [1974] and Pokhran II [1998] nuclear tests was derived not from nuclear power reactors but from the Research Reactors.

The nuclear power industry indulges in a strong public relations campaign and it is backed by powerful lobbying groups. When the Three Mile (TMI) accident occurred the whole official establishment and nuclear industry moved in a coordinated manner and were in a denial mode about the ill effects. Some dubbed the effort as “one of the biggest lies ever in American industrial history is that no one died at the Three Mile Island.” Dr John William Gofman, who was instrumental in developing the atomic bomb, had as a medical doctor to his credit breakthrough discoveries in heart diseases and LDL/HDL cholesterol. He was chief of health research at the Atomic Energy Commission. When he came up with findings nailing the lie of the establishment he was promptly fired.  He discovered that regular radioactive emissions from America’s nuclear plants would kill 30,000 citizens per year even without an accident or terror attack.  He refused to change his findings when the industry tried to prevail upon him. He preferred to lose his job.

The Radiation and Public Health Project which tried to reveal horrifying truths of the TMI was branded as of little credibility even by the community of scientists. Joseph Mangano, one of its members, who has a master’s degree in public health, was not surprised by the opposition he faced from the ‘military-industrial-energy-pharmaceutical-governmental complex.’ He ran the shoe-string organisation with offices mostly on his kitchen table that spent several years questioning the safety of nuclear power stations. He came up with the finding that the nation’s 100-plus nuclear power reactors when operated under normal conditions were giving people cancer.

Harvey Wasserman, who edits newsfree.org and is a senior editor of freepress.org, in an article in commondreams.org, dated November 19, 2007, observes, “Today, with billions in bailout dollars on the line, there is big money to be made in saying that atomic reactors have harmed no one.

The country also seems to feel with a touch of quaintness that by doing nuclear business with other countries it can win friends who can come to its aid in international affairs. Add to that the ambitions of the leaders at the helm who hanker after their personal international image. The costs involved in winning such friendships and image-building are not amenable to estimation—colossal the costs are.

THY NAME IS HYPOCRISY

American companies have been building nuclear reactors in other countries. Even after 37 years of the accident at the Three Mile Island it is not yet ready to give a chance to new nuclear energy plants. For the US, selling of just two reactors means thousands of jobs.  Barack Obama, who promotes nuclear power deals with other countries, during the course of a speech said that every four minutes another American house or business goes solar.

The French utility Areva, having almost gone bankrupt, scouts for nuclear business. The country plans to reduce its nuclear-generating capacity by a third by 2025 one of the reasons being prohibitive costs of reactors. Where a rich France does not dare, India tries to tread.

Australia possesses over 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves, but  it does not dare or care to generate nuclear power.

Russia which is still battling the Chernobyl-disaster cleanup is aggressively pushing for its nuclear trade with other countries.

No nuclear company is prepared to bear any liability to its full extent. They know by experience how huge the costs of liability could be and how accident-prone the reactors are. India is foolhardy to limit the liability of foreign suppliers to just Rs.1500 cr. One major nuclear accident is enough to leave its entire economy in dumps. In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster Japan is estimated to have incurred anywhere between $150 to 250 billions so far, probably a half of which is towards compensation.

Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany have decided to freeze or phase out nuclear power.

CLEAN LIKE THE GANGA

Maybe nuclear generation by itself is clean, but the same cannot be said of nuclear fuel cycles. They are carbon-emitting. Greenhouse gases are generated during mining and enriching uranium. The construction of a reactor bears large carbon footprints. The proponents of nuclear power highlight the front-end as emission-free, conveniently downplaying the back-end dirtiness. Therefore any claim that nuclear-power generation is clean needs to be taken with a pinch of uranium.

NUCLEAR ENERGY IS CHEAP LIKE PEANUTS

The 6 Kovvada nuclear reactors are estimated to cost Rs.4,00,000 crores. One reactor costs around Rs.65,000 cr. The facts that (a) the plants require the highest capital in the energy sector, (b) they are the highest water guzzlers and (c) they have the highest gestation period of over 10 years among other energies belie the claim that nuclear energy is cheap. Some have put the cost of nuclear energy at Rs.48 cr per megawatt which may not be an exaggeration. To say it is ‘too cheap to meter’ is a big falsehood.

NO RISK—AS TRUE AS THE HARE HAVING A HORN

Experts say that in a nuclear power plant the risk can only be lowered but not eliminated. The work of a nuclear plant is extremely complex and it is next to impossible to predict all possible failures. To err is human. You cannot eliminate a human error, unless those involved in the process are superhuman, either in designing or in operation of a plant. There are multiple ways in which accidents could sneak in. If you try to fix one it will give rise to another. In Fukushima while tsunami and earthquake were hand in hand externally, the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents had internal causes.

A study lists 99 nuclear accidents which could cause at least one death or a damage costing above $50,000. India accounts for 7 of them. Besides those, Kakrapur Atomic Power Station in Gujarat on March 11, 2016 suffered a leak of heavy water. The newly commissioned Kudankulam also had a leak.

THREE MAJOR ACCIDENTS AND THE SINGLE LESSON THEY TAUGHT

Three Mile Island Disaster

The US, the only country which exploded a bomb in anger, also has the dubious distinction of having the first major nuclear accident too in its nuclear plant at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979. A combination of personnel error, design deficiencies, and component failures caused it. As robot cameras revealed one third of the fuel melted. Then no one knew what was really happening as it was unprecedented. Even after 37 years, the decommissioning of the plant and restoration of the site are decades away. Plans are afoot to fully restore the site by 2054—75 years after the happening. They claimed there were no immediate deaths or injuries and that its long-term impact would be negligible. They however admit that the psychological toll was immense.

Though the TMI’s owner claimed that its releases harmed no one, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission admitted to Congress that nobody knew how much radiation escaped or where it went. Official figures showed a huge jump in infant death rates in Hartsburg in the three months after the accident. Compared with the numbers for the previous two years State’s statistics showing heightened cancer rates were quickly altered. An investigative team from the Baltimore News-Herald uncovered a massive epidemic of death and disease among the area’s farm and wild animals. The writers, based on a horrifying series of house-to-house interviews, found cancer, heart attacks, respiratory problems, skin lesions, cataracts, a metallic taste in the mouth, hair loss, etc.

Not many years later, on April 26, 1986, the worst of the three major accidents happened at Chernobyl in Ukraine as a result of an experiment carried out by the plant personnel, besides there being construction errors and negligence. According to a calculation of Dr Alexey Yablokov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as reported by Common Dreams dated March, 25 2011, one million people died. He rued that his book ‘Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” which he co-authored, had been met mainly with silence from bodies like the World Health Organisation and  no discussion took place about the findings he pointed out in the area around Chernobyl, as contaminated today as it was 25 years ago. Cesium, americium, strontium and plutonium that got deposited in the soil have reached the roots of plants which then propel the radioactivity back to the surface.

Chernobyl Disaster Control & Exclusion Zones

John Vidal in his article, ‘Nuclear green Cheerleaders forget Chernobyl at our peril,’ published in The Guardian dated April 1, 2011, says when he went from hospital to hospital in the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border in 2006, after 20 years of the accident, they found deformed and genetically mutilated bodies in the wards; pitifully sick children in homes; adolescents with stunted growth and dwarf torsos; fetuses without thighs or fingers and villagers who told that every member of their families was sick. They heard of many unusual clusters of people with rare bone cancers. One doctor in tears told them that one in three pregnancies in some places were affected and that she was overwhelmed by people with immune and endocrine system disorders. Others said they still saw cesium strontium in the breast milk of mothers living far from the areas thought to be more affected, and significant radiation still existed in the food chain. Villagers testified that the ‘Chernobyl necklace’—thyroid cancer—was so common as to be unremarkable; many showed signs of accelerated ageing. The article further reports that Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the liquidators, who had helped clean up the plant, told them that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another. The radiation released at Chernobyl was estimated to have far exceeded the one at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 When the disaster at Fukushima happened on March 11, 2011, even the Japanese Prime Minister was panicky. In his testimony before the Parliamentary Committee he said, “There wasn’t much information coming to me from the government regulatory agency, NISA, or the Plant’s Operator, TEPCO. I thought I couldn’t make any counter-measures in this crisis. I felt fear.” He condemned the utilities, nuclear regulators, bureaucrats and academics who support the legacy of nuclear energy in Japan. This group [termed as ‘nuclear village’] he felt had no remorse for the disaster.

 

Fukushima disaster worker in Radiation Suit

The accident resulted in a massive radioactive contamination of Japan’s mainland.  Long-lived radioactive cesium contaminated 30,000 sq km of the land surface. Some 4,500 sq miles was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s allowable exposure rate. Even after 5 years since the accident, road to recovery has been difficult and long and is not yet complete. It took the government 88 days to accept that a meltdown had taken place. TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Company] estimates that the cleanup operations could take up to 40 years.

 

A Japanese Greenpeace campaigner says, “There is still an enormous amount of radioactivity there which is not controlled, in liquid form, leaking into the underground, and slowly moving into the ocean and that is very dangerous for the future”. Everyday, 300 tons of contaminated water leaks from the crippled nuclear plant. About 3 lakh people lived in the neighbourhood of the accident. Five years after the happening, tens of thousands still live in temporary housing.

WASTE OR MONSTER

safetysign

Frankenstein faced the wrath of the Adam of his own labour. Having learnt a lesson from what he did he became wiser and refused to create a female monster-mate for the male one to live with. Indians have their own Bhasmaura who chased Siva to save whom Vishnu had to take the trouble of incarnating as Mohini. Our ‘civilised nations’ refuse to learn lessons of their misadventures. They create nuclear waste and they are at their wits’ end on how it can be disposed of. A human lives only a hundred years; the monster is ageless and deathless. If we fail to keep it in proper chains it will devour us. But a tragedy is that you can’t hold it in chains however strong they may be for long. He chaining is just an act of postponing its going on a rampage.

The waste has to be kept in large water pools for cooling down which may take 1 to 10 years and then transferred into caskets [steel cylinders surrounded by additional steel or concrete]. Mind you, nuclear waste can be only stored, not made to disappear. A decommissioned reactor poses as serious a problem as the waste it has generated. Everything in life perishes except nuclear waste. Just imagine how it would be possible to store a huge quantum of waste the 546 reactors generate worldwide.

The Bush administration in 2002 chose Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a common repository for geologic isolation of 70,000 metric tons of its total waste of 107,000 mt and spent on the project $12 billion dollars. The consolidated geological repository was intended to isolate the waste to protect future generations over a period of 250,000 years—which also means that it has the potential to harm for so long a period. The Department of Energy admitted that there was no guarantee that the radioactive waste would not leak into the ground water some day. If it so happens, it would affect potable water, meat grown with the contaminated water, and milk from cows which are exposed to the contamination through their feed and water. The ground water-table could rise and come in contact with the waste. Even the storage containers are prone to breaking open. There also was the possibility of portions of the mountain collapsing. The people were naturally aghast and opposed the move. The Obama administration, as promised at his election time, stopped funding which led to mothballing the project.

What do you expect from democratically elected governments? They should bow to public opinion. But even in countries which wear on their sleeves their democratic credentials, when it comes to nuclear issues, bitter is the experience. There can however be exceptions always. The headline of the BBC News dated May 30, 2011, sounds musical to the ears of those who value human life and public opinion: “Germany: Nuclear power plants to close down by 2022.” Incredible? Germany took a decision to phase out all its nuclear plants by 2022 yielding to massive public protests post the Fukushima disaster. As a first step it decided not to reuse its seven oldest reactors which were taken off line for a safety review. One more would be offline due to some technical glitches and six other ones would go offline by 2021. This was despite the fact that one-fourth of Germany’s energy need is met by nuclear power sector.

DO WE HAVE ONLY HOBSON’S CHOICE IN OPTING FOR NUCLEAR POWER? RUBBISH!

Climate temperatures are attributable to variations in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is an important heat-trapping [greenhouse] gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels as well as a natural procedure such as respiration, volcano eruptions. If climate changes sea levels rise and oceans become warmer. Longer and more intense draughts threaten crops, wildlife and fresh water supplies. The planet’s diversity of life will be at risk. It affects peoples’ livelihoods, places and species. So if we do not want ourselves to perish we have to cut down on carbon emissions. This is possible only by opting for clean, cheap, renewable and harmless energy. Are we then left with only the option of going nuclear? We already know its perils. We are using nuclear energy to supplement our energy basket of renewables such as wind and solar. A simple question is: What prevents us from investing more in the renewables and obviate the necessity of the nuclear option? An equally simple answer: Nothing prevents us if we have the will. Three major renewable resources are sun, water and wind with various other sources which can chip in handsomely. As Capt (Dr) Subbarao observes India would reap enormous harm by largely investing in nuclear energy which starves funds for other sources of power.

We revere the sun as a god and chant the Gayatri Mantram for both spiritual and earthly well-being. The sun never grudges our drawing more and more energy from its shine [it in fact shines for our sake]. But take enough care even from a god and do not over-expose yourselves to its radiation. It allows us to make hay while it shines. Means are being found to store such hay and use it even when it does not shine, especially during nights. As per a cnn.com report dated October 3, 2011, unlike a typical solar power plant which stops working when the sun sets, a new one in southern Spain, called ‘Gemasolar’ can supply power all through the night. During the day it captures the energy of the sun and stores it in a tank. Then, regardless of day or night it can be converted into electricity. Located outside a village Fuentes de Analucia, ‘Gemasolar’  bills itself as the world’s first commercial-scale concentrated power plant that  uses molten salts receiver technology. 2,650 large mirrors called heliostats direct the sun’s rays to a receiver at the top of Gemasolar’s 450-foot tower that shines like a beacon during the day.

The Hindu dated October, 4, 2012, quotes a study according to which India can meet its energy needs sans nuclear power. The study of two professors from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, published in ‘Current Science’ says 4.1 per cent of the total uncultivable and wasteland area in India is enough to meet the projected amount of annual demand of 3,400 TWh by 2070 by solar energy alone. Even that extent of land could be reduced to 3.11 per cent if other potential renewable could be tapped. The newspaper also quoted another IISc professor as saying that a three kilowatt rooftop solar panel system on the 425 million Indian households can generate total per-year energy of 1900 TWh and meet half the demand projected by 2070.

Wind never stops from blowing. We have read about some yogis substituting air for food. If we all could emulate them we can solve the problem of hunger in the world. Paradoxically quite nearby the Kudankulam nuclear plant, thousands of windmills are rotating generating wind power. The potential of wind energy in India is estimated at 20 to 30 times more than the government’s assessment of over a lakh of megawatts. In come parts of the country the cost of wind power dropped below than of coal-based energy. Wind power can increase to 20 per cent worldwide by 2050.

Hydro and waste-to-energy are other renewable sources of energy. According to an estimate 75 per cent of hydro potential is yet to be exploited. Oh, our potential to produce waste is limitless! It has plenty of potential to generate electricity. Once a stage is reached when not a kilo of waste is not wasted, we may cease to call waste as waste. Bio-mass, bio-gas [sewage, landfills and livestock] could come in handy. Andhra Pradesh being a coastal state is ideal for Tidal power plants.

World_electricity_generation_by_source_pie_chart.svg

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report dated July 13, 2016, makes an interesting reading:

  1. Compared with 1977, when the Kyoto protocol on climate change was signed, in 2015 an additional 829 TWh wind power was produced globally and 252 TWh of solar photovoltaic electricity, compared to Nuclei’s additional power of 178 TWh.
  2. In 2015, power generation using Solar energy grew 33 per cent, wind power over 17 per cent, and 1.3 per cent from nuclear source, entirely due to 31 per cent increase in China.
  3. China spent over $100 billion on renewables in 2015. While investment decisions for 6 nuclear reactors amount to $18 billion.
  4. Share in energy-mix: The nuclear share of the world’s power generated remains stable over the last four years, with 10.7 per cent in 2015 after falling steadily from the historic peak of 17.6 per cent in 1996.

The Guardian dated May 9, 2011, reports that the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change [IGPCC], the body of the world’s leading climate scientists, convened by the United Nations, says that if the full range of renewable energy technologies are deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrates to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have projected will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible. Investment in renewables to the extent needed would cost only about 1.1 per cent of global GDP annually.

 

SOME BASIC STUFF

  • An atom is the smallest particle that can break a material. Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus of an atom. At the core of an atom there are two types of particles—neutrons and protons—that are held together. Nuclear energy is the energy that holds neutrons and protons. It can be obtained in two ways, fusion and fissure. In fusion energy is released when atoms are combined or fused together. In fissure, atoms are split into smaller atoms, releasing energy. Reactors run on the fission mode.
  • Nuclear reactors use fuel made of solid ceramic pellets or enriched uranium that are sealed in strong metal tubes. These are bundled together to form a nuclear fuel assembly. The uranium pellets are about the size of the tip our little finger. They release tremendous amount of energy in a nuclear reactor. One pellet has an amount of energy equivalent to almost one ton of coal. The energy released by the nuclear fuel produces great heat, which boils water into steam. The steam turns giant turbines, which generate electricity. After 3 or 4 years in a reactor, the pellets are no longer effective for providing electricity and the assembly is removed from the reactor. After removal, the assembly now called spent fuel, is highly radioactive.
  • Reprocessing is a method of chemically treating spent fuel to separate out uranium and plutonium. The byproduct is a highly radioactive sludge-like residue. By this method is produced fissile material for nuclear weapons.
  • Nuclear waste is of two kinds—(1) spent nuclear fuel which is radioactive byproduct of electricity-generation at commercial nuclear power plants, and (2) high-level radioactive waste the byproduct from reprocessing the spent fuel to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Nuclear waste contains highly radioactive elements such as, cesium, strontium, technetium, and neptunium. Some of the elements will remain radioactive for a few years, while others will be radioactive for millions of years.
  • Radioactive material is one which emits radioactive energy in the form of alpha, or gamma particles or rays all of which can damage living tissues.

 

Loka samastA sukhinO bhavantu

Santi santi santihi


References:

  1. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/false-promise-of-nuclear-power/article6612000.ece
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-can-meet-energy-needs-sans-npower-study/article3964452.ece
  3. http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160722/1043450786/nuclear-power-plant-india.html
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/mar/15/nuclear-earthquake-tsunami-energy-industry
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/us/three-mile-island-and-nuclear-hopes-and-fears.html?_r=0
  6. https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/03/28/three-mile-island-35-years-later/
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository
  8. https://www.citizen.org/documents/yucca.PDF
  9. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2007/09/27/commentary/hype-on-nuclear-power-is-misleading/#.V5XtUr-T6yE
  10. http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/two-villages-in-andhra-pradesh-show-how-it-s-done-will-now-run-entirely-on-solar-power-252739.html
  11. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/23/business/energy-environment/catching-waves-and-turning-them-into-electricity.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FTidal%20and%20Wave%20Power
  12. http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2016-HTML.html
  13. http://www.breakthrough-india.org/archives/nuclear2.pdf
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/mar/15/nuclear-earthquake-tsunami-energy-industry

 


This Post was composed by Navuluri Rao garu. You can follow him on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

All about South India’s first River linking project — Pattiseema

The following Post was composed by  Anil Prongs. You can follow him on his blog.


pattiseema

Andhra Pradesh is racing ahead in reaching historical milestones. One such historical feat that it achieved is completing the first major river linking project in South India and it is the fastest river integration project ever took up in India.

River linking project is linking rivers through reservoirs and canals. This primarily focuses on reducing floods and water shortages where the abundant monsoon water that is conserved in reservoirs is delivered using the river linking system to areas where water shortage persists, or in times of drought. It primarily does a balancing act in reducing the gap between water availability and the demand for water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial purpose.

There is a prolonged debate in the country since many years on this project where proponents say it answers the country’s water shortage problem while the opponents dispute that it involves large scale rehabilitation, environmental issues, water disputes with neighbouring countries and high costs. Whatever may be the outcome of the debate, a country like India with a high population must address its worsening water shortage crisis, and river linking project has an answer to this. There are many successful river linking systems implemented in the world some of them are Europa canal, Illinois waterway,or the Gulf intercostal waterway.

Andhra Pradesh is covered by three major river basins, the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Penna. The major problem lies in the Krishna basin where the river water is shared by Maharashtra, Karnataka and the newly created states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. According to the Brijesh Kumar tribunal, AP has been allocated 512 tmcft which must be shared between the Krishna delta region and Rayalaseema. With upper riparian states constructing illegal projects on Krishna river it is impossible to address the problem of water shortage in drought prone Rayalaseema and the requirements of the delta region.

RayalaPatti

One solution to this problem is to reduce the dependence of the Delta on Krishna water and transfer the surplus water to Srisailam,thereby distributing it to Rayalaseema through Pothireddypadu head regulator. This can be done by linking the Godavari river to Krishna. There is no problem with Godavari as surplus water is available and moreover about 3000 tmc of flood water is not utilized, which goes waste into Bay of Bengal. By linking, about 80 tmc of water can be transferred from Godavari to Krishna; moreover it is allowed according to the Bachawat tribunal.

The Polavaram project has been envisaged to link these rivers but the huge budget involved, central dependency, and disputes with neighbouring states may take atleast 5 or 7 years to complete. In order to find a speedy resolution to water scarcity in Rayalaseema, the government of Andhra Pradesh has come up with an alternative and that alternative is “Pattiseema Lift irrigation project”.

PattiseemaLevels

Built at a cost of 1300 crores, Pattiseema project uses the nearly completed Polavaram right canal, where the surplus flood water of Godavari is pumped to this canal. It then travels approximately 160 kms by gravity, finally joining Krishna at Vijayawada in the up waters of the Prakasam barrage. This project is designed such a way that only when the water level reaches above 15 metres is it considered as flooding water and is pumped by the motors, thus ensuring that Godavari delta ayacut is not affected. 

dastramVillage-West_godavari_.2

The ayacut of this project is 1.8 lakh acres, the foundation stone was laid on 29th March, 2015 and the first phase was dedicated to the nation on 15th August 2015. It was finally completed on 29th March, 2016 exactly on the day when the foundation stone was laid—making it the fastest executed river integration project. Technologies like live video tracking were used to track the progress and the workers, irrigation officials and engineers who worked day and night to complete the project need a special appreciation.

In spite of many controversies, Pattiseema project is completed successfully in record time and the will and determination of the government of Andhra Pradesh has helped in making it a marvel. This is not the end, but just the beginning for more rivers to be linked, and let the ‘elixir of life’ reach every corner of this country.


Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Inkudu Guntalu— A Revolution towards Water Conservation

800px-Simple_Diagram_to_show_Rainwater_Harvesting

The recent drought has cast its evil spell on various parts of the country. The soaring temperatures and a deficit rainfall for over a year had serious implications on the water levels and agriculture. In states like Maharashtra the water scarcity was at an alarming level that water had to be transported through trains.

Why are we facing such a situation? Are we really responsible for this? Absolutely yes! We encroached upon our lakes, destroyed our forests, polluted our rivers in the disguise of progress.

Progress is good but it shouldn’t destroy the very basic necessity of life and this is nothing but greed. El Niño had serious effect on the rainfall for a year, many states had received a deficit rainfall and we were not ready for this.

What is the way forward now? The answer is water conservation. Water conservation is necessary because every drop of water Is precious, according to the statistics the World Bank estimates that by the year 2025, 3.25 billion people in 52 countries will live in conditions of water shortage. A small step will make a great difference. There are many ways for water conservation and most importantly this should be a continuous activity involving every citizen, in short, it should be a revolution. One such revolution is brought in Andhra Pradesh thanks to “Inkudu Guntalu” programme. The aim of this programme is to encourage people to dig water harvesting pits at their homes with public representatives leading the campaign. Eenadu, the Telugu language Media Group has given a much needed boost to this programme by turning it into a campaign.

How does a Rain Water Harvest pit work?? Just dig an 8-foot hole into the ground and 4 feet width near the pump motor and add pieces of bricks and sand layer by layer until the hole is covered. Now just connect a pipe between the water sump and the pit. When it rains, all the water is absorbed by this pit thus recharging the ground water. This is a simple technique of tapping rain water and making it into use [There are other techniques in the links below]. The major benefit is it is cost efficient, there won’t be any need of spending a huge amount of money on digging bore wells.  About 90% of ground water is used for drinking purposes, this Rain water harvest (RWH )pit will help in addressing the drinking water scarcity, particularly in summer.

The RWH pit used in farms is called a farm pond. This is a larger pit where the rain water can be used for irrigation or aquaculture. This saves the farmer the cost of digging bore wells and in arid areas precious rain water can be used for irrigation without wasting even a single drop.  This will also help the farmer in earning an extra income through raising fish in these ponds.

The response to the inkudu guntalu programme is tremendous in all the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The Government of Andhra Pradesh has aimed at digging 8 lakh pits and 6 lakh farm ponds this year. But the count for rwh pits has crossed 10 lakhs already. The government has set a new target of 8 lakh farm ponds in the coming year. Prime minister Narendra Modi has even lauded the AP government’s effort in his maan ki baat address.

Why should rain water harvesting be limited to rural areas?? Roof top pits will be a great option particularly in apartments. This helps in addressing the constant water scarcity in cities. The civic administration must pass a rule that every new construction must include a provision for Rain Water Harvesting pit.

What started as a small drop has now become an ocean. The active participation of people has taken a long way beyond success. In coming days I am sure we will see drought free areas in Andhra Pradesh and stand an inspiration to this country.

[Here are some useful Links on RWH Methods and FAQ: One, Two, Three, Four, Five]


The author of this post, Anil Prongs, can be reached on Twitter. This article was originally published on the author’s personal blog on May 28, 2016.

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Crafts: Pembarthi

Part of what makes a culture hum is its high principles and high art and part of it is the folk art and artisanship of the masses. Ancient and Medieval Andhra desa originated and perfected many such crafts from the people-at-large. One such is native to India’s twenty ninth state, and the city of the Grand Kakatiyas: Pembarthi Metalcraft.

Pembarthi village in Warangal District of Telangana is the home of a particular and beautiful style of sheetmetal workmanship. It is located 65km away from the medieval capital of the Telugus, and is a tree-lined and industrious agglomeration of skilled craftspeople with a famous pedigree: Vishwakarma.

History

Pembarthi metal craft as a distinct brand dates back to the Kakatiya era. This mighty kingdom of Ganapati, Rudramba, and Prataparudra, was an empire of not only diamonds and metalwork, but temples as well.

From Svayambunatha and Veyi Sthambhala to Ramappa and Ghanpur, the Royals of Warangal were great builders of Devalayas, and with that, came demand for craftsmen from all parts of India. Though Varanasi was a great centre of metal work in brass and panchaloha, Pembarthi soon rose to rival it in this department. With the attraction and confluence of talent from various corners of Bharat, a distinct style and craft was created.

The Vishwakarmas are credited with origination and mastery of this process. Members of this community preserve and propagate this handicraft to this day.

Characteristics

Although it is primarily known for its high skill and detail in brassware, Pembarthi extends to the Pancha loha, or 5 traditional metals of Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, and Brass (which are frequently combined).  In fact, silver coating is most commonly used for decorative items, particularly for temples.

This craft adorns the vigrahas (statues) and vahanas (chariots) in temples. However, it is very frequently found in the form of detailed brass kumbhas.

Scenes from the Puranas are commonly featured on Pembarthi Brass artwork. Flower pots, vases, drinking cups, and even chairs have been fashioned from this native process of Telangana.  It has even been applied to the forging of decorative swords such as this one.

However, the trademark design and motif of choice remains the distinctive Pembarthi peacock, featured above. It is a favourite among local and foreign buyers. Swans are also common models for this product as well.

Process

Pembarthi artisans use the ancient art of wax casting to prepare the manufacture of these fine pieces.

A fine sheet of brass, or other metal, is first selected by the worker. Designs are then drawn on paper to pre-determine the nature of the piece and specific motifs that will be utilised. Lac (lakka) or ancient Indian wax-casting is then used to prepare the molding of the fine ware. Fine chisels are then used to engrave intricate detail.  The basic feature is then embossed on the sheet. Gas torch burners are used to weld separate pieces together.

 Assorted workshops then handcraft the metal, pounding the design to perfection.

The item is washed with acid and tamarind water, then polished and prepared for sale. While wax preparation takes about 4 hours, to produce a finished piece takes 4 days.

Future

Pembarthi metalwork is an ancient art now finding modern popularity. Having received distinctive Geographic Indicator status, it is a brand of its own. In fact, Pembarthi metal work can even be found in Manhattan hotels and Tokyo Office lobbies, such is its international appeal.

Used for a variety of decorative and domestic purposes, it is an ideal addition to any home, office, or even temple. From illustrated panels to decorative chairs and vessels, from The Dashavatar to Ashtalakshmi and even the Kakatiya Torana, a variety of purposes and motifs are used for this metal craft. Driven jointly by the men and women of the Vishwakarma community, it is truly a living tradition of the people. Faced with low prices, high debt, and youth leaving the village, preservers of this beautiful handicraft themselves are in need of preservation.

Over 60 families are estimated to be dedicated to maintaining and passing on this ancient craft. The village of Pembarthi itself is said to be 5,000 years old according to folklore, and this tradition, which attained its pinnacle under the Kakatiyas should be given patronage by today’s “nouveau elite” and passed on to the next generation.

Thus, Pembarthi is one of the beautiful handicrafts and great gifts of the people of Telangana to the common heritage of the Telugus.

References:

  1. http://lepakshihandicrafts.gov.in/brassart.html
  2. http://www.warangalonline.in/city-guide/pembarti-village-of-warangal
  3. http://www.dsource.in/resource/sheet-metal-embossing/making_process/index.html
  4. http://www.india-crafts.com/metal_work/brassware/index.html
  5. http://www.academia.edu/5864971/ENVIRONMENTAL_FRIENDLINESS_IN_MANUFACTURING_OF_TRADITIONAL_HANDICRAFTS_A_NEW_PERSPECTIVE
  6. http://www.craftrevival.org/voiceDetails.asp?Code=219
  7. http://www.ipindia.nic.in/girindia/journal/Journal_35.pdf

Dharmic Development II

Vyasa Uvacha

In the wake of the current and expanding global financial crisis (we mean 2015, not 2008–so hard to keep track these days…), an opportunity to revisit our Series on Dharma & Economics : Dharmic Development, has presented itself. And so today we continue with the second part of this set of articles: Dharmic Development II.

Long time readers may recall the quote from Maharishi Veda Vyasa we mentioned. When we last explored this topic we touched on how the composer of the Mahabharata, and indeed, the mighty compiler of the Vedas themselves, in uncharacteristic frustration, said the following:

Oorddhva baahurviromyesha na kashchit shrnothi me
Dharmaath artthasha kaamascha kim na sevyati?
I raise my hands up and say “The way to wealth and love is through Dharma—why doesn’t anybody listen?!”

But in our age of utility maximization, financial engineering, polyamory, and “gender as a social construct“, is this really still the case? Doesn’t science and technology, with all its robot girlfriends, myriad “pleasure” toys, and endlessly genetic engineered foods hold the key to transforming our society and meeting every single, possible craving?

Part II in our series on Dharmic Development evaluates how Modernity & Technology cannot be expected to be the magic wand to fulfill all our desires. Rather, we must evaluate whether our desires and needs are fit to have in a civilised society based on the common good. That is the path to sustainable wealth and sincere love.

How is Dharma the way to Wealth & Love?

Our previous piece may have left the contrarian in many of you wondering “How do wealth and love come from Dharma”? Since we live in an era where “There are no permanent friends. No permanent enemies. Only permanent interests“, let us turn then to the sage who verily wrote the book on Hita (“interests’) Acarya Narayana, and his Hitopadesa (Lecture on Interests/Book of Prudent Counsel).

Dharmena heenaha pashubhih saamannaha
One without Dharma is like a beast. [1]

What is the meaning of this maxim? Simply put, it means one without Dharma (i.e. righteous ethics) is a slave to his impulses and conceits, and thus, behaves like an animal. This is a particularly illuminating line in our “wondrous” age of moral relativism. After all, the favorite words of our liberal progressives are “natural!”, “liberty!”, “liberation!”. However, what they conveniently ignore is that the natural world is replete with animal behaviours—such as eating one’s own young or mate (as spiders do)—that humans would find, and please pardon the pun, distasteful. In fact, this modern leftist utopia is doing precisely that, if not literally then figuratively. Through laws such as 498-A in India and “no fault divorce” in other countries, the modern spouse is being stripped clean, and devoured like an animal.

This applies to men as it does women, as males are increasingly finding no shame in fathering countless children without commitment, and frequently abandoning them or declaring bankruptcy. While it is true that powerful men in many societies famously father “bastards”, there was certainly stigma for a man of means not providing for them, and also for unceasing debauchery.

Sanatana dharma has always specified the importance of the Purusharthas, the four aims of human life. These are Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha (Righteousness, Wealth, Love/Pleasure, and Spiritual Liberation). It recognizes that civilized life and its pleasures of wealth and love are only possible with responsible citizens guided by righteousness. This is because a society of greed, a society of selfishness, will always play a zero-sum game of winner take all.

Trickle Down Economics

Greed (Svaartha)

Greed is the root of sin. Truly, it is what breaks families, breaks societies, and breaks hearts. Our perpetual growth economists have no answer to the point that it would take 4 earths to have every person in the world consume like an American. How much sense can it possibly make for Indians (and other re-emerging economies) to ape its economic models and theories? In the 2000s, it appears far too many forgot that Oliver Stone’s 1987 classic Wall Street speech was meant to be a warning and not a mantra.

Greed doesn’t work. How could it ever possibly do so. This is greed:

From the School of Greed back to the Gurukul

Dharmena heenaha pashubhih saamannaha
One without Dharma is like a beast. [1]

The reality, as taught by Dharma, is that Man and Woman must behave better than beasts.

Pigs are not always overweight. Certainly hippos and elephant—even tigers outweigh them—but it is the ravenous and selfish greed of a pig that truly makes that English idiom true. The clip is too gory to show here, but anyone who has seen the movie Hannibal recalls the scene of pigs eating. Those of you with intestinal fortitude can look up the clip on youtube yourselves, to see what I mean.

In fact, that is the entire rationale behind reincarnation: Those who behave like beasts whence in human birth, are reborn as the animals they behaved like. When, according to our Dharmic Scriptures, it takes many lifetimes to return to human birth—should it not be used wisely, rather than reverting to the behaviour of beasts?

The point is not that anyone who has ever caved in to their desires, or even momentarily fallen to their passions, must be stigmatized for life. Rather, it means only that individuals should hold themselves to standards higher than they hold for society…or animals. While the baseline of behaviour is set by law—which determines what is criminal and not—individuals must ultimately aspire to higher standards of behaviour rather than racing to the bottom of degeneracy.

We are all flawed humans, and all of us have our weaknesses. However, weaknesses should not be the norm, but the exception. The individual slips and falls, but he or she is expected to get up, correct the behavior, and set himself/herself on the right path once more. Challenges in life may cause relapses, but it is the will and commitment to improve that ultimately defines who we are.

The Wolf of [Dalal] Street (pun intended)

The average B.Com or MBA graduate may look at Wall Street (and its Indian Imitation, appropriately named “Dalal”) as the embodiment of prosperity and happiness. To them, cities are the source of real wealth, “because…more?“. But is that the definition of wealth? The wolf or pig always wants more. Are these animals wealthy or merely hungry?

There is a wolf in every man, the question is whether he decides not to kill the wolf, but rather, tames it, so it becomes an Alsatian or another such domesticated breed.

It is this wolfishness in modern man that causes him to see women as objects. Many naïve young women think laws—even unfair laws—will protect them from such men. But wise women—and there are many such online to the good fortune of our society—know that the best means to ensure safety, dignity, and well-being for women is to raise men who value dharma. Bhagvan Ram was called Maryada Purushottam precisely because he respected women. He refused to disrespect Sita by taking a second wife. He refused to cave in to the advances of Surpanakha because he valued love above lust. And he only had Lakshmana punish Surpanakha when she threatened to kill and eat Sita (we should not be surprised if Surpanakha’s modern daughters would call this “patriarchal interference in a liberated woman’s right to cannibalism” aka “my choice: my pleasure may be your pain”…but that is another matter…).

Many men today are rightly distraught at unfair marriage laws. It is for this reason that strong women, dharmic women, become all the more important—not paleo-puritan, bachelor men. The wing of women is needed to balance the bird of society, not only to voice their support, but to also raise a generation of men who know that being strong and manly and being respectful of women are not mutual exclusive. A gentleman treats a woman well not based on what it says about her character, but what it says about his. True, he may not marry a call girl (or her socially acceptable college equivalent), but unlike the wolves of wall street, he also won’t view her as “easy meat” either. While baseline laws must exist to have a safe society for women…and men, law enforcement/good police training, but above all, dharmic education will be foundational to taming the wolves in all of us. It forces us to think of the consequences of our own actions and desires. After all, rather than supply creating its own demand, it is demand that creates supply.

Many of you may now be wondering “wait, I thought we were discussing economists“. Well, the previous passage is relevant because of what one of the world’s most celebrated comparative economists had to say:

In the command of those appetites of the body consists that virtue which is properly called temperance. To restrain them within those bounds, which regard to health and fortune prescribes, is the part of prudence. But to confine them within those limits, which grace, which propriety, which delicacy, and modesty, require, is the office of temperance. [2, 28]

Rather than money being the root of all happiness, even the poster boy of capitalism–Adam Smith–recognized that virtue and temperance were the basis for a flourishing society. In his Wealth of Nations, Smith excoriated the British East India Company for its animal greed and ravenous oppression of once prosperous Bengal.

Why is this relevant? Because even the foremost capitalist of history recognized that one should not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Goose that Laid the Golden Egg

Our wiki-pontificating, HBO-watching younger generation may consider themselves too fashionable and “educated” to bother with the wisdom of childhood parables, but even the most over-credentialed rube at least remembers the story of the goose that laid the golden egg. The Panchatantra and Hitopadesa may be fictional tales, but as the title of the latter indicates, they are meant to educate people (especially princes of that era–and this one) on niti. The genius of these works was not in using cuddly animals to explain timeless wisdom, but to go so far as to provide deep insight into the tools and nature of statecraft itself. Adarsh Liberals may be easily put off by the Sanskrit language of the originals and the pre-Medieval origin of them, but they would do well to remember that their beloved Persians and Arabs also translated and appreciated these stories for their wisdom.

Wealth is good. But responsible use of it is better. The Bengal that laid the golden egg was reduced to a wasteland, with a capital city that became synonymous with human suffering. [3]

Our Kudlow and Cramer cultists may demur, dismissively braying “Vell, that was colonialism and monopoly, not real capitalism!!!”. After each crash and each financial crisis, recession or depression (1929, 1933, 1973, 1980, 1987, 1997 (East Asia), 2000, 2008, and now 2015?) like an indoctrinated fundamentalist “Vell, that was not real capitalism. Vee’ll get it right next time”. Interestingly enough, this is the refrain of the very socialists and communists they hate.

Our Kudlow and Cramer Cultists may squawk “DHIS ISS SOSHALISM!” in response to Dharma, but look what the poster boy of capitalism himself wrote:

“Where the necessary assistance is reciprocally afforded from love, from gratitude, from friendship, and esteem, the society flourishes and is happy” Adam Smith TMS. [2,85]

Reciprocal duties are the essence of virtue, the essence of Dharma. Indeed, that is the key difference between Dharma and Socialism. Dharma emphasizes duties of and to families and communities, while socialism emphasizes rights of the atomized and isolated individual. Dharma exhorts the individual to do his or her duty as well as the government to do its duty. Under socialism, only the government has a duty to preserve the rights of the individual to the welfare state, to atomized citizens, to centralized bureaucracy. While dharma emphasizes a federal or even confederational approach to government and society, socialism (and its ultimate goal of communism) seek to onerously concentrate power at the national level. The final goal, in fact, is to even destroy national borders for a world wide proletariat governed by an unaccountable bureau. So no, dear recalcitrant moron, Dharmic Development is not “Dharmic Socialism”, it is Dharmanomics–its own standalone concept that seeks to be neither socialism nor capitalism, and critiques both.

Here are some of the differences:

Marginal Productivity of Teamwork

Capitalism lionizes competition. Socialism implies communization. Dharma, emphasizes teamwork. It asserts that we are not merely our own ego, nor are we personality-less, socialist drones. We are all fellow-travelers on the journey of life, and recognize that by working for family, community, state, and national interest, we work for our own interest. By improving ourselves morally, by giving to charity generously, and by sacrificing for the civilizational cause selflessly, we become better as a people and as a society.

Sva-Artha & Desh Hita rather than Nihith Svaartha & Desh Sarvanasha

Both capitalism and socialism emphasize selfishness, in their own unique ways. Capitalism accomplishes this with its winner-take-all, buccaneer corporate raider approach to selective “growth”. Everything, even knowledge is commoditised. Teachers teach to their salary rather than teaching to the truth. Socialism achieves this by creating in each individual an expectation for cradle-to-grave care/entitlements beyond all economic capacity and public welfare. The early retired old live off the over-worked, under-paid, and unrelated young. Creativity and local government are stifled.

In contrast, Dharmic Development draws upon dharma to train teaches who don’t alter their instruction for money, and value learning for its own sake, rather than for riches (compare our ancient Gurukuls and Universities to modern For-Profit Colleges that leave massive student loan burdens). True, individuals, workers, merchants, kings, and teachers naturally have sva artha (self-interest in mind), but one who practices dharma pursues self-interest in balance with family, community, and national interest.

Taking the unjustly gained throne of Ayodhya would have been in Bharata’s interest, but he knew it wasn’t in family, community, and national interest, and returned it to its rightful heir, Bhagvan Ram. That is what Dharma, Dharmanomics, and Dharmic Development represent: rejection of nihith svaartha ( unrestrained selfishness) for Sva-Artha (individual interest) and pursuit of the Purusharthas in balance with community and national interest. It means not buying the products of national competitors, because their slave-labour makes it a few rupees cheaper.

Above all, Dharmic Development rejects plunder. Plunder of natural resources, plunder of human life and dignity, and plunder of our heritage.

Ironically enough, the reader might be flummoxed to realize that Bastiat’s  critique above was actually centered on socialists, but he too acknowledged the rich man’s plunder [5]. As one can see today, capitalists and socialists are two sides of the same coin, only a different “moral” code: one for the bureaucrat and the other for the banker.

Whether it was the British East India Company or Bain Capital (or Bureaucrats  de EU) plunder by men in suits is still plunder. They take the treasuries of prosperous lands or companies, pay themselves massive/unjustifiable dividends, engage in actions emphasizing short-term gains (opium crops/outsourcing to China) rather than long term national interest, and leave citizens and employees out to hang. In the end, shareholder benefit is worshiped–but who is the shareholder?

The operative point is that the same myopic perspective of individual corporate interest, without respecting community or national interest, results not only in the destruction of once healthy companies, or prosperous middle classes, but even entire nations.

Greece is exhibit A here. The bailout money that the dishonest continue to point to as emblematic of Greece’s “dissipation” mainly goes toward paying off Greece’s international loans, rather than making its way into the economy. The ancient European country may indeed have an underfunded welfare state, but if the so-called free-market capitalists don’t take steps to promote manufacturing and agriculture growth, how can this small nation be expected to grow itself out of debt? This point is all the more valid in the wake of economic crises in comparatively more responsible Spain and more dynamic Ireland. It is easy to repeat media talking points like a parrot when the game is rigged in favour of the “German Export Machine”.

1 minute analysers may tout more FDI favourable “rahforms!” in all the vague, misunderstood myopia they represent. But is FDI the solution–let alone the only solution– for everything? If foreign investors merely want to turn Greece into a tourist trap where everything–even national territory like the famous Greek Isles—are for sale, is this in the national interest of that country? What about manufacturing? What about agriculture? What about local entrepreneurship?

Agriculture

Another critical area in which Dharmic Development differs from Capitalism and Socialism is in the approach to agriculture.

Food economy is the building block of not only wealth but civilization itself. But as we’ve touched on previously, export-oriented economies such as South Korea, are now purchasing agricultural land in poor, malnourished African countries. The same capitalists who spoke on how Africa is “under-polluted” naturally support this under there free-market fundamentalism.

Our hyper-modernists also tout the stock market as the solution for upliftment of impoverished farmers, with reduced options due to these financial “rahforms!”. But look at what is transpiring before our eyes in China:

At a different broker’s office in Beijing, Liang Shuang said he had invested $100,000 into the market and lost at least third of his investment. He said: “The stock market is like a casino. But in a real casino you know the rules of the game.”

In the rural village of Nanliu two hours drive outside of Xian, villagers huddled around a mini stock exchange center watching their portfolios shrink with much dismay.

Farmer Liu Jianguo said, “I have lost confidence in the market. I’m waiting desperately to see if my stocks will return to the level where I bought them. It looks as though the government has done quite a lot but the impact is limited.”

These trends are now expanding to the rest of Asia, all this in the midst of the European Crisis involving Greece. Is this the model of food insecurity and economic instability people in India want for themselves?

Agriculture has its own needs, its own requirements, and its own dharma. Successful farming models are not based on pure crop specializations or fashionable cash crops. The farmer must plan and adapt to drought and flood. India has a long tradition of constructing tanks for the collection of rain and floodwater, but we reject these traditional models to be “modern”. “Agriculture as market! Agriculture as business! Agriculture as trade!” (When the comment provides more valuable insight than the article).

Failed models are being imported in alternating fashion. First socialism and now capitalism. Our salvation, however, lies not with the fashionable or failed, but in taking inspiration from the traditional to adapt it to present conditions.

“Surprisingly, the marginal and small farmers are no less efficient than large farms, but more productive. They cultivate 46 per cent of the farm land in the country but produce 52 percent of grains, 70 per cent of vegetables, 55 per cent of fruits and 69 per cent of milk.” [6]

Rather than cash crops, single crops, or prestige crops, it is traditional crops that are proving more sustainable and more healthy for ourselves and for society.

Some of you may be wondering “arey, vee are advanced. Vee have the capitalism and the soshalism and the english, vy do vee need the rural and the farming?!! Be progressive!! Be productive!! But read what an actual, rooted scholar (versus foreign credentialed, foreign parrot) has to say:

The world realised late, very late, that economics of scale does not apply to agriculture. In the 1920s, Russian economist Alexander Chayanov was the first to find that small and family farming was more economic than large ones. For telling this truth and insisting that family farms were neither socialist nor capitalist, he was first tortured by Lenin and later killed by Stalin.” [6]

When farming and rural life are made difficult first by socialism and finished by capitalism, how can farmers prosper? A society operates on many levels, not just one. Neither complete urbanization nor complete rural life are advisable. What’s more, science-tards have been shopping around their green revolutions heavily premised on chemical fertilisers and pesticides. While it is true that temporary productivity gains may be seen in the short term, the long term result is soil degradation and dustbowl. Incidentally, the Oklahoma dustbowl was one of the contributors to the Great Depression.

But hey, what can we “caste, curry, cows” types know right? Ok, here’s what Adam Smith wrote about agriculture.

“According to the natural course of things, therefore, the greater part of the capital of every growing society, is, first directed to agriculture, afterwards to manufactures, and last of all to foreign commerce. This order of things is so very natural, that in every society that had any territory, it has always, I believe, been in some degree observed. [3, 55]

In fact, here’s how America originally became wealthy, per the Wealth of Nations:

It has been the principal cause of the rapid progress of our American colonies towards wealth and greatness, that almost their whole capitals have hitherto been employed in agriculture. [3, 366]

And rather than over-emphasizing foreign trade (which he supports), he emphasizes the opposite:

The great commerce of every civilized society is that carried on between the inhabitants of the town and those of the country. [3,376]

As such, it is obvious that neither complete urbanisation of Indian society nor communisation of farming (a la Stalin and Mao) are desirable. The traditional structures of family, village, state, and nation all have their place, just as Smith saw the relationship between the countryside, town, and city. Rather than a second “Green Revolution”, India needs a traditional agricultural revival.

Entrepreneurship

If agriculture is the backbone of the economy, entrepreneurship is its blood.

Dr. Kanagasabapathi is a professor of finance (and former Director of the Tamil Nadu Institute of Urban Studies, Coimbatore). He did his thesis on the stock market. His expertise is in in financial capitalism. However, he notes it’s seen as too risky in India. 1.2% invested in stock markets only.42:00. “[T]hey consider the security of the family, the welfare of the children, being more important than higher return”. “There is a failure in the educated circles that there is not investment taking place”—“This is absolutely not correct”.

India has 85 million entrepreneurs, which is the highest among major countries at 17.9% of population. It is 12.3% in the US, and 10.5% in the UK. He asks, “how do the successful Nadars of Tamil nadu finance? They were not mbas or professors. They evolved mahamai system to generate funds. This system helped them to grow economically. Today they are one of the powerful community in India “. Here are the stats for their Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank: Capital 28 lakh capital, 1200 crore reserves. 185 crore profit. 48:00

We do not need experts from outside to tell us how to generate funds

Cost of capital is less, making cost of production less, making sales price less. Capital is borrowed below market rates from family and friends (some times zero interest) making selling price less. As a result, society drives business not government (as in socialism) or corporate fat cats (capitalism). This is because individual, family and community savings, rather than taxes (socialism) or debt/strange equity (capitalism) becomes the source of investment.

53 percent of Indians are self-employed; America, 7%. 52:00. Social capital, therefore, is the actual reason for business success in India. It is the ability to move and work with others.”Faith, goodwill, values, norms, etc.” 1:08

The culture of this country, the foundations of this country…all play a huge role in deciding the economic functioning (as stated in the above video) . But the breakdown of the family is not something that concerns our free market, techno-utopians.

Unlike socialists and communists, however, Dharmanomics and Dharmic Development celebrate the role of entrepreneurs. But unlike capitalists, they recognize that entrepreneurs too have a responsibility, entrepreneurs too, have a dharma.

Dharma of Entrepreneurs

Many of our bipolar types assume because I have been so critical of free market fundamentalism, that I am anti-wealth. Nothing can be further from the truth.

But as I’ve written before, there is a difference between being pro-market and pro-wealth creation . There is a difference between big business and small and medium sized enterprises. There is a difference between a corporate fat cat and the up-from-the-boot straps entrepreneur.

I have a world of respect for people who start their own businesses. In fact, the vast majority of job creation is driven by SME’s (70% of jobs in India come from SMEs [Kanagasabapathi], and 50-70% in the US, with 65% of new jobs created [ 10]). But why do wall street walruses (and their never-will-be wannabes) get the credit as “the job creators”, when it rightly belongs to the mom and pop store or the local garage or the brand new computer manufacturer. What’s more, small, home based business alone need not be the only Dharmic form of entrepreneurial organization. Ancient and Medieval India famously had various guilds in place of modern corporations. These were known as sreni [12].

There is a difference between hard assets and monopoly money. That is the reason why we have stressed community (and even family) finance over venture capital. One of the great examples of the disaster of the corporatisation of investment was the tragic case of SKS Microfinance. Ostensibly it began as a well-meaning venture to help impoverished families. Trouble began when foreign institutional finance barged in and began demanding impossibly high returns from the founding managers. Even the Nobel Prize-Winning head of  Grameen Bank, which was a microfinance pioneer, said that local community finance must be the driver. SKS became a cautionary tale in the issues associated with FDI.

Some may argue that all big business started out as small business. True, but the moment they go public, the moment they lose their community roots, the moment they stop caring what happens to their countries, that is the moment the character of their venture changes. That is why neither socialism (which stifles entrepreneurship) nor capitalism (which perverts entrepreneurship into monopoly) fit the bill.

Entrepreneurs too have a Dharma. Without it, industry and commerce takes place without thought to the consequences and a sense of responsibility to the commons, to public/shared goods.

And there in lies the ponzi scheme of the socialist vs capitalist binary. We see how “family has been nationalised and government has been privatised” [S.Gurumurthy]. In having two diametrical opposed camps fight each other, we see the worst of both worlds.

In 1965, the divorce rate in America was very small. Today, 55 per cent of the first marriages end up in divorce there. As much [as] 67 per cent of the second marriages end up in divorce. If someone marries for a third time, 73 per cent of such cases end up in divorce. Nearly 51 per cent of the families are led by single parents. That is the result of the hyper-individualism practiced over the father, mother, family, neighbourhood and society. You produce a shameless society” [7]

For innovation to happen, community consciousness and collaboration is key.

The Alternative

Our neo-colonized, neo-liberals may not see it, but the West has already recognized the intellectual cul-de-sacs that both capitalism and socialism represent. The West is already seeing the need for a third way, and is beginning to trial balloon the label “holism”.  A genuine alternative, however, is required–not a mere mix of capitalism and socialism (any serious student of economic history knows there was never a pure laissez faire economy (Victorian Britain with its child labour is considered the closest)). Rather than always playing catch up, isn’t it time to lead? Rather than merely following their way, is it not time to show the way?

Newly-minted Neo-liberal nitwits act as though history and classical Indic economics has nothing to teach us. But why do Westerners still study their classics (whether Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, or Livy), albeit, at declining rates? It is because there is such a thing as time-tested wisdom. Rather than having lemmings leap after the next “NEW ECONOMY” every 10-15 years, only to have a bubble and crash, it is far better to have people soberly understand economics and the root of wealth itself.

Dharmic Development is driven by culture. Not a culture of handouts (like socialism) and not a culture of cutthroat monopolists (like capitalism), but a culture of responsibility, a culture of duty. What do our beloved libertarians have to say about this? Let the market take care of itself? Is this the path to real wealth?

The Origin of Wealth

A question that has plagued many a society, and in our era of certified debt obligations and dubiously-tranched derivatives, it has become increasingly difficult to define. Is wealth a digitized number on an LCD screen, a piece of fibrous inked paper with a fiat symbol and number, or a certificate from a mercantile exchange? Is the root of wealth found in the arbitrage of currency traders or the casino gambling volatility of day traders? Or is it merely pieces of rare metal? Since according to Adarsh Liberals (and their Rajaji Reciprocals), wisdom can only come from the West, here is what one famous Westerner had to say:

Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities…The real price of everything, what every thing really costs to the man who want to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. [3, 47]

So who wrote this, any guesses? Karl Marx? Friedrich Engels? Perhaps Nobel Prize Winning “quasi-socialist” Paul Krugman? Nope. You would be wrong all three times. This is a verbatim citation, again, of none other than Mr. Adam Smith, and that too, not even from his Theory of Moral Sentiments but from his celebrated An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

His views on agriculture:

Food not only constitutes the principal part of the riches of the world, but it is the abundance of food which gives the principal part of their value to many other sorts of riches. [3, 192]

Time and again, our Ayn Rand and Kudlow and Cramer cultists presume that only they have read economics texts and understand economics. What is quite apparent, is that they don’t even have a basic comprehension of it. The word capitalism never appears in the Wealth of Nations. While Smith was  indeed a proponent of the Free market, he also notes its limits, mentions market failures, and speaks out against the joint-stock exchange firm–would these Friedmanites do the same? Moreover, the word capitalism itself only privileges one factor of production: Capital. There are in fact four factors of production: Land, Labour, Capital, and Entrepreneurship. A complete economic philosophy stresses the importance of all of them, rather than merely privileging one. But our Kudlow Kool-Aid drinkers continue stupidly and self-assuredly tout capitalism as the cure for all evils and the heart of progress.

What is “progress”? Even a path off a cliff is also progress…followed by steep fall. Objectives must first be spelled out for progress to follow. What is the society we are working towards? Vague words like “equality. reform. libertarian. gender-neutral” are bandied about like visiting NIRs and newly acquired sports team affiliations. But what do these mean and what society are we working towards? This must be spelled out clearly rather than having the West work towards something ambiguous (whether economically, politically, or sexually) and have NIRs and Adarsh Liberals (and their “Right Wing” Rajaji reciprocals) ape them like suited simulacra.

Not everything new is good. Sometimes, the old way is the correct way. And Greed is not good. Greed for more and more of what is resource-intensive strains scarce resources. In fact, therein lies the irony of New Economy/Brave New World/Free Market Technologists: Economics is the social science of understanding how to allocate scarce resources. The Fundamental laws do not change, so where’s your Web 2.0 & 3.0, now? What of the new, new economy?

The commonly held belief is that with hard work and a good education, a young person in America can get a good job. But despite falling unemployment, college grads age 22 to 27 are stuck in low-paying jobs that don’t even require a college degree. [14]

In 2008, a shock of high magnitude came, from which the West has not recovered yet, but Asia survived. That is because Asia follows market economy, but has not transformed society into a market.” [7 ]

Modern Slavery

Readers may have read the quote from America’s Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, and think that slavery is a thing of the past in the West. What historical illiterates forget is that the British ended slavery of Africans in the Global West only to capitalize on the indentured labour of Indians in the Global South. It is why today, Indians can be found in Guyana, South Africa, Mauritius, and Fiji. And now, rather than debt taking Indians elsewhere, it is coming to India.

What’s more, slavery in the West, of the West has also metastasized into new forms: the New Jim Crow, crushing student loan and mortgage debt, and credit card debt have blurred the lines between free man and indentured wage slave. As mentioned above, even prisons have become privately run. Our Rajaji reciprocals may soon even exhort the merits of private armies all in the name of “rahforms!”, “efficiency!”, “cost-benefit!”. But this is what happens when you rote-memorize economic ideology without properly studying political history, political economy, and moral philosophy. The Roman Republic too also evolved (devolved?) from citizen-soldiers to private armies, with the net result being Julius Caesar. Perhaps our ironically named Indian publications may soon tout the efficiency of a dictator in perpetuum.

This is the danger of turning society into a market. Every thing is for sale. Even human well-being. And human freedom. Such are the wages of not only capitalism, but socialism as well. Or a mix of both.

Everything for sale…even your privacy!

Naysayers may posit that this is what the “educated” “elite” in our society believe to be in our interests, ergo it must ipso facto be intelligent and well-intentioned. But can a so-called elite that prides itself in educating its best and brightest in “phoreign” be really rooted in the national interest? Can a so-called elite that laughs at scientifically verified and historically confirmed Indic accomplishments, truly be Indic? By propping up dying colonial-financed foreign institutions in return for plum jobs in MNCs, are they really incentivized to pursue national interest?

Perhaps all of this simply underscores how the time has come for a new elite. A rooted elite. A Dharmic elite.

A New Elite

RamayanReturn
Ram Raj requires Bharatas & Lakshmanas as Lieutenants

Ram Raj was not built in a day. Nevertheless, it remains a perennial and even millennial aspiration throughout India. But such a selfless elite, such duty-bound/self-sacrificing leaders who verily gave us the definition of Tyagi, require more than 1 giant personality. Whether Maharaja or Mukhya Mantri, such a leader requires secondary leadership to back him up (as Bharata did for Rama) and loyal lieutenants who rejected ambition for service to the leader (like Lakshmana), and more importantly, his cause (Dharma). But where are such lieutenants today? Every nitwit with some basis for ahankar (birth, gotra, education, money) sees himself as the saviour and will tear down any putative rival with a viciousness he doesn’t even show to national enemies. That is why Dharma is needed, as it rejects ambition in favor of duty and aspiration. Duty must come before self-interest–then and then only is the national/civilizational cause served. Ask yourself “is there someone better qualified?”–if so, politely step aside, and if you have it in you, help (that is, after all, what a true leader would do).

Our modernism zombies may laugh instinctively that any elite in any time could be politically (let alone morally) superior to their own. But in an era when selfishness and greed itself have become virtues, perhaps the time has indeed come to review aspects of Aristocracy that indeed made them aristos (or the best) as opposed to the current crop of kakistos. Perhaps there is indeed a way to imbibe the self-sacrificing and rootedness of the old elite in our democratic framework without restoring monarchy’s dictatorial worst. To do that, we must first understand what the purpose of an elite really is.

Real men don’t follow poodles, they follow patriots

And therein lies the problem. When an elite looks upon its own people, its own flesh and blood, the sons of the soil, in disdain and contempt, how can they possibly represent common interests? If you pride yourself in doing poodle tricks, if you fight for scraps from the tables of foreigners, if you mimic their ways instead of reviving (and improving) your own, are you fit to lead?

Whether such an elite, that feels more in common with its own sons of the soil, will ultimately be drawn from them, is an open question. However remarkable the accomplishment, a single “chaiwallah” cannot change a degenerate delhi durbar or lutyens ordo . It is the system itself that must either revive or be replaced. If farming and labour, the very sources of societal wealth, are not treated with respect, then perhaps it is indeed time for a new elite.

Ancient elites, whatever their faults, were close to the land. Great Kings and Emperors– our real Kings and Emperors–would hold sabhas in the countryside periodically, and would even symbolically plough the land. Unlike the current crop of kakistocrats, for them it was not a mere publicity stunt, but as aristocrats, their duty, their Rajdharma.

Irrespective of whether there is a new elite on the horizon, we must begin to not merely learn and adapt ganimi kava where appropriate, but take inspiration from within as well–like another great son of Bharat once did. Rather than birth, family connection, school, and IQ, it is Guna, Competence, Character, and Courage that must define our leadership. The great kshatriyas and true brahmanas of yore may have left behind far too few competent heirs (though some are still around), but their gunas and ideals live on to inspire the nara and naari of this era… of whatever Bharatiya background

InspiredShivaji
Chhatrapati Sivaji was from 4th varna,but proved a greater Kshatriya than blue-bloods of his era

Conclusion

Over the course of this essay, we have described the differences among Dharmic Development, Socialism and Capitalism. Socialism is having your cake & eating it too. Capitalism is having your cake & eating someone else’s.

Naysayers may counter that capitalists are merely having and eating their own cake. If so, please explain all the 0 capital gains tax advocates, all the flat tax fanatics, and all the starve-the-government radicals. They benefit from necessary public spending (defense, infrastructure), but do everything to avoid paying proportionally (if at all) into it. What they are really asking for is not to eat their own cake, but for Big Fish to Eat Little Fish (matsya nyaya). For those mental slaves of libertarianism, please remember the national highway system in the US was a public project—not a private one…and so was the internet. Those who hate government, cannot possibly advise it, let alone lead it or comprehend the nature of its duties to citizenry: raksha, palana, yogakshema.

Mental slaves steeped in binary thinking may counter, “vell, you are a socialist!”. But we have spoken out against socialism repeatedly as well. Encouraging generation upon generation to live on the public dole not only destroys productivity and work ethic, but also destroys citizenship. Government dependence, excessive centralization, statism, over-emphasis of urbanization, all sound good on paper, but are exceedingly corrosive to individual responsibility and liberty. This isn’t to deny the importance of economies of scale and urban technology clusters as needed for defence and health, but it doesn’t mean 100 smart cities either.

All elements have their position in any polity, not just the individual and government. The intermediate levels of family, community, and state/province all provide additional layers of cohesiveness to society, so that if one level becomes weak, the other can act as a buffer and take the weight. If government goes bankrupt, how will the individual survive? Family, community, and state all have their respective roles.

Capitalism accomplishes the same not by encouraging over-dependence on government, but by encouraging over-consumption by the individual. This leads to social atomization from the other end. Greed and selfishness become virtues, and everything, even human life and dignity, is put on sale. Instead of crushing people under the unsustainable weight of bloated government, society is encouraged to eat itself out by making temperance unfashionable.

But facts don’t matter for binary-bitten ideologues. If we don’t represent socialism, they don’t have any talking points and insist we don’t know economics and they do…just cause!. Rather than behaving like poseurs casting aspersions on the intellectual capacity of others, they should evolve and mature from the mental state of the juveniles they mimic.

Take a deep breath. Recognize that you’re not the only one who studies economics. And use logic to understand and critique others—rather than exploding in a petard of boorish and bombastic buffoonery. Have the humility to listen and learn.

To bring things full circle: Greece did spend beyond its means—true—but who enabled it? Germany’s overcapacity had to be absorbed (one of the dangers of supply-side economics “i.e. supply creates its own demand”), and so Greece was given overgenerous financing and encouraged to consume beyond its means. In the process, Germany benefited through increased exports and market share abroad and increased employment and prosperity at home. Had individual Greeks been encouraged to locally manufacture—rather than depend merely on tourism like so many brothel madams—they could have consumed locally manufactured goods. True, not everything can be manufactured locally (especially if you are a small country)—but essential items and products should be provided for at home. Of course, there is nothing more essential than agriculture. That is why in the West, food miles have become a trend, but India is going in the opposite direction. Locally grown produce not only reduces transportation costs, but encourages healthier food that is less dependent on chemical preservatives to maintain and prevent natural rot. The absence of this can be seen in the health crisis in the United States—which is now increasingly plaguing India. Obesity, diabetes, early baldness, hormonal imbalance—all are symptoms of artificial food that is being tampered with and over-medication which has been tinkered with.

The over-confident, but under-read may proclaim that even Gregor Mendel engaged in genetic engineering—but this is moronic. There is a world of difference between cross breeding via a natural process and interfering in the process itself at the genetic level. By respecting nature, we protect ourselves from unintended consequences. After all, there is a world of difference between putting a horse and donkey in the same room and encouraging them to breed, and creating from genetic scratch, a whole new animal. Science-tards should also be mindful that the net result of a horse and donkey is a mule—incidentally, a sterile animal, aka genetic dead end.

So before getting caught up in the faddish “rationalism” of the brave new world of “surrendering to science and technology!”—actually be rational and use your brain to think about the consequences. Science is not the solution to everything—how could it be? Science gave us the internet, but also gave us Hiroshima. Science surely has its place—to help us understand the material world so that we can better our material living. But what does it have to do with spiritual living and harmony? Science axiomatically cannot provide us with a way of life or a moral code by which to live. That is the place of philosophy: be it secular humanism or Dharma. Rather than prematurely signing up for a Star Trek future, they should try to preserve their It’s a Wonderful Life present—assuming they even can.

Ultimately, all this is emblematic of Western man and increasingly Global man (davos man?) and his juvenile need to dominate his fellow man and conquer nature. But nature is no more meant to be conquered than women are meant to subjugated. After all, can nature not hit back and wipe out civilization itself, like Draupadi annihilated the Kauravas through Bhima? When her wrath is upon you, to whom then will you turn for succour citing the Dharma and decency you previously ignored?—The God in “scientific” atheism you  previously rejected?

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