Agriculture

Tobacco and Slavery

When America was in the process of colonization by European powers who began settling their people there, they required large numbers of labors to work on their farms. Most of the people who were enslaved and sold in America were Africans. The transatlantic slave trade involved many millions of people, and its history and legacy have had an impact all over the world. There were European slave traders, ships’captains and sailors as well as African traders and the African people captured and enslaved. They cultivated the land which were highly fertile and produced crops in vast quantities. Colonizers saw that… Read More »Tobacco and Slavery

Poplar cultivation

We traveled by Shatabadi Express from Delhi to Dehradun. First it was in winters and second only in June of this year. As soon as the train crosses the industries outside Delhi, the dead river called Yamuna, the green fields begin to span both sides of the train line. Yamuna river, one of the three rivers-Ganges, Yamuna & Saraswati- forming the holiest trinity of Indian rivers is a cesspool of industrial waste, floating dead animals. Its color is almost black and it seems like a corpse. Its chemical oxygen demand (COD), a parameter to indicate the industrial waste pollution must… Read More »Poplar cultivation

Slow Food Movement and Navdanya

The world, especially in the cities, is becoming a busy place. The system of joint families exist only now largely in the villages. As more and more people are becoming educated, they migrate towards the cities where their qualification can earn them a good living. As the cities are becoming overcrowded, the cost of living increases and ultimately migrants are not in much better condition than they were at the native places. The life has become so much hectic in the cities that the food for which we all are toiling day and night has taken a back seat in… Read More »Slow Food Movement and Navdanya

Alphonso Mangoes

Comes April and mangoes make their appearance in Mumbai. India boasts of maximum number of cultivars and varieties of this fruit which can easily claim the title of king of fruits. Its juice is full of sweetness and some varieties have the tinge of sour taste. In Maharasthra, Karnataka and Andhra states the mangoes have developed and green raw fruits are hanging from the branches. Mangoes are used in innumerable ways. Raw fruits are sour and are used to make drinks which soaks the heat  from the body nd cools you in the simmering heat. They are used to make… Read More »Alphonso Mangoes

Place of Rivers in Humanity

A River not only creates conditions for settlement of the people on its banks, it sustains the life of people living near it. It provides them with all the things of human requirements. Water for washing, irrigation, fish and most importantly the water for agriculture which provides for the most basic needs of humans and cattle. It is no wonder then that rivers had been held in great esteem by many civilizations. Rivers are revered because they nourished the life. Many saints and great men loved to live on its banks. Rivers are held in great esteem in Sikh religion.… Read More »Place of Rivers in Humanity

Land Stories 

Land used to be like one’s mother in India as more than 70% people are still dependent on the land for their livelihood. Before the introduction of modern agricultural equipment like tractors, bullocks were used virtually for all agricultural tasks like tilling the land, pulling the cart which the farmer used for bringing the produce and fodder home for cattle. Agriculture was completely manual and commerce was not a factor. A farmer produced only enough for his family needs. Agriculture was dependent on the surface water available through rivers and rains. Thus it was wholly dependent on the natural factors.… Read More »Land Stories 

Turmeric: Versatile Spice

India produces so many spices like Black pepper, Cardamom, Ginger and Turmeric. Many expedition in the Europe were undertaken for establishing a foothold in India particularly Kerala for procuring its fabled spices. Vasco da Gama was first to reach India in pursuit of the spices. Turmeric is one spice which is an integral part of Indian cooking. It is given as a suspension in the hot milk to persons who have sustained beatings and internal injuries to relieve pain and swelling because of its powerful antibacterial properties. It contains yellow pigments called curcuminoids. One member of a curcuminoids is curcumin.… Read More »Turmeric: Versatile Spice

Assam Tea

I first went to Silchar in 1987 in connection with my job posting there. It is a border district of Assam with Bangladesh. It is in the Barak valley and very poorly connected to rest of India. Most of outside people who go there are from Defense, Government employees and tea garden managers who are entitled to airfare from Kolkata. Air journey reduces the tiring circuitous journey by train through upper Assam which takes at least 2 days. It takes about an hour and for most of its flight, airplane flies over Bangladesh. I boarded a flight from Kolkata which… Read More »Assam Tea

Asparagus and Smelly Urine

Asparagus is very popular in Europe as a vegetable. People in some countries prefer white variety which is not different but lacks chlorophyll as it is grown in areas of very low light. Eating asparagus results in Smelly urine smell. Asparagus contains a non-toxic acid called Asparagusic acid. This acid contains sulphur element. When it is eaten, the acid in the stomach breaks down the Asparagusic acid into volatile sulphur compounds like mercaptan. When a person who has consumed asparagus goes to urinate, the sulphur compounds evaporate very fast and get separated from urine and reach the nose giving rotten… Read More »Asparagus and Smelly Urine

Mango : The King of Fruits

Hiuen Tsang, Chinese scholar after being in India is going back. Time AD 627-643, on the fabled Silk Route. Apart from his knowledge of Buddhism, his rucksack contains an extraordinary fruit called Mango. The name in hindi AaM is derived from Sanskrit word AMRA which seems to be the loan word from Dravidian and is related to Tamil words for Mango like “mamaram”. Portuguese were responsible for transferring the name to the West. It is growing in India since 4000 years at least. Moguls were great connoisseurs of the fruit. Akbar got 100000 mango trees planted in Lakhi Bagh (Lakhi:… Read More »Mango : The King of Fruits