Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strategic development for all sectors of economy

The increasing number of farmer suicides in Orissa in the past few weeks is a grim reminder of the state of farmers in our country. The government as usual in order to clear its stand has put loan burden and poor crops as well as deficient rain as the reasons behind these deaths. Although it has strengthened its stand and decided to take immediate steps, the surmounting number of farmer suicides is proving to be a blot on the image of the government.
There is no doubt that the country has not received sufficient rainfall this year, required by the farmers to grow their crops. Keeping in mind the scenario, the government should have adopted some alternative methods for the farmers, such as providing better irrigation facilities, pesticides to prevent crops from being eaten up by insects as has been happening in many farms of the western part of Odisha.
The state government has now appointed a team which would be visiting the drought affected areas. Examining the situation and then charting certain steps that can be taken for the Rabi agricultural season would not help. The need of the hour is to understand the situation of the farmers both at physical as well as at the mental level. This would help the government in formulating policies for the farmers. Also, the government should assure the farmers with some security, provide them with better irrigational facilities, crop seeds, better farm loans that may not become a burden for them and most importantly spread awareness amongst the farmers on how to handle crop productivity during scanty rainfall.
Liberalization and globalization has prompted the government to take developmental efforts in the industrial sector, due to which it has somehow neglected the agricultural sector which still forms the mainstay in the country’s growth. Implementing strategies effectively for all sectors may prove fruitful for the country’s economy rather than just highlighting one sector at a time.

Raghurajpur : an abode of talents

The villages of India have their own identities. They are an abode of rich and diverse heritage. One such village that occupies a unique place in the map of India is Raghurajpur, in Puri district. The village is located on the banks of river bhargavi and is surrounded by several tropical trees as mango, jackfruit groves, palm etc.
The idyllic setting is the first thing to strike your eyes once you enter the village. The village has its own distinct identity. According to the villagers, tourists from all across the country and outside throng this village to have a view of the rural arts and crafts of Odisha.
All the households prepare different types of art and every individual has his or her expertise over the artwork. These artworks are a source of income for all the families, from which they are able to pay the interests on the loans given by the government.
The craft works or paintings and other works bore their themes to the mythological stories especially those of lord Krishna, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Different communities of artisans produce different kinds of handicraft items as patta paintings, paper-machey toys, wood carvings, stonecarvings etc. Some of the artisans are also winners of National Awards.
These artworks not only keep the adults of the household involved in this work but also the children. Prasanna Kumar Sahu, sixteen years old boy started painting on palm leaves when he was fourteen. He learnt this work of art from the elders of his family. A student of class tenth, he works all through the day in his shop and studies at night. He aspires to become a national level artist. In order to fulfill his aspirations he had sent his works to several governmental organizations but was rejected due to the age factor.
There are many such talents like Prasanna in Raghurajpur who have not had the adequate means to showcase their talents. They have to depend on the number of tourist that visit the village round the year. The government organizations should make a serious effort in promoting these talents so that they do not go unnoticed.

Pattachitra: an art beyond comparison

Pattachitra is one of the oldest forms of artwork in Odisha. Its emergence dates back to generations ago. Often people regard its evolution simultaneously with the Jagannath temple of Puri.
This form of art is mainly found in Raghurajpur village of Odisha. It involves a lot of hard-work. The patta on which paintings are drawn is made with the help of cotton cloth, tamarind gum and white chalk. It takes around 4-5 days to make the colours that are used in the paintings. 25-30 colours are made out of 5 basic colours. Stone colours are basically used to make these many colours. The 5 basic colours are white, red or hingol, yellow, brown and black or kaajal. These paintings are sold in and outside the country such as Delhi, Mumbai London etc.
The pattachitra makers have a long working schedule working from almost 10 in the morning till 4 in the evening. Per day they get a wage of rupees 100, while their monthly salary amounts to 15000. Within these tight working hours they also face problem like power cuts. Each household in the village Raghurajpur prepares pattachitra with such exquisiteness that it leads to competition between the villagers. One has to visit the village in order to believe the authenticity of the artwork.
It is strange that even in this age, when technology is keeping most people occupied in their lives; the people of this village have dedicated their lives into making pattachitras. In some way the government’s inclination towards the growth of the industrial sector has sidelined the growth that could have taken place for the artisans of this place. Though the artists of pattachitra feel that this form of art will never lose its sheen yet if sufficient efforts are not taken by the government then it may extinct in the near future.

Baliyatra: The Foodies Paradise

The baliyatra festival in cuttack is a pleasure to all the foodies who visit this fair every year. Whether it be pizzas, burgers, chowmeins or the traditional all time favourites thunkapuris, dahi vada-aloo dum, gupchups; the mouth watering delicacies are simply irresistible.
If one thinks that the craze for the traditional food items as thunkapuri has deteriorated, one has to see the fair in order to believe it. The traditional food items hold a special place in the hearts of the people compared to Chinese or any other fast foods. There are hoards of stalls that come up every year with new delicacies but those do not match the conventional taste of thunkapuris and dahi vada-dum aloo. “The new stalls of fast foods and Chinese tensed in the beginning, but later on we saw that people were enjoying the thunkapuris as much as the others”, said an owner of a thunkapuri stall.
These stall owners do a business of around rupees 50,000 or so during the baliyatra festival. They are overwhelmed by the response of the people and thus even try to experiment with their menus by introducing some festival special items as well as offers in order to attract customers. Several restaurant owners also put up their stalls and make sure to include the items which are customer favourites.
A college student remarks “me and my friends come to this festival specially to enjoy the foods that we get during this period, some of which are not available all the time.” Besides the handlooms, handicrafts and several other artistic attractions, enjoying the different delicacies are a must for the visitors. Even the increasing prices of the food items seem to have not dampened the spirits of the people and they continue to enjoy every item with great enthusiasm. The festive spirits of the people do not even let them bother about the hygienic conditions although the stall owners also try to maintain their stalls clean.
The festival surely is a paradise for the people who have an appetite and also for those who love to experiment with their taste buds. In case you have not yet tried the tangy gupchups or the sweet and sour dahi vadas, you are surely missing out a mouth-watering opportunity.

A small gesture towards happiness

How often do we donate blood and then take the pain of assuring whether our blood has been used or not? Or how often do we get a call from the recipient and are thanked by them? I had heard people say that one should donate blood once in life; it gives your mind a sense of contentment. So here I was, all set to donate blood for the first time. My mind was full of anxiety and enthusiasm.
Moments before donating blood, I had a feeling as to how would everyone react when they would get to know my blood group. (It is a rare group after all). Leaving aside my anxious mood I stepped into the room where blood donation camp had been put up. As expected, once the normal registration and check up began, I was told that I cannot give blood because it was of a rare group and it might not be of any use keeping in the blood bank. I was disappointed but after sometime the doctor came up to me and said that I can donate blood since there was a patient in Sambalpur who was in need of it. I was glad that my blood could be of use to someone and prayed to god for early recovery of that person.
A week later, I got a call from the recipient’s father after he received the blood samples from the council. He was thankful to me, for his daughter was in need of the blood since she is a thalasemia patient. I was obliged by the courtesy shown by him more so because I had no idea that I donated blood for a child.
What surprised me all the more was when he mentioned that he had not seen many “girls” coming out and donating blood at such a young age. Till date he has received 200 blood samples for his child but only 8 have been of girls. Since the blood group to which his child belongs is also the rarest, it is of great difficulty for him to find a donor. Therefore whenever he receives a blood sample from the blood council, he calls the donor and expresses his gratitude.
I have seen my mother donate blood number of times but never had she been thanked and received a call in return. And here was I, thanked by someone unknown to me, for whom I was just the one on whose blood his daughter was living. For that one moment, I felt proud that I could do something to save the life of a young girl who should have been enjoying her childhood days had she not been diagnosed with such a disease.
When I woke up the morning I was about to donate blood, I had an extraordinary feeling enveloping my mind. I knew I was going to do something that I had never done before and that could have either been an experience worth etching or forgetting. This incident taught me one thing that it does not matter who, what or where you are, one small gesture from you can bring happiness to many. Donating blood is one such gesture which binds people together irrespective of them being known or unknown.