Oil palm expansion in forest and traditional agricultural lands, Mizoram

The march of the triffids

“In temperate countries, where man had succeeded in putting most forms of nature save his own under a reasonable degree of restraint, the status of the triffid was thus made quite clear. But in the tropics, particularly in the dense forest areas, they quickly became a scourge.” —John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids In […]

एक फोटो खीछो

In Hindi by Swati Sidhu अंकल, कहाँ से आ रहे हो ? ऊपर उस पहाड़ के टॉप से l मतलब कहाँ से हो ? चेन्नई से l झूठ बोल रहे हो ? (हँसके) अरे नहीं तो l मेरे पीछे मेरे दोस्त आ रहे हैं, उनसे पूछ लो l यहाँ क्यूँ आए हो ? पक्षी देखने […]

Take our photo

“Uncle where are you coming from?” “From top of that mountain” “No, where are you from?” “From Chennai” “You are a lying” (giggling) “No I am not lying, ask my friends coming behind me” “Why you have come here?” “To watch birds” “What is that?” “It’s a camera” “Take our photo” (giggling) Read this in […]

Why Mizoram must revive, not eradicate, jhum

There is something extraordinary about the cheraw (bamboo dance) performed during Chapchar Kut. The dance is unique, elegant, and spectacular, but it carries a deeper connection to the land and lives of the people, particularly to the remarkable practice of shifting agriculture (or jhum) which subtly encapsulates the dance of the bamboos themselves on the […]

Blowin’ in the wind – II

Cross-posted from View from Elephant Hills From a boat on Assam’s Deepor Beel—the freshwater lake lying south-west of Guwahati, the largest city in India’s northeast—you can look east past thousands of waterbirds and a carpet of floating leaves to see the city’s seething, smoking garbage dump. Under spotless blue skies, a thin brown haze blankets […]

Forest_OilPalm_MizoLow

Perils of oil palm

The Economic Survey Mizoram 2012-13 made a bold claim. After quoting the Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) State of Forest Report 2011 that 90.68% of Mizoram is under forest cover, the Economic Survey claimed, literally in bold letters in a box, that the State’s forests have suffered serious depletion and degradation due to traditional practice […]

Living in an extreme world

by T. R. Ramachandran and T. R. Shankar Raman (This article appeared as a lead on the edit page of The Hindu on 13 July 2013) The recent flood-related disaster in Uttarakhand was labelled a Himalayan tsunami, recalling the deaths, damage, and destruction that followed the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 2004. Yet, […]

Of tamarind and tolerance

An edited and shorter version of this article appeared in The Hindu Sunday Magazine on 17 June 2012. For centuries, long rows of grand tamarind trees have marked our roadsides, particularly in southern India. The wide, old roads radiating from Coimbatore city, in particular, had long rows of grand tamarind trees on either side. One […]

Being with dolphins

There is a dark sea above and a dark sea below. With one I am transfixed, with the other forever moving. Above, the arched firmament is smeared with galactic grey and sprinkled with silver brilliance of stars uncounted. Below, a fathomless depth hides under a smooth lustre, crested with white ribbons of surf and the […]