A convincing strength of the opposing group was noticed in the hall. However some questions crop up in the mind after knowing that India would have been the first country in the world to permit Bt. technology in brinjals. Many multinational companies are playing hazardous game in all walks of life. May it be medicines, food, vegetables, water, toys, commodities of daily use, and now in all types of technologies also. THE country witnessed a war on Bt brinjals recently. The propagating side was trying to pursue its stand on the needs of introduction of the genetically modified seeds in the country. The opposing side was pressing the government not to allow entry of such genes to be introduced in our country. The role of scientists was also challenged by the so called ordinary people.
An experience of the consultations held by minister for environment Shri Jairam Ramesh in Nagpur is being narrated for the benefit of readers. Shri Ramesh heard the farmers first and then to the scientists. A scientist tried to present his findings in a most unscientific manner. The scientist was requesting the audience to believe him since he was son of a farmer. Having done this he presented his findings with two major claims. He told that some goats were given the Bt cotton leaves for a particular period of time. Similar number of goats were fed with non Bt leaves. The results were narrated as- 1) Bt-fed goats gained substantial weight compared to non Bt fed goats. 2) Maximum Bt-fed goats delivered twins. Later on an anonymous lady dietician was given a chance by minister to speak. Very coolly she put her opinion which suggested the scientist that his claim was unwarranted, since such development was unnatural. Inside and outside the hall everyone had a new point for opposing Bt.brinjals. What shall be the effect of such brinjals on the public in general, when leaves have affected the goats unnaturally? Shall it be dangerous to human life?
Another experience is that of the presentation by a lady teacher. She was all the while showing her number and requesting the minister to give her a chance to speak. At last she wrote on the back side of her token – ‘Teacher’, telling that she is from teaching community. The minister gave her the chance to speak. she in her typical teacher style suggested the minister not to take the question of Bt or non-Bt in an objective manner. She requested him to study the whole topic of Bt deeply and then give his answer (take the decision). Happy over her suggestion, Shri Ramesh asked her as to who will decide the correctness of his answer? The lady calmly told – my son and daughter (i.e. the next generation) shall decide about the correctness of your judgment. Earlier she had expressed her concern over the likely ill effects of such food items in the next generation.
A convincing strength of the opposing group was noticed in the hall. However some questions crop up in mind after knowing that India would have been the first country in the world to permit Bt technology in brinjals. Many multinational companies are playing hazardous game in all walks of life. May it be medicines, food, vegetables, water, toys, commodities of daily use, and now in all types of technologies also. Why doesn’t our government have patience to wait for ‘our’ scientists to find out solutions to our problems? Our population of 110 + crores is our strength. This is from both angles. The first being – we are a very huge market, so we can compel foreign producers/suppliers to bow down. The second being that – our talent to shoot any problem is widely accepted and appreciated by the global community. Why are the MNCs then allowed to play with the lives of our people? The most unfortunate part of the prevailing democracy is that its leaders are not trustworthy patriots. They are chosen by illiterate and unaware crores. I remember a scene when Amir Khan came to the city and at least 5-7 thousand people gathered at the Cinemax to have his glimpse. And there is very little awareness among people on such life affecting cause like GM foods. The MNCs have a lot of money and muscle power with them. It is reported that the launcher seed company has its turnover equal to that of the annual budget of some countries taken together. However it is sure that awakening among the people may give a challenge to money and mussle power put together. We must keep in mind that our country had similar psychology prior to Independence but the determined heroes though in minority had been successful in getting the country freed. The history repeated when America refused supercomputer to us, our scientists invented Param super computer. The nuclear tests, levying of the sanctions by America and then lifting such sanctions unconditionally were the result of graceful and confident approach to find solution to our own problems. It takes less cost and the solution suits better than our problem. This is because the horizon of the difficulties in which the solution is to be applied is better understood and visualised by ‘our’ people. Politicians at all levels should learn this reality.
(The writer can be contacted at 113, Lendra West, New Ramdaspeth, NAGPUR e-mail : [email protected])