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Man prays to Elephant-headed Deity, Ganesha to stop frequent Jumbo deaths in Coimbatore

Seven elephants had died in the surrounding areas of Coimbatore recently within a short span of time

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Maha Ganapati Yagam. Image Source : The Hindu
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  • Recently, there have been consecutive deaths of elephants in the Nilgiris and other surrounding areas of Coimbatore
  • Vikas Muntot, a resident of Coimbatore, decided to organise a Maha Ganapati Yagam and pray for the cause
  • Other than that, he appealed to the Forest Department to ensure proper food and water for the elephants in forests

The Hindu mythology boasts of an extremely diverse set of Gods and Goddesses. One of the many Gods is Lord Ganapati or Lord Ganesha, who incidentally has  a head of an elephant. He is considered to be the God of wisdom. Ganapati festival is highly popular in Maharashtra and is slowly spreading to other parts of India as well. So, when elephants in certain parts of India started dying consecutively, a man named Vikas Muntot decided to pray to Lord Ganesha for their safety.

Lord Ganapati. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
Lord Ganapati. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Seven elephants had died in the surrounding areas of Coimbatore recently within a short span of time. Originally belonging to Rajasthan, Vikas had been settled in Coimbatore for quite some time now and he wanted to do something about the sudden deaths of these elephants. Evidently, the immediate thing that came to his mind was to organise a puja or Yagam for the purpose. Yagam is a Hindu ritual involving fire and ghee. Yagams are often resorted to in order to inaugurate, purify or consolidate one’s desires. In this case, it was Ganapati Yagam because who else other than the Elephant headed God himself would be more concerned about the death of elephants.

Many other people joined Vikas in his endeavor and the Yagam was performed successfully with a very systematic approach. Vikas himself made arrangements for everything and others helped him.

Elephants in their natural habitat. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
Elephants in their natural habitat. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

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He also appealed to the Forest Department to arrange for proper water and food for the elephants in the forests so that none of them dies of hunger or thirst at least. “Encroachments in the forest areas also have to be removed by the authorities. Even wild elephants are docile and they will not come our way unless we disturb them. We make them our enemies by lighting crackers,” reported The Hindu.

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With the wildlife of India being in extremely harsh natural conditions and scarcity of food and water, the loss of lives of the animals has become inevitable. Even most of the zoos are very reluctant about taking proper care of the animals. It is high time that we take some steps to stop all these things because even though it seems that wildlife does not affect us, it does so to a huge extent. With wild animals getting endangered and extinct, the ecological balance is harmed and therefore it has and it will have a great impact on human life as well. What Vikas Muntot did was commendable and we need to be more like him.

– prepared by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: Etrui14

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    There should be valid care taken by the forest department, poojas and yagams wouldn’t help

  • Rohit Kanji

    Why does one need to explain Ganesha as elephant-headed deity? Who is this article written for? Do Indians need to be reminded the very basics?

  • Marta Feio

    What’s on the table?

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An Application That Monitors Forest Resources And Helps Management

While the app is being tested in India, Khare said it can also be used in countries including Peru, Mali, Liberia and Indonesia

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Traditional Toraja houses are seen in a forest near Rantepao, North Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. VOA

A web-based application that monitors the impact of successful forest-rights claims can help rural communities manage resources better and improve their livelihoods, according to analysts.

The app was developed by the Indian School of Business (ISB) to track community rights in India, where the 2006 Forest Rights Act aimed to improve the lives of rural people by recognizing their entitlement to inhabit and live off forests.

With a smartphone or tablet, the app can be used to track the status of a community rights claim.

Forest
A diesel ferry cuts through the Poshur river — the lifeline of Sundarbans — with travelers watching its heavily industrialized bank, which is rapidly increasing at the cost of world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest. wikimedia commons

 

After the claim is approved, community members can use it to collect data on tree cover, burned areas and other changes in the forest and analyze it, said Arvind Khare at Washington D.C.-based advocacy Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

“Even in areas that have made great progress in awarding rights, it is very hard to track the socio-ecological impact of the rights on the community,” said Khare, a senior director at RRI, which is testing the app in India.

“Recording the data and analyzing it can tell you which resources need better management, so that these are not used haphazardly, but in a manner that benefits them most,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Forest
The land-locked water body Lonar Lake Wikimedia Commons

For example, community members can record data on forest products they use such as leaves, flowers, wood and sap, making it easier to ensure that they are not over-exploited, he said.

While indigenous and local communities own more than half the world’s land under customary rights, they have secure legal rights to only 10 percent, according to RRI.

Governments maintain legal and administrative authority over more than two-thirds of global forest area, giving limited access for local communities.

In India, under the 2006 law, at least 150 million people could have their rights recognized to about 40 million hectares (154,400 sq miles) of forest land.

Forest
According to a report by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the total remaining tree cover of India that included forests and non-forest areas was 24.16% in 2015. Wikimedia Commons

But rights to only 3 percent of land have been granted, with states largely rejecting community claims, campaigners say.

While the app is being tested in India, Khare said it can also be used in countries including Peru, Mali, Liberia and Indonesia, where RRI supports rural communities in scaling up forest rights claims.

Also Read: Recent Deportation Of Rohingyas Lead To Refugees In India To Flee

Data can be entered offline on the app, and then uploaded to the server when the device is connected to the internet. Data is stored in the cloud and accessible to anyone, said Ashwini Chhatre, an associate professor at ISB.

“All this while local communities have been fighting simply for the right to live in the forest and use its resources. Now, they can use data to truly benefit from it,” he said. (VOA)