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The goat village of India: the goat selling cooperative – a coalition of women’s self help group!

The tribal women capture the market for the heat standing goats!

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Agali, Kerala, Feb 20, 2017: In the Attapadi region of the Western Ghats, the tribals own lean black goats, known for their sturdiness.

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While the other goats suffer diseases, these black goats are resistant to most of these diseases. Also, researchers say that they have a unique ability and power to prosper in the severely increasing heat of South India.

According to T. Giggin, a professor at Kerala Agricultural University, “Black goats can withstand even scorching heat without much care and attention.”

The Black Goat, Source: Pixabay

 

The region’s livestock dealers have crept into the foothills in the recent years, buying the goat at low prices from tribal families that are suffering and selling them on at livestock markets at much higher prices.

However, the tribal communities have now come together to keep more income at home and cut out the middleman. This has been achieved by creating just one “goat village” where the tribal people from all the regions sell their goats at a fixed price to the visitors and buyers.

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A number of tribal families, who are being forced to sell their livestock due to drying up of many rivers across the region. Under such conditions, this change has helped them and there is no longer a need to migrate to Tamil Nadu and other places for work.

In the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s report on The Goat Village, One of the tribals quoted, “our indigenous black goat is my weapon for this coming summer.”

‘We were able to purchase goats from the drought-hit families for 1000 rupees and then resell it for higher prices. Though almost all other breeds had died, the demand for the black goat continued to be huge’, said a livestock trader.

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However, the traders are now unable to buy many goats because of the new step taken by the villagers. The people now brought their animals together at Agali and sold it for a minimum of 280 rupees a kilo (5000 rupees for a typical animal).

Herd of black goats, Source: Wikimedia

Sundhari, a tribal woman said, “I sold my 20-kilo goat for 5600 rupees and the money was immediately credited to my bank account. Now I am sorry that last year, I sold three goats bigger than this for 1000 rupees each.”

The creation of a women’s self-help groups coalition, the goat selling cooperative is presently assisted by National Livestock Mission and serves 192 villages.

Seema Bhaskar, the coordinator of the project said, “Now no middlemen can loot the tribes. People can sell Attapadi goats only through the goat village and buyers can purchase them only through us.”

“Every day we are getting inquiries from farmers across the state. They want the genuine breed,” Bhaskar said.

The demand for the goats has not gone down even with an increase in the prices. 28 goats have already been sold in a week in January. Centralization of sales has also helped in the buying and selling of other animals except Attapadi goats.

As the temperatures continue to rise, the Attapadi breeders are aware that they may soon face competition as some of their buyers might start breeding the tough animal themselves.

The women still intend to expand the cooperative looking for other products to sell. While Traditional medicines are being offered by one women’s group from Pudur, another group from Sholayur is selling Organic food.

 

– prepared by Nikita Saraf of NewsGram, Twitter: @niki_saraf

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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