Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Is Your Medication Raising Your Cholesterol?

Is Your Medication Raising Your Cholesterol?

Taking certain medications may result in some unhealthy side effects. Several drugs, including those for your heart, are thought to actually raise cholesterol levels.
By Diana Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPH

More than 102 million Americans have high cholesterol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a condition that raises the risk of heart disease to a high level in one-third of the people who have it. Although high cholesterol levels are often due to genetics and an unhealthy diet, lesser-known factors can also raise your cholesterol — including the medications that you take for other conditions.

Side effects of medications are quite common, and often they’re minor, but side effects like an increase in your cholesterol level can be serious. To counter medication-related high cholesterol, your doctor can prescribe an alternative medication to treat the original condition, or add a cholesterol-lowering medication to your treatment regimen.

High Cholesterol: When Medication Is the Culprit

Why certain drugs raise cholesterol levels as a side effect isn't exactly understood. Most of the time, cholesterol level elevation is pretty minimal. But any increase in cholesterol is still a concern, especially for people with risk factors for heart disease, or for those who already have high cholesterol or are taking cholesterol-lowering medication.

The following types of drugs, used to treat a variety of health conditions, may raise cholesterol levels:

Steroids. These drugs, sometimes prescribed for allergies and asthma as well as other conditions, have been known to be associated with modest elevations in triglyceride and total cholesterol levels, says Stanley L. Hazen, MD, PhD, director for the Center for the Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic, but it's not clear why. "More often, insulin resistance is observed, helping to cause mild TG [triglyceride] elevation and HDL cholesterol reduction," says Dr. Hazen.
Progestin. This hormone, used in birth control pills, is known to raise “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower “good” HDL cholesterol for reasons that aren't understood, but it doesn't seem to have much effect on increasing a person's risk for cardiovascular disease.

Retinoids. These drugs, often used to treat skin problems like acne, can cause slightly elevated cholesterol levels. They contain vitamin A, known to cause problems with the liver, which produces cholesterol.

Beta blockers. While beta blockers generally do not increase cholesterol levels in most people, they can cause what's known as secondary hyperlipidemia (increased blood fats) in a very small number of individuals, says Hazen. 

More often, beta blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure — another risk factor for heart disease — actually raise triglyceride levels (another blood fat). Why beta blockers can raise triglyceride levels in some people isn't understood, and it occurs pretty rarely, according to Hazen.

Diuretics. These drugs are also commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure. "Only hydrochlorothiazide is associated with potential for secondary hyperlipidemia," says Hazen, and this is also rare. Again, these drugs most often cause elevated triglyceride levels rather than higher total cholesterol, and for unknown reasons.

High Cholesterol: Other Medication Choices

Especially for people taking diuretics or beta blockers to control high blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk, alternative treatments that don't raise cholesterol levels should be found. "It's something we've known for a long time about beta blockers and diuretics,” says Stephen J. Nicholls, MBBS, PhD, clinical director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Prevention.

Patients with high cholesterol and high blood pressure levels would not typically be started on beta blockers or diuretics as the first treatment of choice, says Dr. Nicholls. Instead, a physician might prescribe an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor or calcium-channel blocker to treat high blood pressure without raising cholesterol.

If you already have high cholesterol, make sure that all of your doctors know about it, and let them know about any other medications you are already taking before they prescribe a new medication. If you're concerned about developing high cholesterol and your doctor wants to prescribe one of these medications, talk to him about other alternatives to treat your condition. 

6 Medications That Can Cause High Triglycerides

Though they don’t factor in to your total cholesterol level, blood fats called triglycerides still have an impact on your health. Extremely high triglycerides—500 mg/dL or higher—can put you at risk for pancreatitis. This inflammation of the pancreas gland can cause stomach pain, digestive problems, and, eventually, diabetes.

Almost one-third of American adults have high triglycerides. Obesity, family history, excess alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle often play a role. But certain medications for other health conditions also can influence your triglyceride level. If you take one of these drugs, ask your health care provider how often you should have a lipid panel. This measures your triglycerides and your cholesterol. Always talk with your health care provider before stopping or starting any medication. 

1. Blood pressure medicines
High blood pressure also increases your risk for heart disease. If you can’t control your numbers through lifestyle changes, your health care provider may recommend treatment with medications called thiazide diuretics (commonly called “water pills”) or beta-blockers.

2. Corticosteroids

The term may bring to mind athletes and performance-enhancing supplements. But these strong drugs aren’t the same as body-builders’ steroids. In fact, they bear a greater similarity to hormones produced by your body’s adrenal glands. Corticosteriods treat a wide range of health problems, including asthma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, eczema and other skin conditions, and certain types of cancer. 

3. Antipsychotics

Though they were developed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other severe forms of mental illness, health care providers now prescribe these drugs to children and adults for a wide range of psychological complaints. These range from autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to conduct disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.

Newer antipsychotics—including aripiprazole (Abilify), olanzapine (Zyprexa) quetiapine (Seroquel), and risperidone (Risperdal)—may raise triglyceride levels. However, first-generation antipsychotics, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and haloperidol (Haldol), don’t have this effect. 

4. Isotretinoin

This potent drug helps treat severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments, such as antibiotics. Health care providers also use it to treat other skin conditions and some types of cancer. Because isotretinoin also causes severe birth defects, women who use it must also use two forms of birth control and check in with their health care providers every month.

5. HIV treatments

Drug cocktails known as antiretroviral therapy have transformed HIV from a frequently fatal disease to a chronic condition. Because of the triglyceride-boosting effects of antiretrovirals, people with HIV often must take cholesterol-lowering statins as well. Some studies suggest omega-3 fatty acid supplements may have similar benefits. 

6. Estrogen

As women enter menopause, their bodies produce less of the female hormone estrogen. Some choose to take supplemental estrogen to control symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes. Besides raising triglycerides, estrogen has several other serious side effects, including an increased risk for blood clots and strokes. For these reasons, doctors recommend women take hormone therapy at the lowest dose possible for the least amount of time necessary to relieve their symptoms. 

Key Takeaways

  • Almost one-third of American adults have high triglycerides, which can be harmful to your health.
  • Certain medications can influence your triglyceride levels. These include some blood pressure medicines, corticosteroids, antipsychotics, isotretinoin, HIV treatments, and estrogen.
  • Always talk with your health care provider before starting or stopping any medications.
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Jan 5, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Medical References
Burglund L, Brunzell J, and Sacks F. Patient Guide to the Assessment and Treatment of Hypertriglyceridemia (High Triglycerides). J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Sep;97(9):31A-32A.
Triglycerides. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Encyclopedia/Heart-Encyclopedia_UCM_445084_Encyclopedia.jsp?levelSelec...
HIV and Hyperlipidemia. Department of Health and Human Services. AIDSinfo. https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/fact-sheets/22/66/hiv-and-hyperlipidemia
Hormones and Menopause. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hormones-and-menopause
Olanzapine. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601213.html
Isotretinoin. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a681043.html
Steroids. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/steroids.html
Antipsychotic Medicines for Children and Teens: A Review of the Research for Parents and Caregivers. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/147/1146/anti_psych_ped_cons_fin_to_post.pdf

Ten Things about BR Ambedkar That You Probably Didn't Know

Ten Things about BR Ambedkar That You Probably Didn't Know 

While every political organization lays claim to Dr.Ambedkar, without knowing anything about what he stood for, it is ironical that the BJP under Narendra Modi is not doing enough to align themselves with Dr.Ambedkar. The Modi government is naturally in line with most of what Dr.Ambedkar wanted to do. It is also the only government so far that has real pride in being an Indian and if you read the below article, it will be clear that Dr.Ambedkar would have been proud of India having finally got such a government at the center.Image result for dr.ambedkar
Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is a tall figure of 20th century Indian history. Popularly known as Babasaheb, the details about his careers as a lawyer, politician, constitution framer, social reformer and an economist are well known. He's an inspiration to crores of young Indians today of various classes and ideologies.

But there are ten snippets about this famous man, that are not quite highlighted. Time to take a look at them. I will provide references for each as to where I learned about them, and if any of them need correction or contention, please post comments with authentic references.

1: Dr. Ambedkar stood for Sanskrit as the official language of India.

This is not a well known fact, but it is a fact. In 2005, this was revealed by Chamu Krishna Shastry, a well known Sanskrit proponent in India.

"Dr Ambedkar himself wanted to sponsor Sanskrit as the official language of the Indian union along with his supporters Dr BV Keskar, deputy minister for external affairs, and Naziruddin Ahmed. He moved an amendment draft on September 10, 1949. The resolution had to be withdrawn due to political pressure." Reference: Ambedkar wanted Sanskrit as official language

It is anyone's guess as to who might have exerted " political pressure" on Ambedkar in 1949 to withdraw that historic resolution, which could have changed India in an different direction. Ambedkar's strong support to Sanskrit is something to ponder upon, for those who consider Sanskrit as an "Aryan" language of upper castes, that should not be supported.

2: Ambedkar is actually a Hindu Brahmin surname.

Image from Wiki

Bhimrao's original surname was Ambavadekar. It comes from his family's native village name in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, even though he was born in today's Madhya Pradesh region. In Marathi, it is a common practice to add "kar" to the village name as the surname.

In this writeup in the Outlook, Smruti Koppikar describes how his favourite Hindu Brahmin teacher, Mahadev Ambedkar, changed his surname from 'Ambavadekar' to his own surname 'Ambedkar' in the school records. The respect Bhimrao had for his teacher Mahadev, ensured that his borrowed surname continued for rest of his life! It tells us that Bhimrao respected all castes - his fight was against caste discrimination, and not Hinduism or any particular caste.

Reference: Bhimrao Sakpal Ambavadekar became Bhimrao Ambedkar

3. Ambedkar's father was a Vegetarian.

This one really surprised me. In the recent days, whenever there's a protest against ban on cow slaughter, you will invariably see an Ambedkar picture and beef eating "ceremonies".

But after reading Vikram Doctor's blog on the Economic Times, I stumbled upon two surprising details.

"Nor is it correct to equate all upper-castes with vegetarianism and all Dalits with eating meat – Dr.Ambedkar’s father, for example, was vegetarian."
"I’m not sure if Dr.Ambedkar became vegetarian when he converted to Buddhism – Keer’s book doesn’t seem to make this clear and there is a surprising lack of other biographical material." It looks like being a Kabir Panthi, Ambedkar's father Ramji was certainly a vegetarian and teetotaler. It also kind of implies that Babasaheb might have become a vegetarian coming from that family and also a vegetarian during the later part of his life. Something that needs a bit more research. And those who follow Ambedkar's path, this is something critical to ask - why was his father and (likely) himself vegetarian?

Reference: The Dalit Meanings of Food

4. Nehru prevented Ambedkar from entering Lok Sabha. Jan Sangh got him to Rajya Sabha.

Ambedkar contested Lok Sabha election twice. Both times Nehru's Congress made sure that he was defeated. Babasaheb Ambedkar contested from Bombay North in the first Indian General Election in 1952 but lost to the Congress candidates Narayan Kajrolkar, who had been his assistant once. He tried to enter Lok Sabha again in 1954 when he contested the by-election from Bhandara but he was placed third in the ballot won by Congress.

"In 1952, the Congress defeated Ambedkar in the parliamentary seat of Dadar in Bombay. It is strange that Jawaharlal Nehru did the sin of campaigning against Ambedkar during the elections.” 

"The reason behind this was the Congress mentality of devaluing him. Later, the role played by Jan Sangh in getting him elected for Rajya Sabha from West Bengal is not hidden from anybody,” - Arvind Menon, BJP. So much for "love" of Ambedkar by Congress party.

Reference: Babasaheb was close to Jan Sangh, says BJP

Edit on 17th August 2016 - The reported claim by BJP above (see reference) was challenged by many people. Some are giving credit to Muslim League and JN Mandal of Bengal too. But the common theme is still that Congress did not help Dr. Ambedkar, but others did.

5. Bhimrao's second wife was a Hindu Brahmin.

Ambedkar met Dr. Sharada Kabir, a Saraswat Brahmin, when he needed medical treatment in the late 1940s. He married her on 15 April 1948, at his home in New Delhi. His first wife had passed away a decade ago. Doctors recommended that he needed a companion who was both a good cook and a possessor of medical knowledge and could thus take care of him. She adopted the name Savita Ambedkar and took care of him for the rest of his life.

Pic: photobucket
It is unfortunate that any political or NGO conversations regarding Ambedkar quickly turn into anti-Brahmin mode, when his borrowed surname is that of a Brahmin and his wife who served him during most needy years, was a Brahmin woman.

6. Ambedkar was not against Hindutva or RSS.

Ambedkar actually claimed Hindutva for the Dalits (untouchables or depressed classes) in 1927.

"Hindutva belongs as much to untouchable Hindus as to the touchable Hindus. The temples must be open for all. Efforts were made for the growth of Hindutva by Brahmins like Vasishta, Kshatriyas like Krishna, Vaishyas like Harsha and Shudras like Tukaram. The same amount of efforts for Hindutva were pitched in by untouchables (Dalits) like Valmiki (of Ramayana), Drishthara of Vyadha Gita, Chhokamela and Rohidasa. We have brave Sidnak Mahar kind of untouchable who fought for protection of Hindutva. Both touchable and untouchable Hindus have served the Hindu temples built in the names of Hindutva. So everyone has the right to enter them."

He also also praised Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar's efforts to eradicate caste discrimination in his Janata paper in 1933.

"Savarkar's efforts to uplift Dalits are as noble and effective as Gautama Buddha's" Ambedkar even visited RSS camp and praised them.

"Ever conscious of Hindu movements supporting Sanghatan – social solidarity, Dr.Ambedkar visited RSS camp in Pune in May 1939. He expressed his satisfaction: “I am surprised to find Swayamsevaks here moving about in absolute equality and brotherhood without even caring to know the castes of others." References:

Essays on Dalits book by Raj Kumar, page 72.
Kannada Prabha 14-Apr-2015 page 7, by Tejasvi Surya. Need to save Ambedkar from pseudos
Bodhi Sattva’s Hindutva: Part 4 by Aravindan Neelakandan. 7. Ambedkar's strong views on Muslim society's evils, Christianity and Partition of India.

When some Dalit youth were supporting the anti-India Razakars of Hyderabad after independence, Ambedkar told them not to take that path:


"Hyderabad state's scheduled castes must not support the Nizam or Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen under any circumstance. No scheduled caste member should join hands with anti India forces, bringing disrepute to their castes"

If you read Ambedkar's book, chapter 10, you would start seeing his absolutely rational arguments condemning the evils of Muslim society in pre-partitioned India.

Read chapter 10 for instance which has a sub title ;- Muslim Society is even more full of social evils than Hindu Society is.

"the Muslim woman is the most helpless person in the world."
"No words can adequately express the great and many evils of polygamy and concubinage, and especially as a source of misery to a Muslim woman. It is true that because polygamy and concubinage are sanctioned, one must not suppose they are indulged in by the generality of Muslims; still the fact remains that they are privileges which are easy for a Muslim to abuse to the misery and unhappiness of his wife."
"Take the caste system. Islam speaks of brotherhood. Everybody infers that Islam must be free from slavery and caste. Regarding slavery nothing needs to be said. It stands abolished now by law. But while it existed, much of its support was derived from Islam and Islamic countries.While the prescriptions by the Prophet regarding the just and humane treatment of slaves contained in the Koran are praiseworthy, there is nothing whatever in Islam that lends support to the abolition of this curse..... But if slavery has gone, caste among Musalmans has remained. As an illustration one may take the conditions prevalent among the Bengal Muslims."
"There can thus be no manner of doubt that the Muslim Society in India is afflicted by the same social evils as afflict the Hindu Society. Indeed, the Muslims have all the social evils of the Hindus and something more. That something more is the compulsory system of purdah for Muslim women." Regarding Pakistan, if you read the Chapter 14 of the same book, you can clearly see that he wanted transfer of Muslims to Pakistan (east and West) with non Muslims back to India from there.

What about its workability? The scheme is not new. It has been tried and found workable. It was put into effect after the last European War, to bring about a transfer of population between Greece and Bulgaria and Turkey and Greece. Nobody can deny that it has worked, has been tried and found workable. The scheme I have outlined is a copy of the same scheme. It had the effect of bringing about a transfer of population between Greece and Bulgaria and Turkey and Greece. Nobody can deny that it was [=has] worked with signal success. What succeeded elsewhere may well be expected to succeed in India. The most recent Organiser special edition on Ambedkar notes his view about Christianity and Islam, and conversion in general:

Ambedkar was against Dalits converting to Christianity or Islam because he believed that “if the numbers of Muslims and Christians rise and it will cause danger to India.” References:

Kannada Prabha 14-Apr-2015 page 7, by Tejasvi Surya. Need to save Ambedkar from pseudos
Book: Pakistan or the Partition of India by BR Ambedkar - Chapter 10 and Chapter 14.
Ambedkar a pioneer like Savarkar, Malviya: RSS. 8. Ambedkar's openly opposed Article 370 of Nehru's Congress, for Jammu and Kashmir.

Ambedkar opposed Article 370 in the Constitution, which gives a special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and it was put against his wishes. Balraj Madhok reportedly said, Ambedkar had clearly told Sheikh Abdullah:-

"You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you food grains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But Government of India should have only limited powers and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal, would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India and I, as the Law Minister of India, will never do it." Reference: Kashmir problem from Ambedkarite Perspective, by K Jamanadas.

9. Ambedkar was a confirmed enemy of Communists, in his own words!

Read this excerpt from a book on India.

In another context, presiding over a District conference of the Depressed Classes at Masur in September 1937, Ambedkar declared that he was a confirmed enemy of the Communists who exploited the labourers for their political ends, and there was no possibility of joining them. Reference: Book Perfidies of Power: India in the New Millennium, by P Radhakrishnan, page 54.

10. Ambedkar warned India against China's aggression on Tibet and beyond.

The Time issue dated October 22, 1951, noted:

“Ambedkar is the first important Indian official who has openly attacked Nehru for being too friendly to China and not friendly enough to the US”. On China he disagreed with the Tibet policy and the enunciation of Panchsheel. He said:-

“If Mao had any faith in the Panchsheel, he certainly would treat the Buddhist in his own country in a very different way. There is no room for Panchsheel in politics”.
Reference: Ambedkar’s views on foreign policy, by Harish Parvathaneni

Hope you gained some insight after reading these today. Anything else you want to share in comments?

Monday, 24 October 2016

For the cost of an iPhone, you can now buy a wind turbine that can power an entire house for lifetime

For the cost of an iPhone, you can now buy a wind turbine that can power an entire house for lifetime

Indian startup Avant Garde Innovations has developed a low-cost wind turbine that can generate 3-5 kW hours of electricity daily 
By Sainul Abudheen K 06 Jun, 2016

Soon after assuming office, Kerala (southern state of India) Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan kicked up a storm by publicly supporting the Athirappilly hydro electric project, which environmentalists said, if implemented, would create ecologic imbalance in the area and destroy the Athirappilly waterfalls, the largest natural waterfalls in the state.

It is not that the government is oblivious to the impact that the project could make, but it says it has no option but to leverage existing means to check the growing power crisis in Kerala, which partially depends on the private sector for electricity.

Things are no different in other states either. While Kerala has attained almost 100 per cent electrical coverage, many parts of India still remain in the dark. For a large portion of the Indian population, electricity to this day remains a distant dream.

Enter two siblings who want to make India’s energy crisis a thing of the past. The duo has developed a new solution they say will not even slightly impact the ecological balance.

Avant Garde Innovations, the startup founded by siblings Arun and Anoop George from Kerala, has come up with a low-cost wind turbine that can generate enough electricity to power an entire house for a lifetime. The size of a ceiling fan, this wind turbine can generate 5 kWh/kW per day — with just a one-time cost of US$750.

“Our goal is to eliminate energy poverty, reduce dependence on struggling state power grids and create energy self sufficiency for all the needy ones through distributed, localised and affordable renewable energy. In doing so, we believe we can collectively usher in our world a cleaner environment, new economic prosperity and social change,” reads the company ‘What We Do’ statement.

“Our first offering is a highly affordable small wind turbine suitable for residential, commercial, agricultural, village electrification and other uses, which is aimed for a market launch during 2016.”

Incorporated in 2015, Avant Garde claims to be a startup with a ‘green’ heart and soul.

For the startup, opportunity is massive. India is the world’s sixth largest energy consumer, accounting for 3.4 per cent of global energy consumption. Federal governments in India, and the central government for that matter, are unable to bear the huge infrastructural cost required to bring electricity to remote villages.

Erecting electric posts and electric lines require huge investments that could cost millions of dollars.

This is where Avant Garde comes into picture. “When small wind turbine generating 1kW energy costs INR 3-7 lakh (US$4,000-10,000), our company plans to sell it at less than NR 50,000 (about US$750). Costs will decrease further through mass production,” Arun said in an interview to The Times of India.

The company launched its pilot project at a church in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram in January this year. The small wind turbine prototype that it has developed is highly scalable for power capacities of 300 kW or even higher, Arun told e27.

“Our passionate aim is to introduce innovative, affordable and sustainable solutions that take renewable energy self sufficiency and energy empowerment to the next level through a distributed and decentralised approach using pioneering strategies the world has not witnessed yet,” the company says.

This revolutionary product has also won them a spot in the Top 20 Cleantech Innovations in India. The company has also made it to the list of 10 clean energy companies from India for the “UN Sustainable Energy For All” initiative under the one billion dollar clean energy investment opportunity directory.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the country ranks 4th in terms of global installed wind power capacity, after China, the US, and Germany.

Maybe, if Avant Garde Innovations takes off, Kerala can keep the Athirappilly waterfalls untouched.

China owns & runs Pakistan today-Would China declare War on India if India ever attacked Pakistan first?

While we sit and do politics over irrelevant issues and regional state governments function like family fiefdoms and pander to the interests of every so called minority and our very cultural fabric is being torn apart slowly but surely by all these vested interests, China has established its complete hold over Pakistan and most of Africa. Here is an article giving some valuable information on the reality that confronts India. Of course, most political parties dont care cos they are busy looking for the next loot. I wish most state governments in India can be dismissed and India can be ruled by one central elected government.

Would China declare War on India if India ever attacked Pakistan first?

Would China come forward to help Pakistan or would it stay away from a conflict with India?

Why is Pakistan obsessed with Kashmir?

Well everyone have always wondered what makes Kashmir so attractive to Pakistan, that they are willing to keep the issue burning forever. What is there?
{Prem Shekhar, a well known Kannada columnist informed a few weeks that Pakistan had even offered to give up East Pakistan in 1950s, in return for Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of official discussions with India! So definitely it is not religion or Kashmiris.. it is much deeper than that. It was water sources then, but now much more deeper...}

Why is India so reluctant to hit back at Pakistan? Also why does India always seem to be unable to retaliate to Pakistan in kind (it should, totally) and pussyfoots around Pakistan, despite all the atrocities it commits in India from daily incursions in Kashmir to the Mumbai attacks. They spend too much money on all this and the country, despite no visible revenue-generating industry (terrorism no revenue) has managed to survive until today, develop nukes and has so much international clout? Where does it get its money from? Why?? Why is India reluctant to strike? There must be reasons.

Yes, water is an issue. The Indus and its tributaries. But where do they get money to keep the issue alive? There is more to this than water. Today, someone told me about this thing and I was stumped about how bloody obvious this is, and even then, NOBODY in India talks about this!

It is China... It is China and CPEC: The "thing" is the CPEC: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. If you look at it closely suddenly everything falls into place. Kashmir, Balochistan, India's unwillingness to strike, silence of international community, everything else. Pakistan is just a front.

The real sponsor is hiding behind.

Maybe it is because Indian method of viewing everything in black & white. Pakistan sponsors terrorism to get Kashmir. It is not that simple. Pakistan kept the Kashmir flame burning until the 1990s to meet their ends, when China conceived the CPEC and decided to take over. A bit on the CPEC as no one seems to have heard about it. China has a huge geographic handicap: no access to southern world oceans.

So Chinese shipments from Europe, Middle East, Africa have to travel all the way around India, Malacca and ASEAN. China has serious problems with most countries in that region due to its aggressive military posture.

Source - Twitter. Please excuse since J&K map is not accurate.

Why Pakistan is so important for Chinese economy?

What if China could get a route through Pakistan to access the Arabian Sea? That line in blue. Look at it, so much distance, money saved! That, is the CPEC. A corridor of highways and railways will run from Kashgar in China to Gwadar in Pakistan (Baluchistan) on the Arabian sea near Iran border. And ALL the infrastructure and associated stuff for CPEC will be constructed for Pakistan by China, free or cost or for negligible loans.

What is CPEC?Four Six-lane Expressways from north to south Pakistan, four different routes. All main railway lines being upgraded to 160 kph double. A six to eight lane super expressway Karachi to Gwadar and Hyderabad Innumerable coal, thermal, solar and hydro power plants all across Pakistan. All of Gwadar, including a mega international airport! Then Hospitals, schools, colleges, tech institutes, even a Metro line in Lahore!

And of course, the capstone: reconstruction of the Karakoram highway to six to four lanes. All projects listed here. Click, zoom and read.

But why is Jammu and Kashmir involved here? Now, on the Karakoram highway, this is where it matters most for India. It connects China and Pakistan, though India! Through Jammu and Kashmir, which legally acceded to India in 1947 October. This is a route map of the Karakoram highway (grey). Look at the top,inside the red circle. It is Gilgit Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir state, which legally belongs to India, but illegally occupied by Pakistan. Keep in mind, China also occupies illegally the eastern and northern part of Jammu and Kashmir - Shaksgam valley (gifted by Pakistan in 1960s) and Aksai Chin (occupied by China in 1950s when it annexed Tibet).

The highway passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The red line is the LOC. Pakistan and China are connected through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK for short). Pakistan calls this Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir, as Northern Territories sometimes.

More on Karakoram highway: Soon to be a 4/6 lane highway through some of the world's toughest terrain. A high-capacity highway across the Himalayas!

Now, though the CPEC is a recent thing, the idea had taken birth long back. The Karakoram highway started building in 1959, opened in 1979! Possibly Pakistan had refused China access to Gwadar then as they could. But now they have no other choice but hand over to China.

Why CPEC? OIL: Gwadar is just 400 km away from Muscat and 500 from the Strait of Hormuz through which all Gulf oil passes. 12 hours at sea! Proximity to Africa: China virtually owns much of Africa today. Billions in investment, buys natural resources. Nothing better than this. Pakistan as a market: China will flood Pakistan and Gulf with its cheap products and make a windfall there too. Proximity to new friend Sri Lanka.If USA/UK (control Malacca strait - Singapore) or India in Indian ocean decide to choke it, China will have no problem as it has CPEC.

But, all of CPEC and China's ambitions bearing fruit depends on the Karakoram highway. That depends on PoK continued to be occupied by Pakistan.

Money Involved: With the CPEC, China has sunk close to 50 BILLION Dollars in Pakistan. Of course, China gets free access to all this infrastructure in Pakistan. With this, 20% of Pakistan's GDP is now Chinese. China has Pakistan now firmly by the b***s, so much so that Pakistan can now be China's 24th province. With so much invested and at stake, China wouldn't even think twice about ruthlessly suppressing any attack on Pakistan, because they own it now.

Doesn't India know all this? Of course India knows all this. If we were to attack Pakistan, we would have to deal with China. Pakistan is small fry. China is not.

Who would side with India? Mostly nobody. Why? Because China is involved. How international geopolitics work, most don't get that either. USA wants to support us because China makes it nervous. But US corporations are over invested in China, so Uncle Sam will look the other way. Russia - Don't even think about it. Putin has enough troubles at home, and India's pandering to Obama hasn't got him amused. Europe will sit just and watch (because China), and all of the Middle East will (clandestinely) support Pakistan for obvious reasons (Islam).

People think alliances between countries are forget like high school friendships - on emotional grounds of some sort - No. Not at all. International friendships are always based on "how can I benefit by allying", "what terrible things can this guy do to me if I don't ally".

So, India will be left out cold if it were to as much as touch Pakistan. We will mostly have to take on BOTH Pakistan and China. Mostly. Can India take on both Pakistan and China alone? From two (or three) flanks? We are surrounded by China's friends. What do we do? Dunno.

A bit more on the Karakoram highway: 1962, remember? What if the Chinese were testing the Indian waters before building the highway? China could've walked through India. Still, they withdrew. They were only testing India's resolve to defend PoK if it came to that. We have all but written off PoK. All Wikipedia articles tell all of PoK as "Pakistan". Not Pakistan administered", but Pakistan. Hurts :(

Here is the Khunjerab Pass (PoK): the "top" of India, the border between India and China, but now Pakistan

Here is the Karakoram highway near Gilgit in India (PoK) and under construction somewhere in the mountains. It should be obvious by now that China does NOT want India to reclaim its land lost to Pakistan in 1947 and 1948 - the strategic Karakoram ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir. It is as simply as that!

Here is the entire map of the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar to Rawalpindi. Look where all it passes through

China owns Pakistan for most part today: CPEC and all associated stuff are called "China-Pakistan Friendship" something or the other. No friendship there. Just Chinese business. China is not doing business with Pakistan. It is running its business in Pakistan. It is running Pakistan. China pays for protection. If things get push to shove, China can tell US: "We will nationalize your businesses if you don't tell India to withdraw". What will we do?

What we should first realize is that there is no Pakistan. There is only China. Pakistan is just a front.We should deal accordingly. It is in China's interest to keep Kashmir burning. If there is peace in the valley, India MIGHT set its eyes on PoK. Chinese know that India has a strong Prime Minister today who can think of that. China does not want India to even think of getting PoK back. Of course, China did not light the Kashmir fire, but it certainly looks like it is them who keeps it burning that no consensus is reached. So, in addition to water, religion, ego, demographics and so on there is one more reason behind the Kashmir unrest: China and CPEC.

Is dialogue with Pakistan sensible? It is utter foolishness to think that in such a case we can resolve this through dialogue! We talk one thing while issue is another! Issue is NOT what we think is the issue! We and our govt should first understand this. I am sure they have. Hopefully they aren't helpless. China is waging a proxy-proxy-deceptive war which we cannot understand or prove or blame. We need to mobilize some other way.

War with Pakistan? Vadakkus said at the end - I am not generally a warmonger, but this has gone too far. We should strike. Do something. I only wish something be done about those 17 Indian soldiers who were killed without any provocation. They didn't have to die. Take on both China and Pakistan. Maybe. Can we? I don't know what we should do. Hopefully our hands aren't tied and someone is coming up with a plan to hit them. Hopefully.

Baluchistan's role: Why Pakistan got all worked up when India raised Balochistan? Gwadar is in Balochistan. Much of CPEC infra passes through Balochistan. The CPEC is China's hope at lifting its sagging economy and securing its strategic position in the region. Its future maybe depends on it. Karakoram- Hindukush- Pamir region since ancient times been strategically sensitive. The Silk Road. China wants control of the new Silk Road. If India were to take PoK we would squeeze the Karakoram Highway shut. No more CPEC, Silk Road. China done for. That is the whole game. Highways are primary military conduits rather than civilian. Whoever controls the highway controls the region.

Ultimately.. Pakistan's ultimate aim is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Apart from this China helps them through CPEC. You might disagree with Modi et al but please support the govt right now in whatever action it takes. Politicking can wait. Wait two more months before taking any harsh decisions. Things might change post November.

If only Illayaraja will release his Symphonies

A Very Special Talent from Madras – Interview by Mr.Michael N Townend
December 17, 2013 by RaajaMusic

While searching for information about the symphony project of Raja sir, recorded in the year 1993, I found this somewhere in internet (Source Unknown); an interview by Michael N Townend who was an Orchestration Adviser and Music Producer for the Symphony project with the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra.

If still there is someone who thinks that Ilaiyaraaja has done something wrong with symphony (or even if he or she thinks that it wasn’t a symphony at all) as it was his first experiment, please read this interview by someone who had seen many other symphony writers in his career has told about our own Indian music director, Dr.Ilaiyaraaja.

It is worth reading the full article.
Here it goes…

MICHAEL N TOWNEND was the Orchestration Adviser and Music Producer for the Symphony project with the RPO. An eminent composer, orchestrator and arranger, he works in a wide spectrum of music from Jazz, Pop, and Classical to films and TV serials. As music co-ordinator for this project, he first visited Madras in February 1993 for initial discussions with Ilaiyaraaja. He shares his experience in this article which was published in the 1993 Autumn News Letter of the Association of Professional Composers (APC), London.

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit Madras as the guest of an Indian composer who is known-very well known as I later discovered- simply as ILAIYARAAJA. The reason for my visit was that enquiries had been made on the Maestro’s behalf to various bodies, organisations, orchestral management and associations (including our own APC) to investigate the possibility of arranging a recording here in Britain of a new work that he was intending to write. He wished, in fact, to extend his already prodigious output in a more positively artistic and perhaps, intellectually demanding manner by composing and recording a Symphony, in the hope that in this way, his considerable musical talents would reach a wider and more international audience.

In the event, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had been selected to record his symphony, and my involvement as that of adviser on matters such as modern conventions in orchestration and recording procedures since I had been working closely with the RPO for some time previously. The Maestro wished me to advise him on matters such as the various strengths or weaknesses of the orchestra, and how best to write for such combinations, and in what form he should write to achieve the best results. It transpired that he had an incredibly busy schedule, which was why he requested that I visit him, rather than he visit us here in the UK.

Now, before the beginning of this year I had not, I have to confess, heard of neither Maestro Ilaiyaraaja nor any of his music. So it was with considerable curiosity (and perhaps even a mild degree of skeptical disbelief) that I listened to the CD titled “How To Name It?” which was handed to me by way of preparation for my visit to Madras.

My initial impressions on hearing this album were that the composer was clearly both talented, and well versed in many different musical traditions from all ends of the musical spectrum. There were strong influences from Bach particularly, and Mozart, and other composers from both Baroque and Classical periods of Western music, but also, quite properly as one would expect, influences from his own rich musical heritage with many complex and interesting rhythmic patterns and the use of ethnic scales, modes, stylistic devices, ornamentations and inflexions. This diversity and his fluency in using and combining such influences was very obviously one of his major strengths.

Thus prepared, I went to Madras with considerable respect for this man, but still retaining a degree of skepticism for what I suspected were the more extravagant claims for the magnitude of his output. Although I was aware of the scale of the film industry in India, I was still unprepared for the scene in Madras – particularly when compared to the sad decline of our own film industry here in Britain.

Meeting the Maestro at the film studious AVM where he has worked for many years with enormous successes, I was greeted by this quiet, gentle and kind man, who, with good reason, is held in semi-reverence by those around him, yet who was prepared to take time out from his busy schedule scoring for films to meet me and consult with me about matters relating to the planning and necessary preparations for the writing and recording of his first symphony.

The first eye-opener for me was learning that this particular composer was so popular with the film-going audiences in Southern India (whose enthusiastic appetite for the cinema equals only their love of cricket) that his photograph appears on the posters, billboards and advertising for the film – as large as the photos of the actors whose popularity and status he rivals. Apparently, his name attached to a film (and his picture on the publicity) guarantees the film producer at least five additional weeks retention in the cinemas. The public adores him, and as such, producers are constantly beating a path to his door; he can and does command as high a fee as he considers a film producer’s budget can stand – and he gets it.

I tried to describe for him the difference in the situation over here or in America; how many of the general public know or even care who wrote the music for most of our films, let alone would recognize and appreciate the composer’s picture on the billboards? I would imagine quite a few people would have heard of John Williams, but would they know what he looks like?

Naturally this pre-eminence in the industry allows Ilaiyaraaja great freedom, both artistically, in terms of the style of music and the instrumentation that he may choose to employ and the artists, but also editorially. What do I mean? Well this was my next eye-opener; the producer or director doesn’t tell the Maestro which music cues he will require, nor does he decide where they will begin or end, or what mood he wishes the music to help create or reinforce – the Maestro tells him!

This revolutionary approach certainly has one very positive effect, which is easily and instantly appreciated; there is much less time wasted in the early stages of planning and pre-production, and less hassle for the composer, who is not therefore subjected to delays while re-shoots or re-cut versions are prepared, nor made to suffer the criticisms and indecision of a “committee” of opinions.

My latent skepticism on being told that Ilaiyaraaja had scored the music for 700 films in 17 years all but vanished when I arrived at the film studios to observe him working on a new film from the outset. 

My awe and admiration for him increased when I realised that without the aid of lists of music cues, a music editor or even a stopwatch, the Maestro was able to compose accurately a piece for a particular film cue which fitted exactly not only the required timing but also the mood and pace of the action on the screen, heightening the tension if it was a fight scene, or enhancing with beautiful lyrical melodies the romantic mood of a love scene, or just adding spontaneously joyous excitement rhythmically to a dance scene. 
Having written this piece in a form of short score – part Western notation and part Tamil – with full instructions for the orchestration, the players clustered round him proceeded to write their own parts out, and immediately sit down to record this piece. 

This practice itself accounts for the speed at which a film score can be completed (just two and a half days was his record) but this in no way diminishes the achievements of the composer, who brings such natural and intuitive talent to his work.

Although he says of himself that the music comes from God and he is merely the conduit for its transmission, it must be said that without his incredible ability to absorb influences and use them to such good effect, combined with his innate musical skills and finely-tuned ear, God might perhaps have sought a different channel of musical communication. 

As it is, all of India, not merely the South, must feel very proud of its native composer who has achieved so much for films and now in the wider sphere of recorded music.

The recordings with the RPO were extremely successful. The music contained so many beautiful melodies and exciting moments, and was found to be quite challenging by the orchestra, who were naturally unfamiliar with the Maestro’s style at first, but who soon became adept at its interpretation.

Many were expecting the music to display a more obviously “Indian” flavor, but since I was aware that Ilaiyaraaja had set himself the task of reaching the widest possible international audience and did not wish his work to be heard in the context of a “novelty item” or a fusion of East and West in ways which have already been explored, I was not surprised by the accessibility of the music to Western ears. Nevertheless, Indian influences there are in abundance in the way in which he has used rhythms, and certain stylistic and ornamentational devices, and I am glad that these are present in this, his first symphony.

It is truly a very accessible piece of music and one, which I hope, will be played and enjoyed throughout the world. I was very proud to have been involved both as an orchestration adviser, and as music producer to this project from the very beginning; from the moment that I first heard the exciting music of Maestro Ilaiyaraaja back in January 93. I hope our association will continue long into the future.

Following is the article from “THE HINDU – International Edition” September 4, 1993
Q: How did you get the offer to write a symphony?
Pyramid International, a recording company based in London, asked me whether I would be interested in writing a symphony. Writing a symphony needs much concentration. I said, “If I agree to write a symphony, how do you propose to market it? The people there who listen to classical music do not know about me. How do you make it possible for them to hear my music?” They said, You leave that part to us.” Only then I agree to it. That made them get in touch with several orchestras and eventually they chose the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), considered the best in the world, which plays only great Western classical composers. The RPO people said that they did not know about me. They said that I might be a very good composer, but what about my caliber in Western classical music? So complete details about me were sent to them. My two discs, ‘Nothing but Wind’ and ‘How to name it,’ were sent. That convinced them of my capability to write a symphony.
Q: So you started writing the symphony?
No. I asked for a co-ordinator. They sent Michael Townsend. He can conduct, arrange. He is a one-man army as far as music is concerned. He came and saw me work in films. He said, ‘When you were writing the score, you did not struggle for any ideas. You did not take your pen off the script before finishing it. I have never seen such a composer before. Your dedication is remarkable.’ When he saw the re-recorded film, he was moved. He was really stunned to by the synchronisation of the music with the film. He told the RPO that this time they were going to record the work of a composer who was different.
Q: So you agreed to write the symphony for the RPO?
Yes. They laid certain conditions. The foremost was that I must send the score at least three months in advance. I accepted, but my film commitments made me give the score only a month before the recording. In fact, I gave the last piece only 12 days before the recording. But when the recording was over in London, all the musicians broke into a standing ovation. They started tapping the floor with their feet. I was thrilled and thanked the Almighty for giving me this opportunity to write a symphony and have it recorded.
Q: What exactly is a symphony?
It is a form of orchestration. We have in our system of music different elements — geetam, swarajathi, varnam, keerthanam. Film music is also a form, something like keerathanam with pallavi, anupallavi, and charanam. Symphony, which has three main elements, is a form too. What I do in films is also a kind of symphony. For a full-fledged orchestra, symphony is the mainstay.
Q: How did you feel when every member of the RPO congratulated you?
He (God) made it happen. It was unbelievable. There are thousands of people who are practising or composing music. But who got the chance? Who selected me? I did not do anything. He (God) selected me. I prayed to God in gratitude that He made me do it.
Q: What do you think of the computer music coming up in a big way in films?
Conductor John Scott also asked me about computer music. He has a computer and I too have one. Scott and I went to a bookstall and bought some books. To total the prices of the books, the store staff started searching for the calculator. But I calculated the total and told them before the calculator could do it. They asked me how I was able to do it. If you do not know arithmetical calculations, then you need a calculator. This is how I explain computer music. Anybody can buy a computer and make it play ‘C’ major. Anyone can compose music easily with a computer. But this is for the laymen. If you have the skill you do not need a computer … In computer music, after a few songs, one gets fed up because the computer can give only certain variations as programmed. You will never get anything new in moods or emotions.
Q: What are your ‘bests’ in films?
The moment I can say that this is my best song or best music in films, I will stop giving music. I still do not know what music really is and I am trying hard to comprehend it. Once I know it, I will have my fulfilment and I will stop doing what I am doing now.
Q: Six hundred and fifty films in 17 years, 3500-odd songs. If you still say you have not done anything, then …
For you, I am Ilayaraja. But for me, “Who am I?” I have not even started tuning my instrument properly. Then I must synchronise the tampura with the sruti, next practice it, and last comes the singing.
Q: How many days did you take to write the symphony?
One month. Some eminent composers have taken three to 14 years. Some others just three days.
Q: It seems that Pandit Ravishanker and L. Subramanyam have also done a symphony and that was also recorded in London.
I do not know whether they have recorded a symphony or not. But the RPO’s programme executive, Ian Maclay, wrote to me mentioning that I was the first composer from whole of Asia to write a symphony.
Q: Have you named the symphony?
No. Scott told me that he could name it ‘Fantasy.’ I said it was not fantasy. I have a couple of names in mind, but I have not decided on it.
Q: Did any of the Carnatic music exponents congratulate you on your achievement?
T. V. Gopalakrishnan, Mandolin Srinivas were there to receive me at the airport. The ‘Bhishma’ of Carnatic music, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, came to my place twice to congratulate me.
Q: What do you plan to do after this?
Nothing is in my hands. We plan so many things. But can anyone predict what will happen? So I do not plan. Whatever comes, take it in your stride. If you aim at something and do not get it, you feel dejected … He (God) is planning in His own way.
Q: Does the Carnatic base help you in your chosen field?
Carnatic music and Western classical music are two different cultures, though the sounds are the same. The difference between the two systems is: one is like living with the people and the other like living alone. Carnatic music is like living in solitude and doing meditation like our sages. Western music needs harmony, counterpoints and many accompaniments. It is like living with people.
Q: From Pannaipuram to films — do you think you have achieved what you wanted?
No. I do not think of anything as my achievement. Today’s record may be bettered tomorrow.

John Scott's Column

As time permits, John Scott will answer your questions and have the answer posted here. This question comes from Anbu Ramasamy:

Mr. Scott,

I think you are one of the best composers around & my mission now is to go out and get all your CDs. Please keep composing & keep releasing your music.

The question I have is somewhat involving you and another person. I was thrilled when I heard that you were going to conduct the symphony for Mr. Ilayaraja from India when he was commissioned to write a symphony. Mr. Ilayaraja is my favorite Indian composer & I couldn't believe my ears when I came to know another one of my favorite composers (you!) was going to conduct it. There was a huge celebration for him in India with all the top personality & you honoring Mr. Ilayaraja. This was shown in the tele & I was ecstatic to see you on stage. As you were being garlanded on stage, I also happened have your CD 'John Scott's Favorites' gracing my glass cupboard with you in front. I so excitingly pointed out to my family members 'there that's him' & they really couldn't believe as well.

But till now, this symphony has not been released & there hasn't any news about it. I hope you can enlighten about its release & the work of Mr. Ilayaraja.


Dear Anbu (Singapore),

Thank you for your very kind comments. I am a very lucky person because I spend my life doing what I like, which is composing music.

It was very interesting to hear that you witnessed the Ilayaraja honoring ceremony on TV. I was flown from London to Madras specially for it. It was an incredible experience and I shall never forget it. Ilayaraja and I became very close friends and I have tried to encourage him to get his symphony released. I believe he was hurt by a critics review, and this is the reason it has not been released. I had the privilege of conducting the recording sessions with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, in London, and we all believe it deserves to be released. The trouble is that critics are capable of destroying sensitive artists and have done it throughout the history of music. The more one knows a piece of music the more one loves it, and the stupid critics are incapable of judging anything they have never heard before. They have seldom been right. There is a wonderful book by Nicolas Slonimsky entitled LEXICON OF MUSICAL INVECTIVE. It is a history of musical criticism since Beethoven's time. It shows how the critics have crucified every great composer without exception! I will contact Illayaraja and tell him about your kind remarks and that he owes it to us all to make his symphony available.

I send you my best wishes,
John Scott

Last Updated: 12/12/2006 12:38:18
© Copyright 1997-2006 Randy Levy

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Tamil Nadu Villagers Turn To Ancient Water Harvesting Practice To Save Themselves From Drought

Tamil Nadu Villagers Turn To Ancient Water Harvesting Practice To Save Themselves From Drought

Sharada Balasubramanian  October 15, 2016 http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/tamil-nadu-villagers-turn-to-ancient-water-harvesting-practices-to-save-themselves-from-drought-263556.html

In drought areas like Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu, villagers have reclaimed old water harvesting structure called Oorani. These ponds guarantee availability of safe drinking water in an environment-friendly way at a low investment. Ooranis play a huge role in groundwater conservation and recharge, and are useful for farmers who do not have water source for irrigation or find it expensive. This technique is energy-saving too, as compared to pumping water using bore wells.

Where extensive use of borewells have led to over extraction of ground water, simple old techniques like ooranis can be revived and used by villagers to prevent water scarcity in times of poor rainfall. Villages in this district formed Tank Users Association for restoration of these ponds with the help of NGO and the state government.

One year after setting up these tanks, and the first rainfall thereafter, the tank was filled with water, relieving farmers, as they started cropping their land. Following this success, villages in the neighbouring areas also began to restore and build such ponds.

It is believed that every village in southern India once had more than three water bodies. With the onset of irrigation, ancient water storage structures, which existed since 2000 years, lay abandoned. In Tamil Nadu, districts like Ramanathapuram face severe water crisis as there is no river source for water.

Dhan Foundation, an NGO, along with the local villagers restored ooranis (dug out ponds in Tamil) for a water secure future.

Ooranis, which go back to more than 2000 years, are structures formed in rural areas where ground water is scarce or unfit for use, like the Ramanathapuram district of Tamilnadu. In Savariarsamudram village of the state, people left their footwear before stepping into the water tank as a mark of respect and culture.

In 2012, when south west monsoons failed, villagers were forced to buy water despite poor economic conditions. This village in Ramanathapuram was free from water scarcity during this time, and it stands as a testimony to how ancient water harvesting practices can succeed even today.

It’s not just the local people, but also the neighbouring villagers who came to this village to draw water, as good as the olden times when water sharing was a common practice.

These water harvesting and cleaning mechanisms have improved the lives of women and children, who spend significant time fetching water by walking for hours.

The oorani water is murky, so people buy seeds called ‘thethankottai’. The water stored in the earthen pot is scrubbed with a handful of seeds.

The pot is scrubbed with these seeds for a good 20 minutes, after which the water is clear and drinkable. The seed sedimentation process works well, and is commonly used by the locals.

Children from the local village and the neighbouring areas share playful moments as they gather to collect the oorani water