Borlaug revolution

Borlaug revolution


American farmers made handsome living by exporting wheat to countries which were in need, including India and Pakistan. They profited by shortages elsewhere and would have liked the state of affairs to continue. That was not good enough for a man like Borlaug. He was an agricultural scientist and regarded increasing agricultural output as a sacred duty. Most of his research was conducted in Mexico, which was also facing prospects of famine. He spent years developing hybrid varieties of wheat which yield more and are immune to rust which did enormous damage to crops. He succeeded in his endeavour.

Borlaug came to India and Pakistan both of which were in deficit and were spending vast amount of foreign exchange to import wheat from the United States. Within a couple of years he succeeded in turning both countries into agriculturally prosperous states. The produce of wheat per acre was quadrupled.

Similarly, hybrid variety of rice was evolved and rice production increased seven-fold. Those who have survived an impending calamity have much to thank for to Borlaug. The Nobel Prize which he won in 1970 was a meagre acknowledgement of his truly  pioneering work. We Indians owe him special gratitude. He was a frequent visitor at the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana.

Many of our agricultural scientists like M S Swaminathan were closely associated with him in his research work. He was honoured with a Padma Vibhushan. To call the phenomenon the Green Revolution will not tell future generations about the person who brought it about: we should rename it the Borlaug Revolution.

Policing parks

A couple of weeks ago in another column I wrote about people who make feeding and care of stray dogs a part of their daily routine. I was pleasantly surprised by the readers’ response.

Since a good portion of my column was about do-gooders whose focus of attention is Lodhi Gardens and elite localities around the Delhi Golf Club, they had a lot to say about some of skull duggery they come across. I can vouch for some of it as till recently I was a regular visitor to Lodhi Gardens and spent my summer afternoons in the Golf Club swimming pool.

Lodhi Gardens has regular police presence to see no one misbehaves. However, that does not apply to the policemen on duty. After doing their two-hour stint they change into plain clothes and go round harassing young couples in secluded spots holding hands. They question their marital status, threaten to expose them till they shell out money. They do the same to vendors of soft drinks, ice-cream and peanuts who do small business at the parks entrance gates. They are no better than parties of ‘hijdas’ who do much the same by clapping hands, gyrating and singing in male voices around lovers seeking solitude till they are paid off.

In elite bungalows, the scene is different. The rich keep pedigree dogs as status symbols. They don’t have time to create bonds with pets they own. That is left to the servants, who also take them out for airing and a little exercise. Many have iron cages near their entrance gates in which their dogs are kept most of time to be seen and heard barking when an outsider appears. It is cruelty of a different type: an elitist indifference to an animal which deserves to be talked to and loved.

Khap khap

The rich, shortsighted Haryanvi
Does sorely lack in sympathy
For those who tie the knot
In gurudwaras, temples or court
In defiance of the Khap panchayat’s dictat.
What’s all that gupahup
About freedom to love and be loved
We are living in 2009 AD.
But the minds of the khap panchayats are locked in 2009 CE.

(Courtesy: N E K Nandi Gobindgarh)

The mightiest

Four Catholic men and a Catholic woman were having coffee. The first Catholic man tells his friends, “My son is a priest. When he walks into a room, everyone calls him ‘Father’. The second Catholic man chirps, “My son is a bishop. When he walks into a room, people call him ‘Your Grace’.” The third Catholic gent says, “My son is a cardinal. When he enters a room everyone says ‘Your Eminence’.”

The fourth Catholic man chirps, “My son is the Pope. When he walks into a room people call him ‘Your Holiness’.”

Since the lone Catholic woman was sipping her coffee in silence, the four men give her a subtle, “Well...?” She replies, “I have a daughter. She is slim, tall and 36-24-36. When she walks into a room, people say, “Oh God!...”

(Contributed by Vipin Buckahey, New Delhi)