Making hay while the sun shines

The unseasonal rain in the North Karnataka region seems to have benefited jowar crops here. Thanks to the rain that the region received in October, there is adequate stock of grains and fodder for cattle. There is hectic activity in the fields, as farmers store fodder to last the whole year. The fodder needs to be safeguarded from rain, and winds, and the nutrients in it should not be lost, either. 

There are two types of hay used in the region. One variety is the hay comprising husks of grains such as millets, paddy etc while the other includes a more grassy, stalk-like variety of fodder. The fodder comprising husk has become a rarity because there are very few farmers raising traditional crops. Most farmers have taken to commercial crops such as cotton, sunflower and potato. The dry fodder that comes from grains is ideal for cattle because of the nutrients such as proteins in it. Also, such fodder is likely to be affected by changing weather. It is worth noting here that Gadag district’s Bellatti, Shirahatti and Nagaramadu regions still traditionally grow horse gram. You can spot husk fodder in this region. In the Haveri, Hirekerur, Ranebennur and Byadgi regions, fodder collection is synonymous with the fodder from jowar, maize and hybrid jowar crops.

R S Patil

Of sacred trees

Though there are constant fears of deforestation, and trees being chopped, fortunately, a few trees have been known from time immemorial to be sacred. These trees are spared man’s axe. Some trees are considered sacred. Go to any village you will find an ashwattakatte where nagapratisthe (consecration of snake deities) takes place under the sacred peepul tree.

Banni (acacia ferruginea) tree is sacred because it was in one such tree Arjuna, as stated in the epic Mahabharata, hid his Gandiva bow and arrows while in his agnatavasa, one year of total anonymity, when the Pandavas were banished to the forests. Banni trees are worshipped by placing flowers, photographs of gods and goddesses, going round the tree reverentially as well as lighting oil lamps during certain festival months. Banyan tree, because of its sheer size and longevity, is venerated as sacred. A 300-year-old Jambul tree is found at Sonarawada area of Karwar and the importance of it is that a family in city area is still protecting such a huge tree. Neem, banyan and some other trees are protected in coastal areas for religious reasons. (Madhav Gadgil, et al)

Devarakadus are sacred groves which have been conserved for generations.

D B N Murthy

Clarification: In the article titled ‘Account of an uprising’, (March 5, 2013) the term ‘Kodava’ was meant to represent the people of Kodagu as a whole; freedom fighter Guddemane Appayya Gowda, was a brave Kodagu Gowda and not a Kodava. Raja’s Seat was wrongly captioned Raja’s Tomb. We regret  the errors.