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All kings and all things Kandyan

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By Uditha Devapriya
The Many Faces of the Kandyan Kingdom (1591-1765) by Gananath Obeyesekere
Perera-Hussein, 2020, 200 pp., Rs. 1,200

In 1602, the year of the Dutch East India Company’s founding, Joris van Spilbergen reached the shores of Sri Lanka after setting sail from the seaport of Veere in Holland a year earlier. Tasked with opening up trade negotiations with the King of Kandy, Vimaladharmasuriya, Spilbergen bore with him a letter from the Prince of Orange, acknowledging their willingness to counter the Portuguese. Not for one moment underestimating the Portuguese presence in the island, though, they disembarked at Batticaloa, which fell under the jurisdiction of the Kandyan Court. They anchored off the coast on May 31.

From there, having proved that they were not of Portuguese extraction, they began their journey to the capital of the Sinhala Kingdom on July 6, after receiving word from the king. Taking 10 of their countrymen with him, Spilbergen’s entourage was flanked by elephants, palanquins, and every hour, gifts of fruits and vegetables and inquiries from messengers sent by the king. Among those gifts were flasks of wine: made, they learnt, from grapes in the country under the guidance of Jesuit priests. Paul E. Pieris tells us that they relished the wine, and even compared it favourably with the Portuguese variety.

A foreign envoy to the Court of Kandy in the 17th century would have to go through certain formalities before obtaining an audience with the king. Not even Spilbergen could spare his embassy from these protocols.

On the river crossing Kandy, they met Manuel Dias, a Portuguese Mudliyar in the king’s service. A thousand or so armed soldiers, some of them Turks, Moors, Kaffirs, and Portuguese, the rest Sinhalese, then accompanied them to a Rest House built in Western fashion. Hours later, in the afternoon, the king sent three saddled horses with a message that he was ready to receive the group. The rendezvous between the envoy and the monarch, as drawn by Dutch artists, depicts Vimaladharmasuriya as bulky, lanky, and powerful, yet friendly. This was the impression Spilbergen had of him too. What he didn’t realise at the time was how immensely cosmopolitan he was.

Vimaladharmasuriya had been consecrated as King of Kandy in 1591 under circumstances both peculiar and significant in the context of the country’s history. With his reign began the period of the last citadel of the Sinhalese kings. And yet, as scholars have identified, its first ruler was neither totally Sinhalese nor totally Buddhist. Having been baptised and brought up by Catholic missionaries, and christened Dom João of Austria, the man who would be king distinguished himself by his fencing skills, serving the Portuguese.

The pretender of Sitavaka, Rajasinghe, had executed his father years before. Taking on his earlier name of Konappu Bandara, he and a confidante of his called Salappu Bandara joined Don Juan Dharmapala’s campaigns against Rajasinghe. Later, in one of those campaigns, he entered the Kandyan highlands, where he reneged on his loyalties, proclaimed himself as a sovereign ruler, took on a new name, and embraced Buddhism.

Gananath Obeyesekere’s The Many Faces of the Kandyan Kingdom, lucidly written and accessible, delves into this chapter in our country’s history. It is more than a prequel to his earlier published The Doomed King, which focuses on the last ruler of the kingdom, Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe. Taking up several vantage points from the perspectives of its rulers, Obeyesekere’s latest work captures the contradictions which were very much a part of the cosmopolitanism of Sri Lanka’s last capital. He begins with Spilbergen’s expedition, the banquet Vimaladharmasuriya hosted for his entourage, and the encounters the latter had of his Court. What is striking is not the deeply entrenched cosmopolitanism, but how that cosmopolitanism evolved, changed, and faded away under its later rulers.

In The Doomed King Obeyesekere endeavoured to portray Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe as more schemed against than scheming, the victim of a conspiracy hatched by his own courtiers. His prose, at once pugnacious and polemical, remains as pugnacious and polemical as ever here. The problem with the compiler of Kandyan history, he implies, is not that there isn’t a lack of sources, but that there’s so much of them. The task of the compiler and historian, which Obeyesekere fulfils until the end, is to disentangle these and distinguish between the reality and the myth. That’s where the prose becomes so pivotal.

Among the more contemporary accounts of Kandyan history which the author critically assesses here are Lorna Dewaraja’s The Kandyan Kingdom, 1707-1760, C. E. Godakumbura’s Sinhalese Literature, S. N. Arasaratnam’s Ceylon and the Dutch, and even Paul E. Pieris’s celebrated Ceylon: The Portuguese Era and Sinhale and the Patriots. While mounting a thinly veiled yet highly impassioned defence of the Kandyan rulers, he counters the Portuguese, Dutch, and British accounts from then as well. The main issue with these, he concludes, is that they simplify an otherwise multifaceted, complex reality: the Kandyan Kingdom was neither as Sinhala Buddhist as the Pali Chronicles, which celebrated the Sinhala kings, made it out to be, nor opposed to Sinhala Buddhist values as the Portuguese and the Dutch, who found in the later Nayakkars a formidable foe, imagined it to be.

The Pali Chronicles which valorise the pre-Nayakkar rulers make almost no mention of their sensual pursuits. As Obeyesekere rightly points out, “erotic practices and popular temple dancing… were hardly the stuff of monastic interest.” And yet, they were very much a part of secular life, even in the Anuradhapura Period; no less an account than the Dalada Sirita tells us of Parakramabahu IV organising a harem, among other festivities, in honour of the Tooth Relic. Even Dutugemunu, the hero of the Mahavamsa, once “disported himself in the water the whole day together with the women of the harem.”

The absence of such references to the pre-Nayakkar rulers of Kandy has led to two assumptions today: either that these rulers were Sinhala Buddhist, or, on the evidence that some of them indulged in what must to a prudish mind be un-Sinhala, un-Buddhist activities, that their frolicking distracted them from their role as protectors of the faith. Obeyesekere unequivocally debunks both these views.

The author engages in a defence of Narendrasinghe, widely perceived to be a playful king (or sellam rajjuruwa). Not unlike A. H. Mirando’s defence of Rajasinghe I and critique of the widely prevalent view of that king’s anti-Buddhist personality, Obeyesekere conjures up a counter-narrative. Much of Narendrasinghe’s image as a playful ruler, he suggests, comes from a distortion of the very word sellam. While it did include “erotic enticements, mostly by dancing women accompanied by drumming and singing”, this was hardly peculiar to the ruler of Kandy. Indeed, “sellam” embraced music, poetry, and the arts too, and the heroic pose of the king, as celebrated by poets, did not necessarily exclude these material exploits. One can quote Cameron Dokey here: “for surely a king is first a man.”

There’s no doubt that the freewheeling spirit of these monarchs, so scandalising that after the 19th century, under the influence of Protestant Buddhism, it was sidelined if not excised by nationalist historians, endeared them to European diplomats. Indeed, it helped them to acquaint with European and Western customs.

One recalls Vimaladharmasuriya’s aside on the question of faith with the Dutch: he pointed to the city and declared that “all this has God given me.” Receding briefly in the reigns of Senarat and Vimaladharmasuriya II, by the time of Narendrasinghe this cosmopolitan streak starts to crop up again. In the interregnum between these monarchs, moreover, we have the colourful figure of Rajasinghe II, who collects, as Paul E. Pieris once wrote, “a perfect menagerie of the various European races which visited his dominions.”

Even Senarat’s reign is not free from this tendency; it is during his time that a Dutch envoy is appointed as a nobleman in Negombo: Marcellus de Bochouwer, or Meegamu Rala. It is also during his time that many of these European races start to marry local women, “enhancing the complexion of many a fair Kandyan.” Not just Robert Knox, but also De Lanerolle, figures in as key witnesses to his successor’s more complex polity. One can’t unconditionally accept them, of course, but many of their insights into the kingdom have survived.

Given the evidence, Obeyesekere seems quite justified in his assertion that much of our understanding of the Kandyan Kingdom stems from “a three-way antagonistic discourse” between the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the Sinhalese, which picked up after the Nayakkars moved in. The conflict between the kingdom’s ideal of “Tri Sinhale” – “the three parts of the Sinhala land” – and the reality of European presence had brought in missionaries, envoys, musicians, and military officers from various parts of the world to the highland territories. When the Dutch annexed the Maritime Provinces, Portuguese missionaries found an ally of sorts in the king, who let them peach and convert. Right until the last Sinhala ruler of the territory, Narendrasinghe, Catholic priests coexisted with Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. With Narendrasinghe’s demise, the situation changed drastically.

Here the author departs considerably from scholars, historians, and compilers who see in the enthronement of the Nayakkars a turnaround in the Kandyan polity. While not denying the veracity of their views, Obeyesekere argues that the demonization of the Nayakkars as not just un-Buddhist but also anti-Buddhist was mostly the doing of Dutch officials hostile to them; he cites two Dutch governors, Jan Schreuder and the more militant Baron van Eck, as they plan out and mount campaigns to annexe the highland territories.

Meanwhile, conscious of their foreignness in a Buddhist polity, the Nayakkars from the reign of Sri Vijaya Rajasinghe begin to compel not only envoys absorbed into the kingdom like De Lanerolle, but also Catholic priests like Jacome Gonçalves (“a more problematic figure”), to leave the territory. What replaced the cosmopolitanism of the earlier rulers, most historians conclude from that, was a Dravidised territory.

While this thesis is accepted by most, Obeyesekere rejects it. He posits two reasons for his refutation: one, that the Nayakkar influence in the Kandyan Court preceded the arrival of the Nayakkar kings, and two, that Dravidisation was nothing new to the Sinhala polity. It is true, as historians have pointed out, that the Pali Chronicles accepted them as Sinhala rulers owing to their disavowal of their “false beliefs” – recalling the Mahavamsa’s valorisation of Elara despite his “false beliefs” – and it is also true that Western observers, not mindful enough of how race operated in the upcountry, failed to see how Telugus from North India could be incorporated as Sinhala monarchs.

But the reality was far more complex than this, and it is to Obeyesekere’s credit that, in his chapters on Muslim presence in the Kandyan territories, the demonization of the Nayakkars by militant Dutch Governors, and the reordering of “the cosmic city” in line with the rules and symbols of kinship by Kirti Sri Rajasinghe, he acknowledges it throughout his study. It was here that British designs on the island began to materialise as well; under the last two kings, these designs reached their logical end, culminating in the deterioration of relations between the ruler and his Chief Ministers. That is where the narrative of The Doomed King takes over, and where this work, a fine if not original prequel to it, ends.

 

The writer can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com



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Sat Mag

Teach students animal rights for a better world

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Five years ago, I requested the Head of the Bar Council of India to get animal welfare introduced as a subject in the law colleges. He did it immediately. The result has been much more sensitive and informed lawyers, an annual moot court that is hosted by NLU Bangalore, PhDs in animal welfare (the first one was in NLU Cuttack), more people aware of animal welfare activism and far more sensitive judges. A big thank you to Shri Manan Kumar Mishra!

22 years ago, at the instance of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, who supported all new ideas, we built the National Institute for Animal Welfare in Ballabgarh. Unfortunately, the government fell when it was ready. The Congress shut it down, and now the BJP is in its seventh year without restarting it. The Minister for Environment gave it to JNU. They fooled around for 2 years and then returned it to the Ministry, who slept on it for two years and then handed it to Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, who have ignored it for three years and only now have appointed a retired vet to make a course. I have lost all hope. In 2002, I wrote out all the courses, made some textbooks, contacted Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh, for teachers, got a grant from UNEP for the library. But nothing has happened and nothing ever will. The magnificent seven-acre centre now houses ten people of the Animal Welfare Board of India and runs “awareness” courses of three days each for the student vets of The Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (LUVAS).

But there are huge job opportunities for trained animal welfare people: shelter managers, gaushala managers, laboratory managers, forest and wildlife officers, city management of animals, elephant rescue centres, city snake rescuers, poultries, slaughterhouses, to begin with and hundreds of others. I simply cannot understand why it has taken so long for even one course to begin.

A huge thank you to the Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, Prof. Nageshwar Rao, and to Professor P. V. K. Sasidhar, for starting the first-degree related course in India for animal welfare. Prof. Sasidhar has been labouring at the modules for over three years now. The first session itself has over 800 students!

It is a PG Diploma in Animal Welfare (PGDAW) and the admissions are open for the January 2021 Session. The Online Admissions ink: www.ignouadmission.samarth.edu.in/.

The PGDAW programme is meant for animal welfare volunteers and professionals across India, and for graduates / post-graduates interested in studying animal welfare. I have seen the learning module and I like it. I wish I had been able to compile the 3000+ articles I have written on every aspect of animal welfare. They could have been part of the course. But my editor has been fooling around with the 7 volume compilations for 5 years now, and I have no idea when she will be done. National Book Trust had offered to print them all, but not even the first volume is ready.

The IGNOU course has four core components: Animal welfare science and ethics, Animal welfare issues, Animal welfare laws and policies, and Animal welfare practices and standards.

Animal welfare is concerned about the welfare of all animals that are managed in some way by humans. Farm animal welfare means the care of animals grown for milk and meat, and that is where animals suffer the most. Welfare issues, pertaining to working, performing, companion, zoo, lab and street animals, need a great deal of attention as well. The PGDAW programme, in 85 modules, has covered welfare, science, ethics, issues, laws and standards, of all farm and draught animals – cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, working animals like donkeys and horses, performing animals, pets, zoo and lab animals. These modules have been developed in collaboration with The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, University of Edinburgh, UK.

It’s a one-year course, and graduates from any discipline can take it. It has two objectives: To impart science-based animal welfare education through open and distance learning. To build the capacities of stakeholders to take socially responsible decisions concerning animal welfare. The total fee of the course is Rs. 5400/-.

Who should take this course : Obviously all young people interested in animals, Employees Working in Animal Welfare Organizations/NGOs/Gaushalas, Faculty, Researchers, Technical Staff & PG/PhD Students in Universities, Research Organizations and Veterinary Colleges, Veterinarians / Para-veterinarians in State Central Government/RVC & Para-Military Forces, Members of State Animal Welfare Boards/SPCAs, Members of CPCSEA/ Institutional Animal Ethics Committees /Animal House Facilities, Civil Servants, Officials and Researchers Working in Forest Departments, Zoos and Wild Life Institutes, Faculty and Research Scholars under Zoological Survey of India and Zoology Departments, Law Professionals and Police Personnel dealing with Animal Welfare Laws and their Enforcement, Graduates Seeking Career as Animal Welfare Professionals.

Ideally, I would make it compulsory for all schools – if we want a better India.

The Programme Coordinator, Prof. P.V.K. Sasidhar, School of Extension and Development Studies, IGNOU, New Delhi (e-mail: pvksasidhar@ignou.ac.in), has great credentials himself. He has been in the Agricultural Research Service of ICAR (2003-09), a Norman Borlaug Fellow of USDA, Tuskegee University, USA (2008), USAID Fellow, Michigan State University, USA (2015), and an OIE Performance of Veterinary Services Evaluator, OIE (2018).

 If you want to join this, now is the time. Also, if you have suggestions to make it better, write to the Professor. I would recommend it for activists in Sri Lanka and Nepal as well, as the issues are the same.

( To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org)

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Sat Mag

SUPUN JAYASINGHE’S RITES OF PASSAGE

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A tale of a boy’s courage

By Uditha Devapriya

Situated at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, the Planetarium continues to captivate and fascinate, yet unless you strain your eyes, you can easily miss it. It’s one of those places you go to, through a prior appointment, and emerge from wishing you could go back in again. I must have been in Grade Five when I visited it on a class trip in 2004. Supun Jayasinghe was in Grade Five, too, when he went there with the rest of his class seven years later. The only exception, apart from the year of the visit, was where he came from: a 100 miles away, in Dambulla. It was the first time he had been to the city.

Intriguing and exhilarating as such a trip may have been, he had other things in his head. A few months later, he wouldbe sitting the Grade Five Scholarship Exam. How would he study for it? What marks would he score? Where would he go, if those marks turned out to be high? These questions nagged him, yet for the moment he let them off.

In any case, the ride had been exhausting: having started at four in the morning, it was about nine when the bus entered the city. It made its way to Independence Avenue, and from there towards the University of Colombo.

Between Independence Avenue and Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, the Race Course faces Royal College. Intrigued by the Arcade, then the College, Supun and his classmates turned to their teacher. Standing up, he looked at them and described what they were, laying emphasis on the school more than the complex. Having described it in detail – the oldest public school, the most popular such institution, and so on – he brought the discussion back to his audience. “You have your scholarship exams this year,” he reminded them. “Try scoring as high as you can, because if you do, you’ll get a chance to come and study there.”

The memory of those words remained in Supun for a long time. The moment he heard them, he vowed to get as high a mark as he could, to get that chance, to come here.

Whatever the shortcomings of the Scholarship Exam may be, there’s no denying that it has opened up a world of opportunity for an aspiring lower middle-class. Supun’s father, a businessman, and mother, a teacher, hailed from this middle-class. Having attended a local Montessori and a Model School, he spent the whole of 2011 studying for the exam, forfeiting what little free time he had poring over books under a tree in his front yard. Yet, while he hit the books as hard and as much as he could, he did not push himself to compete with his peers. He’d told everyone he would ace the paper, but that owed less to a desire to be the best in the class than to a yearning to enter the best school he thought there was.

In any case, he got what he wanted. The marks came home somewhere in December 2011: having aimed at 180, he had scored 186. An even better piece of news came soon afterwards: the cut-off mark for Royal in 2012 happened to be 182. This meant only one thing: he would be boarded at the College Hostel, the following month, the following year.

The decision to go to Colombo did not come easy. Supun’s mother had opposed it at first, claiming it was too far. The marks were what convinced her. Even so, going to a city he’d only heard about and seen just once, and choosing to stay there for the better part of the next seven or so years, was a challenge. How would he fit in? What would he have to adjust to? Did people act there the way they did here? Did they differ in how they studied, read books, wrote answers? How they ate, drank, walked, and talked? He had much to think about, and as the weeks drew the year to a close, not much time to think them over.

Before everything, of course, there was the question of visiting the Hostel. On January 8 a letter arrived at his home, notifying them that the new term would commence a few weeks later, and that an orientation would be held before it did, on January 20.

Excited as he was, Supun nevertheless felt uneasy. On January 19, he and his father made their way to a rented house at Mount Lavinia, where a not-so distant relative lived. The next day came slowly, excruciatingly slowly. “I couldn’t sleep, I did not want to,” he remembers it today. Somehow, the night passed, and the following morning, having consulted and checked out at an auspicious time, the two of them made their way to Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s public schools, in particular those whose origins go back to the 19th century, are distinctly British in their architecture. The historian K. M. de Silva not unjustifiably calls it bland, unremarkable, and passé, when compared with Portuguese and Dutch architecture. For all their blandness, though, the British invested these buildings with an aura of expansiveness, with corridors giving way to gardens, quadrangles, and still other corridors.

Finding their way through an endless maze of entrances and exits, Supun and his father could not locate the Hostel. When they finally did, they were ushered into an orientation. Supun remembers two things from that day: his new class (6N), and the school song. The latter awed him: he hadn’t listened to many English songs, let alone school anthems, until then.

Having returned home after the orientation, father and son were told that the new term would begin five days later, on January 25. The second time around they came to Colombo in a car. Starting the journey of more than a hundred miles at four in the morning, they arrived at their destination at one or two in the afternoon.

At the Hostel the usual procedure was followed. The seniors directed him to his room. Each room had bunker beds. Not used to sleeping on them, he chose the first compartment, sharing the bunker with three others. When the last of the parents left, he predictably felt his nerves on the edge. The old fears returned: would he be able to fit in?

As with all public schools located in the city, the history of Royal College has woven itself into the history of its surroundings. Confusing at first, its topography extends from one end to another, covering a great many sites. To socialise into and familiarise himself with such an environment physically was not, however, tough for Supun. The real challenge lay elsewhere: the all too ubiquitous presence of English, and the melange of race and religion within the classroom. In other words, language proficiency plus cultural assimilation.

Glancing through his achievements from then, it struck me how his resolve stood out in them all. Back in Dambulla he had neither let the achievements of his peers ruffle him nor allowed himself to be overtaken by a desire to do better than them. He always, for instance, came first at his first school, but not because he wanted to beat everyone else to it; he just wanted to do something, and when he put his mind to it, he tried to do it somehow, on his own.

In Colombo this remained his philosophy. Whether it was winning creative composition and literary criticism prizes, becoming Junior Prefect (2015) and Junior Steward (2018), right before winding up as Steward (2019) and Chairman or Secretary of a great many clubs and societies (to list just some: Philatelic, Science, Library Readers), he let himself into whatever he took a fancy to. He did not, however, abandon his academics; studying for his O Levels, he ended up with nine As. Needless to say, on the field and in the class, at studies and sports, he confronted, and got over, those two challenges of proficiency and assimilation.

Supun’s story, I realise when I read through it, at once reflects and deviates from the norm. Reflects, because it conforms to the general pattern (initial difficulties at getting used to life in the city being followed by assimilation into the cultural and social patterns of that city), and deviates from, because his willpower is hard to find among his peers, or at least most of them. There is a reason for that: born with congenital anomalies on his right hand and leg, he has refused to let them get in his way, having won medals at the Para Games (2018) as well as for volleyball, boxing, table tennis, hockey, baseball, scouting (with a President’s Badge in 2019 to boot). By all accounts, this is to be admired, as it should be even now.

Steven Kemper dedicates the last chapter of his book on advertising in Sri Lanka (Buying and Believing) to a Sinhala lower middle-class family, residing in the outskirts of Colombo, who manage to realise their aspirations through their second son gaining entry to Supun’s school. Kemper, ever sensitive to the vagaries of class, points out how two-pronged entering a better school can be: a “singular opportunity”, yet one that comes with the price of accommodation “in a hostel.” Boarding their son, the family later relocates to Colombo. They make that move because they have to: the son is their link to the city, and to all it represents.

This country is home to a great many families who aspire for a better life, and one way through which they seek that life is education: not merely what you study, but where you study. Supun’s case is therefore illustrative: it’s the story of every other middle-class child. What’s interesting is how their integration to the city has brought about a transformation in the country’s elite schools. In that sense Supun’s story, as with that of the family in Kemper’s book, is not only illustrative, but also instructive. A Senior Prefect today, waiting for his A Level results, he finishes the conversation with a simple personal credo: “I’ve always aimed high and big, and I think I’ve always got there.” I am inclined to agree.

The writer can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com

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Sat Mag

Cleaner production – an urgent need

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By Dr. Debapriya Mukherjee
Former Senior Scientist
Central Pollution Control Board, India

If we look into the areas close to the industrial sector, production of pollutants particularly from Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) has damaged the natural environment by excess emission of wastewater, gas or other solid waste. Environmental agencies are failing miserably in controlling pollution from most of the SMEs across the country. SME contributes asignificant fraction of total environmental burden in developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. Despite enforcement of environmental acts and regulations, the consumption of huge quantities of resources and energy, within a remarkably short period through industrial production had a far-reaching influence on natural environment. Reducing this burden needs environmental improvement at the micro level, a goal which has been stubbornly elusive in India. 

According to my observations, the major problems in SMEs, are old technologies, poor management practices, limited availability of funds, inadequately trained officials, lack of appropriate inspection and monitoring and overall sustainable gap between enforcement agencies, industries and communities because impassivity of top management in environmental sector and political will have impeded sustainable environment management.  Regulatory pressure on the SMEs could not implicate positive effect on environment to maintain sound ecosystem as observed in many areas close to SMEs such as foundry, sponge iron, electroplating industry, food processing, tannery and others. 

Environment Sustainability (ES) to maintain wholesomeness of the environment by controlling production of pollutants has been practically jeopardized. The possible reason is that several industrial complexes have been established without considering environmental and social impacts and thereby sustainability of industrial development is not gaining momentum. This dismal ES remains well hidden because social aspects (such as human rights, corruption, poverty, child mortality, land degradation, illiteracy and health problems) and their interrelation with economic and environment aspects are not considered with due emphasis by the regulatory agencies. The traditional approach of enforcing environmental acts and regulations is unable to explain and address the complex dynamic inter-relation among economics, environmental and social aspects with time. Though environmental impact assessment and environmental management system as per the Environment (Protection) Ac are mandatory to establish and to operate any project but, ES, and social benefits are always questionable. Industrial growth without ES under prevailing socio-economic condition is definitely neglected and delayed.

Survey of these industries reveals that SMEs are mainly dependent on end-of pipe(EOP) technology and their functionality are not consistent. Regulatory pressure compelled these industries to install a pollution control system for compliance with standards. But non-compliance is a common feature due to non-availability/ non-operation/ failure of pollution control system. Though regulatory agencies inspect the industries once or twice a year they are unable to ensure consistent control of pollution. Also, the regulatory authority cannot evaluate the different compliance level and thereby violation of standard to any extent is subject to the same penalties as it is marginal violation. Environmental managers can easily control the pollution level within a permissible limit during inspection by manipulating raw materials feeding and/or by operating the pollution control devices. It is not always feasible with limited trained/experienced personnel to conduct in-depth study on material and water balance in order to justify the quantity of pollutants emitted to environment based on the monitoring data. Enforcement agencies put emphasis on performance evaluation of EOP technology as per the stipulated standard without considering ecological crisis and social problems in the area closed to the industries.  As a result, owners of the industries are not serious to initiate CP despite economic benefits associated with its implementation.  On the contrary, owners of the industries are well versed on how to tackle an adverse situation temporarily and make their units in operation. Regulatory agencies  issue time to time   closure notices or directives to improve the performance of pollution control system to the non-compliant industries.  In response to these notices, owners of the industries with the help of outside experts, find out temporary solution with little financial investment just to fulfill the legal requirement and not “real” requirement. As a result, actual compliance status over time remains well hidden and thereby environmental and social problems remain unattended. One ofthe reasons may be vested interests of the concerned officers entrusted for verification of the report. Otherwise why water, air and soil are still so much polluted?

In this context it may be  mentioned that the majority of residents are poor and do not have access to higher authorities for solving their problems as well as they are not well educated to explain their sufferings to the media/press highlighting ecological crisis created by these industries. Government has already launched various projects to remove poverty, to educate the people, to provide health facility and to create environmental awareness among the people to highlight the  pollution problem,  but implementation status of these projects is not always satisfactory. This has resulted environmental and social problems reaching alarming proportion in many industrial clusters in India and simply visual inspections supplement these findings. Limitations in government’s actions to solve the problems are not disseminated via media for public awareness for various reasons. Moreover accountability of government employees for implementing the projects in terms of success and failure is not properly evaluated because knowledge and hardship required for evaluating degree of success are practically lacking. 

This problem in regulatory organization, may be attributed to top management persons because they often recruit either new scientists/engineers or retired government engineers/scientists on the basis of political connections or bribes or nepotism to look after activities related to environment management but their style of management clearly exhibit impassivity towards CP implementation because of their poor technical capability. Whereas huge potential offered by the country’s young population is far from being leveraged. Also many highly qualified young scientists/engineers refuse to take up the challenging works related to environment management in these organizations because of the lack of knowledgeable and skilled experts to guide the newly recruited personnel, hostile environment and bureaucracy. 

This is really a disturbing situation. Thereby, India needs innovative minds to meet its formidable challenges. For this, both the state and central governments should take urgent action and must appoint highly qualified, broad-minded top most officers, who will recruit qualified competent engineers/scientists and give them state-of-the-art technology based on sound scientific evidence with no external interference. Fixing our organization system will require a complete overhaul of the recruitment system, changes in environment policy and implementation of CP concept in these SMEs. According to UN Environmental Progrmme (UNEP) CP is the continuous application of an integrated, preventive environmental strategy towards processes, products and services in order to increase overall efficiency and reduce damage and risks for humans and the environment. However this will be difficult with the present disconnect between science and policy in these organizations.

My experience clearly established the economic efficiency of CP through incremental innovation based on  production process optimization and thereby the payback period of investment towards CP technology was short.   Unfortunately, in India actual level of implementation of CP in industries in particular all SMEs as found in other countries  to deliver environmental advantage is not determined. Therefore, evaluation of actual environmental and economic performance improvement is an emergent need to maintain sustainable industrial development, social welfare, social equity and sound ecosystem. In India, the manufacturing industries and the government can play a major role in this sustainable development.  However, community pressure followed by enforcement of environmental acts and regulation has slowly changed the attitude of these industries but overall success towards consistent compliance is still a distant dream. 

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