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More on postal runner Kalua of Bimbanda and another jungle walk

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by Frederick Medis

(Continued from last week)

The postcript to this episode was that by some strange coincidence in the year 2000, as many as 53 years after my first meeting Kalua, I was recounting my experience one evening to a group of friends in Matale. There Mrs Punyakanthi Wijeratne of Matale, startled me when she described Kalua in detail, even to the missing joint of his little finger. She had been a Miss Aluwihare and came from the walauwa (stately home of the chieftain) at Rattota, where Kalua was the family’s trusted servant and factotum. She and her brother were children at the time, and whenever there were long distances to be covered over uneven roadways, it was Kalua who took them pick-a-back across his ample shoulders.

There came a time when her father arranged for his regular employment as a tappal – or postal-runner from Rattota post office to the jungle villages beyond Laggala, but he was provided with a small outhouse built for him near the walauwa. He was given food and shelter, and was cared for in his old age until his death about 20 years ago. Mrs Wijeratne remembered him with nostalgia and showed interest in knowing that I had met him in Rattota in 1947. She extracted from a family album of photographs a snapshot of a young boy, who was a cousin of hers, standing beside a puppy and the squatting Kalua. It was the identical Kalua I had met over a half century ago.

Incidentally, I believe I am now the only living person to have had the privilege of accompanying a tappal-runner through the jungles.

Estate bungalow

In the estate bungalow, after a late lunch, there was plenty of time to spend in conversation. Freshened after a sleep of two hours, followed by a wash, I moved to the dining room for tea and further pleasant conversation. The servants lit the large Hinx kerosene lamp with its round opaque glass globe, as well as smaller lamps in the hall and the rooms. There was no electricity, and in those days nobody bothered about refrigeration and the cold storage of food. Outside, in the distance, could be heard the howling of jackals and the hooting of owls.

We reassembled at dinner, which was a simple meal that was much appreciated. I expressed the wish to move into the jungle villages further on. My hosts were insistent that I should rest the next day after my long and tiring trek. They said they would arrange a tracker the day after. At the following day’s dinner, I was informed that a tracker has been arranged for the trip.

Another jungle walk

The next day, I was ready after an early breakfast when the tracker, whose name was Bimbanda, arrived. He was about 40 years old. He was given the necessary instructions. I had never used a gun before, but I was told it was needed for protection. Accordingly, I was given five minutes of direction in its use. My friends, who provided me with sandwiches, some sweets and a flask of tea in the haversack, saw me off.

We walked for about half a mile, and then left the rough and boulder-strewn road where it ended and entered the jungle. It was apparent the tracker was following an animal footpath. He assured me that within a few minutes we would emerge into easy terrain.

Childbirth

Soon we came across a human footpath, and in about half an hour we heard human voices. Then we saw them, a party of about 40 people, half of them being women. Bimbanda said they were Gam Veddhas from the villages. All the men had their long hair tied up in knots. They wore what I guessed were banians or vests or loose jackets.

The women wore short sarees about eight inches above the ankles. Nearly all of them, except the younger ones, had no blouse or jacket, but in the presence of men they threw the saree fall across their shoulders.

They were all of small build, with their hair parted in the centre. Some wore crudely fashioned gold-plated ornaments. On their hands they wore silver, twisted bangles with a 25-cent coin soldered in the centre.

The women carried on their heads heavy pillowcases filled with food and other pilgrim paraphernalia. These were balanced horizontally. They were apparently the beasts of burden, for the men swung their hands freely without any encumbrance, except when they carried a staff or short stick.

They had already cleared a small portion of a hillock under a large tree, and what was in effect a mattress had been made by spreading clothes over layers of leaves on the ground. I noticed a rope hanging from a low branch of the tree. A clay pot of water was being boiled on a tripod of sticks.

The tracker quickly got into conversation with the men, and I did likewise, but I needed his help, as certain words they used were strange and unknown to me. An old woman

and her son told us that they had halted in their trek from a distant village to Rattota, from whence they would take bus to Matale and then to Kandy to worship at the Dalada Maligawa, and witness the perahera.

This was an emergency stop, for a woman in the group was in labour, and until the child was born, they could not proceed. This old man and woman, after consultation, invited me to be of assistance. Probably my khaki uniform made them confuse me with a Health Department official. My only qualification was a war-time ARP (Air Raid Precaution) St. John’s Ambulance Brigade First Aid Certificate from London.

By now, under the tree there was much activity, and the older women stood round like a protective screen. There was whimpering, followed by subdued shrieks. The tracker and I together with the old woman and her son moved towards the ring of women. When we approached, they made way for us. Diffidently I moved into the ring. On the make-shift mattress, was a middle-aged woman in labour crouching on her elbows and knees. It was evident that the rupture of the amniotic sac had taken place.

I was informed that it was her fourth child. I noticed Bimbanda walking out of the group, while I remained with the old couple. The woman in front of us was obviously in pain, but the noises she made were stifled and restrained. She was naked and perspiring profusely. Even though in a prone position, in her hands she grasped with difficulty the knotted end of the rope. The tree-branch shook with her purposeful bearing-down, urged on by a frail, wizened old woman with her hair falling over her face.

She knelt beside the pregnant woman and muttered the same incoherent words over and over again, all the while running her scraggy fingers in a downward movement along the patient’s belly. The sight of coagulated blood and the stained cloth made me somewhat sick. I joined Bimbanda, who was outside, and we chatted with a group of men for a few minutes. The women, who were with them, did not speak, probably without permission from their men.

A little later, when I gained composure, I went back to the “emergency ward”. Before I entered, I could see at a respectable distance, two men who had come from the far side of the jungle. Another old woman met them and took the green and yellow bamboo branch which they held out to her. They helped her cut it into a strip about a foot long and slit it up to the node. She held it in both her hands over her head and walked in with the old man and me, all the while muttering some kind of incantation in a low tone.

Parturition had already taken place, and the infant, pink and slimy, was lying almost under the mother. Two women knelt down and held the child. The woman with the bamboo twig widened the split below the notch and placed it below the umbilical cord, after the two ends had been tightened with a creeper or twine (I could not see what it was). The severance took place cleanly and speedily.

The mother now assumed a supine position, while one woman applied light pressure on her abdomen, another gently moved the child to and fro till there were prolonged choky squeals. While one woman applied some medicinal preparation off a small glass bottle, they swathed the mother around the waist and the pelvic region with two or three folds of cloth. We then saw her face as she gave a frightened, primitive-looking smile.

Journey continued

Bimbanda and I did not want to stay longer. Besides we were getting late, and had a long way to go. On our return journey, we saw something moving clumsily into a narrow-mouthed hole close to the path we were treading. Bimbanda told me it was a kaballawa (scaly ant-eater), which moved like a monitor lizard except for its tightly curved tail. This, I learnt later, was an unusual sight even in the dense jungles.

Soon there were signs of a human habitation. We heard the thud of a flattening and levelling wooden implement, known as tappe mole, being used to strengthen the floor of a mud hut. Lying by the side was a much-worn hide of a spotted deer, with a coir rope attached for dragging on the ground. This was used to haul mud and stones for building purposes.

We had now come to a village of about 20 huts, where all were of wattle and daub except one, which had tall, white walls and a red-tiled roof. This was Illukkumbura post office. I was overjoyed, for philately, as well as coin collection, was my first love from the age of six years. My desire, therefore, was to meet the postmaster of the jungle village of Illukkumbura.

Just as the post office building was incongruous to the village, the postmaster too was different from others in the village. He told me he was the postmaster in this remote outpost for more than three years, and that he was lonely and far-flung from his small family. He readily obliged by applying the date-stamp cancellation marked “Illukkumbura” to a self-addressed 3- cent King George VI, green-stamped post-card he sold me. This was to add to my collection of out of the way post marks. He promised to send it in the tappal-runner’s bag the next day.

Along with the postmaster, we paid a visit to the headman. In the course of the conversation, he told us that Muslim traders came to the village every three months all the way from Matale and Rattota. They brought sugar, dried fish, salt, coconut oil and cloth on tawalam harak or pack oxen, which push their way through the jungle undergrowth. These traders used to barter their goods for poultry, eggs, dried venison, kurakkan and bees’ honey.

We left the headman and visited some huts in the village. The wells were open and unprotected. Stones and planks, usually of kumbuk , were placed in the far side of the well, away from the house. It was considered unlucky to draw water with one’s back to the house.

In an adjoining village, an elderly man explained the reason for this practice. In lonely village houses, he said, while the men folk and the older children were engaged in work in the chenas and fields, only older women were left to tend the infants and toddlers and prepare the food. So when they drew water from the well, it was advisable that they faced the house. This would enable them to overlook and protect the little ones against any outsiders and wild animals, such as serpents and monkeys. I noticed that there were no doors in all the huts we saw.

An hour’s walk brought us to Makumbura, which was a larger village. We had lunch consisting of rice and curry. As it was getting late, we moved on to Pallegama, which was a large village with some tiled houses. When we left Pallegama, we were again in dense jungle. It was dark and gloomy under the trees. Whenever there was a rustling noise, Bimbanda cocked his gun, ready to shoot. I had to restrain him many a time from putting an end to several hare, a miminna (mouse deer) and even a young spotted deer.

The sun had set in when we reached the estate and came to the bungalow, where my friends were waiting expectantly in the yet unlit verandah. I thanked Bimbanda and promised to meet him in the morning. Soon darkness covered us, and a hot bath was the best refreshment before fellowship and conversation at dinner.

Conclusion

I am thankful to many persons for this short jungle interlude in my life. It gave me a new perspective and opened up new vistas of experience where I came directly in contact with wild terrain and its concomitant forests and natural features.

I am now aware that Laggala is believed to be the scenario of an early civilization in our country’s pre- or even proto-history. However, that appears to me too far away from the present reality. Last year, in 2001, I travelled on the same route in a high-powered vehicle with friends from Matale and Kandy. I recalled the earlier scene as I traversed the broad, winding macadamised road through the still majestic and bewilderingly beautiful hilltops.

But now the land is cultivated and concreted with townships full of shops and rural banks, with the blare of radios and the screech of motor vehicles echoing through the dust. What matters to me now is that more than half a century ago, I was privileged to share the company of simple people like the pot-bellied headman, the wrinkle-browed postmaster and the unsophisticated village folk who had their homes in the unspoilt forest.

Above all, I am conscious of the part played by Kalua, Bimbanda and many others I met who are now resting forever in the soil under the shadowy trees of their beloved homeland – the jungle. To them, I shall always remain grateful.

(Excerpted from Jungle Journeys in Sri Lanka edited by CG Uragoda)



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Features

Is ‘Knowing’ everything?

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by Panduka Karunanayake

The current fluid situation in the country has brought into focus some fundamental issues, as well. Ordinarily, in the midst of pressing problems, like what we are experiencing, it is customary to push fundamental issues to the back seat. But, it is exactly because such issues have been sidelined, in the past, that we have had to arrive in this sorry state today. In addition, in an extremely fluid and uncertain situation, such as this, the only stable and reliable position that remains for us to make decisions from is, in fact, with fundamentals.

In this essay, I wish to focus on a fundamental issue: the relationship between knowledge and expertise, on the one hand, and the societal weal on the other. This relationship came into sharp focus, in my mind, when I saw a social media posting, by one of my academic colleagues. Let me first anonymise the academic (after all, it is not only he who thinks like this) and quote the Google translation of a part of his posting:

“Everyone knows everything there is to know. Everyone can express things. There are also necessary media for that. Who are we? What do we need? No one can make monopoly decisions about, etc. Therefore, there is no democracy more than this. What is needed now is to make maximum use of that democracy.”

This argument implies that because we live in the Digital Age, where knowledge is distributed very democratically, decision-making by the ordinary citizen is at a level close to, if not identical to, that of the expert. It suggests that the next step is to discover an optimum governance mechanism. At its core is the suggestion that the time has come to supplant the expert with the knowledgeable citizen.

What is fundamentally wrong in this argument?

‘Knowing’ and ‘understanding’

‘Knowing’ is not everything. When we were schoolchildren, in the 1970s, we heard this explained to us clearly by Dr E.W. Adikaram, who made a distinction between දැනුම (‘knowing’) and අවබෝධය (‘understanding’). He pointed out that the task of education should be giving us the latter, not the former. But somehow, we seem to have forgotten (or ignored) that advice. This distinction is also seen in Albert Einstein’s famous quip that education is what is left when we have forgotten what we had learnt – අවබෝධය (‘understanding’) remains while දැනුම (‘knowing’) is forgotten with time.

The crucial point is this. The wide dissemination of knowledge that is seen in today’s Digital Age, by itself, actually promotes only ‘knowing’. We can do an Internet search and find any knowledge we want, and once we have got it, we can say that we ‘know it’ – seemingly, just like the expert. But there is a significant gap between this ‘knowing’ and the ‘understanding’ that is possessed by those who have studied this same quantum of knowledge, more systematically and in depth.

Such persons study this knowledge in relation to other quanta of knowledge, so that they are aware of a more whole, interconnected and integrated existence of the discrete quantum of knowledge. For instance, they then see not only that quantum, but also its origins, applications, limitations, fallacies and fallibilities, as well as how it is connected to the broader map of knowledge.

Of course, there are nowadays also the democratic distribution of learning experiences, too, such as open-access online courses. These would certainly give someone a much better view of the subject than a discrete webpage, but I would still caution, and point out the significant journey from knowing something to fully understanding it.

One clear indication of ‘understanding’ is the ability of the person, who possesses the knowledge, to apply it in different, seemingly unrelated situations. It is, in fact, this very point that is nowadays used by prestigious universities, overseas, when selecting students for their undergraduate courses – rather than the old-fashioned measures of superficial ‘knowing’, such as what we still mostly use here.

‘Understanding’ and ‘doing’

While there is a distinction between ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’, our intellectual growth does not stop even there.

There is a whole heap of difference between merely ‘understanding’ and ‘doing’ something with that understanding. That is because understanding occurs strictly in the cognitive domain, while applying it to actually do something requires an engagement with the real world. That requires a lot more – things that remain implicit in the real world around us, which are abstracted only to a limited extent when they are written down as ‘knowledge’.

In the past, acquiring these real-life capabilities have been given terms, like ‘skills’, ‘experience’, ‘common sense’, ‘wisdom’ and so on. A more recent practice is to categorise them also as forms of knowledge (i.e., procedural knowledge and conditional knowledge). These weave together, as a person tries to translate an idea into action, and if the person succeeds, we say that this has created ‘functioning knowledge’. Naturally, only a very limited portion of this is found in books or Internet sources, and ‘knowing’ and even ‘understanding’ are thus only a very small part of what constitutes the intellect of a person who can actually do something in real-life situations.

‘Doing’ and ‘critiquing’

Even this is not the full story. All these steps – knowing, understanding, doing – are part of generally ‘how things are’, and not necessarily ‘how things should be’. One of the most important aspects of an academic’s or intellectual’s work is evaluating this ‘things as they are’ and providing a detached, dispassionate critique of it. More conventional terms used to describe this function are ‘critical thinking’ and ‘discourse analysis’. We would expect the academic or intellectual to harness his or her extensive knowledge of the subject with regard to past events, current trends and future possibilities; to then reflect deeply, imagine alternatives and weigh their pros and cons; and to tell us how we can ‘do things better’. This is the whole process that we call (or should call) ‘research’, ‘innovation’, ‘development’, ‘creativity’, etc.

This is the full spectrum of how the human mind works as it progressively becomes more functional and efficacious: knowing, understanding, doing and critiquing. The process of education, from primary to post-doctoral, should be designed with this in mind.

Enter ‘the expert’

There are two types of expertise. The first is routine expertise, which is the ability to carry out a certain task repetitively with a minimum amount of error. It is built by systematic learning with feedback, assiduous practice and extensive experience. The second is adaptive expertise, which is the ability to face new and unprecedented situations where there are little or no known standard procedures (and thus no routine expertise) and come up with innovative solutions that provide a way out. It is built, in addition to the above, by reflective practice and experience in innovative and creative behaviours.

It is not hard to see that in recent years, we have had the need for adaptive expertise – with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the current crisis. They have called upon our doctors, businesspersons, economists, etc., with adaptive expertise, to come forward and do what they know best.

Such past unprecedented events, in our country, led to complete transformations of society, leading to better times (albeit, after decades of effort): e.g., the 1870s coffee blight and the devastating malaria epidemic of 1934-35. Those were examples of (British) adaptive expertise in action.

The ‘knowledgeable’ citizen

The citizen who now shuns expertise is a person who thinks that, because he (or she) has access to knowledge, he has already ‘jumped’ from ‘knowing’ to ‘critiquing’ and that there is no difference between him and the expert. One should avoid jumping into this bandwagon. One should also take care not to throw the expert out in a hurried attempt to throw the politician out.

We cannot build a better governing system using people who lack ‘understanding’ and expertise, notwithstanding any level of ‘knowing’ that they might possess thanks to the Digital Age. We must keep these fundamentals in mind when we explore questions, such as the place of democracy or the value of a constitution, the notion that the gap between people and experts has narrowed, that people can decide for themselves, and so on.

Our post-Independence history is a litany of how our experts failed to produce a beneficial effect in Sri Lanka while contributing to the building of other nations. The solution is to overcome the blocks to this that have existed until now – rather than shunning expertise. We need more expertise, not less.

(The writer teaches in the University of Colombo, where he is currently the Director of the Staff Development Centre. He acknowledges the mentoring of Professor Suki Ekaratne in developing many of these ideas; Professor Ekaratne founded the country’s first SDC, 25 years ago.)

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Join hands with your spiritual power to save Lanka!

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By Ven. Matthumagala ChandanandaThero
Ehipassiko Meditation Center
Calgary -Canada

When Sri Lanka was hit by the catastrophic tsunami waves in 2004, almost all citizens strived in unison to stand up as one because they perceived the calamity as a natural disaster. Without distinction of class, creed or race, people volunteered to help the victims. Monks of all sectors were prompted for action—therapeutic pirith chanting was started all over the country. Blessed water was sprinkled, especially over the coastal areas with the help of Sri Lanka Air Force helicopters. Some coastal areas had become ghastly graveyards within minutes of disaster, with thousands of dead bodies scattering in every direction. World Health Organization immediately warned of another impending threat: a wave of epidemics due to decomposing bodies of humans and animals.

However, Sri Lankans could surprise even the developed nations by recovering from this trauma so fast. The predicted epidemics could never raise their heads. So was with the Covid-19 pandemic, which was also generally perceived as a natural disaster—and people fought it with the team spirit. So far Sri Lanka has lost a relatively smaller number of lives to Covid-19 when compared to those of affluent nations, and it is certainly not just a coincidence.

However, when it comes to the unprecedented economic downfall currently taking place in Sri Lanka, rather than seeing it as yet another crisis, they have to overcome with team spirit. People have viewed it through the lens of ‘personality view’ (sakkāya ditti), and have attributed the responsibility to certain politicians, vehemently accusing and cursing the culprits. The whole effort was seething with anger, jealousy and vengeance—this is an absolute deviation from the path of Dhamma. Under such circumstances, no wonder that people could not recover as efficiently as they should in this crisis. Of course, if those politicians are guilty, suitable action have to be taken, but in a democratic way, and under no circumstances the destructive emotions like anger could be justified to come to play in a big way as has unfortunately happened (Kakacupama sutta). To be angry is like eating poison, expecting your enemy to die! If you think that you are concerned of being with crooked politicians, we should learn to be saner but not crazier.

Famous Sri Lankan poet, Mahagama Sekera, has said something pithy in his book, Prabuddha, and could be rendered into English thus: “If we could motivate people to be violent against injustice, cannot we persuade them to refrain from inequity”? This sensible question echoes in my mind every time I see a violent protest. Buddha who utters only meaningful words, had said: “Overcome the wicked by goodness” (Dhammapada). True, as ordinary people, we might not have political strength, financial power and the inheritance of an aristocratic lineage, as possessed by some politicians in this country. But we have a somnolent giant within us—the power of mind! We just have to train our mind to release this giant. Remember, through struggle comes strength—especially when we set ourself on the right path!

Once upon a time in ancient India, a seven-year-old monk was going on his rounds for collecting alms following a great master called Arhath Sariputta. This novice having observed some people were engaged in woodwork, curiously inquired from the senior monk: “What are they doing?” “They are carpenters; they bring wood from the forest—after cleaning, cutting and treating the wood, they make items like cartwheels”, explained Venerable Sariputta. Then the novice asked: “Do woods have a mind?” “No, woods do not have a mind, but humans who do have minds, creatively change wood according to their needs and make various items”, said the elderly monk. This explanation was a great eye-opener for the reflective novice. He thought, if people can change things using their minds, isn’t it possible to tame the mind using that power of mind itself? Spurred on by this incident, before long, the junior monk escaped from the King of Death (Mara)—the most difficult one to defeat!

On seeing amazing modern equipment like computers, smart phones, air planes, etc., it really makes sense if we also reflect on the fact that: “Such inventions are created by human mind; therefore, my mind is more powerful than those products.” In fact, Buddha pointed out that he does not see anything in this universe so powerful and versatile like the mind, which could become amazingly powerful and versatile upon development. Buddha also taught us how to progressively develop our mind but for the good. Even great meditators who wielded psychic power had only started their journey from the humble state we are in—so please be positive.

Now the human race is getting closer to the brink of extinction due to the dangers like adverse effects of the climate change and possible nuclear warfare. To the dismay of world-renowned scientists, some politicians have openly stated that the climate change to be a hoax— a former US President is also among them! We cannot expect political leaders, national or international, to protect the future generation’s opportunity to inhabit this precious planet. As I have argued in the previous articles, a SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION is the need of the hour.However, our immediate concern is to protect Sri Lanka from the internal and external threats, she has faced with.

According to what Buddha taught, we could employ our spiritual power to mitigate the catastrophes befall the human society. Spiritual Act of Truth (sathyakriya) is one way to achieve this noble goal. Jathaka stories reveal how Bodhisatwa (would-be Buddhas) performed Acts of Truth to ensure his own safety and of others as well. According to Mahawansa (the Great Chronicle), King Siri Sanghabo used this powerful influence to save his countrymen from a dangerous epidemic called Rakthakshi.

With the noble guidance of Most Venerable Kukulpané Sudassee Thero, the Spiritual Studies and Research Wing of Sathjana Social Development Foundation in Horana has been conducting Acts of Truth since 2008, in which hundreds and thousands of compassionate humans around the world unleash their spiritual power at one particular time, with the singular intention of mitigating the catastrophes of human society. Now a cynic might ask: of what use is your spiritual attempts, if the country is plunged into an economic crisis of this magnitude? Sri Lanka is located in an epic place in this planet—epic in many known and unknown ways, and Sri Lankans enjoy great benefits of the legacy. Together with these privileges, some additional responsibilities are also assigned to us—that is the way it is! Again and again, clouds bring us rain; again and again farmers sow seeds; again and again people eat (never tired)— therefore, why not flexing the spiritual muscles also similarly– again and again, and aggressively repeat our wholesome interventions? Because, it seems that conspiracies too are attempted again and again to unsettle the island! In fact, Dalai Lama deserves praise for saying: “Peace is not simply the absence of war. It is not a passive state of being. We must wage peace, as vehemently as we wage war.”

For the fulfilment of this lofty goal, we should find the correct method of performing it. In an Act of Truth, we have to vividly reflect on a wholesome deed we have performed, and we determine thus… ‘By the power of this truth, may the disasters heading towards the country be averted! May Buddha-sāsana and human lives be protected’!

For the success of an Act of Truth or Sathyakriya, three important conditions should have to be fulfilled:

1. The deed you reflect upon should be TRUE

2. It should have been performed by YOU

3. You have to arouse the same state of mind or pitch which has been there at the time you performed this act (e.g., If you think of an instance in which you donated something wholeheartedly, you have to recall and establish that particular mental state vividly at the time of performing Sathyakriya.

Complying with the invitation of many devotees, Ven. Dr. Kukulpané Sudassee Thero has decided to organise yet another Act of Truth on Thursday (the full moon day), 11th of August 2022, at 8:07 a.m. Sri Lanka time. In the evening also we will repeat it at the same time. If you live outside Sri-Lanka, please calculate your own local time, equivalent to the above. Ven. Sudassee Thero kindly requests the participants not to use this particular instance for achieving their personal intentions but to leave them for some other day, if necessary. We stress this point, because on some earlier occasions, some narrow-minded people were seen to ‘highjack’ such a moment, in an attempt to solve their own personal problems. Spiritual power is not for the selfish, for sure.

When hundreds and thousands of people release their compassionate mental power to the universe at a single moment in one single stream, we can generate a sort of spiritual power of tremendous strength capable of mitigating various woes currently plaguing the country.

We kindly invite all of you to participate in this great meritorious deed, with much-needed team spirit, irrespective of race, cast or creed, from wherever you are in the world, and perform the above-mentioned Act of Truth.When we set ourselves in a more humane path, instead of seething with negative emotions, and impulses, the guarding angels of the country will be kinder towards the society, extending their providence for the safety of our motherland.

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‘Slow Food’, the growing concept taking over ‘Fast Food’ rage

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Slow Food is everything opposite to the concept of fast food. While fast food involves highly processed food ingredients, ‘assembled’ together quickly, to form a meal, Slow Food refers to the inclusion of unprocessed food ingredients, cooked in an authentic manner to create a wholesome meal.

SNS:When In Rome, Do as Romans Do’ the saying literally proven right in the late 80s, in the city of Rome when a unique food movement, ‘slow food’ was born against another food frenzy, ‘Fast food’ which started from the US and has hooked the world since the 1920s.

Tradition-loving Romans who did not like the American concept of ‘Fast Food’ protested and pitted against the launch of a popular American fast food giant in the city of Bra, resulting in the birth of Arcigola, the movement against the concept of ‘fast food’ and delved into a registered nonprofit organisation known as ‘Slow Food International’.

Slow Food: The intriguing concept and why it’s becoming a global rave

The fast-paced life of the world over the decades has changed the traditional concepts regarding food. Fast food may ease our life and the choices of food but has proven ill effects on health if consumed on a regular basis. The concept of ‘Slow food’ is pitching for nothing new but promoting to go back to our roots for the food choices for better and healthier lives.

Nutritionists have traditionally vouched for the food which is locally grown and eaten the way our forefathers have consumed, and that is exactly what ‘Slow food movement is promoting’.

The natural food that grows in the region where we live is the most suitable for our body, because the same natural forces impact our body and the locally grown food. Our fore-fathers depended majorly on the local food, which is a major reason for their healthy life and longevity.

What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is everything opposite to the concept of fast food. While fast food involves highly processed food ingredients, ‘assembled’ together quickly, to form a meal, Slow Food refers to the inclusion of unprocessed food ingredients, cooked in an authentic manner to create a wholesome meal.

Where fast food offers ‘on the go’ food that can be hand-held and eaten on the go, Slow Food promotes the idea of sitting down, relaxing and spending some time chatting with family and friends, while savouring the food.

Slow Food Movement

The Slow Food movement began from people’s natural emotion associated with food. Some people opposed the rise of fast-food culture and the disappearance of local traditions and food cultures.
Slow Food movement history
The inception of the Slow Food Movement is traced back to 1986 in the town of Bra and it began as ArciGola, by journalist Carlo Petrini. In 1989, ArciGola began to be known as Slow Food, when a protest broke out against the opening of McDonald’s at “Piazza di Spagna” in Rome. Protestors opposed the American fast-food giant, for opening its outlet in Rome. The ArciGola protest delved into a registered nonprofit organisation known as Slow Food internationally.
What is the Slow Food Movement and How Do We Adhere to it?
According to Perceptions of the slow food cultural trend among the youth by Lelia Voinea and Anca Atanase, “Slow Food has become an international movement that advocates for satisfying culinary pleasure, protects biological and cultural diversity, spreads taste education, links “green” producers to consumers and believes that gastronomy intersects with politics, agriculture and ecology. Slow Food proposes a holistic approach to food problems, where the economic, socio-cultural and environmental aspects are interlinked, being pursued as part of an overall strategy.”

Slow Food, a global movement of local traditions

With due course of time, Slow Food has become a global movement, with more food reformers joining hands together to join the cause. The movement has also involved several smaller international bodies under its fold. These organisations are carrying out various initiatives within their local ecosystem and creating awareness of eating healthy and locally grown food.

Benefit of ‘Slow food’

The concept of fast food was meant to cater to the needs of those individuals, who were short of time and had a busy lifestyle. Number of such people grew over the years and fast food eventually became mainstream and an inseparable part of our lives.
Slowly, people also began to understand the importance of healthy eating instead of industrial processed food, which lacks basic nutrients. The Slow Food Movement addresses two major concerns related to fast-paced lifestyle, one is the inclusion of healthy, wholesome and locally grown ingredients, cooked by using orthodox methods. The second is to eat the meal and the food slowly, while enjoying every bit of it, as opposed to fast food.

Slow Food movement in India

The Slow Food movement has involved several organisations in India under its fold. All these independent organisations are working towards promoting positive food practices, from organic farming to eating the local food produce. Ajam Emba Adivasi of Jharkhand,
Food education for Satvik Jeevan in Gujarat, Mumbai Earth Market, Nagaland for Biodiversity & Heritage Preservation, Nilgirs Coffee Coalition and Banyan Roots, in Udaipur, Rajasthan are all working in close conjunction with the Slow Food International

Slow Food movement in Europe

The Slow Food movement is fast picking up in Europe as an industry. Working for the rights of small-scale traditional food producers and raising awareness among consumers at the very basic level. It is dedicated towards creating a better and more responsible food system.

Objectives of Slow Food movement

It is globally working on a number of issues including common food policy, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, climate change, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and responsible consumption and food labeling.

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