Recently while browsing the the subject of alternate fuel sources for the world, I came across an article on how scientists in USA are discovering that Cow Dung cake could be an alternate for regional fuel requirements within USA. It got me thinking on whether this was a "Discovery" at all ??
Rural India and the people in the countryside across the subcontinent have been using a combination of straw and cow dung as a source of fuel for centuries. I recall that as a kid I used to see cow dung cakes drying on the road sides and unused walls in the villages of Uttar Pradesh (Northern India) . I used to see similar cow dung cakes up for sun baking deep in the southern India too (Karnataka).
Our rich cultural heritage combined with highly developed written language system in ancient India gave us the competitive edge to collect and pass on the collective wisdom and knowledge generation on generation. It is because of this collective wisdom spanning centuries that we find day-to-day application of ancient scientific discoveries and achievements in various parts of India that ironically are called "rural and backward" in current context.
I wonder if the average Indian who is a descendant of the most ancient civilization on earth completely understands the significance of this collective scientific wisdom that our ancestors bestowed to India ?
It is paradoxical and somewhat saddening that while the western scientific fora is exploring the ancient practices of the east to find solutions for the increasing natural resource constraints being faced in the new world; The east is trying to ape the modernisation and advancement of the western world without realising that not all of these modern marvels are in harmony with nature and may not be sustainable in the times ahead.
I cannot help but question the collective pride or the lack of it that we Indians exhibit when faced with modern marvels of the western world. Do we ever wonder how will the west sustain this tremendous pressure on mother nature and its by-products a century from now ? Have we ever put in efforts to explore our rich cultural heritage that has taught us to live in harmony with nature ?
If at all we imbibe the know-how that western civilization has to offer and blend it with our historical achievements - we could in effect ensure that both mankind and the rest of the beings co-exist; thereby maintaining the delicate balance of nature.
My brief experience of life in rural India happened when we visited a friend at a rural town called Gobichettipalayam
in Tamil Nadu. The visit was an eye opener for me where I experienced supreme bliss of sleeping in a naturally air conditioned room in the middle of a super hot afternoon. (Courtesy Historic know-how of local people in utlizing giant coconut tree branches) .
In contrast, when one looks at the rampant development of buildings in Urban India that are symbols of prosperity for majority people, it compells me to compare life in rural India which is far more peaceful and fulfilling than staying in posh buildings with no trees in the vicinity, with no birds chirping around.
In conclusion, I would say that the boon of ancient cultures like that of the Na
tive Americans, Mayans
and Hindu civilization
must be rediscovered and shared with the youth of this generation.
To me the cow dung cakes seen across rural India are symbols of pride that proves application of science in India lives within each one of us through our rich historical and cultural heritage and we should ensure that we share this wisdom with the younger generation who will then carry the responsibility to blend the wisdom of east with new technological advancements of the western world.