Thursday, December 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Make ethanol from foodgrains

It is heartening to learn that at long last the government has decided to tap the renewable, locally produced source of energy, namely ethanol from sugarcane, to tackle the problem of surplus sugar and molasses stocks. Brazil has been using ethanol produced from sugarcane for the last 40 years and the USA makes ethanol from corn-maize.

One most economical and nationally beneficial way out to tackle an awfully and rapidly building grain stocks is to utilise the so-called substandard wheat and rice stocks (particularly over one year-old stocks) for ethanol production.

Such a strategy of producing ethanol from wheat and rice would not only help reduce the oil import bill but would also save huge costs incurred on payments of interest on the money invested on foodgrains, watch and ward staff employed, transportation of stocks, annual wastage due to pilferage and rodent losses, besides solving the ever-increasing menace of environment pollution arising due to the use of leaded petrol by buses, cars, trucks and three-wheelers in cities.

It is, therefore, high time that the ministers in charge of foodgrains, agriculture, commerce and industries and processing take a policy decision to establish a viable industrial pilot project to test the economic commercial scale viability of using this route of tackling the ever-increasing problem of foodgrain stocks.

Dr R.S. NARANG, ex-Professor of Agronomy, PAU, Ludhiana.


Animal sacrifices

Hundreds of sheep will be sacrificed by the residents of about 50 villages at the “Shand Yagya” in the Kashadhar area of Chirgaon. A similar function to sacrifice sheep will be held in the hills of Sirmaur on January 11.

Lord Mahavira preached that all living beings are fond of themselves; they like pleasure; they hate pain; they shun destruction; they like life and want to live long. Mahatma Gandhi said: “Sacrifice of animals in the name of religion is a remnant of barbarism”. Jawaharlal Nehru said: “I think that sacrifices of animals in the name of religion are barbarous and they degrade the name of religion”.

The coming generation will condemn the sections of society which practise animal sacrifices in the name of religion. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001 mandate the slaughtering of animals only in recognised or licensed houses and an ante-mortem and post-mortem examination by a competent veterinary doctor prior and after the slaughtering. These instructions can hardly be complied with during animals’ sacrifice in the open.


Killing sheep: The news “hundreds of sheep to be sacrificed” is not in good taste. One wonders how God can be happy when we destroy God’s own creation.

It’s a pity that even the Chief Minister is going to attend the so-called yagya where cattle will be sacrificed. Many states in India have banned the sacrifice of animals. They made strict provisions in the law for the defaulters.


Power of prayer

Zauq’s couplet quoted by Mr K.L. Batra in his write-up “Prayer: a source of strength” (Dec 13) as “Kishti khuda pe chhorh do, Langar ko phorh do” is actually “Ehsaan naakhuda key uthaaey meri bala/Kishti Khuda pe chhor doon langar ko tor doon”.

God accepts the prayers made with pure heart for a good purpose. An Urdu poet says: “Khuda manzoor karta hai dua jab dil sey hoti hai/Magar mushkil to ye hai ke bari mushkil sey hoti hai.”

Once Nawab Daulat Khan Lodi asked Guru Nanak to say “namaaz” with him. However, when it was recited, he kept aloof. He said that while conducting the “namaaz” the Imam’s attention was focused on his ailing son and the calf, which, he feared, might fall into the well, and the Nawab, although apparently engaged in prayers, was thinking of purchasing horses from Kandahar. The Nawab and the prelate admitted as true that the Guru said. What is the use of reciting prayers when the heart is wandering astray? God does not like mummery and hypocrisy.

“More things are brought by prayer than this world dreams of”, said Tennyson.

In 1817, Maharaja Ranjit Singh became seriously ill. There was no hope of his surviving the disease. Sardar Nihal Singh Attariwala walked round the monarch’s bed and prayed that his illness might be transferred to him. He became ill and died after a few days. The Maharaja recovered.

God certainly accepts prayers. But there must be purity of heart and sincerity of purpose. Many decades ago, a doctor told me that he invariably recited “dua” (prayer) while giving “dava” (medicine) to his patients.


Foreigner’s observation

I exchanged notes with a foreigner and was shocked by his comment that “It appears that every place in India is a urinal”. It is also true in the City Beautiful where about 90 per cent of the population is ducated.

M.L. GARG, Chandigarh

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