Tarkunde against Vedic methods for increasing foodgrains output
NEW DELHI, APRIL 26. In the thick of a raging controversy for being made a part of the university syllabi, astrology is now fast moving beyond the confines of academe to the agricultural fields - for the ``dubious objective'' of increasing foodgrains production! But the noted jurist and social activist, Mr. V.M. Tarkunde, will have none of it, and he has decided to resign from `Vanarai,' a NGO which, apparently inspired by the Union Rural Development Minister, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, has decided to adopt the vedic ritual `agnihotra' for increasing agricultural productivity in Maharashtra villages.
In a signed statement, the former Supreme Court judge said the former Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson, Mr. Mohan Dharia, president of Vanarai, had recently written an article suggesting that performing `agnihotra' - symbolic sacrifices every morning and evening, with a prayer that ``this belongs to God and not to me'' - brings phenomenal progress in agriculture. In his article ``Agnihotra for Agricultural Advance,'' Mr. Dharia, also the editor of Vanarai magazine, wrote that Mr. Venkaiah Naidu and his friends were so impressed by ``the progress in agriculture made through agnihotra by some foreign farmers'' that they visited the NGO and informed about this practice outside the country. Mr. Naidu was accompanied by Mr. Vasantrao Paranjape, who claims to have increased agricultural income in foreign countries through agnihotra.
Mr. Tarkunde, in his statement, said Mr. Dharia and his friends were so exuberant over ``these successful experiments in foreign countries'' that they decided to promote what they call ``homo therapy'' (therapy Agnihotra) in all rural areas of Maharashtra starting with Godhavewadi village. Mr. Tarkunde, also a zealous social activist, said Mr. Dharia's article pained him beyond words. ``If prayers and sacrifices can be the means of agricultural progress, India would have become the richest agricultural country in the world. In fact, it is one of the poorest, and the main reason is the blind faith and orthodoxy of most people.'' Instead of increasing the agricultural yield, ``this new programme of Vanarai is bound to increase orthodoxy and blind faith already prevailing among the people.''
Mr. Tarkunde, who had visited Gadhavewadi and surrounding villages along with Mr. Dharia in 1987, said he joined Vanarai after being greatly impressed by the progress made by the agriculturists there. ``The villagers told us that their economic condition has improved three-fold in 10 years because of their self-reliance and mutual help! they also said their initial inspiration was received after seeing Dr. Hazare's village in Ahmednagar district.'' - UNI