Random Harvest — an Anthology of Editorials

Random Harvest — an Anthology of Editorials

645 (2) A good policy and legislation is required in this direction, which is lacking at present in Nepal. (3) Not only legislation, good implementin...

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(2) A good policy and legislation is required in this direction, which is lacking at present in Nepal. (3) Not only legislation, good implementing practice is also essential for proper execution and function of law and regulations, because laws and regulation are not sufficient in developing countries. (4) Controlling mechanism for the organization and its personnel should also be developed. (5) Coordination and cooperation with other networks are also important. All presentations were attractive not only in their academic/social importance but also by the way of presentation utilizing a good LCD projector. Discussions

were always sincere, positive and lively. Summation of each session by the chairpersons was very well organized and knowledgeable. Summary, proposal and discussions during the Panel Discussion were all very reasonable, fruitful and encouraging as will be found in the above five summaries. The authors believe that the present seminar made an important first step for the effective multidisciplinary research of disasters in Nepal. Further information on the symposium can be obtained from the organizer below: Prof. D. Bhattarai, The Principal, Nepal Engineering College, G.P.O. Box 10210, Kathmandu, Nepal, E-mail: [email protected]

Gondwana Research (Gondwana Newsletter Section) V 7, No. 2, p p . 645-646. 0 2004 International Association for Gondwana Research, Japan.

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BOOK REVIEW

Random Harvest - an Anthology of Editorials S.M. Naqvi National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad - 500 007, India B.P Radhakrishna, Random Harvest - A n Anthology of Editorials. Geological Society of India Memoir 51, 2003, p. xvi+444. Price :India - Rs.250; Other Countries - $25. Geological Society of India, PB. No. 1922, Gavipuram, Bangalore - 560 019, India. This book is a collection of the editorials written by Dr. B.P. Radhakrishna i n the Journal of the Geological Society of India since 1984. All the editorials written by him are not included and hence, it is titled as “Random Harvest”. Dr. Radhakrishna, even at this age, is one of the most informed men about the recent contributions being made in different fields and published in different journals. These editorials reflect some of the aspects close to his heart and they can broadly be subdivided into: (1) his concern and worry about the present state of affairs in earth sciences; ( 2 ) the contribution, which earth sciences/scientists could have or/are expected to have made for the rapid growth of the Indian economy and the living standards of the exploding population; (3) the decline in the standards of education; (4) degeneration of scientific ethics; (5) non-availability of maps on larger scales to the earth scientists; (6) apathy towards exploration, exploitation and management of our natural resources such as gold and groundwater Gondwana Research, V. 7, No. 2,2004

and (7) a total neglect of earth sciences in national planning. In addition, through the editorials which he wrote in honour of the giants of Indian geology, he has drawn attention to the contributions made by Prof. L. Rama Rao after whose sad demise he took over as editor in 1974. Since 1974 he has rendered an invaluable service to Earth Sciences and drew attention towards the main unresolved issues of Indian geology. The journal was first published once a year, then quarterly, and now monthly, with a very high rejection rate. The reading of these editorials under one cover provides an idea of the growth of Earth Sciences and ideas related to our field in India and abroad. Dr. Radhaltrishna has quoted extensively from several great scientists to draw the attention of readers of the journal to the ‘Reality’of degradation of the environment for good quality pertinent and relevant science. One of the major hindrances in the progress is that although GSI has prepared excellent maps, they were earlier not easily available to the scientific community due to bureaucratic rules and regulations, Dr. Radhakrishna’s continuous reminders as presented in this book resulted in availability of these maps on sale. Furthermore, the

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absence of large-scale maps for a greater part of the country has been pointed out in several editorials and comments. Geology is fundamentally a science based on field work. The intelligent speculation during field work is substantiated or discarded from the study in the laboratories by modem techniques. Unfortunately,neither are large-scale maps available, nor is modern equipment generally available to the students of universities and several organizations even in 2004. Several contributions are made in which nobody is interested. Multidisciplinary studies, though started in 1964, have not yet taken off. One feature, which has been termed as ‘Laterization of Brain’ by P.K. Banerjee, has been addressed in several comments by Dr. Radhakrishna during last 27 years. But the earth scientist of the country does not appear to come out of this rapid intellectual adolescence. On several occasions BPR has pleaded “Zetus resolve to build a healthy climate for innovative thinking and creativity”. A critical reading of this book will lead the reader to the warning of the present water crisis which was given as early as 1974. During his tenure as Director, Department of Mines and Geology, Kamataka, he was the first to start borehole drilling for water in different water deficient terrains of the New Mysore state. The book demonstrates that he has tried to wake up the authorities long ago. His model of construction of small irrigation dams to stop the run off of rainwater, wherever adopted, has been extremely successful. In one of the recent editorials, though not included in this book, BPR has drawn attention to the problems and disadvantages of interlinking of our river system. India being the largest consumer of gold, BPR has always wished that the earth scientists should collectively discover deposits other than Kolar and Hutti. In his several editorials he has tried to unify us to explore for gold and reduce its import. It took more than two decades for the release of gold mining activity from the government to the private sector and the leases given now may fulfill his desire and hope. His proposal for setting up a Gold Commission has not made any impact on a deaf and mute nation and nobody bothers about the drain of foreign exchange due to gold import. Gold smuggling into the country has created a parallel economy of ‘Dons’ and a cancer of smuggling with great impact on law and order problems. Apart from the various economic and developmental problems pointed out in this collection, the basic problems of the (1)Indian Precambrian peninsular shields, basins and mobile belts, (2) Gondwana Super Group, (3) Deccan continental flood basalts, (4) Himalaya and Indo-Gangetic plains, and (5) Indian Ocean - have been discussed and our community has been urged to think collectivelyusing

their tools and experience to exploit and conserve our resources in harmony with our environment and ecology. Probably no other country is blessed with a sequence of events from Hadean to Holocene, as India is. It may be the recognition and dating of their oldest rocks or the discovery of the ‘Ediacaran Fauna’, BPR has tried to open our eyes and motivate five generations during the last 50 years. This fact is brought out very clearly in this book. One of the major failures of the Indian earth scientists is the reluctance to share their data with each other. BPR pleaded for setting up of an information centre. One was created at Geological Society of India and other at NGRI; but we have a mental block, which has not allowed the growth of the habit of sharing and resulted in fading out of our glorious past discoveries such as Ayurvedic Medicine. This compilation provides immense information and motivates readers to do something to our nation. The glaring gaps in our knowledge and data-base pointed out in that volume are immense and lead to severe depression and inferiority complex when compared with the work done by outsiders on our own outstanding scientifically rewarding problems. This volume, I am sure, will ignite some sensitive, imaginative brains. I feel futile to comment on each section separately and recommend that all students, teachers and professionals in earth sciences should read this book very carefully. There are many FACTS between the lines. This treasure should be the proud collection of all earth scientists. The photographs of BPR included “Random Harvest” very nicely illustrate that how the physical shape and philosophy of a middleaged intellectual has evolved from 1940 to 2003 and how, during these 64 years, he has been transformed into a Gandhian and a Karma Yogi - a great friend, philosopher and guide for five generations. His editorial entitled ‘R Call for Attention” will always remain a guiding lamp to those who are interested to serve and do something good for the country through Earth Sciences, even though it may be the “beautiful small”. To summarize, I want to state that the “Random Harvest” maps out what should have been done and brings out clearly the gap between our need and the action consequent to our collective lethargy and incoherence during last 60 years. This book is highly encouraging evidence that a few persons are still there to speak and write the truth fearlessly. But, there is a Urdu saying “Naqqar kane mein Tooti ki aawaz” which means that when chaotic, irritating and unrythmic bands are beaten, who is going to listen the soothing melody of a bird known as ‘Toot?. I want to express my regret and apologies to the Editor of GR for writing this review so late though the Editor sent me this book in July 2003. The delay was not intentional but due to some health problems and various other reasons.

Gondwana Research, K 7 , No. 2,2004