In a significant study, a team of scientists have arrived at a conclusion that religious conversion is responsible for the destruction of bio-diversity in India. In her speech delivered at the Indian Science Congress yesterday in Chennai, the noted scientist, Dr Nandita Krishna highlighted how Nature has been destroyed by the proselytizers in the name of removing the symbols of traditional religious practices of this country.
India was predominantly a rural economy until the time of Independence. Numerous villages and towns dotted the landscape of India. One should know how a village was developed. When a group of people wanted to settle down at a place owing to the viability for their profession and habitability, the first thing they did was to develop a place of worship (temple) dotted with a pond, a grove and a flower garden. Human settlements were made around this temple.
One of the important rules for identifying a location for building a temple is availability of plenty of water and the presence of a pleasant atmosphere of flora and fauna. In this way each temple served as a biosphere. Each temple has a tree (sthala vruksha) of its own. The important information about the sthala vruksha is that they not only had medicinal properties, making them precious for preservation, but they also served as Nature's detectors for the availability of underground- water.
Most of these sthala vrukshas grow where there is storage of underground water. Since most of South India depended on seasonal rains, these trees became protected ones at least for the sake of identifying the underground water current where these trees are naturally grown. When they get identified as the sthala vrukshas of a deity, no one dares to destroy them.
Almost all the olden temples in Tamilnadu were built near waterways. Where there are no naturally occurring water-spots, ponds were dug based on the assessment of the presence of certain trees found in an area. The Mariamman Theppakkulam in Madurai is one of the few living examples of such a formation.
Similarly the ant-hills also are nature's way of indication of availability of underground water. Sage Saraswad and Manu had given tips on how to identify the availability of underground water by means of the trees and the ant-hills. The distance between the trees and the ant-hills and their direction are helpful in finding out the availability of water and also the depth at which water is available. The widely prevalent practice of Naaga pooja and pouring of milk into the ant hills where snakes dwell are wise practices formulated by our seers so that Nature's detectors and preservers are not destroyed for all times to come.
When people move away from this traditional practice of the Hindu religion, Nature stands neglected. The brain washing done by evangelists on Hindus calling their customs as superstitious is taking a toll on the Natural environment of the country.
Given below is another event that happened yesterday in Tamilnadu. It was the conference of atheists! In the inaugural speech, the delegate has said that atheism does not pose any danger to the society. He is wrong, for, what atheism is doing to Hinduism is similar to what conversion is doing, as reported by the scientists. Our Tamilnadu brand of atheists is doing everything possible to ridicule and undermine the Hindu practices. For them Christianity and Islam are acceptable but not Hinduism. There is no objectivity in their approach to what atheism is. They can not be put on par with the Western atheists.
In general an atheist is a person who can not accept the truth of a higher energy that is present in Nature. Such a person is a threat to nature.
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Nanditha says religion to blame
Chennai, Jan. 7: Religious conversions are one of the main reasons for the degradation of the country's fragile biodiversity, according to noted environmental scientist, Dr Nanditha Krishna.
"The team of scientists from C.P. Ramaswami Iyer Environmental Research Centre (CPR ERC) has found from a five-year-old research that religious conversions are harmful to the ecology than any other factor. The proselytisers, in their anxiety to wipe out the last remains of the traditions and rituals of the new converts, make them destroy the sacred groves, the main landmark of the countryside," she said here on Friday.
Dr Krishna, the honorary director of CPR ERC, was addressing the delegates of the 98th edition of the Indian Science Congress. She said the samathuvapurams of Tamil Nadu have also led to the deterioration of the sacred groves because most of the sites selected as government vacant lands were nothing but groves.
Though there were more than 150,000 sacred groves at the time of Independence, their numbers have come down to 13,670.
"They are mini-biosphere reserves" and they are destroyed as "mere superstition", she said. These patches of forests play a major role in sustaining the local climate and livelihood.
The team found that almost all traditions and rituals practised by tribals and villagers were indirectly helpful in preserving the groves.
The study conducted by Amrithalingam of CPR ERC found that vast stretches of sacred groves have been destroyed in the North-East, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. They are now documenting the last remains of sacred groves in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Atheists pose no danger, says expert
Though atheism offers philosophical and ethical alternative to religion, barring secular Europe, atheists in other parts of the world are suppressed and in some Islamic countries, atheism is looked upon as blasphemy, said Mr Levi Fragell, former president of International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and Norwegian Humanist Association.
Delivering the inaugural address at the three-day World Atheist Conference here, he said atheists posed no danger to society but were a source of enlightenment and social development. While noting that it has always been a challenge to change the mindset of religious fundamentalists, he said positive atheism is nothing but humanism.
Dravidar Kazhakam president K. Veeramani, in his presidential address, said youth would benefit by acquainting themselves with Periyar's ideologies.
Chief minister M. Karunanidhi sent a message which said, "Periyar and mass movement founded by him are responsible for the social changes and educational progress made in Tamil Nadu."