[Marxism] Ecological awareness in ancient India

Marla Vijaya kumar marlavk at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 20 03:09:22 MDT 2012

Dear Comrades,
                          I have been wondering of late about the existing practices in 
traditional customs in India. Every culture would have built up some 
sort of customs and norms for preserving nature.
There is an 
old song "philosophical musings', which is usually sung by bards as they travel from village to village. This is a rough translation to convey 
the spirit of the song:

O Lord Shiva! 

I wanted to wash your statue with fresh water from the mountain stream.
When I went to collect water, the little fish in the water heckled me and said it had already tasted the water.
O Lord Shiva!
I wanted to wash your statue instead with the pious cow's milk.
When I went to the cowshed to collect milk, the little calf taunted me saying that it had already tasted the milk.
O Lord Shiva!
I wanted to decorate your statue with fresh flowers from the forest.
When I went to pluck the flowers, millions of butterflies have laughed and 
said they have already tasted the honey in the flowers.
Please tell me O Lord, what should I do?

Indian culture is built up on worship of natural forces. For example, the 
Bunyan tree is a must for every village and it is in the center of the 
Village councils, school and many cultural and religious events are held under the shade of the Bunyan. 

Similarly the neem tree is sacred because of its medicinal properties.
It is prohibited to cut down fruit bearing trees and only when the tree is sufficiently old, can you cut it for firewood or timber.
In some regions in India, the 
calf has the first right to its mother's milk. Your can share the milk 
only when the calf is fully satiated.
Indian agriculture was 
totally organic and self sustaining before India's Independence. With 
modernization, it had become completely dependent on electricity, 
fertilisers, pesticides and now BT seeds.
As Marx pointed out, Indian villages were self sustained. Most of the goods were produced and consumed locally.
What was good for a pre-industrial and feudal society need bot be good 
today. But we can learn some thing from the old customs that had 
sustained and maintained balance between humans and nature.

Any more thoughts?
Vijaya Kumar Marla

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