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Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. Presently, he is teaching Mathematics at NIELIT. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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Scientific Temper-the need of the hour to fight COVID-19

An unexpected outcome of COVID- 19 is the growing awareness of how disease is transmitted and what might be done to prevent this. Virtually every TV channel has insisted on washing hands with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer, sneezing into the crook of one’s elbow or coughing into a handkerchief, besides keeping a safe distance from one another. These precautions presuppose an elementary understanding that COVID-19 spreads through the infected person’s cough or sneeze and by contact with infected surfaces. The existence of bacteria and viruses that invade our bodies and cause the infection is also part of this presupposition. In short, this indicates a tacit acceptance of elements of the empirical-causal world view. It was heartening to see even babas and yogis concede that if symptoms include respiratory disorder and high fever, then contacting doctors trained in evidence-based medical system is necessary. Baba Ramdev even admitted on TV that no evidence exists that by drinking cow urine, one could cure COVID-19, even though, he claimed , it could help in preventing it. It does not follow from this that our society has imbibed this outlook on the world, for many astrologers were seen claiming that SARS-CoV-2 was caused by the conjunction of Rahu and Ketu. Some Swamis are convinced that the cure lies in propitiating the virus by performing rituals, accompanied by a cocktail of cow urine, dung and ghee. Even so, it is heartening that when push comes to shove, many Indians might be more willing to rely on evidence-based reasoning than on ineffective, false speculations or brazen misinformation. When what is at stake is life itself, people choose whatever they find is effective. Should we not assume that they do so because at least some of them are convinced that performing rituals is unlikely to produce the desired outcome, but regular washing of hands might? That the Rahu-Ketu story is less plausible than the virus-infection story? This switch from speculative stories involving malignant spirits to stories involving non-subjective, material, observable entities occurs when people themselves experience what works and what does not.

The Scientific temper is a way of life, defined in this contexts as an individual and social process of thinking and acting, which uses the scientific method and which may consequently include questioning, observing physical reality, testing hypothesizing analysing are communicating ( not necessarily in that order). Scientific temper describes an attitude which involves the application of logic. Discussion, argument and analysis are vital parts of scientific temper. Elements of fairness equality and democracy are built into it. The genesis and development of idea of the scientific temper is connected to ideas is expressed earlier by “Charles Darwin “when he said, “Freedom of thought” is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of Science and by “Karl Max” when he said “religion” is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of the religion as the illusory happiness of the people which is demanded for the real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.

With these qualifications, we must readily acknowledge that scientific temper is useful in certain contexts and necessary for specific purposes. If so, what are the other preconditions for building it? First, a disposition to not accept any opinion or claimed at face value, or to reject in haste anything that conflict with one’s settled views. For instance, to not immediately accept when told that eating a clove of garlic which reduce high BP, or that the rate of economic growth in India is 70%. A healthy scepticism towards these figures is crucial. Moreover, no claim or data can be accepted merely because it is supplied by those in majority, political power or religious authority. Evidencebased claims are the enemy of prejudice and dogma. Second, good science recognise that truth is always elusive, that all human endeavour, including scientific enquiry, is imperfect, corrigible, in constant need of critical scrutiny and revision. Third, in principle, science is anti-authoritarian. No matter how hierarchical in practice scientific institutions are, or how powerful its leaders, the fact remains that if a research assistant comes up with a result that challenges established scientific claims, then it must be addressed, examined and if confirmed, displace the view held by established authority. So, if scientific temper is important, what kind of public culture is needed to advanced? Who must be responsible to take it forward? And how can we nudge people into evidence =based reasoning not from self-interest alone but from commitment to the common good? Two generations or so earlier, curative pill-popping became part of the wider public culture. Although its misuse, dangers and excesses are well-documented, it can’t be denied that careful intake of pills, under expert supervision and in correct dosage, can help cure infectious disease. With our rather enlightened response to COVID-19, we appear to have reached a similar stage in the public culture of disease of disease of disease preventions. Equally important is scrupulous data gathering. Indian TV channels continually gave figures on how many people are infected by SARSCoV2; the countries where the incidence of disease was high; what percentage died; of those who succumbed, how many already suffered from other fatal ailments; and whether or not a correlation exists between age, propensity to infection and fatality. There is a greater public awareness about the role of data in disease management and prevention. These are small steps towards the wider acceptance of evidence-based reasoning, a tiny victory for the empirical-causal explanatory story of the world. Since these are crucial ingredients of the scientific outlook, one can even say that we have made some progress towards inculcating a scientific temper. Observing, classifying, recognising patterns of regularity and identifying causes are all integral features of science. Yet, not all of us do science. Nor do we need to. What has become increasingly vital for our survival today is that we imbibe scientific temper. Science is important because science works; scientific temper, because in its absence, the benefits of science won’t reach everyone.

Circular Economy(CE) for sustainability

Over the last 150 years, our industrial economy has been dominated by a one-way model of production and consumption in which goods are manufactured from raw materials, sold, used and then incinerated or discarded as waste. In the face of a rising global population and the associated growing resource consumption and negative environmental impacts, it becomes increasingly apparent that business as usual is not an option for a sustainable future. While the concept of a circular economy has been discussed since the 1970s, switching from the current linear model of economy to a circular one has recently attracted increased attention from major global companies and policymakers. As a result of growing interest in the business opportunities created by a Circular Economy (CE), its practical applications to modern economic system and industrial processes have recently gained momentum among companies and governments. In that regard, understanding the concept of CE is a key prerequisite for a successful implementation within a business. As the concept of CE has been evolving since 1970s building on different schools of thought, its description and principles have been stressed from the different points of view in the academic and grey literature. Therefore, it is crucial to get a common understanding of what a circular economy entails.
 Then, what is a Circular Economy? A circular Economy (often referred to simply as circularity) is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and continual use of resources. Circular system employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a close loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and creation of waste, pollution and carbon emission. The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment’s and infrastructures in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of these resources. All waste should become “food” for another process: either a by-product or recovered resource for another industrial process or as regenerative resources for nature e.g compost. The regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy which has a take-make-dispose model of production. Proponents of the circular economy suggest that a sustainable world does not mean a drop in the quality of life for consumers and can be achieved without loss of revenue or extra costs for manufactures. The argument is that circular business model can be as profitable as linear models, allowing us to keep enjoying similar products and services.
    Manufacture, use and disposal? No, reduce, reuse and recycle. The current paradigm of linear economic model could be coming to an end and its place will be taken by the circular economy. The current model of production and management of resources, goods and services that seeks to promote short term consumption is leading the planet to an unsustainable situation. The nowadays economic system is the opposite of the life cycle of nature and collides with the sustainable development, focussed on the long term. In nature there is no waste or landfill: all elements play a role continuously and are reused in different stages. Taking as an example the cyclical nature pattern, circular economy is presented as a system of resources utilization where reduction , reuse and recycling of elements  prevails: minimize production to a bare minimum and when it’s necessary to use the product, go for the reuse of the elements that cannot return to the environment. That is, the circular economy promotes the use of as many as biodegradable materials as possible in the manufacture of products- biological nutrients—so that they can get back to nature without causing environmental damage at the end of their useful life. When it is not possible to use eco-friendly materials- technical nutrients: electronics, hardware, batteries etc, the aim is to facilitate a simple uncoupling to give them a new life by reintroducing them into the production cycle and compose a new piece. When this is not possible, it will be recycled in a respectful way with the environment. Unlike other economic model where the economic aspect prevails over the social or environmental, circular economy is substantial improvement common to both business and consumers. Companies that have implemented this system are proving that reusing resources is much more cost effective than creating them from scratch. As a result production prices are reduced so that the sale price is also lowered, thereby benefiting the consumer not only economically but also in social and environmental aspect. Intuitively, the circular economy would appear to be more sustainable than the current linear economic system. Reducing the resources used and the waste and the leakage created, conserves resources and helps to reduce environmental pollution. The circular economy can cover a broad scope like industrial applications with both product- oriented and services, practice and policies to better understand the limitations that the CE currently faces , strategic management for details of the CE and different outcomes such as potential re-use application and waste management.
     The CE includes products, infrastructures, equipment and services and applies to every industry sector. It includes technical, resources (metals, minerals, fossil resources) and biological resources (food, fibres, timber etc.). A circular economy within the textiles industry refers to the practice of cloths and fibres continually being recycled to re-enter the economy as much as possible rather than ending up as waste. The construction sector is one of the World’s largest waste generators. The CE appears as a helpful solution to diminish the environmental impact of the construction industry. The CE is beginning to catch on inside the automotive industry. It is stated that CE could redefine competitiveness in the automotive sector in terms of price, quality and convenience and could double revenue by 2030 and lower the cost base by up to 14%. So far it has typically translated itself into using parts made from recycled materials, remanufacturing of car parts and looking at the design of new cars. Not only these CE started looking towards in all possible sectors. Rethinking growth for longer prosperity shows that a CE path to development could bring India’s annual benefits of Rs .40 lakhs corer in 2050 compared with the current development path- a benefit equivalent to 30% of India’s current GDP. Now the whole world has set their eyes toward CE for sustainable development and better environment for the emerging world. But can Manipur join this rest in the near future to come? It’s doubtful because the idea of Circular Economy is still yet to reach among our common mass, policymakers, public/ political leaders as they all are concentrating their mind to rich quick through get free idea and contract works where easy money can be made through akash bill forgetting about the unbearable scenes of corruption, favouritism, nepotism,poverty,social-unrest,law&order crisis,deadlocks in education & problems pouring on our environment. Now, it is the time to give mass awareness about Circular Economy to our common masses for a better future.

Importance of Fish & Fishery in Manipur

Manipur state is nestled in the Eastern-most corner of North-East India, covering a total area of 23,327 sq.km with suitable climate and soil condition for crop farming. Agriculture forms the back-bone of state’s economy, contributing 50-60% to the state’s GDP and engaging about 80% of the state total populations. The climatic condition is widely influenced by the topography of the hilly regions and hence ranged from tropical to sub-alpine with average annual rainfall of 1467mm. Around 80% of the total state populations are non-vegetarian and the food items includes chicken, fish, beefs, muttons, pork’s etc with pork ,chicken and fish are the most preferred. Fish is however the only animal protein sources widely accepted and consumed by almost all the people including the vegetarian sect of the people.
Manipur has diversified water bodies with 56,461.05 hectares suitable for fish farming of which only 18,600 hectares or 32.94% of the total potential water areas are so far developed and used for fishery purposes. With Barak River as the biggest river basin, the state has more than 15 meandering rivers, covering a length of 2000km. Each of the river system has characteristic ecological conditions and diverse fish population. The water-logged marshy and swampy areas, canals and wetlands of the state covered about 5,000 hectares( Economic Survey of Manipur-2008-09).The state is also home to the largest fresh water lake of North-East India, the LOKTAK LAKE, covering an area of 24,672 hectares. It is the most important inland water resources of the state with floating mat vegetation (basically called Phum). Fishing and other fishery activities carried out in and around the lake accounts for about 50% of the total fish production of the state. The state has around 153 floodplains wetlands (locally called Pat) accounting for 28.34% of the total valley area. The Loktak Lake and Pats supports a huge fisher flock’s livelihood. Being an agrarian state, Manipur has huge area covered by paddy field especially in the valley districts. Keeping fish along with the paddy has been in practice since ages ago. Though there is no systematic method followed, integration of fish –cum paddy with fish as the secondary crop has been considered as one of the best alternatives for ensuring the diversity of food basket without compromising on the sociological and environmental functions of the fields.
Manipur shares a part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot and is immensely endowed with diverse biological resources. The state fish faunal diversity has been seen to be influenced by the Burmese fish faunas which has been clearly highlighted by the presence of many indigenous fish species in Manipur and Myanmar (Burma) water but not found in any parts of India. The number of fish species found in Manipur was reported to be 125.Pengba which is also state fish of Manipur was found abundantly in the water bodies of Loktak Lake and Nambul River. However with the construction of the Ithai barrage across Manipur River for the operation of Loktak Hydro Electric Project, the fish population was reported drastic reduction in the wild. The water bodies of Manipur are diverse and harbour various aquatic grasses. Hence grass carp and common carp are the mainstay carp species in the extensive aqua system. The fox nuts (locally called Thangjing) which is a delicacy in the state is widely culture by many farmers in homestead ponds. Most of the aquatic plants are highly marketable for their flowers, roots, rhizomes and stems, fruits and seeds for various purposes including medicinal use. Fisheries has been playing an integral role in the Manipuri society as fish forms a part and parcel of every Manipuri dish served on the table. Fish has thus been termed to be the most widely accepted food items in the state. It is consumed by almost all people irrespective of age, culture, religion and food habits including the vegetarian sect of people. Fishes of all sizes and varieties are found in the market in the form of live and fresh, frozen, dried, smoked, canned and fermented and consumed as curry, boiled, fried or chutney. Fish plays a major role in many customary and religious rituals of the Manipuri such as traditional use of fresh Nganap and Catfish in the marriage rituals, Ngamu in healing rites, Ngamu and Phabounga in rituals conducted for newly born child. Being one of the most commonly accepted food items, fish is generally used to serve in most of the common feast. The pool barb has been widely consumed by the Manipuri’s in fermented form (locally called Ngari). Due to its flavour and nutritive value, Ngari has become an irreplaceable and inseparable ingredient of almost all Manipuri dishes such as Kangsoi, Iromba, ametpa, Singju etc. As the state fish production could not meet the consumers demand, Manipur imports various forms of fish (frozen. Dried, smoked, canned) from other states like Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh etc. Canned or tinned fish widely consumed in the state are imported from Myanmar. The price of fish and fishery product in the state are thus very high.
Fish culture in Manipur was believed to have started since paddy culture began, fish-cum paddy culture in the paddy fields traditionally with the fish as the secondary crop. With the increase of demand of fish for food, slowly fish culture in separate pond began and later improves with better culture practices and technologies. Fish farming practices in the state is more or less pond-based with several species stocked in the same pond (Poly-culture) or integrated with agro/animal husbandry taking advantage of the rich aquatic microorganism and aquatic floras of the water Monoculture practices are rarely seen or reported. Aquaculture methods in the state are mostly traditional especially in the hilly regions though few semi-intensive and intensive system are being taken up in the valleys. Integration of fish with horticulture, agriculture crops and livestock has been a traditional practices in Manipur over the centuries. The present estimated per hectare production of fish in the state is 700- 1800 kg/ha/year. There are 123 fishing villages in the state with 34,064 fishermen out of which 8,395 fishermen are full time fishers. The fishermen of the state are mostly concentrated in and around Loktak Lake in Moirang. Around 55 rural and urban hamlets encircled the water bodies and the lake, thus has a population of about 1, 00,000 people harbouring the majority of the state total fishermen in and around it.
Marketing of fish is one of the biggest business in the state because the state consumed a huge amount of fish. Though there is huge demand for the fish in the state, state farmers and fishers faces many constraints and issues in fish production. Some of the constraints are: technical constraints; financial constraints; social constraints; environmental problems and other issues. The water resources of the state have a potential of producing around 64,000 metric tons of fish annually with multiple water bodies not utilized/ poor utilized or sparsely stocked. To make Manipur a self-sufficient state in fish production, the various underutilized water bodies’ needs to be judiciously explored and utilized sustainably. Proper stocking strategy with diverse fast growing fish species, up gradation of quality fish seed production for natural water bodies’ management and development will enhance the fish basket of the state.  The state should take vehement steps in conserving the native fish species which are threatened in their natural system. Judiciously harnessing the untapped and potential resources using modern technologies can not only bridge the demand- supply gap of the fish in the state but also produce surplus that can be supplied to the neighbouring states too, which will directly or indirectly uplift the livelihood of many resources dependant fishers, exalt employment and income generation and elevate the nutritional security of the people.

25th February-Sports Person’s Day of Manipur (Sanaroisingee Numit)

 In my childhood days, during the “LAI HARAOBA” festival of my village albeit I didn’t know the real significance & much about  Lai haraoba &  Maibi jagoi( Dance) etc ,I enjoyed it but the event I  most eagerly waiting was the Mukna –Lamjel ,that use to hold one day after the last day of Lai haraoba(Lairoi).According to the tradition of my village, the players who are to take part in mukna(Traditional wrestling) are put into two teams, which leaders and elders of the village named as Laroi panna and singloi panna or Lairembi panna and Lairemba panna. Each team is led by one of the best player whom we call him Mukna Jatra. Both the teams will arrive at the Laibung after traditional rituals at the residence of the Jatras. After the mukna team arrived, the athletes who are to take part in marathon race (Lamjel) in the same team as mukna arrived. In case of marathon race, the team leader is generally the one who got first, second or third place in previous year. The judge (we call him, lamtharoi) is the one who got hat trick in this marathon in other days. The encouragement given to those athletes by our people during their run by shouting: CHENKHATLU-CHENKHATLU” still fresh in my mind. The prizes given to those winners are very simple, very lovely but I envied at it. The prizes were those cloth of our deities which are conferred by Laipanaba. After that, the winners will go around the laibung where our elders (Famnaiba) also encouraged them by giving whatever they have, may be cash or kind or flowers etc.  I liked and envied at it even though I could not take part.Whatever the case, it may be, I thought, games and sports in every part of Manipur might have been originated from Lai-haraoba. In addition to this, the Art & Culture of Manipur has also been associating with our Lai-Haraoba,I supposed myself. It could be the driving force which makes Manipur famous in Games & Sports as well as in Art & Culture, all over the World. It’s not wrong to say that in Manipur the spirit of Art & Culture as well as Sports started from every families, right from childhood days by every one of us. It’s a well-known fact that every elder of all our family started teaching dance to all our minors by saying “TADING –TADING “.
   Who are those players who bring laurels for our motherland Manipur from National and International arenas? And where are they from? Are they the children of those rich, powerful big shots? Or are they the children of those who are taking utmost care for the career of their children by dragging out from sleep in early hour of a day for tuition by paying advance payment for tuition who are studying in premier private schools where there is no playground at all? As of now, it’s not so. Most of the players who brings laurels and gives the name of the Manipur in the world are those who are deprived of proper education, basic amenities of contemporary world and children of those parents who can’t look after their children just for hand to mouth way of survival. They simply come to nearby playground, watch playing then induced the feeling of playing without any sports suits. At this point of time, I recall one Manipuri Film “NOBAB” which portrayed how our sports stars groomed.
    It is encouraging to celebrate Sports person’s Day(Sannaroisingee Numit) every year on 25th February in commemoration of awarding Manipur “The Raja Bhalindra “ trophy for overall team champion in 5th ( Latter on 30th ) National Games in 1999 at Imphal. On the sideline of this celebration, when we look into the condition of our players, play grounds, sports infrastructures vis-à-vis the welfare scheme taken up for the players ,it is in a  highly deplorable  state and hope for our players is greatly miserable. In the remote areas, away from greater Imphal, though there are few play grounds, there is no sign of development and improvement. In the greater Imphal areas, play grounds are replaced by Community halls where certain indoor games can be played but not possible for any outdoor games. In the grass-root levels at villages and in the hill area there is no sign of translating anything into action which are inevitably to do for the development of Sports. NATIONAL SPORTS UNIVERSITY, the foundation stone for which was laid by Prime Minister is still in its infant state. The budget allocation for Sports & Culture instead of escalation seems to be cutting down. Because of this a great apprehension among the people develop whether our sports & culture will be outshine like yester-years. Felicitating eminent sports persons on this day by giving incentives or awards is a good step. However simply honoring those on this day will improve the condition of our sports is the question that many asked. Will it be worth to identify those local clubs and persons who are dedicated for the development of sports in our state and confer or honor them? This act will help to re- orient our sports activities in progressive direction. On the other hands, most of our schools do not have sports grounds which is one of the most important criteria to be fulfilled while recognition is given by the Board/Govt. Due to lack of this important infrastructures, people started posting voices that most of our schools are something like a private tuition or coaching centers which in turn snatch away the intrinsic  properties or qualities of our children who are our future pillars and have been converted into a spoiled bread. Simply shouting and honoring few eminent sports persons by the Government on this 25th day of February every year will not help to translate our dream of Manipur to be the power house of sports into reality.