Eco Preservation : Palmyra Palm Trees

Borassus_flabelliferBorassus (Palmyra Palm) is a genus of six species of fan palms, native to tropical regions of AfricaAsia and New Guinea. They are tall palms, capable of growing up to 30 m high (98 ft). The leaves are long, fan-shaped, 2 to 3 m in length. The flowers are small, in densely clustered spikes, followed by large, brown, roundish fruits.

Palmyra palms are economically useful, and widely cultivated in tropical regions. The palmyra palm has long been one of the most important trees of Cambodia and India, where it has over 800 uses. The leaves are used for thatchingmatsbaskets,fanshatsumbrellas, and as writing material. In Cambodia, the tree is a national flora symbol/emblem that is seen growing around Angkor Wat. The sugar palm can live over 100 years. 

In ancient Indonesia and ancient India, the leaves were used as paper to write on, as a kind of papyrus. In India, leaves of suitable size, shape and texture, and sufficient maturity are chosen. They are then preserved by boiling in salt water with turmeric powder. The leaves are then dried; when they are dry enough, the faces of the leaves are polished with pumice stone. Then they are cut in the proper size. A hole is cut out in one corner. Each leaf will have four pages. The writing is done with a stylus. The writing is of a very cursive and interconnected style. The leaves are then tied up as sheaves.

palm_treeRiver will go dry if you destroy Palmyra palm trees:

“According to Tamil culture, Palmyra palm trees played an important role in water management in the ancient times. The ancestors had a planned vision for the future water needs of the generations that followed, but most importantly a well balanced ecosystem was maintained.

Unlike other trees, Palmyra palm’s roots go vertically into the ground, which in turn brought the ground water to various levels along the path. It irrigated the land, played a significant role in the circulation of water in the aquifers, river beds and rivers. Since the process is natural and balance of consumption was well maintained. Rivers remained perennial those times and these trees had its own significance. That is why these trees are considered as “celestial trees”  You could find all the traditional ponds or lakes they had dug with Palmyra palms around like a fence.”

The stalks are used to make fences and to make a strong, wiry fiber suitable for cordage and brushes. The black timber is hard, heavy, and durable and is highly valued for construction, such as for wharf pilings. The tree also yields many types of food. The young plants are cooked as a vegetable or roasted and pounded to make meal. The fruits are eaten roasted or raw, and the young, jellylike seeds are also eaten. A sugary sap, called toddy, can be obtained from the young inflorescence, either male or female ones. toddy is (called “kallu” in Telugu. The toddy is fermented to make a beverage called arrack, or it is concentrated to a crude sugar called jaggery/palm sugar. It is called Gula Jawa (Javanese sugar) in Indonesia and is widely used in the Javanese cuisine. The roots can be dried to form Odiyal, a hard chewable snack. In addition, the tree sap is taken as a laxative, and medicinal values have been ascribed to other parts of the plant.

In Tamil culture

The Palmyra tree is the official tree of Tamil Nadu. In Tamil culture, it is called karpaha,”Nungu” “celestial tree”, and is highly respected because all its parts can be used. The recently germinated seeds have formed fleshy sprouts below the surface which can be boiled and eaten as a fibrous, nutritious food. The germinated seed’s hard shell is also cut open to take out the crunchy kernel which tastes like a water chestnut but is sweeter. The ripe fibrous outer layer of the fruits is edible after boiling or roasting. When the fruit is tender, the kernel inside the hard shell is an edible jelly that is refreshing and rich in minerals. When the crown of the tree from which the leaves sprout is cut we get an edible cake. In ancient times, dried palm leaves were used to write manuscripts.

Palakkad,Kerala

Palakkad District of Kerala State is popularly known as land of Palmyra trees.Palmyra trees are known as the Icon of this district and has got vast cultural, heritage & literary association. Many novels, stories and poems revolve around these trees. The path-breaking Malayalam novel written by the Indian writer O. V. Vijayan, ‘Khasakkinte Itihasam’ mentions Palmyra trees in various angles. Many people, especially in eastern Palakkad live on earnings by tapping Pamyra Toddy, which are sold in outlets controlled by Co-op Societies.The district authorities are taking the very action to preserve these trees & maintain Palakkad’s Identity.

A Traditional Irrigation System Using Palmyra Palm (Borassus flabellifer) in Kerala, India

traditional irrigation system palm

The multipurpose palmyra palm, is still very important in village culture in India. This paper describes a hitherto undocumented traditional water engineering system prevalent in the Palakkad District of Kerala, India, involving the palmyra palm. (Read more…)

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Courtesy : Wikipediadavesgarden.comRamachandran :Palmyra Irrigation Systemwww.eegarai.net

Alcohol vs Men vs Women : A Justified Perspective

Looked at these pictures? Do not expect a morality debate here and I am not going to advocate neither supporting nor against the culture of Women drinking or smoking in India.

Source banksguide.wordpress.com via google

Source banksguide.wordpress.com via google

Just let me share what happens around now. Almost in all social media women of India are criticized for going beyond their cultural limits. They slam Indian women so badly that they are now drinking, smoking just like men and claim they are culturally spoilt. On the other hand many feminists argue, it is our freedom to choose what they want to do, if men can drink we too can drink, we too can smoke and that’s none of your business.

Heated debates on TV shows, Facebook, Blogs, Tweets it happens everywhere.

What happens globally?

Hmm. A tricky perspective though but if we look across the globe Women choose liberally whether to drink alcohol or not as per their wish, except for those culturally/religiously bounded countries. This is a one line status I can infer.

What about India?

Here are my perspectives. Here men need to wake up. They are still dreaming in a prehistoric India. Most of the men drink alcohol. They fall in categories of heavy drinker, regular drinker and the most glorified term “Social Drinker”. The trend is that towards the North you can see the western countries’ influence in drinking pattern and occasions, whereas if you see towards south Drinking is still under the dim lights on bars and not as social as in the rest of India.

There is another 3rd front of people who demand for the shutdown of Alcohol trade in many places in India. Women activists are more and effectively fighting for it.

It’s a Man Thing! Not any more!

The women of India are getting into the habit of drinking. So do I mean women never consumed alcohol before the western impact? No, past traces are there in villages women consume DesiDharu / Kallu or some form of forbidden drinks, urban women too had it as secret as they could.

Just now they are getting the free on other fronts like education and profession, similarly they are choosing the habits as well, which in the past were considered to be a Man thing – socially.

Drinking as a Choice

If we see a morality factor of consuming any alcoholic beverages or smoking too, it is purely a personal choice of any individual provided that habit does not affect others. Be it man or woman it is purely a personal choice. Men have no rights to question women and moral policing!

When a man can drink and say its his choice, a woman can say that too.

Drinking as a Health issue

Alcohol / Smoking is injurious to health and mind. More addictive you become more adverse the effects. So on a health perspective, this habit is not advisable to men or women.

Just do a google search for the stats on deaths and assess yourself.

Drinking as a Morality

If you ask me to look overall on the habit of consuming alcohol / smoking, the moral consciousness in me would say NO to that habit. It matters a lot what is our morality and on what basis we arrive at. I arrived at a NO, because of the health vs psychological factors and socioeconomic factors associated with drinking.

To hit the nail direct, It is not good for health and affects the mind of a person as worse as it could be, even to lose their consciousness of what happens around. Men end up with accidents, fights, arrogance over family and poor decisions. Women end up with people to take unfair advantages over themselves, physical abuses, unconscious rape and addiction.

On a whole to a society drinking causes more damage as it does to an individual. The logic is simple, all individuals makes society, more the drinkers more the damage. Socially its bad.

Economically alcohol industry is highly profitable and creates an illusion that it contributes to the economy. This is just similar to sell some viral disease to facilitate the sales of a vaccine to it. Alcohol economy is a disease to economy not a cure. That money can be invested in many useful projects for sustained life on earth and mankind.

What to conclude?

You can be a male or a female. Drinking is not a matter of man thing or a woman thing to debate.

It is injurious to human. It’s better not to learn to drink at first. If you have started drinking its better to quit NOW. If you are a seasoned drinker, it is up to you to think, decide and please do not spread that habit to others. 

All Drinking men and women are not totally bad there are good people too, and all those who do not drink are not completely good either, there are baddies too among them. It is the character that matters. If we can see drinking as a Social Morality than a personal choice, we can easily get rid of it.

– Words by Din

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Disclaimer: The images are available on a google image search moderated safe, so I have not done any background checking  for the personals there. If any image disturbs anyone personally please let me know. We will take that out. We have mentioned the source sites for reference as well.