Dear friend,

Local food culture and traditions have evolved over millenniums in tune with the local natural resources as well as the energy-nutrient needs of local communities. Culinary delights have also evolved to stimulate the taste buds differently. Diversity is the spice of life. Rameshwaram being a nodal point in the web of Gulf of  Mannar marine bio-diversity, it has its own unique and dynamic food traditions as well as soil fertility traditions. In this newsletter we examine two aspects of it: a sweet dish made from seaweed available locally and Goddess festivals which also connect with the germination of a variety of seeds of cereals and pulses.

The 'Green Rameshwaram' project is progressing wonderfully. There have been cleaning campaign with participation from people of the other states, the local youths and students. There have been rallies and street plays to sensitize the locals as well as pilgrims to the theme of 'Green Rameshwaram'. There have been green health camps; public awareness programme on hygiene. There has been thus mass outreach programmes to take the message of Green Rameshwaram. We have also been installing bio-methanation plants which produce energy from bio-waste.

In our monthly happening we have the Azolla camp, workshops on nutrient-rich bio-manure, bio-methanation plant workshops and also lecture on traditional medicine. There have been exposure visit of students and farmers to Gramodaya Park to study various green technologies. In our publication section we have eco-toons related to the educational system - the tradition system that was there before the colonial intervention and also the need for holistic education. In our wisdom section we have ecologists discussing how the food production,.distribution and consumption have to be sustainable and in tune with the conservation of the natural resources.

 

All these you can read here.

Dear friends,

Warm regards from VK-nardep.

This month newsletter starts with the importance of coral reefs for fishing in the Rameshwaram island. If coral reefs disappear then fish populations are affected. If fish populations dwindle then fishing communities are affected. Fishing communities  being an integral part of the socio-ecological fabric of the island the adverse impact on their livelihood shall disrupt the social fabric of the island. So conserving biodiversity of coral reefs is a very important obligation not only for the residents of Rameshwaram but also for the pilgrim-tourists who visit the island.

The newsletter also provides you the concluding part of the minutes of the third brain-storming session on Green Rameshwaram that was held at Rameshwaram island itself with public participation on October 11 2014.

As part of the 'Green Rameshwaram' project we have been able to bring smiles and light into the hamlets of Danushkodi with solar power installations. Sponsored by BrahMos Aerospace the project has not only lighted up the individual houses of the hamlet but also the community commons including the panchayat school and street lights in the area. The renewable energy installations is a short in the arm of the Green Rameshwaram project. Along with this we have also conducted a meeting of the special interest groups with the District Collector Sri.Nanthakumar IAS. The meeting was fruitful with a lot of suggestions and feed-back. A tribal products store has been opened at Rameshwaram at the Vivekananda Kendra premises. All these developments along with our work on sanitation can be read in this month newsletter.

Dear friend,

Warm regards from VK-nardep.

This month we have exciting report on Dharmar Teertham. After identifying the Teertham area which was a plain sand dune and after the initial ceremonies, we started digging. And we discovered a huge beautiful traditional water body emerging as the sand dune got cleared. The centuries old structure made with lime mixture has a wonderful finishing touch and is mostly intact even after centuries of being buried under the sand dune. In the Green Rameshwaram project we have a host of works done by our team of workers at Rameshwaram. The Tamil month Aadi that overlaps the English months of July and August is filled with local festivals and pilgrimages. So people flock the island in thousands and we have been using this occasion to conduct mass outreach programmes. We have distributed literature on Green Rameshwaram and have also had scores of them visit the Green Rameshwaram exhibition that we have organized. We have also conducted the Green Rameshwaram awareness programmes in many schools, panchayat commons as well as university study centers. Green Health Camps have been conducted at the villages in the island through which people are sensitized to the green herbal traditions and resources available locally.

Dear friend,

It is almost like a detective story. The traditional water bodies of Rameshwaram are finding a new life. Already VK-nardep has renovated the Sahadeva and Nakula teerthams. We have renovated vitally the Arjuna and Bhima teertham. But the remaining one Pandava prince and eldest of them all -Dharma : teertham in his name has been missing. After months of search we at last zeroed in on the spot. We conducted the initial ceremonies, involved the local people, removed the thorny bushes encroaching upon the teertham which was completely lost and now the teertham is coming up. Read about it in our newsletter.

Dear friend,

We hope you have had a great summer... In this Newsletter we provide you a further glimpse of how the 'Green Rameshwaram' project is taking off.

We present the discussions that took place around various sub-committees' presentation and the deliverable targets fixed for each of the sub-committees. The sub-committees we cover in this newsletter include :

  • sub-committee on the marine biodiversity of the Gulf of Mannar – Flora and fauna of Rameswaram and Greening of Rameswaram
  • sub-committee on the water harvesting – inside the temple and in the island
  • sub-committee ‘Sewage Treatment and underground drainage’

Dear Reader,

A very happy and prosperous new year.

This is the first newsletter of 2014 and carries the activities of the last month of 2013. Here in continuation with the  150th year celebrations we present the views of Swami Vivekananda that form the philosophical basis of VK-nardep activities. Here Swami Vivekananda speaks about the organic unity of all life as fellow travellers in a cosmic odyssey. Swami Vivekananda says that  'the idea of a real universal love is only possible from this point of view.'  and elaborates the brotherhood of humanity to not just humans but also animals and plants: 'all are our fellow passengers, our fellow travellers — all life, plants, animals; not only my brother man, but my brother brute, my brother plant'.

Dear friend,

Warm Greetings from Vivekananda Kendra - nardep.

This month newsletter brings out how Swami Vivekananda was one of the earliest modern thinker-seer to challenge the man-centric vision of nature that was responsible for the vast destruction of the environment. No other idea has played a central role in ecological devastation than the idea that the entire planet is designed for human greed to plunder.Today this is very much recognized as the basis of ecological thoughts : the recognition that the world is not made for the enjoyment of man but that humanity owes its existence to the planet and the varied life-forms in it. We find this foresight in Swami Vivekananda which makes him a pioneer in modern ecological thinking and provides a Vedantic basis to Indic ecological movement.  In his characteristic forceful and penetrating way Swami Vivekananda states: