Deepavali or Diwali is the greatest festival in Hindu calendar. The festivities reinforce our optimism and give us the confidence to strive for a better tomorrow. Diwali is typically a five-day affair with ‘Laxmi Pooja” at the heart of auspicious occasion. However, in the greatness of the primary occasion, we tend to overshadow the various significant celebrations that have been clubbed with Diwali fanfare. Govardhan Pooja or Annakut is the most important among these parallel celebrations.
The festival is traditionally linked to the legend of Lord Krishna and his heroics in saving the people of Braj from the wrath of Indra. However their deep symbolism in the narration that signifies the ability of human beings to overcome any eventuality. Indra the ‘lord of rains’ has a special place in Hindu python considering the overwhelming importance of agriculture in the Indian way of life. untimely rains and bad weather can wreak havoc on the prospects of good crops and continuity of farming. As our civilization prospered, our people gained more and more confidence to control the volatility of nature. Human ingenuity created opportunities even where they were none. From cultivation in the delta to plowing of the most difficult ravines, humanity learned the art of using natural resources to the best of its advantages.
Lord Krishna’s raising of the mountain is a mark of this confidence that humanity has in its abilities. Torrential rains and worst of natural vagaries represented by Indra had to ultimately bow to the faith and determination of mere mortals. This is a story of triumph, of jubilation and restoration of faith in humanity.
The example is as relevant today as in the age of Mahabharata. Climate change and limitation of resources have cast a long shadow over the prospects of the entire farm sector. it is this belief in the human ingenuity that will ultimately see us through these turbulent times.
The tradition of Annakutt of also associated with goddess Annapurna and the offering of food to major deities. This point to the perennial tradition of sustainability and resolve against food wastage in our culture. Even in midst of the Diwali pomp, the idea of consuming pre-cooked food points to the concern for food availability. It is this contrast that has lessons for not just India but the entire humanity. The current challenge in global food security is not food security but ensuring availability for the last person. By learing to conserve food and making best utilization of natural resources, we can ensure a bright future for the entire humanity.
Shankara has an unparalleled status in the Sanatan tradition and deserves true credit for restoring the glory of Advaita Vedanta. He travelled all over India to help restore the study of the Vedas. His teachings and tradition form the basis of Smartism and have influenced Sant Math lineages. Among the most illustrious sanctums established by Adi Shankaracharya is the Ramchandrapura Math in Shimoga district of Karnataka. Veiled in the cover of lush evergreen forests of the Western ghats, Ramchandrapura Math is an abode of sanctity and peace.
Shri Vidyananda Bharathi was appointed as the first head of Ramchandrapura Math, after that generations of Shankaracharya of this Math have upheld dharma and worked tirelessly for the moral and spiritual upliftment of the masses.
Shri Raghaveshwara Bharathi currently upholds the illustrious order of the Ramchandra Math. His unique vision for the emancipation of the society encompasses moral, material and spiritual upliftment for the masses. He has undertaken various activities that seek to restore the pride and confidence in Sanatan Dharma. Gaudiksha and Akshara Diksha are among the most notable programs conducted under his guidance.
Gau or Cow has been a matter severe social and political contention in contemporary India. Not many realize the special bond that cows and especially native cows share with our civilization. There are plenty of scientific explanations that denounce the consumption of beef. In fact cattle ranches and clearing of virgin forest land for cultivation of fodder crops is among the leading causes of global warming. Cows also connect us with the glories, of our past, which gives us confidence and shapes our identity. An individual that doesn’t identify with his roots tries to dawn the identity of the most attractive contemporary social culture. Such people find it difficult to create a niche for themselves in the competitive world and are often stricken by a moral and identity crisis. From Soviet Russia to India’s North East, it is this cultural disconnect that can be associated with the rapid increase in crime and decline in social harmony.
Through Gau Diksha Guru Raghaveshwara Bharati ji is trying to promote the awareness about Gau Diksha through rational discourses. The mission not just seeks material contributions but equally recognizes intellectual contributions for raising awareness about cow welfare.
Akshara Diksha Animal Slaughter on any pretext cannot be justified. The idea of killing a being just to satiate one’s sensory lust cannot be justified. The initiative for banning slaughter of innocent animals must begin with Native cows, which are a symbol of our pride and rich cultural heritage. Under the guidance of Guru Raghaveshwara Bharati ji, Akshara Diksha program has been lobbying against cow slaughter in India. A petition requesting the same has already been shared with the authorities. It’s heartening to see the wide interest and participation of youngsters in this moral cause. A large number of young men and women have been actively promoting the cause using latest social media tools, which has helped create awareness about the topic. Famous Russian thinker Leo Tolstoy once quoted:
As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields.
The true parameter of development is not haphazard growth but the development of a sustainable value based social structure. Under the guidance of Guru Raghaveshwara Bharati ji, we are sure that the glories of our past will be restored.
The city of Mumbai never fails to surprise. It is easy for a new comer to be dazzled by the sheer energy and exuberance of the city, but there are surprises for even those who’ve spent their lifetimes in it. Despite being known for its vast colonial heritage, Mumbai’s spirit is deeply ingrained in Indian values. ‘Banganga’ situated in southern Mumbai is a living testimony to this fact.
To insusceptible tourist, Walkeshwar may seem like a typical uptown neighborhood in south Mumbai. However the ancient Banganga tank reminds us of times when Mumbai was the chosen hermitage of sage Gautama, one of the most revered saints of sanatan culture. It is this ‘ashrama’ which is believed to be visited by number of epic heroes and mythological characters.
As per legends, Laxman the younger brother of Lord Ram has been credited for shooting an arrow to break a natural spring at Banganga site in order to quench Lord Ram’s thirst. According to some accounts of Gaud Saraswat Brahmanas, It was Lord Parshuram who’s blow drew sweet water out of saline coastal land of Mumbai .Walkeshwar has been the seat of vedantic thinkers in the past, whose description of the supreme reality is as scientific as its rationale. Whatever be the reason, the deep connection of this site with Uttar Mimansa school of thoughts is clearly evident by the presence of numerous samadhi (memorials) of adwaita sages in the vicinity
Their also once stood a grand Shiva temple here by the name of ‘Walkeshwara’ (Lord of the Sands). however the structure in itself couldn’t survive the test of time, Portuguese colonizers demolished the Walkeshwara temple in an attempt to subjugate the natives and disconnect them from the glories of their past. However what they couldn’t demolish was the unfailable spirit of Mumbai. Banganga of today sprang out from its own ruins like a phoenix that rises from its own ashes.
Mumbai is often believed to be city that was established by western colonizers with little or no connection with India’s cultural and spiritual heritage. However structures like Banganga will time and again remind us of the resilient spirit of our country and reinforce the ‘never say die’ spirit of us Mumbaikar
It will increase domestic supply, lower the edible oil import bill and save foreign exchange
October 13, 2016: The Indian edible oil sector is the world’s fourth-largest after the US, China and Brazil and accounts for around 9 per cent of the world’s oilseed production.
An irony of this industry is its heavy dependence on imports. Cooking oil imports are all set to touch a record 15 million tonnes (mt) in the current, 2015-16 Oil Year, ending October. Out of the 15 mt, palm oil imports alone account for 9 mt or 60 per cent.
The reason for palm oil occupying the lion’s share of the total consumption is because palm is generally the cheapest commodity vegetable oil and also the cheapest oil to produce and refine globally.
Therefore, focussed palm oil cultivation will undoubtedly play a key role in addressing the domestic shortfall in edible oil consumption and lowering India’s edible oil import bill and saving foreign exchange.
Highest-yielding crop A distinct advantage that palm enjoys is that it is the highest-yielding perennial edible oil crop and needs a fraction of the area used to grow in comparison to other oilseeds. This is indeed potentially attractive in a country like India, where land is increasingly scarce as the population rockets.
On a per-hectare basis, oil palm trees are 6-10 times more efficient at producing oil than temperate oilseed crops such as rapeseed, soyabean, sunflower or ground nut. For example, while a hectare of land can yield 300-400 kg of groundnut oil, nearly 4 tonnes of palm oil can be produced from a hectare of land.
The case for palm oil P Rethinam, a plantation crop management specialist, in his detailed report titled ‘Increasing Vegetable Oil Production through Oil Palm Cultivation in India’ observes: “27 million hectares of nine oilseed crops produce about 9 million tonnes of oil per year but 2 million hectares of oil palm could produce 8 million tonnes of crude palm oil, 0.8 million tonnes of palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake, bio mass for bio energy, eco-friendly bio-diesel, etc.” There is a big potential to raise the acreage of palm, which is currently cultivated on about 200,000 hectares. According to OPDPA, India has the potential to expand the acreage to 20 lakh hectares, keeping in view the demand. If this is done, the palm oil industry, which provides employment to 20,000 people, can create two lakh additional jobs.
Indian palm oil production is estimated at 1.7 lakh tonnes for 2014-15, up from 0.6 lakh tonnes in 2010-11. Palm oil cultivation has grown from zero to 2,00,000 hectares in the past two decades.
The Central government has been trying, for many years now, to reduce its dependence on imported edible oils by encouraging farmers to take up palm cultivation. In an encouraging move, the current government has announced a package of ₹10,000 crore over three years, which is intended to support farmers until the trees begin to yield (it takes three to five years for the palm tree to start yielding fruit).
The government has identified nine States with suitable climatic conditions. In November 2015, the government has also allowed 100 per cent FDI in palm oil plantations, a move the industry believes will boost domestic production, bring in more funds and newer technologies into the sector.
Industry challenges However, there are several road blocks for India preventing it from successfully expanding on its domestic palm oil cultivation. First and foremost, lack of large land tracts is a major constraint.
The industry wants the government to declare palm oil as a plantation crop to move it out of the Land Ceiling Act. Moreover, the current import duty is not supportive of oil palm farmers and the industry.
Secondly, the Indian edible oil industry has been urging the government to maintain a duty differential of at least 15 per cent on crude and refined oil to protect the interests of refineries. Domestic edible oil refiners are facing a surge of imports of refined oil over the last few months, reducing their capacity utilisation to 30-40 per cent from 55-60 per cent a year ago.
Last month, the Centre lowered the import duty on crude palm oil from 12.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent and on refined oil from 20 per cent to 15 per cent. Hence, there was no change at all in the duty differential and the move is not expected to have any impact on either the industry or farmers.
The government needs to provide a level playing field to the domestic refining industry. Otherwise, Indian edible oil importers will be perpetually fighting a losing battle with cheap rival palm oil from top producers Malaysia and Indonesia.
Conclusion A focus on palm oil cultivation is key to India’s goal of attaining self-sufficiency in vegetable oils over the next decade. The palm oil industry deserves the highest priority and encouragement from the government to meet the internal demand of edible oil, resulting in a strong imprint on savings of foreign exchange, employment generation and boosting India’s food security.
The writer is Founder & Managing Director, Ruchi Soya Industries Limited.
At a time when several parts of the country are reeling under an acute water shortage and dams are running dry at the culmination of what promises to be a hotter than average summer, there seems to be a ray of hope, with various agencies predicting a good monsoon this year. As you are aware, India bore the brunt of the 2015-16 El Nino weather phenomenon resulting in deficit rainfall with as many as 10 states declaring drought. Hence, the favorable monsoon predictions is definitely good news for our country, our economy and most importantly good for farmers who have been devastated by two consecutive droughts. A good monsoon will help restore agricultural productivity, enhance rural demand and boost India’s macroeconomic prospects. A bountiful monsoon can enhance the disposable income of majority of Indians, which in turn will boost consumption of packaged food and branded consumables. An above average rainfall after back to back draughts will cement optimism and attract even more investments in India’s food sector. At 7.5% GDP growth rate, Indian economy has amply demonstrated that it’s fundamental remain strong as ever. A culture of sustainable consumption backed with highly diversified economic activities helped Indian Inc. stay afloat amidst International economic slump. Monsoon prediction of 106% over the long period average will help actualize the newly launched government policies like crop insurance, unified agriculture market, organic farming and other long term initiatives. Food security for all citizens has been high on the government’s agenda. India has been self-sufficient in the production of cereals since the green revolution. However much remains to be achieved when it comes ensuring nutritional security for all Indians . Rise in disposable incomes in the aftermath of good monsoon can help farmers diversify from subsistence based cultivation of cereals to pulses and oilseeds which can not only help them increase their incomes but also give them access to nutritious food in times of scarcity. Ruchi Soya is India’s largest producer of cooking oil and soyfoods. Our company’s has been credited for revolutionizing commercial cultivation of soybean in India. Our efforts have aided the transformation of Madhya Pradesh into the ‘Soya bowl’ of India. We must endeavour to make the most of this favourable monsoon by expanding acreage of soybean and other oilseeds and refrain from cultivation of resource intensive crops that are not naturally suited to a region. Ruchi Soya’s stress on quality and reasonable pricing will help more-and-more Indian consumers avail nutritious food for themselves and their families in the year ahead. Above average monsoon will give Indians a chance to bring back sustainability in farm consumptions. We must take urgent measures to control runoff of rainwater and instead use it for recharging aquifers and ground-water tables that have dipped to alarming levels in many parts of India. These reserves will be our best bet in dealing with water scarcity in coming years. Ruchi Soya, India’s largest food and agro-processing company, has actively promoted the cause of food and nutritional security for all Indians through sustainable means. A good monsoon will further boost our efforts to bring prosperity to farmer sector and marginalized Indian farmers at large. #monsoon #Agriculture #Sustainability #RuchiSoya
Yagna is in the essence of vedic culture that evolved in our country four millenniums ago.
Yagna ceremonies have played an impeccable role in conservation and proliferation of our material and spiritual heritage. With growing uneasiness over adherence to ritualism, it is important for us to develop a deeeper understanding of the process.
Yagna is a symbolic sacrifice offered to God. Usually, It is an elaborate ritual accompanied with the chanting of vedic mantras to various deities. It is aimed to please the deities either to give thanks or to accomplish a task or fulfill a desire. The ancient Indians heavily relied on yagna as a means to accomplish things. When there were no rains in the kingdom, the emperors along with their priests conducted the yagna to please Varuna deva, the presiding deity of water, to bless the kingdom and shower his blessings in the form of rain. The purpose of performing a yagna can be anything, right from a personal desire to beget a son to a selfless one to attain world peace.
The forms of Yagna can be many. Tharpanam, (libation with water) is one such example, which is also a type of offering and a yagna. The most conventional form of yagna involves the invocation of Agni, the presiding deity of fire, into the fire pit and the substance used as offering along with ghee, is offered in the name of God. The mantras usually end with “Swaha” when the offering is given in the name of a deity that belongs to heaven, and with “Swadha” when the offering is given to a deity of the manes (from the Pithru loka). The fire sublimates the physical essence of the material and converts it into the havis, which is the spiritual essence of the offering and the agni deva, being the carrier, submits it to the addressed deity. This is why the agni deva is also called with the name yagna vahana.
There is a quote from Bhagavad Geetha regarding the same,
Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir Brahmagnau Brahmanaahutam Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam Brahmakarma Samadhina
which means that,
The act of offering, the offering itself (food), the one who offers and the one who receives the offering (fire), is all God. God is That which is to be attained by him who performs action pertaining to God.
The example quoted pertains to the simple task of eating food but the internal meaning can be extended (in the right spirit) to every other task as well. When one performs a deed, selflessly offering the fruits of the karma to God, that task becomes a yagna. This is the internal meaning of it, as quoted from the Bhagavad Geetha.
Mahadeo Shahra Sukrat Trust recently organized the highly elaborate ‘Atirudra MahaYagna’ with a vision to conserve our cultural and spiritual heritage. Offering to Lord Shiva in Atirudram Anushthan are meant to invoke positive reaction not just for personal but social welfare. Some glimpses of Atirudra Anusthan.
Green Gold day has been a key commemoration for entire Ruchi family for decades now. Every year on 22nd Feb, Ruchiites across the world plant thousands of saplings. The entire exercise has created a huge amount of social capital across our facilities. Lets try to understand the entire process with a modern utilitarian approach. There are some clear known benefits of planting trees; from emitting oxygen to creating precious food and biomass. The utilities of trees are practically unlimited. However many among us find it more suitable to create Wi-Fi hotspots instead of green zones in our living and work spaces. Since most of the benefits of planting trees are ‘Public’ not many among us are genuinely interested in the entire exercise. Trees must be raised since they have something unique about them. They give us an opportunity to ‘grow’ as Individuals; don’t you think the entire point of growing in life is having the ability to rise above our selfishness and develop a capacity to change things. Trees give us an opportunity to feel greater than our individual self. Many of us have experienced the joy of raising children; raising a tree and experiencing it thriving development is the closest we can get to enjoy the ecstasy almost regularly. Man is a social creature. Its survival is impossible without the availability of a suitable habitat. Success of mankind can be credited to our work for the benefit of the society. For ages humanity has tried to preserve its best for coming generations, and strive for the ‘general good’. As Individuals we all have treasured possessions and fond memories. But our fondest memories are mostly from our childhood; the joy we experienced plucking flowers or finding random fruits was one of the highlights, at least in my case. It is our responsibility to not deprive our children from experiencing the true ‘joy’ of childhood. On Green Gold day we try to create a world that is not fenced and pleasures, which are not private.
Our 60 th Foundation day was a milestone in company’s long and illustrious journey of evolution.
In these years, Ruchi has not just survived but ‘thrived’ amidst neck breaking competition.Ruchi Soya today is not just the largest food and agro-processing company in India but also among the fastest growing FMCG company in the world. as per recent studies.We owe this thumping success to the entire ‘Ruchi Family’ .I call this organization a ‘family’ because it’s core competence comes from a winning combination of youthful energy and mindful experience.Without the commitment,hard work and faith of all Ruchiites, our achievements would not have been possible
Argument for Success.
On our 60th foundation day it is important to have a re-look at our core strengths and shortcoming.As India’s largest food company, we have repeatedly created opportunities of growth for ourselves, even in the face of challenge.Our flexibility and capability to adore challenges has helped us rise to the ‘number one’ position in all most all the businesses we’ve been involved in.
To achieve this we have never shied away from taking risks.
Our confidence to take risk comes from our immense faith in our capability to bounce back even in most unfavourable positions
Our values,our hard-work and persistence have always helped us bounced back even when experts dismissed us as the ‘underdog’
From Soybean to Palm to Guar gum, we have repeatedly silenced our critics, not by our words but actions
Our foray in brands too has created new avenues for inspiring growth of the company. Nutrela, Mahakosh Sunrich, Ruchi Gold have become household names in almost all corners of our country.
International Economy is experiencing perhaps the most difficult recession of this century.India today is the brightest spot in the global economy.Rising incomes, demographic dividend, local demand and stable economy make India’s fundamentals strong. No wonder India today is the fastest growing, among large economies of the world. Ruchi Soya, India’s largest food and Agri-processing company, is thus poised to grow at unprecedented levels in the coming decade.
Glimpses of this year’s celebration.
The highlight of this year’s celebration were the discourses of Swami Sukhbodhananda. By narrating simple stories and incidents he helped the audiences decipher perhaps the most complicated existential issues, humanity has come across.His experiences where based on the solid foundation of ‘age-old’ Indian wisdom. It thus provided positive reinforcement to the audiences almost instantly.
Cultural program and entertainment items where also relished by one and all: some images of the world-class performances…
Foundation Day is also the occasion for rewarding veteran ruchiites who’ve served Ruchi Soya for more than 25 years.
The commitment, capacity and the capability of Ruchiites was amply evident in this year’s celebrations. This reaffirmed my belief that our best is ahead of us.
As India’s largest food and Agro-processing company, we can outmatch six decades of our past progress in upcoming 10 years
For that we’ll have to evolve like a leaner and meaner athlete, who’s focused on nothing but winning the race.
Like previous years, a contingent of Ruchi Soya will participate in the ‘13th Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon’. We ran together to promote the cause of fitness and sustainability. These values have been an intrinsic part of all our endeavors since initiation. However many among us were not convinced with the idea of running for a cause and how it can bring about a change in perceptions of people at large.
The idea of Marathon is synonymous with commitment. Unlike sprints that are driven by sudden outburst of power, a marathon feat is impossible without physical and mental toughness. Overcoming one’s mental inhibitions is perhaps the most difficult challenge in completing the marathon. ‘Dream run’ is an opportunity to all of us to get better of all the mental and physical anxieties and achieve focus that’s rewarding even outside the ambit of physical fitness. It won’t be an overstatement to say that skills required to complete a Marathon are not different from values that drive us to success in our day-to-day lives. Isn’t focus, persistence, commitment the values we try to inculcate in ourselves regularly? I am sure, that rising early and being a part of a ‘collective resolve’ was far more rewarding than the typical weekend slumber.
India’s farm sector has come a long way after the end of colonialism in 1947. Regressive taxation and no impetus to land development led to stagnation in our country’s farm sector for almost 2 centuries. In fact no major breakthroughs had been achieved in our farms since the end of medieval ages. At the time of Independence, almost 40% of farmers used wooden ploughs and bullocks, a technology that had been around even before the commencement of Iron Age, 2000 years back.
low dietary intake because of poverty and low purchasing power
poor utilisation of available facilities due to low literacy and lack of awareness
After Independence, Food security was one of the biggest challenges that we faced. There were several dimensions to this problem. No wonder of 5 years plans laid special emphasis on agriculture.
The Green Revolution in 60’s ensured that the increase in food production stayed ahead of the
increase in population. The country has moved from chronic shortages to an era of surplus and export in most food items. The country is self sufficient in food grain production and currently there is a buffer stock of over 60 million tonnes. However even this failed to solve the problem. The reason for this situation are many;Food security is primarily a matter of ensuring effective demand rather than a problem relating to food supply. With such realisation, inter-relationship between poverty, hunger and food security is gaining international recognition and serious attempts are being made to define and identify people at risk. It is, therefore, important that every household should either have capacity to produce adequate food for all the members or have purchasing power to acquire it. It has to be appreciated that a country may be food surplus but all its citizens may not be enjoying food security as some may have no purchasing power.
Nutrition security is different from food security as it is about a community’s access to essential nutrients, not just calories.Problems of under-nutrition are intergenerational; when under-nutrition is not adequately addressed, children will grow into undernourished adults and their children will experience the same problems. This affects not only families, but also local economic development.
Success of green revolution was primarily confined to increase in production of wheat and rice. In Fact high production on these crops had a negative impact on cultivations of pulses and oil seeds. ramifications of which can be still felt in high prices of these commodities.
My father, Shri Mahadev Shahra and my elder brother Shri Kailash Shahra saw ‘Soybean’ as an perfect solution for the impending crisis. Soybeans are not only a great oilseed but also an optimum source of protein. With minimal capital inputs, it can serve the dual purpose of nutritional security and improvement in buying power of marginalised farmers. Ruchi Soya has in fact entered into a JV with a Canadian research major for raising our farm productivity to the international levels.
This three decade old vision still has the potential to bring about revolutionary changes in our food consumption patterns. With adequate support from farmers and policy maker, the dream of true nutritional security for India can certainly be turned into a reality.