Precepts and Principles

CIS believes that all humans have the right and capability to understand the complexities of nature and society. The prevalent educational system tends to intimidate ordinary people into believing that disciplines of science are too esoteric for them to understand. Increasing specialization of disciplines has created a privileged class of peoplwhom Jose Òrtega y Gasset in The Revolt of the Masses called “the boastful ignoramus” – specialists who know details of tiny corners of the knowledge universe, but are ignorant of the social relevance and implications of their specialty. Specialists of one discipline seldom know anything about other, even related, disciplines. The esoteric jargon of specialization alienates the specialist as well as the masses from the knowledge commons.

Trimurti

The rigid boundaries of specialization also erode the scientists’ accountability for their research, no matter how severe social consequences that might have. This, on one end, allows the scientists and technocrats engaged in developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to remain free from guilt and compunction for their crimes. On the other end, the crucial livelihood implications of scientific and technological development remain unknown to the public. Thus, big dams, nuclear reactors, genetic engineering and even IQ theory – are promulgated by mass media as ‘science for the benefit of humanity’. The short term benefits, institutional charisma, and technological marvels are counted as the achievements of science. Like the fourth face of the Trimurti, the political aspect of science – the power structure that enlists big technology for big industrial profit – remains invisible.
PassilfloraTo promote public understanding of science, it is imperative to restore access of the masses to the knowledge commons. CIS aims to do this through dialogues between diverse disciplines. Like the Passiflora (passion flower) leaf, the branching disciplines are united at the base, which constitutes the quest for knowledge and social action. We have therefore chosen the Passiflora leaf as the logo of CIS, to signify the interdisciplinary spirit of its activities.

Knowledge of nature ought to be used to not only explain the world, but as Marx put it, to change the world. The knowledge of the natural world and its complex interconnections with the multitude of beings should elicit activism to protect nature, if only for the well-being of humans in the long run. The knowledge of how economic growth and developmentality destroy nature and dehumanize people should motivate one to search for alternative ways of living. The knowledge of the prevailing inequalities and injustices in human societies should sufficiently perturb one to seek to establish intergenerational justice and sustainability.

RickshawsLittle Archer

The concern for intergenerational human welfare entails a critical understanding of the global economic and political hegemony that seeks to maintain inequalities and injustices. Despite the escalating advancements of scientific knowledge, the prospect of human emancipation seems to be increasingly receding to the horizon of impossibility. This is because the prevailing doctrine of industrial development seeks to equate concentration of wealth to progress of civilization. Scramble for profit, at the expense of nature and future welfare of humans, denotes a virtue, essential to sustaining industrial growth – both in capitalist and socialist economies. An interdisciplinary approach is necessary to deconstruct – and subvert – this developmentality.

CIS believes that the current prevalent mode of industrial development is neither the best nor the final stage of social development; rather, development has increasingly failed to deliver the grand promises of liberty and equality which European Enlightenment held up for the masses. CIS believes that most of the fruits of development has been usurped by the industry-bureaucracy-politician clique, at the cost of the natural world and indigenous ecosystem peoples in all countries. This process of despoliation of nature and usurpation of the fruits of human creativity has been enhanced under the WTO regime, which seeks to commodify the entire natural world – from forests and rivers to cell lines and genes of organisms. CIS believes that establishing intergenerational equity would engender subjugation of private interests to that of the community; that indigenous ecological ethic contains the seed of subversion of the hegemony; and that realization of the significance of qualitative development would emancipate human society and nature from shackles of inequitable growth.

Last Updated (Saturday, 26 May 2014 12:37)

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Deb’s Talk to Punjab Farmers: Transcript

February 18, 2017February 18, 2017

Hindu Business Line Blink on Deb’s Work

February 5, 2017February 5, 2017

Laconte and Remy write on Basudha

January 1, 2017January 1, 2017
Dr. Philippe Laconte and Jean Remy wrote articles on Basudha's work on conservation and sustainability, in Reflets and Biodynamis: Cultiver la Vie.

Seedling of Vitex glabrata planted in Odisha

November 25, 2016November 25, 2016
Basudha Lab regenerated a few seedlings using tissue culture method from seeds of the last specimen of Vitex glabrata, that existed in a roadside sacred grove in Chhandar village of Bankura district of West Bengal. This Critically Endangered tree was cut down in March 2016. The first seedling was successfully transplanted in Kerandiguda village, near Basudha farm, on November 18, 2016.

Deb’s new paper on Indigenous Conservation Ethos

June 7, 2016June 7, 2016
Deb's presentation at Sombath Symposium, Bangkok is now published here. Video of the symposium can be viewed here.

Basudha’s Work mentioned in OFAI Source Book

June 1, 2016June 1, 2016
Basudha's Work and Debdulal's contribution mentioned in Shamika Mone's Source Book on Organic Seeds, published by OFAI, Goa.

Basudha Lab’s Report (Jan-Apr 2016) Published

April 25, 2016April 25, 2016
The First Quarterly Report of Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation is published. Click to download

Deb presented agroecology before Gujarat Chief Minister

April 19, 2016April 19, 2016
Kapil Shah and D Deb were invited to gave presentation before the Chief Minister, Gujarat, to suggest (a) enlisting of agroecology experts outside of mainstream agriculture universities on faculty of the proposed Organic Agriculture University, (b) agroecological design of a demonstration plot of the university, and (c) exclusion of GMOs from the State.

Agroecology training in Chittagong, Bangladesh

April 12, 2016April 12, 2016
Deb gave agroecology training for farmers and NGOs at Chittagong, Bangladesh from 10-12 April 2016.

34 Rice Landraces Rescued from Nagaland

January 2, 2016January 2, 2016
D. Deb and Avik Saha visited the districts of Dimapur and Peren in Nagaland and rescued 34 traditional rice landraces from imminent risk of extinction from agricultural modernization.

New publication: Biochar effect on crop productivity

January 2, 2016
Recently published: "Variable effects of biochar and P solubilizing microbes on crop productivity in different soil conditions" DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1118001. [Download PDF]

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems journal mentions Basudha’s work

December 2, 2015December 2, 2015
Editorial of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems vol. 39 (6), 2015 mentions Basudha's conservation and demonstration efforts.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21683565.2015.1025894  [Download PDF]

New Demonstration Farm in Kashipur, West Bengal

November 28, 2015November 28, 2015
Under the auspices of Mr. Avik Saha, Basudha took over in November 2015 a new agroecological demonstration farm at Kashipur, West Bengal. This farm will (i) demonstrate agroecology and ecological fishery, and (ii) conserve multiple landraces of rice, millets, legumes and tubers.

New Study Published Showing Metal Profiles of 130 Rice Varieties

September 14, 2015September 14, 2015
In a recent issue of Current Science (10 Aug 2015), a new study on metal contents of 130 rice varieties was published, showing over 65 varieties containing high quantities of iron, and a unique variety containing a considerable amount of silver uptake and deposition in grains. This work was authored by D. Deb and Prof. T Pradeep, and Soujit Sengupta from IIT-Madras.

400 Indigenous Farmers Joining Force to Save Heirloom Seeds

May 19, 2015May 19, 2015
During a period of just 5 days, from the 13th June to 18th June, Basudha's campaign to save folk rice varieties persuaded over 400 farmer households to replace all modern rice varieties with heirloom varieties, on zero-external chemical input. D. Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya visited 8 villages of Gendabaju and Kodisuru villages of Chandrapur block, Rayagada district of Odisha to talk with them about the value of indigenous rice varieties and the means to winning freedom from seed corporations and chemicals industry. Entire communities in these 8 villages, comprising over 400 farmer households, pledged to abandon all modern rice varieties, and grow indigenous seeds instead, on their farms. They would collect seeds free of cost from Virhi in early June. Kodisuru Gendabaju

22 Rice Landraces Rescued from Malkangiri District

March 26, 2015March 26, 2015
D. Deb surveyed 4 blocks in Odisha's Malkangiri district, and rescued 22 landraces to add to Vrihi's accession.

Biotechnology Lab for Conservation Opened in Aug 2014

August 26, 2014August 26, 2014
Basudha's Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation opened in Kolkata on 12 August 2014, entirely funded by Mr. Avik Saha, cultural activist and lawyer, and Basudha's trustee. This laboratory is established with the explicit aim to promoting conservation of the country's biological heritage. The lab will remain engaged in studies to reveal genetic, biochemical and nutraceutical properties of folk rice varieties; and tissue culture of critically endangered plants to promote their conservation for the benefit of the local communities. This is the only lab in the country that runs on individual donations, and does not, and will not receive any institutional funding support from any governmental or corporate institutions, and is entirely aimed at biodiversity conservation. Read report in Times of India (New Delhi/Kolkata) 13 August.   [Download pdf]