who we are

Our Mission

The liberation of society and nature from the growth imperative is possible only when intergenerational equity is established by subjugating private interests to that of the community. We believe that indigenous ecological ethic contains the seed of subversion of the hegemony of developmentality.

Farm House

 

 

 

A Brief Introduction

Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) was established in 1993 with a view to establishing a forum for public discourse across various disciplines of knowledge. For the first 4 years, CIS conducted a series of formal and informal seminars on diverse topics – ranging from film theory to pentatonic music, from sociobiology to the politics of population, from Third World medicine to conservation biology – in the city of Kolkata, involving eminent scholars and students.

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From 1995 onwards, CIS included field research in its fold of activities. Beginning with a small economic and ecological survey in a deltaic island of the Sunderban, CIS focused attention on the status of extant crop genetic diversity and traditional cultural institutions that are conducive to conservation of local biodiversity. CIS has also been involved in diverse policy advocacy campaign, related to farmers’ rights and corporate plunder of indigenous knowledge systems under the WTO/TRIPS regime.

In order to facilitate coordination of research and documentation with advocacy work, CIS was registered in December 2004 as trust organisation.

The field research and sustainabTransplantingility campaign of CIS received a new vigor after its founder, Dr.Debal Deb left service in late 1996. From 1997 onwards, CIS has pioneered in on-farm conservation of indigenous crop diversity in east India, where the extent of folk crop genetic erosion has assumed enormous proportions. In 1997, CIS, as a partner of Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology (RFSTE), New Delhi, established Vrihi, a folk rice gene bank – the first, and the largest, in eastern India. Vrihi (meaning “rice” in Sanskrit) distributes folk crop variety seeds among farmers to promote in situ conservation of rare crop varieties. In its ecological farm Basudha (meaning “Earth Mother”), more than 1300 varieties of Indian rice and 30 other crop species (each with multiple land races) are grown, using zero input of any synthetic agrochemicals.

Basudha iButterfliess a research station, where ecological farming techniques and methods of ecological architecture, rainwater harvesting, soil conservation, and conservation of local bio-resources are demonstrated. Basudha serves to create a tiny model of local resource-based community development, in which villagers areVotives voluntary participants.

CIS documents, and seeks to resuscitate, the evanescent tenets of local culture that are known to have been conducive to biodiversity conservation. CIS has especially contributed to inventorying the region’s traditional sacred groves and sacred ponds that house a wealth of rare and endangered biota.

CIS periodically conducts farmers’ workshops in different parts of the country, and gives training to farmers and NGOs in crop genetic diversity conservation, ecological agricultural techniques, and participatory documentation of local biodiversity. Alongside, CIS organizes various non-formal educational programs to inculcate scientific thinking into children, including school drop-outs. CIS members and volunteers are engaged in movements to oppose superstitions and social injustices. A Study Circle is held periodically at Basudha on diverse range of topics.

CIS also frequently receives visitors – scientists, activists and students – whose voluntary farm labour, assistance in education and training, and consultation in technical matters are bartered with hospitality on Basudha campus in Odisha.

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CIS does not receive any funding support from any institution – governmental or non-governmental. All expenses toward seed accession, crop cultivation, conservation, experiments, survey, and documentation are borne by the founder trustees, aided by periodic donations from personal friends and volunteer activists.

 

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‘Silver Rice’ paper published in ACS Journal

August 5, 2017August 5, 2017
Details of silver accumulation on Garib-sal rice published in ACS journal: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b02058

Deb’s New Paper on Traditional Agricultural Knowledge

June 2, 2017June 2, 2017
Deb's new paper Folk rice varieties, traditionl knowledge and nutritional security in South Asia is published in G. Poyyamoli (ed), Agroecology, Ecosystems, and Sustainability in the Tropics. Studera Press, New Delhi.

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]