REPORTS ON VARIOUS SECTIONS - Social Organisation & Vermiculture Section

Social Organization

The section on Social Organization at the Congress attracted a larger participation than was anticipated. Though the number of delegates registered specifically for the section was quite small, the attendance at various sessions was in the range of forty to fifty persons. The two panel discussions, organized almost at the eleventh hour, turned out to be big hits. The section's programme began on the 30th November with a panel discussion on 'Science Traditional and Modern'. The panelists were Prof. J.P.S.Uberoi, Prof. Mohini Mullick, Dr. Susantha Goonatilake and Prof. C.V.Seshadri. As was only to be expected, the views of the panelists were very divergent. While Susantha Goonatilake pleaded for developing a South Asian perspective not only to Science and Technology but also to the study of Society and Polity, J.P.S.Uberoi cautioned that while talking about Swadeshi, we should not overlook the other pillars of Swaraj. He counted that Swaraj can be attained only by seriously addressing the questions of untouchability and communalism. Mohini Mullick raised important questions about what constitutes tradition and what is modem. C.V.Seshadri too questioned the modem tradition dichotomy.

Shri.Sunil Sahasrabudhey of the Gandhian Institute of Studies, Varanasi and a leading social science practitioner gave the key-note address on the theme: Science and Society. He argued that under the colonial dispensation not only our traditional sciences and technologies became non-functional but our social institutions and practices ceased to operate in the open, at a public level. Alien institutions and structures that were imposed on the Traditional Indian Society have had the effect of pushing the Indigenous Sciences and Technologies to the private domain, as if to an underground existence. He argued that these Indigenous institutions and practices have to be brought back to the public domain, so that they become dynamic and creative once again.

In all, ten papers were presented and discussed in this section. The authors of papers had been specifically asked to focus1 on the nature of Traditional Society / Polity / Culture that made our Sciences and Technologies functional. As it turned out, very few of the papers directly addressed the question. Three papers dealt with the problems of Tradition - Modem dichotomy. Two or three other papers presented case studies of the Science - Society interface.

The highlight of this section was a presentation of the archival material on Thondaimandalam villages of 1770s. The Centre for Policy Studies, Madras represented by Dr.M.D.Srinrvas, J.K.Bajaj and T.M.Mukundan made presentations on the data garnered from the Tamilnadu State Archives and the Tamil University at Thanjavur. The data presented, threw light on the high productivity in Agriculture as also the nature of infrastructure arrangements that perhaps made such high productivity possible.. The presentation of the data also revealed the elaborate and complex nature of the allocations made from the produce of each village towards institutions, functions and .individuals. Each village not only provided for the administration and economic functions- and services within the village but supported Cultural, Religions and scholarly pursuits of the entire region. It was shown that the total of. all such allocations made from village province was in the range ofJ8- 25.percent The picture of society and polity seen from the data presented compared well with Mahathma Gandhi's conception of Gram Swaraj. There was very little discussion on the data that was so well presented. Firstly, there was the time constraint what should have been presented in a full length seminar was squeezed into two sessions making very little room for discussion. Secondly, as many of the delegates and participants were looking at the data for the first time, it was difficult to have any serious discussion. It is hoped that a larger discussion would take place on the voluminous data gathered by Shri.Dharampal, P.P.S.T. Foundation and Centre for Policy Studies in the near future.

There was a second panel discussion on the theme "Decolonizing Social Sciences." "This panel discussion was arranged at the request made by some younger participants and research students. Though there were seven or eight panelists listed, only four of them presented their views. Due to an equally Interesting session in Theoretical Sciences section overlapping with the panel discussion other panelists could not present their viewpoints. Intact, the Theoretical Sciences section and the section on Social Organization very often experienced a class of speaker’s and. participants. Future Congresses should look into the question of staggering some sections.

The question of future activities and follow-up was discussed rather informally with a number of participants. Dr.Susantha Goonatilake and a few others have come forward to make concerted efforts in the South Asian and Indian Context. Similarly, Dr.Haribabu and others from Hyderabad have promised to raise the question of Indian Social Sciences in various Professional fore. The Centre for Policy Studies, Madras is committed to bring out some books on the Cherigalpattu data and arrange for wider discussions of the material through seminars and symposia.

Contact Address:
Dept. of Sociology, Bangalore University
BANGALORE - 500 056.

Vermiculture Section


The number of participants at the Vermiculture conference sessions was around sixty in most of the sessions. However the response at the exhibition was very large with over five hundred visitors." Many S&T institutions and voluntary agencies participated in the activities. The technical contributions came-from the following agencies: 1) University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, 2) New College, University of Madras, 3) Sustainable Agricultural Research Institute, Vitah, and Maharashtra. 4) Pune Citizen's Committee, 5) Indian Cardamom Research Institute, 6) College of Agriculture, Pune, 7) Marathwada Agricultural University, 8) Bhawalkar Earthworm Research Institute, Pune, 9) Maharashtra Agricultural Biotech, Pune, 10) Biogenic Systems, Bombay, 11) Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, 12) Farmers from Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Conference Sessions

The Conference sessions were organized under six themes 1) Vermiculture Biotechnology 2) Earthworm and Soil Health 3) Vermiculture in Farming 4) Natural Farming 5) Vermiculture in Waste Management and 6) yermiculture experience. The titles of the papers are summarised below and details of the papers-are available in the "Abstracts" published by the Congress.

1. 'U.S.Bhawalkar, Dept.of.Chem.Engg., IIT Bombay 400 076. "An overview of application, in Agriculture and Waste Management". A slide show on Vermiculture Technology.

2. Biogold - A video film on Vermiculture Biotechnology, Sponsored by Biotech Consortium, New Delhi.

3. S.A.lsmail, Dept of Zoology, New College, Madras 600 014. "Applied Biology of the Earthworm".

4. Radha Kale, University [of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore 560 065. "Earthworm The Biological tools for healthy soils".

5. Vidula Bhawalkar - Bhawalkar Earthworm Research Institute, A/3 Kalyani,
Pune-Satara Road, Pune 411 037. "The Living Soil",

6. Jayant Barve, Sustainable Agricultural Research Institute Vitah 415 311. 'Vermiculture
in Farming - Grape Farming";

7. Ajit Desai, Amadpur (PO), Navsari, Valsad Dist, Gujarat 396445. "Vegetable Farming in Gujarat.

8. Madhusudhan G.Khamkar, Bhandgaon, Indapur Tal., Pune 413 103. "Vegetable and Fruit Cultivation".

9 Krishnat Phule, Village Asu, DtPhalton, Maharashtra. "Sugarcane Cultivation".

10. Bhagwan P.Singhade, Shelgaon, Indapur Tal., Pune Maharashtra. "Papaya Cultivation".

11. Bhaskar Save, Umbergaon, P.O. Deheri, Valsad Dt., Gujarat. The Experience of Kalpavruksha Farm".

12. P.D.Bafna, T.Dhanu, Thane Dt, Maharashtra 401 601. "Chickoo Cultivation and other Natural Farming practices".

13. Latha Srikhande, Pune Citizens Committee, Pane 411 007, "Household Waste Management.

14. B.R.Patnaik, ChemEngg. Dept., IIT Bombay 400 076. "Biofertilizer from Household waste"

15. P.LPattl, College of Agriculture.'Mahatrna Krishi Vidyapeth Pune 411 005. "Utilization of Earthworms for recycling Sugarcane trash".

16. V.Krishna Kumar, Indian Cardamom Research Institute, Nyladurripara, Idukki, Kerala 685 553. "Use of on-farm resources through Vermiculture Technology in Spice production".

17. Hemangee Jhambekar, Maharashtra Agriculture Biotech, B5 Shivaji Society, Pune 411 050. "Applied Earthworm Technology for Bio-Organic farming".

18. Ravindra Bhote, Biogenic systems, 9 Deepa, Malviya Road, Vile pa tie 400 057. "Vermiculture Venture".

19. R.S.Raut, Marathwada Agricultural University, Parbhani. "Use of Earthworms for the improvement of Alkaline Soils for Sustainable Agriculture".

20. M.Deshpande, Ajra, DtKolabpur, Maharashtra 416 505. "Farmers Experience".

21. B.K.Senapati, School of Life Sciences, Sabalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Sabatpur 760
019 Orissa. "Vermi-composting in the Twenty First Century".


The Exhibition in the area of Vermiculture occupied eight stalls. These consisted of visual documentation of the Vermiculture technology in Waste Management and Agriculture. The contributors to this activity were 1) Bhawaikar Earthworm Research Institute, Pune 2) New College, University of Madras 3) Farmers of Navsari Dist, Gujarat 4) Sustainable Agricultural
Research Institute, Vrtah 5) Natural Farming at Umbergaon, Gujarat and 6) Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Films and Videos

1. Bigold - Video film on Vermiculture Technology, Biotech Consortium, New Delhi,

2. The Good Earth - Fluid Head Films, New Delhi.

Summary of Proceedings

The sessions on Vermiculture concerned the use of earthworms for a) Waste management, b) Agriculture c) Horticulture and d)Waste land development The activities of the Congress included conference sessions, exhibition and film shows. Seven conference sessions of One hundred minutes each were conducted. Totally twenty one papers concerning the above themes were presented. It was pointed out through these activities, that the technology finds good response among farmers and other end users.

The vermiculture sessions and exhibitions were very well attended in view of the considerable goodwill this technology has generated among end users in Horticulture and Waste Management.' The contribution to the technical session arid exhibition was drawn from practitioners of this technology. As a consequence, the participants at the Congress could get feedback on the field performance of this technology.

It was explained at the technical sessions that earthworms play an important role in the maintenance of soil health. The technology of organic waste management using vermiculture was discussed at length. It was also pointed out that some of the current notions about role of earthworms in soil are incorrect and will have to be updated on the basis of laboratory experiments and field trials.

The results presented in the sessions showed that the technology offers immediate solution to the treatment of organic wastes from municipalities, animal habitations, fruit, meat and fish wastes, and wastes from food and fermentation industries. Both solid and liquid wastes could be handled through this technology to produce valuable biofertilizer for end users in agriculture, horticulture and waste land development. It was estimated that fifteen such waste processing plants are in operation today and many more are coming up.

It was pointed out by the farmer delegates that the Vermiculture technology offers very promising returns in horticulture due to considerable savings in costs of inputs and better quality of r product commanding a better price in the market. It was also pointed out that the products of such farming produce products of better taste and nutrition. It was estimated that the number of farmers employing this technology may now be around one thousand.

It was recognized that more demonstration plants and farms are needed for rapid propagation of this technology since energy and capital costs of this scheme are very attractive. It was recognized that the technology offers a viable solution to improving the quality of soil and water by converting the organic waste into valuable Biofertilizer rather than allowing it to pollute our environment. It was therefore suggested that action plans to introduce this technology to different districts through appropriate mechanisms are required.

It was thus suggested that various funding agencies be approached for financial support towards developmental studies in the Universities and NTs and also for setting up 'demonstrations,' plants and farms. It was also decided to constitute-a committee consisting of representatives from academic institutions and farmers to promote the use of this technology. An ad-hoc committee consisting of Prof.S.A.Ismail Prof.Radha Kale, Shri.V.S.Bhawalkar, Shri.Jayant Barve, Shri.Mohan Shankar Deshpande, Prof.H.S.Shankar has been constituted to pursue the task of promoting this technology in the interim period.

Contact Address:
Dept of Chemical Engg,
IIT, Powai, Bombay 400 076.

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