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The Ailing Planet : the Green



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The Ailing Planet : the Green

Movements’s Role

(by Nani Palkhivala)
About the Author :

Nani Palkhivala was not just an eminent advocate and constitutional expert, but was a remarkable orator. He was an eminent scholar, thinker, economist and Social philosopher and was invited by the then Chief Justice of India, Justice S.R.Das to become a Judge of Supreme Court. However, he declined the offer. He was India’s Ambassador to the U.S. . He was also Chairman to the ACC Group of companies and was also visiting professor at Harvard University on Income Tax Laws. He left for his heavenly abode on November 2, 2002.

MAIN THEME
Nani Palkhivala, the well known lawyer, has reviewed the ecological situation of the earth with particular reference to India. He points out that our point of view has shifted from a mechanistic to a holistic view of the world where ecology is concerned.

The earth has become like an ailing patient. The World commission on Environment and Development put forward the idea of sustainable development. The idea is that the resources should be used with restraint so that they last for the future generations.

The principal biological systems- fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands are being fast depleted. Forests are being lost at the rate of an acre and a half per second. Though rules exist for preservation of environment, in India laws are constantly flouted. The actual loss of forests may be 8 times the government statistics. The environmental conditions in eighty eight countries is critical.

The growth of world population is chiefly responsible for degradation of environment. Population control must be given top most priority.

Now the thinking of the people has changed to holistic. We think not just of the survival of people but of saving the earth too. Industries need to cooperated in the preservation of environment. We have borrowed the earth from our children and we must return it to them intact.
IV. MAIN POINTS


  1. The Green Movement started just 35 years ago. It has now captured the imagination of millions.

  2. The first Green Party was established in New Zealand in 1972.

  3. Fortunately, the world is shifting to a holistic and ecological view.

  4. The earth is like a patient in declining health.

  5. Sustainable development meets the needs of present without harming the interests of the future generations.

  6. Man shares this earth with 1.4 millions species.

  7. We should not leave a scorched earth, advancing deserts and ailing environment.

  8. E.R. Brown describes – fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands as four principal biological systems of the earth.

  9. These four systems are the basics of global economic systems.

  10. Fisheries are being ruined, forests are being decimated (cleared away). Grasslands and croplands are being converted into deserts.

  11. Forests precede mankind; deserts follow. Tropical forests are disappearing at the rate of 40-50 million acres a year.

  12. Article 48-A of the Constitution asserts that “the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment.

  13. But such laws are never respected and enforced in India.

  14. A satellite study of the U.N.O. shows that in 88 countries the environment can be called ‘critical’.

  15. Population explosion has been the main cause of this deterioration of the environment.

  16. The present population is more than 5.7 billion. Every four days the world population increases by one million.

  17. The choice is really between control of population and perpetuation of poverty.

  18. The survival of the people as well as the survival of the planet is at stake.

  19. We are not the masters of the earth but have only a life tenancy.

  20. ‘We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers. We have borrowed it from our children.’


SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS

Q.1

Ans.

Q.2
Ans.

Q.3
Ans.

Q.4

Ans.


What is concept of sustainable development ?

Development that meets the needs of the present without harming the needs of future generations, is called ‘sustainable development’ We have to keep the balance. The principal biological system of the earth are to be used judiciously. Fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands are to be used judiciously. They must be preserved for the future generations.

Who is ‘the world’s most dangerous animal’? Why did they put a mirror inside a cage in the Zoo at Lusaka ?

Certainly, man has been the most dangerous animal that ever lived on this earth. He has swallowed fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands. The notice at a cage in the Zoo at Lusaka reads, “The world’s most dangerous animal’. Inside the cage there is no animal but only a mirror where you can see yourself. The mirror reflects the image of the real villain. He is none else than the man himself.

What were the important issued that were raised in the First Brandt Commission on ecology and environment ?

The Brandt Commission dealt with the questions of ecology and environment. The Commission had a distinguished Indian as one of its members – Mr. L.K.Jha. The Commission warned the world of Green House effect that was making the earth ‘a scorched planet’. It also warned the world that the environment was deteriorating at an alarming rate. ‘advancing deserts’ and ‘impoverished landscapes’ didn’t augur well for the plant.

What are earth’s principal biological systems ?

There are four principal biological systems of the earth. They are fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands. They form the foundation of the global economic system. They supply us food. They all provide all the raw materials for industry except minerals. Human demands on these system are increasing to a point where their productivity is impaired.



Q.5

Ans.


Q.6

Ans.

Q.7

Ans.


Q.8
Ans.

What is the cause of the collapse of fisheries ?

It is a protein conscious world. People are advised to consume more and more protein. Fish is an important source of protein. So in a protein-hungry world, over fishing is a common practice. Over-fishing has resulted in the collapse of fisheries.

How are the ‘local’ and ‘tropical’ forests being decimated ?

Man is the greatest consumer of forest wealth. Local forests are being decimated in order to get firewood for cooking. The tropical forests are the power-house of evolution. We are losing forests at the rate of an acre and half in a second. Need for fuel and wood and other building activities has destroyed much of the tropical forests.

‘Forests precede mankind ; deserts follow’. Explain this statement

Naturally, forests precede mankind. Forests were in existence much before the coming of man on this planet. It is also true that if forests disappear, deserts will follow. Felling of trees and clearing of forests is converting our grassland and croplands into wastelands and deserts.

Our grasslands are being converted into barren wastelands, and croplands deteriorate. Justify this statement.

The pressure on land is increasing. Our grasslands are being converted into barren wastelands. Over-grazing of animals has caused havoc to our grasslands. Similarly, the pressure of population on croplands has been affecting their productivity, degradation of environment has led to such disasters.







LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS

Q.1
Ans.

Q. 2


What is the positive shift that has come in human perceptions and what is the role of the Green Movement in bringing such a change ?

There has come a change in human perceptions. Man’s view is no longer mechanistic one. He doesn’t consider this world to be a machine. He has evolved a holistic view. It is a comprehensive ecological view of this world. It is revolutionary shift in the thinking of man. There is growing worldwide consciousness that the earth itself is a living organism. It is an enormous being of which we are only parts. The world has its own metabolic needs. It has some vital processes. They need to be preserved and respected. It is becoming quite clear that the earth is an ailing planet. It is in declining health. It is our duty to save this planet for future generations.

The Green Movement is basically a movement to save this planet and its environment from degradation and deterioration. The movement has gripped the imagination of the entire human race. It started nearly 35 years ago. The world’s first Green Party was founded in 1972 in New Zealand. Since then, the movement has not looked back.

What signs reveal that the earth is a patient in declining health ? What is the concept of ‘sustainable development’ and how is it being disturbed ?



Ans.

The earth’s vital signs tell a different story. They give dangerous signals. They reveal that this planet on which we live is no more a pleasant place. It is like a patient in declining health. Laster R.Brown points out that there are four principal biological systems in the world. They are fisheries, forests, grasslands, and croplands. They form the foundation of the global economic system. But in most parts of the world human demands on these systems are reaching an unsustainable level. The earth and its environment shows all round degradation and deterioration. We are living on a sick planet.

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without harming the interests of the future generations. It means that natural wealth and resources will be safeguarded to meet the needs of the future generations. Fisheries and forests should not be plundered. Human development may be such as may not covert grasslands and croplands into wastelands and deserts.



3.
Ans.

4.
Ans.



‘We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers: we have borrowed it from our children.’ Discuss.

Value Points :



  • Earth’s resources are limited

  • The resources have been almost exhausted by the generations so far

  • Uncontrollable populations growth is responsible for such demand on the available resources

  • Every generation needs to think about future generations

  • Borrowed things are treated and handled with career

  • Thus the resources are not to be exhausted as they belong to the future generation.

What is the remarkable shift in our attitude towards the earth brought on by the Green Movement ?

Value Points :-



  • A remarkable change in the attitude of human race towards the earth.

  • Shift from mechanistic view to the holistic and ecological view

  • Mechanistic view – that earth is an inanimate thing like a brick, a rock etc.

  • Holistic view – that earth is a living organism, like a human being, an animal

  • Thus earth is considered to be ailing, suffering from diseases.

  • Needs treatment from human beings.

  • Treatment – population control, control of carbon emissions.


SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS FOR PRACTICE

1.

2

3



4

5


What are the principal biological systems of earth and what is their importance ?

What is the reason of fisheries collapse ?

How do the local and tropical forests face extinction ?

How are croplands and grasslands being converted into wastelands and deserts ?

‘Control of population’ or ‘perpetuation of poverty’. What is your choice and why ?


6

7
8


The question is not the survival just of the people but of the planet. Elucidate.

‘All we have is a life tenancy. No generation has a freehold on this earth.’ Do you agree with the statement of Margaret Thatcher ? Give reasons.

‘We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers. We have borrowed it from our children.’ Justify.


II.

Long Answer Type Question for Practice

1
2
3
4
5

What is the change that has come in human perceptions ? What is role of the Green Movement in bringing such a change ?

What is sustainable development ? How is concept of sustainable development threatened under pressure due to the villainy of man ?

What are the principal bio-systems of the earth and how are they being systematically destroyed by man?

We are not the lords of this planet but have only ‘a life long tenancy with a full repairing lease’. Justify this statement.

Nani Palkivala calls man “the world’s most dangerous animal” . How does he defend his view point and at the same time holds out hope for the world?





Valued Based Questions

‘In some places, firewood has become so expensive that what goes under the pot costs more than what goes inside it’.

Who do you think is responsible for the following situation? How can you contribute in controlling the situation ?




The Browning Version

(by Terence Rattigan)
About the Author :

Terence Rattigan was born on June 10th, 1911 in London, the son of a career diplomat. As a member of the lower upper- middle class in the inter-war period, the young Rattigan received a first rate education at Harrow and Trinity College, Oxford. His was a privileged and intellectual background and this is reflected in his plays. For a decade after the second world war he was one of the English Leading playwrights. Although he was never as successful in the United States as he was in Britain, Rattigan increasingly is being viewed in his homeland as one of the 20th Century’s finest playwrights.


MAIN THEME

The Browning Version is an extract from a play by Terence Rattigan. Taplow, a sixteen year old student has to meet his teacher Mr. Crocker-Harris, at 6.30 PM in order to make up for some classes he had missed. While he waits for Mr. Harris, he meets Frank, a science teacher in the school and the two get into conversation. Mostly they talk about Mr. Crocker-Harris, whom Taplow calls ‘Crock’. Mr. Crocker-Harris emerges as a strict disciplinarian, who speaks gently even when he is not saying anything pleasing to the student. In spite of his strictness, Taplow likes him and Frank envies him. He is not a sadist like some other teachers. Towards the end of the play, Millie, Crocker-Harris’s wife, enters. She knows about Taplow’s ‘extra work’. She sends him away.

MAIN POINTS


  1. Frank is young school master

  2. Crocker Harries is middle aged master

  3. Taplow is a boy of sixteen. He has come in to do extra work as ordered by Crocker Harris.

  4. Taplow is in the lower fifth class.

  5. Taplow is waiting for the result. If he passes, he will opt for science in the next class.

  6. Mr. Crocker Harries is unlike other teachers. He never tells the results before it is officially announced.

  7. Taplow says that he is extremely interested in science. He likes science more than Aeschylus’ ‘Agamemnon.’

  8. Frank tells Taplow that if a student is given any extra work on the last day. He is sure to get through.

  9. Taplow describes that such sort of rule don’t apply to Mr. Crocker Harris.

  10. Mr. Harris told Taplow that he had given him what he deserved; no less and no more.

  11. Frank relishes Taplow speaking against Crocker Harris but pretends being fair to him.

  12. He suggests Taplow not to wait and cut his class and go back home.

  13. Taplow is scared of Crocker Harris. He doesn’t dare to cut.

  14. Frank admits that he envies his fellow teacher Mr. Crocker Harries. Students are so much scared of him.

  15. Taplow replies that Mr. Crocker Harries is not a sadist and doesn’t enjoy torturing others.

  16. Mr. Crocker Harries doesn’t show his real feelings. He is shriveled up inside like a nut.

  17. Mr. Harris hates people who like him.

  18. In spite of all shortcoming in Mr. Harris, Taplow likes him.

  19. Then Millie Crocker appears. Taplow is much frightened. Perhaps she had heard everything they were talking.

  20. She takes out a prescription. She asks Taplow to take this prescription to the chemist and come back before Mr. Crocker Harries comes.



SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS



Q.1
Ans.

Q.2
Ans.


Q.3


Ans.

Comment on the ‘classical jokes’ of Mr. Crocker Harris. What did Mr. Harris say to Taplow when he laughed at one of his jokes ?

Sometimes Mr. Crocker Harries made his ‘classical jokes’ in the class. Nobody laughed because nobody understood them. One day out of ordinary politeness, Taplow laughed at one of his jokes. Mr. Crocker was pleased at the advance Taplow had made in Latin. Only he could understand Mr. Crocker’s classical jokes in Latin in the whole class.

Cite an instance in the text that may show that Frank relishes Mr. Crocker Harris being criticized by Taplow ?

Mr. Frank is not straightforward. He is envious of Mr. Crocker Harries and his wonderful hold over his students. When Taplow imitates Mr. Crocker Harries in his throaty voice, Mr. Frank relishes it. Not only that. He asks Taplow, “Just…repeat it, would you?” He only pretends to hide his envy for Mr. Harris.

How do Mr. Frank and Taplow react to sudden arrival of Millie Crocker ?

Franck and Taplow react differently to sudden arrival of Mrs. Millie Crocker. Frank turns to welcome her. He is ‘infinitely relieved’ at seeing her. On other hand, Taplow is scared. He fears if she has heard what he spoke about Mr. Crocker. If she has heard him, she can report his words to Mr. Crocker Harris. Taplow fears that he might not get his remove.



Q.4
Ans.

Where does Millie Crocker send Taplow to and what will happen if Mr. Crocker comes before Taplow ?

Millie Crocker comes to know that Taplow was waiting for her husband. She tells him that Mr. Crocker will take quite a time to reach there. She asks him to run away to a chemist with the prescription and get it made up. Taplow fears in case of Mr. Crocker Harris gets there before him. Millie Crocker asks him not worry about that. She will take the blame on her if it happens.





LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS

Q.1

Ans.


Compare and correct Crocker Harris and Frank.

Crocker Harris and Frank are two contrasting characters. In age, outlook and ideas they are two different personalities. They have only one thing in common. They belong to the same school. Frank is young while Crocker Harris is middle-aged. Frank teaches science while Crocker Harris teaches classical literature. They have different temperaments. Frank is more frank and receptive of the two. Mr. Crocker Harris is reserved and not so social. Frank can mix up with students quite easily. His lengthy conversation with Taplow shows that he is at ease even with the students of lower classes. Frank shows little interest in subject he teaches. This presents him in poor light as a teacher. On the other hand, Crocker Harris is a devoted teacher. He has a wonderful hold over his students. He is more feared than respected. He is shriveled up inside like a nut. He hates flattery and doesn’t like people who like him. But he is not a sadist. He is frightening and students seem to be scared to death of him. Even Frank is envious of Crocker’s hold over the students.

Mr. Crocker Harris follows rules and regulations very strictly. He doesn’t leak out the results before they are formally announced. Frank cares little for such formalities. Frank relishes Taplow’s imitation and criticism of Crocker Harris. But Mr. Crocker Harris has no interest and time for such things. He is unique and can give extra work to a student even on the last day of school


2

3


Discuss the humorous elements in ‘The Browning Version’

Hints :


  • The play is replete with humorous description of a teacher by student

  • Crocker Harris is pictured as an unusual teacher and an unusual human being.

  • He is a person who loves to be hated and makes attempts for that.

  • He feels that Taplow likes him and so he tries to make him hate him.

  • He is not even a sadist because that would mean that he has got feelings but he has got no feelings.

  • Only Taplow, out of compassion, laughs out at the joke Mr. Harris cracks in the class in the Latin language to which none responds. As a punishment Taplow is made to make the class understand the joke.

  • Taplow’s frightened reaction when he find Crocker Harris’s wife looking at them thinking she might have overheard them.

What do you learn about the system of education in Old British Schools from the play ‘The Browning Version’ ?

  • Much stress laid on study of classical languages- Latin and Greek

  • Fifth form students made to learn classical plays like Agamemnon

  • Students found it disinteresting since stress was on acquisition of language

  • Could specialize after completing fifth form

  • System of punishment

  • Students ‘kept in’ or ‘called for’ extra work

  • Mortally afraid of teachers

  • School had teachers who were sadists








SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS FOR PRACTICE

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2

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8


How does Taplow reacts to Frank’s suggestion of cutting Crocker Harris’s class ?

Does Taplow consider Mr. Crocker Harris a sadist ? what does he think of him ?

In spite of everything, Taplow likes Mr. Crocker Harris, Why ?

How does Taplow react to one of Mr. Crocker Harris’s classical jokes ?

Why is Frank envious of Mr. Crocker Harris ?

Frank asks Taplow to imitate Crocker Harris. What does this show ?

Why is Taplow uneasy at the sudden arrival of Millie Harris ?

Where does Millie Harris send Taplow and why ?



LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS FOR PRACTICE

1
2

3
4


Mr. Frank and Mr. Crocker Harris have only one thing in common. They belong to the same school. Justify this statement.

Describe Taplow’s estimate of Mr. Crocker Harris, Do you agree with him ?

Frank lacks those qualities that make a great teacher. Compare Frank with his colleague Crocker Harris.

Is Crocker Harris a sadist or inhuman? Justify with examples.

Valued Based Questions :

Do you feel it is proper for students to present their teacher the way Taplow does ? What is your opinion the relationship between teacher and student should be like ?





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