Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bt Brinjal

Mainstream and the social networking media observe a criminal silence over the proposed introduction of Bt Brinjal in India. A landmark decison by the Indian Government which will affect all Indians irrespective of their caste, creed, gender, political affiliations, geographical or economic positioning.

What is Bt Brinjal?

Its better to follow another question for easy understanding of the above one. “What is GM Food?”

Genetically Modified (GM Food) are those plants / crops whose genes have been altered. To make an exxagerated comparision with human beings, it can be described as follows:

The most common illness affecting human beings is the common cold. Everytime someone gets an attack of cold, he / she takes medicines like Panadol , Actified etc. Instead of taking medicines AFTER getting affected, is there any way to prevent its occurrence at all? If there is such a mechanism, can we introduce it even before the child is born on this earth?

In other words, can the unborn child’s genes be altered so that once out in the world, the child (and as the person grows up) never gets affected by the common cold? This is what is being done to plants / crops when they are being Genetically Modified.

The basic DNA structure is altered so that the gene equivalent of “Panadol” is introduced into the egg (seed) of unborn child and the modified DNA is capable of generating its own medicine as and when the person’s body is affected by cold or flu.

Soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis is introduced into the DNA or genetic code of Brinjal so that the crops in turn produce pesticidal toxins in every cell. Seeds impregnated with this bacterium will be sold in the market for farmers to sow and reap a diseaseless variety of Brinjal.

Genetically modified Bt Brinjal would relieve Indian farmers who have been suffering from the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer (BFSB) pest.

This eliminates the necessity to spray huge amounts of pesticides to brinjal cultivations.

Isnt it a wonderful concept?

But then why some people are making a fuzz over such a pathbreaking development in the history of mankind? May be the fertilizer companies who fear loss of business are behind these trouble makers?

Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow are the Big Five corporations which control the global GM food market . But the irony is that together, these companies own 59 percent of the pesticide market. (Would Indians forget / forgive DOW chemicals which in its earlier avatar as Union Carbide razed down Bhopal?)

What is the holy nexus between the pesticide corporations and the seed market?

What is the holier than thou nexus between Governements and these companies which are in a hurry to introduce the genetically modified seeds in Indian market?

Why arent the following questions answered?
  • Why did the Indian biotechnology regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) approve release of Bt brinjal in Indian market without proper studies on the long term effects ?
  • The studies quoted by GEAC were all conducted by MAHYCO (Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company) which in collabration with the infamous Monsanto markets Bt Brinjal in India. Isnt it the equivalent of accepting evidence fabricated by the thief in a court of justice? (Media which created furore over police fabricated evidence in Muthoot murder case is silent about the evidence fabricated by the killer !!)
  • Why were reports by independent agencies with the following findings rejected?
    • risk of transfer of those genes to human organ systems or viruses -- and hence the adverse impact on human and animal health and the environment.
    • Effect of previosuly introduced Bt Cotton on farmers and their health?
    • Study of Economic and environmental impact of Bt Cotton varieties previosly introduced in Maharashtra. (Suicide of 150,000 farmers since 1997 when Bt Cotton varieties where introduced)

· Why introduce an edible crop in India when entry of GM foods is banned in most of Europe?
· Why expose indians to GM foods when world’s largest producers of GM foods, USA , Argentina and Brazil consider GM crops fit for cattle consumption only ?
· Why allow Indians to be exposed to untested Genetically modified crops as test rats?

Questions that beg for answers!!



Zebu Bull::മാണിക്കൻ said...

"Why expose indians to GM foods when world’s largest producers of GM foods, USA , Argentina and Brazil consider GM crops fit for cattle consumption only ?"

GM foods in USA are not just for cattle; humans consume them too.

Babu Syed said...


Kyra said...

Nicely written article..and crucial questions which need to be answered.

Babu Syed said...

update: February 09, 2010: Govt decides NOT to allow Bt Brinjal to grow in India!!!