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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When the bamboo flowers

The people of Malnad fear bamboo flowering. Considered as a harbinger of rats and famine, bamboo flowering is generally associated with death and destruction. Veerendra P M does a reality check.

Drought, plague, loss of livelihood, forest fire - bamboo flowering means all these and much more. The threat of social, economic and ecological crises is looming large over Malnad region due to the flowering of bamboo in the forests.

Bamboo, which forms the crucial component of our eco-system, is used for the purposes of construction and fencing in villages. Bamboo is the main source of livelihood for many families in villages as baskets and mats made out of bamboo enjoy a great demand in the market. Kalale or tender bamboo has medicinal values and the pickle made out of it adds zing to our food. Bamboo is also the favourite food of large herbivores like elephants and bison. Bidiramane, Bidare, Bidarur, Bidanur, Bidirahalli, Bidiragodu, Bidirehal - the western ghat is dotted with villages named after bamboo, called bidiru in Kannada.

Read on
The painting is by Laura Tasheiko

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