The Significance of Uttarayana


Uttarayana – Tilting of Earth vis-a-vis Sun’s Reach    

One of the oldest expositions in astronomy is our very own Surya Siddhanta that lays down rules with regard to the motions of celestial bodies. The treatise informs about actual positions of luminaries in the sky, giving their locations along with calculations of solar eclipses and solstices. One may be surprised to learn that it also gives information on the lengths of the Earth’s diameter and circumference!

Surya Siddhanta or the Sun Treatise defines Uttarayana as the period between the Makara Sankranti occurring around January 14 and Karka Sankranti that falls around July 16. Uttara meaning North and Ayana meaning movement indicates the northward movement of the Sun on its celestial course. This is then the period that is celebrated all across our country as an auspicious time.

Today, we are at the threshold of Uttarayana when the Sun’s movement in relation to Earth shifts from its southern run to its northward progression. Spiritually inclined people readily identify this transition as a phase positively affecting their consciousness levels, facilitating them to thrive inwardly. The first half of Uttarayana until the equinox in March is a period that is more amenable to such awakening.

The human body is of course a cosmos in itself. All that occurs in the external realm manifests in subtle ways in the human body too. For many of us such transitions go unnoticed. But conscientious human beings can sense alignment to such movements that positively affect their bodies and bodily functions. Especially yogis and sensitized beings keep themselves attuned to such cosmic movements.

Makara Sankranti then is a festival that celebrates our oneness with the universe. It reminds us that we are part and parcel of the cosmos and that our human life is in conjunction with celestial movements of time and space. It may be likened to an enlightening phase bringing on universal fulfillment creating significant impacts on human system functioning. Yogic practices continue to teach people the significant relevance on human bodies as also attainment of spiritual processes.

Even as we might begin to fathom at celestial and spiritual connotations of this day, it is remarkable that it is celebrated with such gusto throughout the length and breadth of our country. Literally the first festival of the New Year, it pre-empts harsh winters coming to an end, is the harbinger of harvest and symbolizes joyous rites and rituals. It is a day best lived by children spending time flying kites – a tradition of our times.

Oneness with Nature

Oneness with Nature



Don’t Mess With Nature

Malin Landslide Disaster

Ecologically Sensitive Tracts in Sahaydari Valley

The Malin landslide was a disaster waiting to happen. It is mindlessness of authorities that invited the catastrophe in the wee morning hours, only to flatten an entire village into a slushy mound. Most houses along with the over 30 feet tall temple at the base of the hill, close to Dimbhe dam, are buried along with sleeping inmates. The village school and two-three houses are all that is left of Malin.

The residents, predominantly tribals – Koli Mahadeos, Thakars, Kathodis, Katkaris, Koli Dhors and Tokare Kolis were Dimbhe Dam oustees relocated in Ambegaon taluka. Following the ‘Tribal Settlement Plan’ the Tribal Development Department had relocated people in Malin that figured along with 30 other villages resettled in the vicinity. The fact that rainy season will have landslides occurring in the hills and ghats was completely overlooked.

It is well known that this area, tucked in the fragile ecological area in the valley of Sahyadri Hills, is prone to landslides. Unplanned urbanization has even farm-houses, roads, hotels, quarrying and other environmentally detrimental activities happening here. The area on hill slopes too is rife with unwarranted construction activities, in the hitherto unknown Malin.

However the powers-that-be knew full well Malin would face disaster. It was included in the list of ecologically fragile areas that were to be preserved. There is to be no human interference here as per the notification issued by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in 2013 under list of State-wise, District-wise and Taluka-wise villages in ESA (Ecologically Sensitive Area). Malin along with a list of villages falls in this category.

It also appears that the comprehensive Western Ecology Report by Dr Madhav Gadgil, a scientist of International repute, had been pushed under the carpet. Other geology experts had warned of the likelihood of landslides in villages located along the backwaters of Dimbhe dam. The recommendation had been that the state government undertake a survey of villages to identify the hills that display “landslide symptoms”.

Geological Survey of India, Nagpur has sent a team to survey the area. The survey will identify cracks in hills, tilting of trees and electric poles and these signs will require villagers to be relocated to safer places. Actually the reason for landslide at Malin has also been due to leveling of hilly land for cultivation for which trees were uprooted. With nothing to allow the soil to hold on to, it became more prone to disaster. Also stone quarrying activity made land unstable leading to accelerating the landslide.

People had of course been reporting the hill slopes were unstable. Cracks in hillsides and houses, tilting of trees had been observed in villages in a five-kilometer radius of Dimbhe dam’s catchment area. With the incessant rainfall of monsoons, indiscriminate tree felling, excavation and construction activity the waters had seeped into the hills making the soil soft that gradually lead to the catastrophe.

Don't Mess With Nature

Malin Landslide Disaster