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Religious Conversion threatening Indias ecological heritage

Posted December 30, 2005

12/7/2005 Haindava Kerala Correspondent


The ecological traditions of India, especially Kerala face serious threat in the form of
religious conversion, according to noted environmental scientists, technologists and
ecologists. This was revealed here on Wednesday by none other than Dr Nanditha
Krishna, Chairperson, C P Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation.

Delivering the introductory speech of the seminar on Conservation of Ecological

Traditions and Sacred Sites of India, with special emphasis on Kerala, Dr Nanditha
pointed out that religious conversion happening all over the country at an alarming rate
has destroyed forests and holy groves (popularly known as Kaavus in Kerala). The
proselityzers and the newly converts do not have any emotional attachments with the
holy groves. In most of the cases, the newly converted people see to it that the holy
groves are destroyed at the earliest, Dr Nanditha said. She pointed out with statistics that
many dense forests and groves in north east India became the main target of the Christian
missionaries engaged in the harvesting of souls in the areas.

Dr Nanditha said that the Kaavus, especially the sarppakaavus ( fanily temples where the
snakes were worshipped) were destroyed indiscriminately as a result of urbanization and
religious conversion. This is causing havoc all over the country. The team of scientists
from the CRP Foundation found to their dismay that Kerala, popularly known as Gods
Own Country, is fast emerging as a drought stricken state. The new generation among the
Hindus show scant regard to the traditional Kaavus and groves, Dr Nanditha said.

Substantiating the findings of the CRP Foundation team were the revelations by Shri M
Amrithalingam, a well known botanist and ecologist. Shri Amrithalingam, with more than
two decades of research experience in the ecological system of south India told the
seminar that unless and other wise something is done to arrest the destruction of the holy
groves, the country is in for serious crises, like drought and shortage of water.

While we had small sized forests attached to the Hindu tharavadus in Kerala,
urbanization and religious conversion have denuded them. There were many scientific
reasons for worshipping forests, animals and groves, Amrithalingam explained.

Shri T Madhava Menon, formerly of the Indian Administrative Service spoke on the
Tribal Communities and Heritages of Kerala. Dr C R Rajagopalan, Dr S Rajasekharan,
Shri E Unnikrishnan, Dr K P Thrivikramji and Dr Ashalatha Thampuran presented papers
on the various aspects of ecology and environment.
Earlier, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, noted film maker who inaugurated the seminar expressed
apprehension over the findings of the CPR Foundation. More than hundred college
students from various parts of the state attended the seminar