(HAND-SPUN AND HAND-WOVEN CLOTH)
R. ASHOK KUMAR, NEGENTROPIST, BOMBAY SARVODAYA MANDAL, 299, TARDEO ROAD, NANA CHOWK, MUMBAI-400007
Copyright ©2011 Ramaswami Ashok Kumar
In India the use of living energy human energy for cloth production and reforestation for meeting basic needs will enable protection of the human habitat as well as the habitat of all other life. Also this results in a zero cost economy because of the versatile nature of living energy. This results in preserving energy and matter in cycles of ecologically compatible use, when return is practised as a way of life. A comparison is made with the dangerous nuclear fuel cycle and it is concluded that survival calls for embracing Khadi and reforestation.
The way the development of the human being has taken place in India is non-homogeneous. Hence there is plenty hope for hand-spun and hand-woven cloth to become commonplace in India. However the dominant feature in India is nothing short of chaotic. But it is a self- organised criticality. On education, social services and industrial production whatever we spent has more or less been wasted. Figure 1 glaringly brings out the main characteristics. Measured in terms of finances spent in the first plan(=1 unit), we had spent as of 1991 135 units(Rs 63533 Cr) on social services, 100 units(Rs 15000 Cr) on education, and achieved 100 units(40 million people) in unemployment! It is dreadful that while industrial production was eleven fold in 1991, the employment was only slightly more than two fold. And during these years we grew into 2.4 fold in human population. What shock and awe of human resource destruction! The reason: Aping the West in all aspects of life. Thus conquering nature(or have we really, in the long term?), we have defeated ourselves, because, we are part of nature! Could you take part in a learning exercise and update this till the end of the ninth five year plan(2002)? See Figure 2.
We imported machines, which we used thoughtlessly(really?) to displace millions of people( 50 million for the record) and animals and have landed ourselves in an unenviable debtor position. Instead of using cotton, we are growing cotton which we cannot use in making cloth by hand and are exporting the same and driving our own Hand-loom industry into the doldrums. Instead of creating opportunities for work, we are trying to revive sick industries, which relatively hardly employs people! We have learnt nothing in the past half a century. We export cotton and other products of the soil like agricultural produce and horticultural produce and have no idea of the destruction we impart to the soil when we do not return what we take from the soil. R. Ashok Kumar(1986) reveals the ecological tragedy of exports everywhere and imports everywhere a la GATT for example. Because kindly use of living energy in ecologically compatible ways preserves energy in cycles of use, it is criminal to displace living energy and waste the god given gift away by using fossil fuel guzzling machines when the hands are in surplus, and together with brains(in fact whole living beings) living energy use is infinitely superior to machines of modern civilisation, that is modern necromancing fundamentalism. At least one ecological text has explicitly stated this logic:
“Yogins, having abandoned attachment, perform action only by the body, by the mind, by the reason and even by the senses, for the purification of the self.”-----The Song Celestial.
When a person does not know and does not know that he does not know, he is asleep; awake him.
When a person does not know and knows that he does not know, he is humble; teach him.
When a person knows and knows that he knows, he is wise, follow him.
----Ancient Arab Proverb.
But when a person knows and knows that he knows and still does things he should not, he will be destroyed.
—Adapted from The Gita.
Figure 1 Unemployment(Live register) correlates with Education and Social Service
Figure 2: Post-Reform Unemployment(Live registers)
The Politics of Employment Generation- Khadi
Khadi means making anything using human power, in particular it commonly connotes making cloth. We pick cotton by hand, clean it, and put it in a convenient form to hand-spin cotton thread, using the spinning wheel, then weave the thread into cloth, incorporating creative designs, using vegetable dyed threads if needed. The best designs in Khadi ruled the world, till shortly after modern fundamentalism took over the control of the subcontinent(The 1750s). When people grow cotton themselves, and feed themselves out of fresh home grown food, and they excrete hygienically on their own land and recycle, energy and matter are preserved in cycles of use(except for the sun which however has more than ten billion years to go and hence is out of the entropy reckoning). They become one with an ecological creative process, rooted in local circumstances, which however, are infinitely many! Biological diversity thy name is survival of all life for millennia. That is the charm of living in small self-sufficient communities. All the materials of Khadi can be recycled, and thus the whole process is wasteless and sustains fertility of all life, including the soil. Lets now look at the famed prowess of nature of concentrating power in a small area. The power flow involved in the Khadi process is some 1000 megawatts per square kilometer(MW/km^2). A megawatt is a million watts of power. Each human being can work at the rate of 35 watts on a sustained intermittent but certain basis. Thus it is like putting 28571429 people in a square kilometer of area on the subcontinent! For comparison, the density of slum population in Mumbai is perhaps 250000/km^2, assuming 10 million slum-dwellers on 40 km^2 of land area. Thus there is a hundred fold human power packed in a square kilometer
when a single man works on the basis of 35 watts per capita! It is easy to see why this is so: A man occupies an area of 3 meters by .5 meter or 0.15 square kilometer while working at a maximum rate of 150 watts for a short period of a burst. And this power is 150 watts/.15 sq.m=1000 watts per sq.km or 1000 MW/km^2! This is no necromancy! Its actually happening all over India in Khadi Village Industries. You can see one in Madurai for instance. Or Meghalaya. This kind of work can be performed where you live. And you can live where you work. Together with full throated songs or silently in harmony with the silent spinning wheels and the pit looms.
The Limits of Cloth Production by Khadi
In the countries of Asia, some three billion farmers and townspeople require twenty meters of cloth per capita. Therefore we must reckon with 60 billion meters annual clothing requirements. For this Khadi requires 50 million people enjoying 11000 MW of muscle power, 200 square kilometers(20000 hectares) of land and a financial investment of Rs 24000 Cr to Rs 28000 Cr. 30 million hectares of land are required to grow cotton for the above requirements. Cotton picking on 30 million hectares of land requires 132 million people to be employed. That means 29000 MW of human power at work. But come the mechanical picker on these 30 million hectares and this displaces these 132 million people! Let us just glance at the consequences of this step which is common in the US. The mechanical picker is a fossil fuel guzzler at 29000 MW at ten percent efficiency ! This works out to be about 70 million tons of diesel - more than thrice the diesel consumption for All-India purposes per year during 1990-91. Further for crude oil mining, the land use at some 30 MW/km^2 would be 967 km^2. This is 96700 hectares extra which could be ecologically reforested with people’s cooperatives!
967 sq.km is at 1000 MW/km^2 power flow some 967000 MW of power! Enumerate the forest produce diverse on this enterprise of cooperatives!
The Forest on 967 square kilometers
Or the 6s and 7s of a mechanical cotton picker
I am green and my colours are many
In leaves, fruits and flowers
I give you a treat, I am so beautiful,
Tasty and delightful offering shady retreats,
I am infinitely superior to dams
I distribute equally water all over,
Provided I am planted, nurtured and loved.
By sucking water from ground under,
And pumping it far into the wide open spaces,
With the help of the sun- my emperor,
Giving power to enable me to breathe out
What you breathe in to live every second,
Making cool winds to waft in my shade,
While the sun shines brightly all day long,
And many a river to flow all year long,
Making the specialist’s river interlinking
Look awfully shocking,
Remember with awe that I am your saviour,
My silence tells you I am all powerful:
Like 5 times the globe’s human population
Assembling in the 967 square kilometers that
The horrid cancerous diesel giver occupies
For the sake of the dirty smelly noisy cotton pickers
Which displace the 132 million full-throated singers.
Friend of all that live in this world,
You kill me and you kill yourselves,
You plant me and nurture me with tender loving care,
And be assured that you will live happily ever after!
Ramaswami Ashok Kumar
1997, 10th of September,
Bombay Natural History Society’s Sarvodaya member!
See the URL: http://practicethevedas.blogspot.com/
(please paste this on the address bar for access!)
for the why of reforestation. There may be very great difficulties in ecological reforestation. You may ask the Regional Botanist for help in this regard. The frustrating story of the attempt of reforestation by the Northern Command in this enterprise after they had deforested the hills in North Sikkim is a lesson for all.
And what of the future?
And coming back, when the present crude oil fields are exhausted one has to go over to another set of such fields. This makes the land use twice or more than before. Hence every twenty years or so, the land use becomes from the present 30 MW/km^2, to 15 MW/km^2 to 7.5 MW/km^2 and so on until finally this method is abandoned. This is called temporary progress, read unsustainable characteristic of modern civilisation. Every time this diesel fuel is burnt, 90 percent goes to waste, appearing as harmful pollutants killing the very cotton crops, with acid rains, heavy metal pollution and NOX pollutants.
Part of this diesel exhaust is the virulent carcinogen 3-4 benzpyrene and dibenzanthracene-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHS)(There is no low level at which these are harmless). These are unburnt fuel from diesel engines. They cause drowsiness, eye irritation, cough. Then there is sulphur-di-oxide, a colourless gas that is a part of diesel exhaust: Affects upper respiratory tract. Causes bronchial problems, nose blockage and a hacking cough. These get converted to sulphur trioxide by catalytic reactions with aerosol pollutants with the help of radiochemicals and form an order of magnitude more sulphuric acid than otherwise with moisture. With rains acid rains result. This will result in heavy metal reactions in soil with photosynthesis failure as a distinct possibility. The oxides of nitrogen, the NOX pollutants lead to bronchial infections, colds, headaches and eye irritation. A recent spurt(1996) in fibrosis cases in Mumbai has been traced to these pollutants(India Today,15/12/1996). The suspended particulate matter which are particles of dust and carbon, coated with toxic chemicals are also coming from diesel exhausts. They coat the lungs. They cause respiratory infections, persistent cough and throat irritation. It aggravates asthma.. Note that all these are absent when only muscle power- plentiful power derived from nuclear fusion in the sun, situated safely,150 million kilometers away from mother earth- is used for cotton picking! While the output of the human is carbon- di- oxide which is absorbed by the plants, the excreta of the human fertilises the fields and increases productivity and maintains soil fertility.
Instead of human power when mills and power-looms are used to produce cloth..
When mills and power-looms are used for thread making and weaving, additional power is consumed. For the 60 billion meters of cloth, annual requirements of 22000 MW of nuclear power may be touted as necessary in a growth phase on some 800 km^2 of land. But the efficiency with which the 22000 MW of nuclear power is created is 27 percent. This means at the nuclear power station 73% of the high quality energy contained in the fuel is converted into waste heat at unusable quality. Out of the 27% electricity, 10% is used to feed the auxiliaries and of the remaining 24.3%, 20% is lost in transmission, distribution and office uses, leaving only 19.44% for the textile machinery input. The textile machinery work at 45% efficiency, so that the final overall conversion of fuel to useful goods and services may be less than 10%. The story of fossil fuels is not qualitatively different. You have the sea level rise annulling all the GDP achieved so far! Thus every time cloth is produced this way, 90% of ancient fusion’s glory or of present fission’s fury is lost forever, and we have to mine coal or uranium afresh to keep the machines going. But what is the effect of all this on the teeming millions? While Khadi employs 50 million people, the machine hardly employs 4 million people! The rest may go to hell, which means writhe in wretched poverty and for insurance have more children in the hope that some may take care of them. See also the real population explosion on the subcontinent on account of deaths due to pollution becoming common: See the URL: http://indiapopulation.blogspot.com(please paste this on the address bar for access!)
The Exclusions of the Insured!
And talking of insurance, even if only compensating for damage to machines and property- the human being and animals are expendable- a premier insurance company proclaims in case of fire:
The following are excluded under a fire policy:
a)Loss or damage directly or indirectly caused by or arising from or in consequence of, or contributed to, by nuclear weapons material.
b) Loss or damage directly or indirectly caused by or arising from or in consequence of or contributed to by ionising radiations or contamination by radioactivity from any nuclear fuel or from any nuclear waste from the combustion of nuclear fuel. For the purpose of this exclusion only, combustion shall include any self sustaining process of nuclear fission.
Deaths due to nuclear power
Nuclear power of 22000 MW capacity producing 17600 MW-years of electric energy per year during normal operations may result in at least 35000 to 40000 fatal cancers per year. In this connection see health effects of nuclear power: URL: http://isisunveiledhenp.blogspot.com
(Please paste this onto the address bar to view the URL)
Further in future generations, there would be some 140 million fatalities due to health effects of radon and its daughters produced via long lived radioactive thorium left in the open in the mine and mill tailings wastes.You may have seen the horrors in Jaduguda experienced by the tribes there where uranium is mined and nuclear wastes dumped. The effects last for 250000 years. The nuclear wastes have to be stored, isolated from the biosphere for at least 300000 years. This calls for a superhuman design! Thus nuclear fission must not be an option for producing electricity at all, not even for the mills and power-looms!
Energy Audit of Nuclear Power compared to Human Power
Let us bring this out by comparing Khadi with the power process of mills and power-looms. To produce 60 billion meters of cloth per year, a human power of 11000 MW peak employing 50 million people at 220 W peak per head is estimated. Now since nuclear power in a dynamic growth phase(for the next one hundred years at least!)- the so-called practical case- requires a capacity of a minimum of 22000 MW for the same cloth production, it will already consume 100% more than its human counterpart-Khadi. But while possibly, nukes give only unbreathable, unwearable, uneatable electricity, the humans not only supply their power to run the mills but also produce cloth by weaving and singing while they work! We must also consider the utilitarian value of the people who are perfectly mass murdered by n-power, namely,140million people in future generations whose identity cannot be established beforehand individually and the 35000 to 40000 such individuals killed during normal operations during the 20 year life time of the individual nuke plants. This amounts to another 31000 MW peak. Thus there is an excess of power consumption of 42000 MW already. We cannot consider the breeder reactors at all because they may explode like several Hiroshimas. Further, considering the collective requirements for cooling of nuclear wastes, adding extra steam generators a short period after their commissioning to replace corroded steam generators, the sarcophaging of the highly radioactive corroded steam generators in mausoleums, energy requirements of decommissioning including costly guard, the nuke fuel cycle would become a net energy consumer five or more times the energy they produce during their lifetimes. See the URL
for a detailed exposition of the adverse audit.
Land area required by the nuke process 600 km^2 more than living energy use!
We must also consider the extra land requirement of 600 km^2 for the nuclear process. We stated above that Khadi requires for the process 200 km^2 land area. Growing forests on this area of the analogous type compared to the original indigenous forest species at 30 kg/m^2 dry biomass density results in a power flow through the trees of 1800 MW/km^2 compared to a power production of 27.5 MW/km^2 by the nuclear fuel cycle. And since we require 800 km^2 for the n-fuel cycle of 22000 MW capacity, the power flow on this area amounts to 1.44 million megawatts by the trees! This is 65 times what the n-fuel cycle produces on the same area. And in an economy of production, consumption and return, this goes on indefinitely whereas the n-reactors will have ended their lives by 20 years individually! Further, the nuclear fuel-uranium- is depleted and hence for all practical purposes we have the following insoluble problem: This particular used fuel is no longer available after the energy has been converted to electricity. The radioactive by products formed after the fissioning process have to be isolated from the biosphere for at least 300000 years, but there are actinides which require a billion years isolation!
Thus in Fukushima today 22 April 2011, the mandatory evacuation zone is 20km radius from the stricken plant. From the above considerations of tree power the power flow through the trees of enough dry biomass density to give at least 1200 GW of power flow has been replaced for a long long time from now by a big big ionising irradiation death dealing zone instead of even 9.9 GW.
And because modern civilisation is blindly moving forward even after Fukushima it will be destroyed by many a coming Fukushima triad of disasters in the coming years.
The damages to the gene pool of all life
The damages to the gene pool of all life is cumulative. Combined with the injurious effects of the forever increasing hazards and hazardous materials newly introduced into the biosphere and totally strange to nature, the result would be extermination of one species after another. Dr Rosalie Bertell of the Order of the Grey Nuns, predicts that by the fifth generation into the nuclear age, the damages would be felt among all totally.
Making cloth by Khadi enriches society forever and contributes to the resplendent diversity of life by preserving energy in cycles of use and helping preserve living species rather than causing their extinction as nuclear power does. Because of the multi-output nature of living energy, in an economy of return, this results in zero cost living, wasteless and full of life. Discard modern fundamentalism and embrace Khadi.
There is no pure reason for the non-harmonised;
Nor for the non-harmonised is there concentration;
For one without concentration, there is no peace;
And for the unpeaceful, how can there be happiness?
1.R. Ashok Kumar.1986. Modern Civilisation and Normal Civilisation: The Need for Small Self-Sufficient Communities. GANDHI MARG. May. Pp 70-92. Gandhi Peace Foundation. New Delhi.
2. Rao D.P.1992. Accounting for Human Resources: The Macro Perspective with respect to India. The Chartered Accountant. February.pp 664-667.
3.R. Ashok Kumar.1993. Modern Civilisation and the Case for a Normal Civilisation: An Ecological Audit of Khadi compared to the Power Process. Proc. Congress on Traditional Sciences and Technologies of India. November 28-December 3. Textiles Section: Living Traditions and Creative Initiatives. IIT Powai. Bombay.
4. Arnold.E.1956. The Song Celestial or The Bhagavad Gita. Jaico. Bombay.
5. Thompson J.1994. Cotton,King of Fibers. National Geographic. June. P 60-87. Cost data on Mechanical Cotton Picker and the number of people displaced by it.