I had the pleasure of visiting the most south-eastern tip of Rameshwaram, a place called Dhanushkodi (a word which means ‘tip of the bow’ as the Ramayana epic has Lord Rama marking this as the spot to connect Sri Lanka to India with the tip if his bow). This entire village was destroyed almost to the day on the 23rd of December 1964, 52 years ago by the Rameshwaram Cyclone of 1964.
This area is under just 30 kilometers from Sri Lanka (Talaimannar) and was a bustling port city during British rule. It is also a spot where the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar meet. The ruins of a bustling port city can still be seen here and is a reminder of how immensely powerful nature can be. This area remains fairly difficult to reach but efforts are being made to make it more accessible for people to reach and regale in the beauty of the place.
My forefathers used to ply the trade route between India and Sri Lanka through Dhanushkodi and it was a thoroughly humbling experience being here.
I came across this very interesting closing argument made by George Graham Vest in 1870 to a jury whilst representing a client whose hunting dog (named Old Drum) was killed by a farmer. Vest’s client was suing for damages for $50 but in the end the story goes that he was awarded $500. This closing argument may be the reason why:
“Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
Gentlemen of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.”
I saw this campaign ad in the London Underground and it raised what I consider to be a very important issue.
Einstein is commonly reported to have predicted that ‘if bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would only have four years left to live’.
Since the statement above, more than 90% of the world’s bees have disappeared. There is no conclusive evidence to explain why and this is a hugely troubling matter.
One in three mouthfuls of food we eat are crops (fruits, etc) that are dependent entirely on bees.
If the bees are wiped out, our food shortage problems (which are already at crisis levels), will reach catastrophic levels.
Bees’ colony collapse is a problem that will have a huge implication with devastating consequences for people around the world. More urgent effort is needed to better understand the reasons for the decline of bee colonies (this decline will further impact agriculture and crop produce – which in turn will exacerbate the current problem of global food security and supply).
I will strong recommend that we learn more about this very critical issue (which to my mind is almost as important as that of climate change) and act on it.