Economic Self-Sufficiency for Bengal

Bengal comprises Bangladesh, West Bengal, and parts of other Indian states such as Tripura and Assam. With nearly 300 million total speakers, Bengali is the sixth most spoken language in the world.

P.R. Sarkar

(6 June 1986, Kolkata) – The poorest districts of Bengal are Bankura and Purulia – the economic condition of these districts is the worst in the state. Here the people are so poor that they live on grass seeds for three or four months of the year. Other districts such as Nadia, Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar and Karimganj are better off economically.

To make all of Bangalistan economically self-sufficient, two things are important – self-sufficiency in the production of the minimum requirements of life, and the large-scale production of cash crops and non-agricultural products. Both are of paramount importance if the people of Bangalistan are to prosper. Minimum requirements include the provision of adequate food, clothing, housing, education and medical treatment. To guarantee these minimum requirements, there must be self-sufficiency in the production of staple food items, cloth, housing materials, educational equipment and medicines. In addition, cash crops and non-agricultural products must be produced profitably. Let us discuss each item to examine how the people of Bangalistan can become economically self-sufficient.

Food Production

The main obstacles to self-sufficiency in food production in Bangalistan are the scarcity of rain in the winter and the problem of drainage in the rainy season. Bengal often receives a lot of rainfall during the monsoon, but that is only for six to eight weeks of the year. Due to large-scale deforestation, the amount of rainfall has substantially decreased. In comparison to the needs of Bengal, there is now a shortage of rainfall that hampers the production of crops. The rivers do not have plenty of water, and the irrigation system does not function well. For want of rain in the winter, the winter and summer crops suffer terribly. Due to the defective drainage system, the river water is not utilized for the production of food crops.

To combat these kinds of adversities, the irrigation system must be thoroughly overhauled. Where there is a continuous scarcity of rainfall in Bengal, particularly in the Ráŕh area, there should be maximum emphasis on shift and lift irrigation, tank irrigation and small-scale river-valley projects. Simultaneously, the rivulets and canals should be properly utilized and the drainage problem should be completely controlled. If the irrigation problem is solved properly, abundant crops can be harvested four times a year. For example, the aman, boro and áus varieties of paddy can be grown in rotation throughout the year. In ninety days one rice crop can be grown.

In Japan there is enormous population pressure. In British India, Tripura, Noakhali, Comilla, Chandpur and Brahmanberia were overpopulated. The population density in Japan today is much greater than in those areas at that time, nevertheless Japan has been able to attain self-sufficiency in food production.

The sticky soil of Ráŕh can hold water for a long time, and such soil is ideal for constructing tanks, ponds, reservoirs and dams. Naturally pisciculture can be developed because water can be conserved in the soil. Moreover, sticky soil is ideal for aman paddy. In some places in North Bengal there is sticky soil, while in other places there is sticky sandy (doánsh) soil, which is approximately one-third sticky and two-thirds sandy, as in Dinajpur district. Of all the districts in North Bengal, Dinajpur is the most ideal for the production of aman paddy. The soil of Bangladesh is generally sandy and is ideal for áus production. Sticky sandy soil is suitable for áus and jute.

The climate in Tripura is very similar to that of Ráŕh, and although Tripura is a rain-shadow area, the amount of rainfall in Tripura is greater than in Ráŕh. The soil of Tripura is ideal for áus paddy, summer crops and potato. Jute may be grown, but there will not be an abundant harvest. Chilli can be grown in abundance and will have a large market in Bangladesh. Ráŕh can grow an abundance of mustard seeds, whereas the other regions of Bengal can grow sesame seeds, from which many oil products can be easily made. Sesame is an ideal cash crop. There should be greater emphasis on the production of sugar beet than sugar cane, because the cultivation of sugar cane occupies farm land for a full year. Sugar beet can be grown profitably in the Ayodhya Hills in Purulia district and the Shushunia Hills in Bankura district. Sugar can be easily processed from sugar beet and sweet potato (shákálu). North Bengal is ideal for the cultivation of tobacco, which needs black soil. Ráŕh has ideal soil for the cultivation of pulses and potato. Usually a damp climate is not congenial for potato cultivation, which is why North Bengal and Assam get their supplies of potato from Birbhum district. Hooghly district supplies potato to Calcutta, Burdwan district does the same for Bihar, and Midnapore does the same for Madhya Pradesh. In the eastern portion of Ráŕh, potatoes grow quite well.

Although Tripura is a rain-shadow area, its hills receive substantial rainfall because there is less movement of water vapour in Tripura than in the rest of Bengal. The Cherapunji area of Assam receives the most rainfall in the world, but the adjacent rain-shadow area of Shillong receives much less rain. Water vapour condenses into rain on the Cherapunji Hills, consequently little moisture is left for Shillong, which is why the average amount of rainfall in the Cherapunji Hills is 900 inches a year, but the amount of average rainfall in Shillong is only 80 inches a year.

One of the main differences between Tripura and Ráŕh is that Tripura receives much more rain. The weight of one potato is nearly half a kilogram in Ráŕh, but in Tripura it is much less; however, Tripura can grow many more potatoes than Ráŕh. In fact, Tripura can grow so many potatoes that it can supply Bangladesh and earn a lot of foreign exchange. Tripura can also grow a lot of mustard seeds which can be exported to Bangladesh. The sticky sandy soil of Bangladesh is not suitable for growing mustard seeds. In Tripura the soil is heavier than in Ráŕh, so Tripura can grow pineapples and bananas. Jackfruit does not require any special soil and it can be grown throughout Bengal. Tea can be grown in Tripura but not very well because it requires sloping hilly land, where water does not accumulate, and heavy rainfall. The amount of the tea harvest generally depends on the amount of rainfall.

Silchar, Karimgarj and Tripura can grow rubber, but the harvest will not be abundant. Jute requires heavy rainfall plus fertile soil, so it will grow better in Maymansingh district than in Tripura. Maymansingh district is called the “Dead Valley of Brahmaputra”. A lot of wild arum can also be grown in Tripura.

For the cultivation of vegetables there must be a constant supply of water, but not necessarily rainwater. Nadia and Kusthia districts can easily grow abundant vegetables. In these areas cabbages, cotton (chás kápás and gách kápás) can also be grown abundantly. Nadia and Murshidabad can grow much wheat. Cotton can also be grown profitably in Tripura. Rubber cultivation can be undertaken in that part of Tripura which has much rainfall.

Coconuts require saline water, hence in the coastal areas of South Bengal many coconuts can be grown. For example, in the entire coastal area of South Bengal – 24 Parganas, Noakhali, Chittagong, Coxbazaar and other places – coconuts can be grown in abundance. This coastal area is called “Marine Bengal” and is the coconut belt. It can also be utilized for the shipbuilding industry. The Sanskrit equivalent of “coconut” is kalpataru brkśa. In Siliguri, Coochbehar, Cachar and Karimganj the soil is ideal for the cultivation of betel nut. In the same soil black pepper can also be profitably grown. The cultivation of betel leaf requires saline soil. The soil of the Tamluk subdivision of Midnapore is ideal for betel leaf, and it can supply the entire Indian market. All of South Bengal can grow betel leaf.

Except for jute, all these crops come within the scope of food items. From jute many other subsidiary industries can be developed, such as paper, rayon and silk. Paper can be produced from bamboo also, but it will be a little more expensive. The economic planning of all Bengal must be done block-wise. The soil and climate of Rajganj in South Bengal are not the same as those of Malda and Raiganj in North Bengal, hence the planning in the two areas must be different. Although the economic planning of Bengal must be on a large scale, there must still be block-level planning.

Paddy

Of all the varieties of grass in the world, bamboo is the tallest. The shortest is durvá grass. Durvá is a Sanskrit word. Durvá grass is quite short and grows in abundance in the Chotanagpur area. Grass of all varieties has medicinal value. There are over 250 varieties of bamboo. Besides this, sugar cane, paddy, vicali and wheat come within the category of grass. People sometimes eat the seeds of certain varieties of grass, but not of all varieties. Although sugar cane produces flowers, we rarely see its seeds. Sugar cane sprouts out of the joints of the plant. Bamboo flowers are not suitable for human consumption. Vicali grass produces tiny seeds, and during times of famine sometimes people survive on vicali grass seeds. Madur grass also produces seeds, but they cannot be eaten by human beings.

Paddy, commonly called rice, is the staple food for many people in the world. There are different varieties of paddy. The plants of some varieties are seven to eight feet tall, whereas other varieties are two and a half to three feet tall. Barley is also a kind of grass. Wheat is smaller than barley. Maize or corn and millet (bájrá) are other varieties of grass, but their leaves are more flat. The speciality of corn is not in the tip of the stem like paddy, but in the joints of the stem where the ears grow. Rice, wheat and barley are staple foods. Some local varieties of grass found in Bengal such as shyámá, nárkátiá, kaun and kodo are regarded as food. During periods of extreme food shortages, the seeds of these grasses are eaten.

The Sanskrit word dhánya means “green vegetation”. [In Bengali it means “paddy”.] When the Aryans came to India they saw green vegetation for the first time. But there is a difference between the paddy of Bengal and the green vegetation in Sanskrit vocabulary. Paddy was first seen by the Aryans when they reached Persia, although very little paddy was grown there. The Aryans called paddy briihi, that is, “the crop which has vast potential as a food”. Paddy is easily digestible and it also has medicinal value. The English word “rice” came from the Sanskrit word briihi. After 1,000 years briihi became rihi in Persian, which became risi in Old Latin after another 1,000 years, and then “rice” in modern English.

Boiled rice, fried rice, puffed rice and beaten rice are made from rice. Wheat increases physical strength, but as it is a bit acidic, it reduces vital energy after the age of fifty-five. According to some people, wheat bread brings strength to the body but dulls the brain, but rice is free from this defect. Rice takes up much room in the stomach, which is why people feel lethargic and sleepy after a meal of rice. When the Aryans entered India, they noticed that the land grew lush green vegetation, so they called it Harit Dhánya. This word became Hariyahánna after 1,000 years, then Harihána after another 1,000 years, and now it is “Harayana” – the land of abundant green vegetation.

Paddy had already been used for a long time by the Dravidians and Austrics before the Aryans first saw it. Paddy was the main crop of Ráŕh. By sowing the paddy seeds in a small plot of land, farmers first prepare the seedlings. In Sanskrit seedlings are called ásphota, and a pit for the seedlings is called biijatalá. If Sanskrit had not been the indigenous language of India, how could the illiterate villagers of Ráŕh have known Sanskrit words before the Aryans entered India? Hence, it is clear that Sanskrit was the original language of Ráŕh, Greater Bengal and India. In Dhanbad, Deoghar, Dumka, Pakur, Godda, Birbhum and other places in Ráŕh, words which originated from Sanskrit are used extensively.

When human beings first started to eat a vegetarian diet, they collected fruits, roots and vegetables from trees and plants. Sometimes they also ate grass seeds. Among the grasses, they discovered that the rice seeds did not taste bad, and gradually they became habituated to eating rice regularly. In the Stone and Bronze Ages, people used to collect paddy seeds and remove the husks with stone implements. This process ultimately led to the invention of improvised husking machines. After the discovery of fire, human beings also began to boil rice. They also discovered that rice can be dried in the sun and eaten instead of boiling it. However, rice prepared in this way tends to cause constipation, so people preferred boiled rice. The people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are accustomed to sun-dried rice. If sun-dried rice is eaten after midday, then there is less possibility of getting constipation. People began to fry boiled rice on primitive earth pans, and learnt that fried rice prepared in this way was a bit hard. Consequently, they boiled rice twice, and from this muri or puffed rice was prepared. Moreover, rice was fried on earth pans to prepare khai or wholegrain puffed rice. The nutritional value of puffed rice is negligible, but it can be used as a breakfast cereal. Thus, people began to prepare different kinds of food from paddy, and this is the reason that the intelligent Aryans called rice briihi.

In the primitive stage of agriculture, people used to merely scratch the surface of the soil with a stick or stone implement and scatter the seeds onto the land. When the rain came, the seeds would sprout, and in due course, grains and tuber crops would be produced. The people would harvest these crops, then burn the stalks, which would serve as manure. Gradually the fertility of the soil diminished, so they began to wonder how to increase the fertility of the soil. Some intelligent people conceived of making deep holes in the soil and extending the area of arable land. In the process, people invented the method of farming the land with ploughs and bullocks. They also discovered that cow dung was an ideal manure. With the help of ploughs, the soil could be tilled deeper and made more fertile. In olden days, people would sometimes let the land lie fallow for one to two years to increase its fertility. This system is practised even today in some places. Subsequently, people also discovered that if two seeds are sown in the same place, the plants will not grow properly, so they developed the system of planting seedlings so that each seed had its specific place – thus they developed the system of transplantation. This is called ropana in Sanskrit, while sowing seeds is called vapana. As a result of transplantation, paddy grows healthy and produces large amounts of flowers, the overall growth of the plants reaches the maximum size, and many offshoots grow out of the roots. Through these kinds of discoveries, farmers were able to increase the productivity of the land and get a better harvest from each plant. In Bangladesh it is difficult to transplant seedlings because if the seedlings are prepared in seed beds, they may be drowned due to the extensive rainfall. Consequently, paddy seeds are sown long before the rainy season so that by the time the rain starts, the seedlings will have grown to a suitable height. The rule for growing paddy is, if the tips are submerged in water due to sudden rainfall, the paddy will decompose and the plants will die, but if the water level is increased gradually, the seedling will keep growing to stay just above the water.

Varieties of paddy can be grown in all seasons. Áus is harvested in Bhádra, but in the rainy season, early autumn and late autumn, aman grows. From the last part of winter to the summer season, boro can be grown. Hence, different varieties of rice can be grown throughout the year.

Áus is grown in comparatively dry soil which receives little rain. It prefers sticky sandy soil. If water accumulates in the soil around the roots of the áus crop, the plants will wither. In Murshidabad, Jessore, Khulna, Nadia and North 24 Parganas there is plenty of sticky sandy soil. Áus can grow abundantly in these districts. The districts of North Bengal are also fit for áus cultivation.

Sun-dried áus does not cause constipation, but as it is coarse, people do not normally like it, which is why the rich people of Ráŕh used to donate the áus crop to the poor people. Good quality bread can be made from áus paddy, hence the bakery industry can be developed in every block and locality. People of average means can eat bread made from áus flour for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Such bread can be eaten frequently because it is not made of wheat, so regular consumption will not cause acidity. Among the rice eaters, the number of intelligent people is high. Rice eaters can also eat áus bread.

The production of áus will be abundant if it is grown in Vaeshákha and harvested in Bhádra. Áus can also be grown in Jyaeśt́ha and Áśáŕha. In North India áus is called bhádoi. In olden days people would cultivate áus because the early autumn was the lean season and the aman crop was still in the field, so if the áus could be harvested in the early autumn, they would get some money to pay revenue taxes. In the past during the festival to worship the snake god, villagers used to cook áus and prepare a dish made from arum. There is little risk involved in the cultivation of áus because the seeds will almost always grow if they are sown in moist soil. Only one or two showers are enough for the plants to grow and flower. In those areas of Ráŕh where there is chronic drought, áus can be grown profitably. Like other varieties of rice, áus has little fat.

From áus bran, bran oil can be made. The cement industry can be developed by using áus bran and áus husks mixed with limestone and marine soil. In western Ráŕh and the coastal region the cement industry can flourish. Cement made from aman husks is better in quality than that prepared from áus husks.

With áus, a “pigeon crop”(1) of [[barley]] is not very productive nor should pisciculture be developed, because in the áus paddy field there is little water. In some parts of Bengal the seeds of áus are sown in the field and not transplanted, because muddy soil is necessary for transplanted áus. In Bangladesh there is so much water that it is difficult to make mud, so áus seeds are sown directly in the field before the rainy season. As I said earlier Murshidabad and Nadia districts have rich sticky sandy soil which is ideal for abundant áus. These areas can attain self-sufficiency in food production if áus is cultivated properly. With a little care the production can be increased from one hundred and fifty to two hundred percent.

Áus straw cannot be used for thatching houses but it can be used as a cattle fodder. When straw decomposes it produces a special kind of mushroom called kavaka in Sanskrit. Though it contains some food value, it is a static food, and as such is forbidden for Ánanda Márgiis. Good quality paper and fibres may be prepared from áus straw.

Aman can be grown both by sowing the seeds and by transplanting the seedlings. As the people of Bangladesh are less industrious than the people of West Bengal, they now cultivate aman by sowing the seeds in the field, but if they will transplant the seedlings, production will increase. It should be noted that the inhabitants of Bangladesh have less physical endurance than the people of West Bengal due to climatic factors. For the cultivation of aman the soil should be ploughed four times. The land should be ploughed first in the summer when the soil is dry, again before the rainy season, then after the rainy season, and finally when transplanting is being done. In Bangladesh people usually plough the land just once, then sow the seeds.

The process of cultivating transplanted aman is as follows. First the seeds are sown in the seed beds and allowed to grow for four to six weeks before the seedlings are transplanted. The seedlings should be planted in a triangular formation in two parallel lines, and there should be some water in the field. An aman field should be inundated with water before the time of flowering, and preferably there should be rainfall to nourish the flowers. Without rain the plants will not flower properly. If the plants flower in Áshvina, after two months the paddy can be harvested. The kálá kantik variety of paddy is harvested in Kárttika and then the summer crops can be planted. A “pigeon crop” of the rai variety of mustard, small black peas (t́hikre mat́ar), small black Bengal gram (t́hikre cháná) or black lentils (t́hikre masur) can be grown as an associate crop.

Where kálá kantik paddy has been harvested green gram (big variety), peas (big variety) and potato can be grown. These days, people prefer the hybrid variety of paddy. After paddy is harvested in October the summer crop can be grown in the same land. The best time to grow wheat is in Kárttika, and if it is grown at this time the harvest will be plentiful, but if wheat is grown in Agraháyańa it will be the late variety and the harvest will be smaller. If hybrid aman is cultivated in Nadia and Murshidabad, it can be harvested before the early variety of wheat is grown, but as the soil is sticky and sandy, the water does not accumulate, hence it is not ideal for the aman crop.

The soil of Ráŕh is sticky, so it retains water; hence there are more ponds and tanks in Ráŕh than in other parts of Bengal. In Burdwan district there are over 25,000 ponds and in Purulia district over 10,000 ponds, so the soil of Ráŕh is very congenial for the cultivation of aman paddy. When it is time for the aman paddy to flower, seedlings of áus should be grown in comparatively high land. As soon as aman is harvested the vacant field should be ploughed and the áus seedlings transplanted. This crop will be winter áus. By the time winter áus is harvested, boro seedlings should be separately planted in the same land. As aman occupies the land for four months, up to six weeks can be taken to prepare the seedlings, so then the paddy will grow in the field for only two and a half months.

Boro requires three times more water than wheat, hence it is more profitable to grow wheat in Nadia and Murshidabad districts than boro. Where deep tube wells are available, boro can also be grown.

In the boro fields pisciculture may also be developed. As there is plenty of water in aman and boro paddy land, people can profitably grow the nayata, khyara, kunti and kharshota varieties of fry, which lay their eggs in ponds. The people of Ráŕh do not relish dried fish, but dried fish can be prepared in Ráŕh and exported to other regions. They should cultivate fry but not big fish such as bata, pabda and carp.

The soil of Ráŕh can produce bumper harvests if it is properly irrigated. Burdwan, Hooghly and Howrah districts produce abundant boro.

The straw of the aman paddy can be used for thatching houses, as a cattle fodder, and in the paper industry. The straw of boro paddy is not very healthy, and even cows refuse to eat it, nor can it be used for thatching, but it can be used for producing good quality paper and fibres. It can also be used to grow mushrooms. When boro straw decomposes it produces high quality mushrooms.

In northern India áus is called “autumn paddy”, aman is “winter paddy” and boro is “summer paddy”. The outer skin of the aman paddy can be used to produce cement of the best quality. In Nadia district three to four cement industries can profitably run from the winter paddy crop. In the adjacent district of 24 Parganas, lime made from the shells of small snails and shell fish can be manufactured and supplied to Nadia district. So in 24 Parganas the lime industry can be developed to supply Nadia district, thus two districts can develop their industrial potentiality.

Before the partition of Bengal, boro was widely cultivated in Bangladesh, particularly in the Kishanganj subdivision of Maymansingh district and the Habiganj subdivision of Sylhet district. These days even Ráŕh is growing a lot of boro.

Pulses do not require much water, but wheat needs to be irrigated three times during its growing cycle. Boro needs three times more water than wheat. Hence in sandy and sticky sandy soil, one should not cultivate boro, because water does not accumulate at the root of the plant. But boro is profitable, which is why if farmers get the scope to cultivate it they do not grow wheat. Wheat requires cold weather as it matures, but it is adversely affected by extreme cold. In foggy weather potato is also infected with diseases. Let the farmers grow boro on most of their land, wheat in smaller areas, and áus in the barren, dry land.

Aman bran can be utilized to manufacture bran oil, while the straw can be used in the paper industry. As a general rule it is always more profitable to establish an industry in the local area where there is a ready supply of raw materials than to transport the raw materials to some distant place. While cultivating áus in Ráŕh, the farmers should pay more attention to transplanted áus than to sown áus because transplanted áus is more productive. Flour can be made from the outer skins of aman and used to manufacture good quality bread which will have a large market. Madras has already established factories to produce biscuits from aman flour. Bengal can do the same.

China produces more rice than any other country in the world, followed by Burma, India and then Thailand. Since China and India have to feed huge populations, they cannot export rice to other countries, whereas Burma and Thailand can export rice because their populations are much smaller. The Philippines, Taiwan and Japan are self-sufficient in rice production. In Bengal most rice is produced in Burdwan, Birbhum and West Dinajpur, followed by Midnapore, Bankura and Coochbehar. Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Murshidabad and Nadia are deficit districts.

The soil of North Bengal, Bangladesh and Assam is very good for growing sesame. Sesame is of three varieties – the red variety, which grows in winter; the white variety, which grows in summer; and the black variety, which grows in the rainy season. Sesame does not grow well in a damp climate. The skin of sesame can be used as a good quality manure. It can also be used to make oil cake, which is both a good cattle fodder and also a manure. Sesame can also be used as flour to produce bread, pudding and porridge. It is easy to remove the skin of sesame. Simply soak the seeds in water overnight, put them in hessian cloth and rub them. The skin will automatically drop off. Skinless sesame is used for preparing some delicacies like til sandesh, the famous sweet of Burdwan, and tilkut, the most delicious sweet of Gaya district of Bihar.

Sesame is a three month crop. The land should be ploughed three times and irrigated twice. Black sesame is the best variety. Its oil is a good medicine for those who get angry easily. White and red sesame can be used to make edible oil. Sesame oil can be utilized as a scented oil, because it has a tremendous capacity to absorb different fragrances. Coconut oil has the least capacity to absorb fragrances, but it is the best hair oil. White sesame looks good. Some of the delicacies produced in Lucknow are prepared with white sesame.

Because much of the land in North Bengal and Bangladesh remains under water or contains much flowing water in certain periods of the year, it is difficult to develop pisciculture, so the dried fish industry cannot be developed. In West Bengal there are many canals, which is why much fish is produced there which can be easily exported to Burma, Thailand and Japan.

Land which cannot be ploughed and is not suitable for paddy can be utilized for “pigeon crops”. On the boundaries of the aman paddy land, Bengal gram can be grown in abundance. On the same land paddy, fry and gram can be cultivated, hence people can produce rice, fish and pulse simultaneously.

Liquid manure should be added to the paddy field after the weeds have been pulled out, otherwise the weeds will absorb the manure from the soil. Similarly, before sowing “pigeon crops” manure should be added to the soil, otherwise the “pigeon crops” will absorb the nutrients that are intended to fertilize the paddy. The “pigeon crops” should be sown after the paddy flowers. If they are sown earlier, the small fish in the paddy fields will not be able to move freely, restricting both their growth and the growth of the paddy.

Cashew nut processing plants may be established in Midnapore, particularly in the Ramnagar, Sutahata and Nandigram blocks. Cashew nut flowers should not be separated from the fruit. Floral nectar can be gathered from the flowers, which can also be utilized for the preparation of alcohol through fermentation for the pharmaceutical industry.

Seaweed can be gathered from the coastal areas of Bengal to manufacture iodine. The tobacco processing industry can be developed in Coochbehar and Bankura. Silk spinning mills can be established at Malda, Sujagang, the Jangipur and Lalbag subdivisions of Murshidabad, Vasoa Vishnupur in Birbhum district and the Visnupur subdivision of Bankura district.

Wheat

Wheat is the second most popular staple food in the world after rice. When the Aryans were living in Central Asia, they were only acquainted with barley. They first came in contact with wheat after coming to Persia. Barley has food value but it does not taste as good as wheat. Barley is prepared by removing the skin of the grain. If the skin is not removed and the wholegrain is fried and ground, fried wholegrain flour will result.

In olden times wheat was ground by using hand grinding machines because there were no mills. When the Aryans came to Persia they discovered wheat and liked its good taste, so they began to search for a suitable name for this new grain. The delicious taste of a food is experienced by the tongue. The Sanskrit synonym for “tongue” is go, and that which brings good taste to the tongue is called godhúma in Sanskrit. Dhúma means merriment, festivity or delight. The Sanskrit word godhúma was later transformed into gohuma, then into gaham. In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, it is called gehuma. In Ráŕh and Orissa, it is called gaham; in Bengal gam. In the Punjab, it is called kanaka. Mature wheat is golden in colour, hence it is called komaka, which means “golden colour”. In Tamil it is called godhumái; in English, “wheat”. The abstract nouns of the adjective “white” are “whiteness” and “wheat”. In certain places godhúma looks white, so it was called “wheat” in Old English.

After the Aryans came to India they noticed an abundant growth of wheat in the western regions. In southern India wheat was totally unknown. Usually wheat requires fertile soil, plain land, little water and a cool breeze. Of course these days there is some cultivation of wheat in South India. Wheat is a summer crop. It does not require much water – it is enough if the soil is moist – but it needs a cool breeze. The best time for cultivating summer crops is when the sun begins to move towards the north for people in the southern hemisphere, and when the sun begins to move towards the south for people in the northern hemisphere. In India, by the time the sun moves south of the equator, the harvesting of wheat should have been completed.

Wheat is a three month crop. During the cultivation of wheat the land should be irrigated three times for the best harvest – once before planting, once while the crop is growing, and once while the crop is flowering. Wheat needs fertile land, but the soil must be sticky and sandy. If water accumulates at the root of the plant, it will wither and die. In those areas of Ráŕh where sticky sandy soil is available, wheat grows well. The best places for cultivating wheat in Bengal are Malda district, the Lalgola and Baharampur subdivisions of Murshidabad district, Nadia district, North 24 Parganas, and the northern part of Jessore and Khulna districts in Bangladesh.

The soil and climate of Bangladesh is not suitable for growing wheat. Even if the plants grow, the seeds will be susceptible to fungus because of the damp climate. But in Kusthia district, wheat may be grown. This district was formerly part of Nadia district. In Faridpur and Dhaka districts, wheat will not grow because the climate is damp. For the same reason wheat cannot be grown properly in Assam and certain parts of North Bengal. If wheat is grown in these places seeds will not be produced, and even if the seeds are formed, they will be susceptible to fungus.

In Bihar ideal wheat production is not possible in Magadh, but Mithila can produce bumper crops. Uttar Pradesh and Harayana will have good harvests, but the best state in which to grow wheat in India is the Punjab. Of all the districts of the Punjab, Ludhiana has the most outstanding harvests.

In Bengal, Memari-1 block of Burdwan can produce the most wheat. Galsi-2 block is ideal for yellow mustard, and the Jamalpur area of Burdwan and Farukhabad of Uttar Pradesh can produce the most potato.

Wheat can be used to make flour and porridge. Wholegrain wheat flour or coarse flour is good for the stomach, but flour produced by removing the skin of wheat is not. Of all the districts in Bengal, wheat grows well in the inland wavy land and the land adjacent to rivers in Malda district, the Lalbag and Berhampore subdivisions of Murshidabad district, the entire Nadia district, the entire 24 Parganas district, and eastern and western Ráŕh. Bankura district supplies the best wheat seeds in Bengal. After harvesting high-breed aman, that is, aman paddy which comes from a bumper crop, the empty land should be ploughed twice at right angles, then the land will not require leveling. At the time of the second ploughing, the seeds should be sown. When they sprout, the first irrigation should be done.

The best time for sowing wheat is when Libra remains at ninety degrees with Scorpio and Sagittarius, which is in the Bengali months of Kárttika, Agraháyańa and Paośa. The early variety of wheat must be sown between the first of Kárttika and the middle of Agraháyańa, and the late variety can be sown up to the seventh of Paośa. If adequate irrigation can be arranged in Ráŕh, wheat can easily be grown there.

Small-scale irrigation projects should be undertaken for rivers such as the Mayuraksi, Kopai, Ajay, Bakreswar, Dwaraka, Barakar, Kansai, Kumari, Dulung, Keleghai, Chhotkiguwai, Barhkiguwai and Suvarnareka in Ráŕh. In these small irrigation projects, the authorities should not construct large dams, rather they should confine their expenditure to two and a half million rupees to five million rupees. As far as the standard of soil for wheat production is concerned, Samatat or Bagŕi is the best, then East Ráŕh, then North Bengal. Due to the damp climate of North Bengal, wheat seeds are easily susceptible to fungus. Wheat production per acre in Jalpaiguri is half the quantity produced in Nadia district.

Nitrogen, which increases the fertility of soil, is produced at the root of all the pulse crops. In wheat fields pulses should be grown as associate crops as this will automatically increase the production of wheat. According to the seasonal schedule of wheat planting, the relevant pulse should be planted as a blended crop. That is, early wheat should be grown with early pulses and late wheat with late pulses. The rái variety of mustard is also nitrogenous. If ninety percent of a field is cultivated with wheat and ten percent with pulses, farmers will get the equivalent of one hundred percent wheat production as well as the ten percent production of pulse, thus increasing the overall productivity. This is due to the effect of the nitrogen. Hence, the pulse crops will provide extra profit for the farmers.

The disadvantage with wheat is that when the wheat grain is growing but not yet fully matured and the easterly wind blows, the wheat will not ripen properly, and fungus will affect the seeds. If instead, however, the westerly wind blows, it will be extremely beneficial for the crop. As wheat depends on a cool breeze, with the increase in the coolness of the climate the productivity of the crop increases, but with the decrease in the coolness it decreases. If, however, there is snow or heavy frosts, the wheat crop will be destroyed. In wheat cultivation manure is also important. The nutritional value of wheat is slightly more than that of sun-dried rice.

In Bengal Samatat has the maximum potential to produce wheat, but it does not have an adequate river irrigation system. But by God’s blessing the water level in this area is not very low, so the farmers can cultivate wheat with the help of shallow tube wells. There is an extensive market for wheat throughout the world.

Those areas of Ráŕh where the soil is yellow are not suitable for the cultivation of mustard seeds. Wheat requires fertile soil but soil which contains lots of pebbles and stones. Where the climate is very cold, barley rather than wheat can be produced. In the soil of Bangladesh sesame grows quite well. The areas where the climate is a bit warm are good for wheat, but barley is not usually grown.

Countries which have much cold cannot grow wheat, but can grow oats well. The nutritional value of oats is less than that of wheat, but not much. Oats have large coarse grains. It is difficult to make bread from oats. Oat bread will usually crumble into pieces and the slices will not remain intact. In spite of excellent crops of wheat and rice, the farmers of Uttar Pradesh eat coarse grains. The large variety of oats is called jaori and the small variety is called rye in Sanskrit. Some people consider these as completely separate varieties. In rich countries oats are used as fodder. In Great Britain, England is fertile but Scotland is infertile, hence wheat grows well in England but oats are grown in Scotland. Oats are also grown in the northern parts of Russia. Oat porridge is a staple food of the Scottish people.

Some time ago India was dependent upon other countries for the supply of wheat but now it is self-sufficient in wheat production. Bengal grows a lot of wheat. When Bengal started producing wheat in Nadia district about thirty years ago, the wheat seeds were mixed with oat seeds. As a result the oats began to grow better but they did not produce seeds, while the wheat did not grow properly and produced only small harvests. Consequently, the government decided to supply better quality wheat seeds to the farmers. Wheat is also grown in Burdwan, Hooghly and Howrah districts.

The cultivation of boro is quite profitable. In western Ráŕh wheat grows better than boro, but in the low-lying areas boro may be cultivated. In Nadia district wheat is more profitable than boro. Nowadays boro is being cultivated with the help of deep tube wells, but this system of irrigation is not scientific. The same amount of water which is brought to the surface does not seep back down into the water-table because much of the water dries up due to the hot sunshine or is absorbed by the trees and plants. Hence, the water-table is rapidly declining. If the practice of deep tube well irrigation continues in Malda, Nadia and other districts, the water-table will decline so much that one day there will be no water for irrigation, and the grain crops and fruit orchards will wither and die. The farmers must be very vigilant about this problem. The wisest approach is to depend upon surface water for irrigation.

To save the Calcutta Port, the navigability of the Bhagirathi River must be maintained at any cost. The government of India constructed the Farakka Bridge to divert water to the Calcutta Port. Today Bangladesh should get as much water as India through the Bhagirathi, otherwise the rivers in Bangladesh will dry up and the economy of the country will be ruined. So the waters of the Brahmaputra should be diverted toward Rampur, Dinajpur, Malda (Manikchok) and finally merge in the Ganges. The natural course of the Brahmaputra is through Dugri, South Shalmara, Mankachar and on to Maymansingh. From there the river flows towards Bahadurabad, takes a left turn and proceeds towards Barabazar and eventually arrives at Mezra. From here the Brahmaputra commences a new course via Pabna and Sirajgunge. Even 150 years ago this course of the river was non-existent. Once the Tista River was heavily flooded and the Brahmaputra could not absorb the extra flow of water, so a new course was created because the river turned right and went all the way to Goalanda in Bangladesh and then merged into the river Padma. The old course of the river became a stagnant lake, and as a result there was a devastating outbreak of malaria in Maymansingh. The water in the newly-created section of the Brahmaputra has been well utilized by the people of Bangladesh. The water of the Brahmaputra can be easily diverted at Dhubri and this will not cause any difficulty for Bangladesh. Hence, in my opinion the people of Nadia should not unnecessarily bother about installing many new shallow and deep tube wells for irrigation.

Although the nutritional value of wheat is higher than that of sun-dried rice, wheat causes acidity. After about fifty to fifty-five years of age people who eat wheat excessively may be affected with gastric trouble and colic pain. Sometimes one may even be affected by tuberculosis and a malnourished brain. So wheat only should not be eaten twice a day. The people of Bihar undertake a lot of physical labour, but they eat wheat during the day and rice at night.

It is not profitable to use wheat stalks in the preparation of paper, but they can be used for fodder. Wheat husks are not good for pigeons and parrots because they will cause the birds stomach trouble.

It is difficult to distinguish between the seeds of wheat and of oats. The government of West Bengal should open a farm in Bankura to grow wheat seeds for cultivation throughout the state.

Poppy seeds can be cultivated with wheat as an associate crop. Poppy seed is a favourite item of the people of Ráŕh. West Bengal buys at least fifteen million rupees worth of poppy seed a year, but the central government does not allow the people of North Bengal to grow poppy seeds. There is a popular myth which says that if a wage labourer in Ráŕh earns eight paise a day he will save three paise and shop with five paise, buying three paise of rice, one paisa of oil, salt and spices, and one paisa of poppy seeds. The people of Ráŕh can forgo fish and meat, but they cannot do without poppy seeds. The seeds of poppy are sentient, the plant is mutative, and the sap is static. Poppy sap is intoxicating, hence it is called ahiphena in Sanskrit. Ahi means “snake” and phena means “foam”. The English word “opium” comes from the Sanskrit word ahiphena.

The seeds of almost all grasses are sentient. Sun-dried rice, which is usually prepared by soaking paddy and drying it in the sunshine, is also sentient. The women of the carpenter families in rural Bengal usually prepare beaten rice. If cooked rice is soaked in water overnight together with tamarind it ferments, and if the next morning the water is poured off and used with salt and chilli, it is called ámáni, which is static. Ámáni is a medicine which prevents sunstroke. Coca-Cola, Campa-Cola, etc., are mutative. Monks, nuns, missionaries and probationary monks and nuns should avoid static and mutative food. Fresh wheat is sentient, but when it is fermented for the purpose of preparing alcohol, it becomes static. All liquor or alcohol prepared by distilling wheat is static. Distilling apparatus was invented by the Buddhist monk Nagarjuna. Wheat porridge is sentient, but beer is static.

Wheat has two main varieties – early (dudhiya) and late (lalka) varieties. The late variety is the more tasty. Today people are trying to increase the production of wheat, but the wheat which is grown today is not as tasty as it used to be. Personally, I am in favour of encouraging science. I would like to appeal to the agricultural scientists to pay as much attention to the taste of wheat as to the amount of production.

Oats and rye make good fodder, particularly in rich countries, where they are often used as fodder for horses. In India poor people also eat these grains. Rotten wheat flour which even animals refuse to eat is sometimes used for food in the poor countries of Asia.

Maize

Maize or corn is an indigenous American grain and was brought to India from the USA. It grows all year round and takes sixty to eighty days to mature. In some parts of India, a particular variety called Rajendra bhuttá takes about fifty days to grow, but the quantity of production is low. This variety of maize was named after the first president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

Maize prefers fertile soil and a dry climate. Water must not accumulate at the root of the plant. Conversely, jute requires a damp climate and plenty of rain. By grinding maize we get coarse flour, but it is difficult to prepare small pieces of bread from it. Big pieces of bread can be made with some effort. Maize bread is called manda or mańra in Angika. If the skin of maize is removed, ordinary quality flour can be produced. Some dishonest businessmen mix maize flour with the flour of other grains. Maize flour is not very good at holding water.

Corn is often fried in a pan to make popped corn, which does not have much taste but is nutritious. Popcorn can also be turned into beaten corn, just like beaten rice, but the corn should be soaked in water and boiled before preparing it. Japan is a rich country, yet the breakfast commonly eaten by the people is corn flakes.

Bihar and Assam in India import rice from other states of the country, but Uttar Pradesh does not import rice because the people there eat less rice. The Burdwan district produces two and a half times more rice than what is required by the local people.

If there are good rains in Bankura, Purulia and Coochbehar during the paddy season, these districts will not suffer from deficit production. But Howrah, 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts are always deficit areas. Of these districts, Darjeeling is a hilly region, and enough maize grows there to supply food for only five months of the year. The food supply for the other months of the year comes from the plains of Bengal. Burdwan district gets water from the Damodar Valley Corporation, so it can produce three paddy crops – aman, áus and boro. Howrah district can easily produce three paddy crops in a year also and be self-sufficient in food production.

Maize is an all-season crop which can also grow in barren soil. In Darjeeling, as the land is hilly, maize should be grown by terracing the land. Winter paddy is grown almost everywhere in Bangalistan in early or late autumn, so there is not much scope for the cultivation of maize. During the other seasons such as spring and summer maize can be cultivated, or it can be grown as a buffer or boundary crop between two other crops.

Some people think that in the Bhutan Plateau no crop other than maize can be grown, hence they say that it is wise to cultivate as much maize as possible. Maize is called makai in Hindi, but bhuttá in Bengali. In those parts of India where the climate is dry and the rainwater does not accumulate, maize can grow in abundance.

Pulses

The consumption of static types of animal protein by human beings is slowly but surely coming to an end because there is a shortage of pasture land to graze animals. Even a few decades ago in India there used to be large open fields to graze cattle. People would collect the cow dung and use it as manure. Due to the increase in population and other natural factors, these vast pasture lands are fast disappearing, so cows and buffaloes are also disappearing. Fish, meat, eggs, milk, cream, butter and cheese are all animal proteins. Milk, cream, butter, etc., contain much fat. If the present trends continue, in the not too distant future animal proteins may not be available at all.

Different countries have different types of staple foods. For instance, rice is the staple food of Bengal; potato is the staple food of Ireland; and bread and butter are the staple foods of some other countries. A time will come when the populations of the meat eating countries will be in great trouble due to the absence of animal proteins. Cows can be tied to a fixed place, but sheep require vast tracts of land. Similarly, in the absence of suitable pasture land, it will be impossible to rear goats, hens and ducks. Naturally, we will have to depend more on pulses as the only viable alternative to animal protein and fats.

Of all the states in India, Gujarat has the most vegetarians. The people there depend upon vegetarian protein like pulses and prepare various food items with pulse powder. Pulse cakes are a very good food for post-convalescent tuberculosis patients. In Bangalistan the most readily available pulses are first Bengal gram (cháná), then cow pea (aŕahar), then green gram (mug), then lentil (masur), then peas (mat́ar), then kurti. Of all the pulses, black gram (biri kalái), Bengal gram, cow pea and green gram have the most food value. Cow pea provides reserve energy and physical strength, while green gram supplies instant energy but no reserve energy. Black gram provides both. Cow pea is more difficult to digest than green gram, but Bengal gram is even more difficult to digest. Black gram is comparatively easy to digest.

The quantity of pulses grown in Bangalistan at present can only meet the demands of the people for five months of the year. The rest of the demand is met by importing pulses from other states of India. In Bengal only Nadia district is self-sufficient in pulse production. Malda and Murshidabad somehow manage to meet their own needs if all the varieties are taken together. As far as black gram is concerned, Birbhum, Burdwan, West Dinajpur and Coochbehar are self-sufficient. A certain amount of black gram is exported to the Punjab and Tamil Nadu from West Bengal.

If the people of Ráŕh do not eat poppy seeds, pulses or plum chutney, they will not feel that their diet is balanced, but if they overeat these items from the early spring to the end of summer, the dry and rough climate of Ráŕh will affect their health and blood will flow from their noses. The nutrition in lentils is less than in the other pulses, while overeating peas leads to skin allergies. All lentils are mutative during the day and static at night. Pulses get sour at night and then become reddish. Those who want to develop their intellect should refrain from eating lentils. As lentils tend to be static, Ánanda Márgiis should avoid them too.

After harvesting áus or aman paddy, the field should be carefully ploughed and the big variety of pink Bengal gram, the big variety of peas and the big variety of green gram should be sown. For three to four months after harvesting aman, there is no water in the fields, but during the early part of Áshvina, the soil remains somewhat muddy and sticky. At that time the small variety of Bengal gram, peas, lentils and horse gram should be soaked in water overnight, and after they have sprouted, they should be sown as “pigeon crops”. Just as food grains are scattered before pigeons, the seeds of some pulse crops are scattered in a field as “pigeon crops” or secondary crops. The big variety of gram cannot be sown as a secondary crop because in the month of Áshvina the paddy grows quite tall, so the sun’s rays cannot penetrate through the paddy to the field, hence the seeds of the “pigeon crop” will not sprout. Black Bengal gram, black pea and lentil can be used as “pigeon crops”. The leaves of the small variety of peas are a little bitter and are harmful for the stomach. When paddy is harvested the tops of the pulses are cut off, so new offshoots grow from the pulse stalks. This process produces a large number of new offshoots from the stalks, increasing the overall production of the crop. The offcuts can be used for fodder. It is not necessary to apply fresh manure at this time because the pulses will extract what they need from the unconsumed nutrients still in the soil from the previous manuring. After the secondary crop is harvested in the month of Phálguna, mustard and summer soybean can be grown in the same field.

Usually at this time most of the land in Bengal does not lie fallow. After the áus paddy is harvested the land is often ploughed twice, and then the large varieties of pea and Bengal gram are grown, provided there is adequate provision for irrigation. The big variety of pea, Bengal gram and lentils are white, pink and red respectively. When pulses are ground by hand they split in two, but if they are ground in an improvised grinding machine with sand, they will not split apart.

If khesári is overeaten, it is harmful for the stomach. Khesári does not smell or taste good, and it sometimes causes paralysis because it contains poison. Just below the skin and just above the surface of the pulse poison develops, and this is what causes paralysis. I heard that the government had developed a variety of khesári which is not bad for the stomach. If one wants to avoid the adverse affects of khesári, it should be soaked overnight and thoroughly washed the next morning. Through this procedure the poisonous substance on the pulse will be washed off.

In Rajanagar, Dubrajpur, Mamudbazar, Murarai and Rampurhat blocks, pulses can be grown after the paddy is harvested. The chaff of khesári is a good fodder for cattle. Pulses are very nutritious for human beings.

The water and air of Ráŕh are good for health, and the people of Ráŕh have a strong physical structure. But as they do not get nutritious food, they do not get the scope to develop properly. The people of Purulia, Bankura and other adjoining districts easily contract leprosy because they lack nutritious food. Although there is poverty in Birbhum district, the people there do not suffer from leprosy. The reason is that the subterranean soil of Birbhum district contains a lot of sulphur.

The Sanskrit word for “pea” is kalaya, and the Sanskrit words for “Bengal gram” are canaka and buńt́ika. From canaka comes the North Indian word cháná, and from buńt́ika comes but́. Cháná is the big variety of Bengal gram. The Sanskrit word for khesári is triputi, and the English is “horse gram”. The Sanskrit for biri kalái is maśa kaláya, and the English is “black gram”.

On elevated land in moderately fertile soil, black gram grows well. Associate crops such as soybean, peanut and sunflower can also be grown. Black gram takes four to five months to grow. If the land is manured excessively, pulses will grow very large but they will not produce seeds, so the branches should be cut. These offcuts can be used for fodder. Similarly, if paddy land is manured excessively, the plants will grow very large but the harvest will be smaller.

Green gram (mug) has several varieties. Golden gram (soná mug) grows all the year round, but it should not be grown in the rainy season. Green gram can be grown throughout the year while black gram grows only once a year, so it is better not to grow green gram in land which is suitable for black gram. Green gram can be grown as an associate or secondary crop with any other crop, and the plants are good fodder for cattle. When the seeds mature, the plant should be harvested. The difference between green gram and other varieties of pulses is that the seeds of green gram can be readily separated by tapping the plant lightly.

In the early part of the rainy season the seeds of cow pea (aŕahar) are spread on the soil. Cow pea has two main varieties – late winter (mághii) and late spring (chaetii). In the Balagarh subdivision of Hooghly district and in Nadia and Murshidabad districts these pulses grow easily. Castor can be grown with cow pea as an associate crop, ensuring that every piece of land is properly utilized. Áus can also be grown simultaneously.

In the month of Kárttika the land can also be used for tuber crops such as sweet potato and red potato. Both crops can be grown together. In Nadia district cow pea and áus are usually grown together. In all the high arid land of West Ráŕh, áus and cow pea can be grown together. The land should be utilized all the year round.

Silkworms which live on castor leaves can also provide a lot of silk, and much cheap silk can be gathered in this way and used for clothing. Castor is both a cash crop and a food crop.

Tobacco

Dumka, Dunbad, Purulia, Singbhum, Bankura, Jharagram and West Burdwan were all full of kendu trees. These trees also grow in Birbhum district. The great poet Jayadeva was born in a village called Kenduvilla. In Calcutta the kendu fruit is called gáb, and in Ráŕhii Bengal indigenous cigarettes (kendu biŕis) can be made from kendu leaves.

As long as the biŕi industry remains, kendu leaves will be used commercially in Ráŕh and other parts of India. After people stop smoking biŕis, kendu leaves will lose their commercial importance. Biŕis are cheap stimulants for poor people. When people realize that smoking biŕis is detrimental to their health, they will act according to the principles of psycho-economy and reject kendu leaves on the one hand and tobacco on the other. At that time, the tens of thousands of labourers who work in the biŕi industry will have to be provided with alternative employment.

The tobacco produced in Burma and some other countries is of better quality than Indian tobacco. The custom of chewing tobacco (dokta) leaves among young women is gradually dying out. The people of North India are also discarding the habit of chewing tobacco.

As long as people in India continue to smoke cigarettes, tobacco will be grown in India, and the forestry departments of different states will earn some revenue by selling kendu leaves. At present Purulia, Dhanbad, Baharampur, Manbazar, Barabazar, Jhargram, Visnupur, Malda, Dhulian and Pakur are prominent centres for the biŕi industry. Most of the people involved in this industry are tribals and Bengali Muslims. Recently, some people of the Mahato community have also become engaged in this industry. Most of the labourers working in this industry suffer from lung diseases.

Clothing

The clothing that people wear in a particular region depends upon two factors – the local climate and the availability of raw materials to make fibre. Let us discuss these factors in the context of Bangalistan.

The raw materials available in Bangalistan are mainly of four types – cotton, mulberry silk, non-mulberry silk, and synthetic silk and other materials.

Cotton

Cotton is of two types – tree cotton (gách kápás) and bush cotton (chás kápás). Cotton trees bear fruit after three to four years and then die. They require a dry climate to grow properly, so although Ráŕh and Tripura may grow cotton trees, Burdwan and Purulia in Ráŕh are the ideal places. This variety of cotton is also called dev kápás. In Murshidabad, Nadia and Dhaka, cotton trees will not grow well, but from these areas high quality silk cloth was once exported to overseas countries. Even today expert silk weavers can be found in this area. Silk fibres usually come from Malda, Bankura, etc. Those districts are not famous for tree cotton but are ideal for bush cotton. The Punjab, Harayana and Maharashtra grow bush cotton. Cotton trees may grow, but not very well. During the Pathan period in India North Bengal and Tripura were famous for manufacturing fine silk clothing.

Bush cotton can grow very well in Ráŕh and Tripura. After hybrid paddy is harvested, bush cotton can be grown from November to February in vacant paddy land, and simultaneously sweet potato can be grown. From sweet potato we can get four by-products – raw sugar, molasses, yeast and alcohol. Ráŕh and Tripura can grow both tree cotton and bush cotton, whereas North Bengal and Bangladesh can only grow bush cotton.

Mulberry Silk

Mulberry silk can grow well in Ráŕh and to some extent in Central Bengal, Tripura and North Bengal. If mulberry silk is grown in Tripura, alot of money can be earned. The climate of most parts of Bangladesh is not suitable for mulberry silk, but the climate of Rajahsahi, Rongpur, Dinajpur, Jessore and Kushtia is somewhat dry, so these areas can easily grow mulberry silk. Mulberry silk can be used to produce two types of high grade silk wrappers – fine quality silk and rough quality silk. Fine silk can be produced in two colours – milk white and cream. Fine silk is called garad, while rough silk is called matka. Rough silk is used to produce pants and jackets and is usually a dark colour.

Non-Mulberry Silk

In North Bengal, Tripura and Bangladesh, non-mulberry silk will grow very well. Non-mulberry silk includes tasar, endy and muungá. Endy can be grown from castor trees, muungá from drumstick (Moringa oleifera Lam.) trees and tasar from plants such as sal [Shorea robusta Gaertn. f.], Indian plum and Indian rosewood. Tasar is of two types – one is fine and subtle, and the other fine and coarse. The fine tasar can be used to make shawls, and the coarse to make coats.

Synthetic Silk and Other Materials

Nylon, rayon and jute’s-wool come within this category. Nylon fibres can be made out of coconut fibres, paddy husks and jute. Rayon can be made from jute skin, pineapple leaves and banana stalks. Tripura enjoys special providential favour in this regard. The nylon and rayon industries can make enormous profits.

Ráŕh and Tripura can also produce good quantities of wool because they have sufficient pastures to graze cattle and sheep. It is not difficult to rear sheep in Ráŕh. By mixing the wool of Ráŕh and Tripura and nylon made from the jute of Central Bengal, jute’s-wool can be produced and used to make high quality warm clothing. Jute’s-wool cloth will be very useful for the people of Bengal in winter.

We can manufacture four by-products from the coarse fibre of jute – hessian cloth, carpets, suiting and shirting. Spinning mills for manufacturing suiting and shirting should be well established. Clothes can be made in every house as a cottage industry, and women and children can also participate. In every subdivision of Bengal there should be at least one spinning mill. These days fine fibres are being produced from linseed, okra and sesame, and are sent to Ahmedabad to produce fine cloth. Throughout West Bengal linen cloth can be prepared in abundance. Linseed and sesame skins can also be used as an alternative food to coarse wheat flour. From linseed we can get four by-products – fertilizer, food, oil and fibres. From okra we can get four similar by-products. We can also produce plastic to make shoes from coarse jute (mestá pát). Plastic can also be made from hyacinth. Mestá pát is called jute though it is not really jute. The Sanskrit term for real jute is called patta or kaśt́á. 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, the women of Bengal used to wear fine jute clothing.

Building materials

Building materials include vehicle building materials, house building materials and other building materials.

Vehicle-Building Materials

Vehicle-building materials include shipbuilding materials. Bengal has an old tradition of shipbuilding. Since the Vedic Age, more than 5,000 years ago, the engineers of Bengal have known how to build ships. Most of the shipbuilding yards were located in South Bengal – Midnapore, Howrah and 24 Parganas. Midnapore was in Danda bhúkti, Howrah was within Burdwan bhúkti and 24 Parganas was within Nadia or Samatat bhúkti. In Khulna, Bakharganj (the old name was Chandradipa), Noakhali (the old name was Bhalluka, but later it became Bhulua) and Chittagong in Bangladesh there were shipbuilding centres. The engineers of these regions were experts in shipbuilding. As a huge stock of garán or sundari wood was available in South Bengal, which was ideal for shipbuilding, the industry thrived. Boats and small ships were made with garán wood. Carpenters and fishermen would make small fishing boats with this type of wood. Even today, plenty of wood necessary for building boats and ships is readily available in the Sundarbans in South Bengal.

The metals necessary for shipbuilding are available in Ráŕh, where there are large deposits of iron ore, manganese, copper and silver. Various types of metals necessary for building ships are also easily available in Bengal, so Bangalistan can easily be self-sufficient.

The total area of the Sundarbans is 4,000 square miles. Out of this, 1,600 square miles fall within West Bengal and the remaining 2,400 square miles within Bangladesh. Bangladesh has cleared a major part of the Sundarbans and converted it into arable land. Even today in South Bengal the shipbuilding industry can easily be established at Khulna, Bakharganj and Noakhali in Bangladesh, and in Basirhat, Diamond Harbour and Alipore in West Bengal.

One of the most important materials for building vehicles is rubber. A vast area of North Bengal comprising the Duars, the Tarai, Goalpara, Kokrajhar, and Jhańpa now in Nepal can produce much rubber. Rubber can also be grown in Tripura. Rubber cultivation requires moderate rainfall, laterite soil and wavy land, so Bangalistan can easily produce sufficient amounts of rubber. The remaining materials necessary to construct vehicles can be easily produced in Ráŕh, including manganese, mica, silver, mercury, quartz and copper. Jhalda, Arsha, Puncha and Jaipur in Purulia district, and Khatra in Bankura district, have large deposits of these raw materials.

House-Building Materials

All of North Bengal, Tripura, and the Chittagong Hills can develop a flourishing house building materials industry. The most important materials for house building are bricks and cement. Bricks and tiles can be easily made throughout Bangalistan.

The necessary amount of lime can be produced from limestone and ghuting, a kind of clay which is about ninety percent lime. Besides this, there is a huge stock of calcium carbonate and calcium hydroxide in Ráŕh; lime can also be produced from these materials. In the northern parts of Jalpaiguri, in the Jayantia Hills, there is a good supply of dolomite and limestone. Dewangari was previously in Bengal, but at the time of independence it was given to Bhutan. It has a large stock of dolomite and limestone which can be used to produce lime. Sufficient quantities of lime necessary for the house building materials industry can also be produced in the coastal areas of South Bengal from shells and oysters. Large deposits of limestone available in the southern part of Ráŕh are now in the hands of Marawari merchants. They export huge quantities of lime to other parts of India which is used in the cement industry. At Jhalda, Purulia and Bankura cement can be easily produced from limestone, ghuting, dolomite, oysters and conch shells. In the northern part of Sylhet there are also limestone deposits. In Khaosia, Jayantia Hills, Maulavi Bazaar and the remaining parts of Sylhet district, except Habiganj, there are deposits of limestone.

The soil of Ráŕh contains a good percentage of calcium which is why it is ideal for growing oranges. Calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate are also available in Ráŕh.

I am certain that the amount of cement necessary for house building will be easily available in certain parts of Bangalistan. High quality cheap cement can be easily produced from the husks and stalks of aman paddy mixed with ghuting lime. Cement factories based on the husks of paddy can be established in Ráŕh, North Bengal, Maymansingh, Sylhet and the southwestern parts of Tripura. Cement can be readily manufactured in these areas. Cement can also be made from mixing ghuting and limestone.

Another house building material is sand. Mogra is situated by a stagnant tributary of the Damodar River which contains large quantities of high quality sand.

Previously, the people of North Bengal and the eastern districts of Bangladesh would collect house building materials from Tripura. For example, they would bring chan grass to thatch houses. Bushes and bamboo can also be used as house building materials.

Beside every road in Ráŕh there is plenty of ghuting. In the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal there are plenty of sea shells and oysters which can be utilized to produce lime. At Jhalda we must establish cement factories immediately. Except for Habiganj, all of Sylhet has limestone deposits.

As I see it, in almost every village of Bangalistan there can be cement factories. Within a period of six to seven days a house can be built.

Other Materials

Brahminberia in Maymansingh has deposits of underground natural gas. Naranganj and Barabazar in Dhaka district also have underground natural gas. Natural gas can be used as fuel. Doors, windows and accessories for house building, and other building materials, can all be manufactured in factories throughout Bangalistan.

Education Materials

The natural vehicle for the expression of internal ideas is one’s mother tongue. Bengali is the mother tongue of the Bengali race, whose original boundary was the Arakans in the east, Ramgarh or the Pareshanath Hills in the west, the Lower Himalayas in the north, and the Ganges Delta of the Bay of Bengal in the south. The southern deltaic region was built up by the branch rivers and tributaries of the Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers and the rivers of Ráŕh. In the Vedic Age Bengal was called Bangabhumi and Samatat. The Ráŕh area was called Ratla. In Persian the word for Bengal was Bangal; in Turkish, Bangala; in Latin, Banjala; in Chinese, Banjal; in Sanskrit, Vauṋga or Ráŕh; in Bengali, Bangladesh; in Urdu, Bangal; and in English, “Bengal”.

Bengali is one of the Prákrta languages of the Mágadhii group. Mágadhii Prákrta originated about 3,500 years ago. Modern Bengali originated about 750 years ago, and the Bengali script about 1,200 years ago. (The Bengali race is about 5,000 years old). Bengali is now the mother tongue of 160 million people.

The natural medium of expression in Bangalistan should be Bengali. The second language as a medium of expression should be English, because English is the link language with people who speak other languages. Besides this, the Sanskrit language should be taught as a compulsory language in the lower classes.

Bangalistan has been a principal education centre in the world since earliest times. Even about 5,000 years ago, Chinese scholars used to come to Bangalistan for higher study. There were three great seats of learning in Bengal – Vikramanipore, or present Vikrampore in Bangladesh, Burdwan and Contai.

The most important material for education is paper. The raw materials to make paper include jute, mestá pát́, stalks of boro paddy, corn cobs, hoop pine, vicali grass and bamboo, which can also be used to make nylon.

The other essential materials for education, such as fountain pens, nibs and ink pots, are easily available in Ráŕh. Plenty of raw materials to make writing ink are also available in Ráŕh and include hematite, blue vitriol, ferrum sulphate and indigo. Through synthetic processes, all kinds of colour inks can be made.

So, there is no reason why Bangalistan cannot be self-sufficient in the production of all the materials necessary for education.

Medicines

Ráŕh has huge deposits of minerals. If all these materials could be properly utilized, a large number of industries could easily be established. To tell the truth, Ráŕh has greater industrial potential than even the Ruhr region in Germany. In Ráŕh there are extensive deposits of coal, coal gas and natural gas. These mineral resources are extremely useful in building industrial complexes. All raw materials for making items such as glass and laboratory instruments are also easily available in the southwestern part of Bangalistan, particularly in Hooghly district. In Bengal there are abundant resources of lead, manganese, iron ore, copper and mercury. These materials and metals can be widely used to manufacture medical equipment.

Medicinal Plants

Bengal is a land with a hot and humid climate. Most of the people who live in Bengal are poor. Naturally a large percentage of the people suffer from fever, diarrhoea, dysentery and dyspepsia. Many of the medicinal plants which are essential for the treatment of such diseases are available in various parts of Bangalistan.

The most important regions for medicinal plants are the Duars, Goalpara, the plains of Darjeeling district in North Bengal, and Jhańpa district. These areas abound in medicinal plants. Jhańpa district is now part of Nepal, but previously it was included in Coochbehar. The Gorkha leader Prithvi Naryan Saha forcibly seized this district from the king of Coochbehar. The language of this district is Rangpuri, a dialect of Bengali. The Duars and other areas in North Bengal are very rich in medicinal herbs. To cure common diseases such as fever, stomach problems and dysentery, people can easily use these medicinal herbs.

Of all the remaining regions which are rich in medicinal plants, Assam, Meghalaya and the Sundarbans is the second most important area. The third important area is Ráŕh and Tripura. The rest of the plains of Bangalistan are used extensively for paddy cultivation, so obviously in those areas medicinal plants will not be available.

Ráŕh is the richest area in Bengal as far as the availability of mineral medicines, and includes Jhargram, Birbhum, Dhanbad, Purulia, Singbhum and the Bengali speaking areas of Ranchi district. The resources in these areas can be easily utilized for preparing medicines. For instance, in this region plenty of antimony and urea can be found. Quinine can also be found in the Kurseong Hills, Ayodhya, Tilabhani and the Dalmar Hills.

Plenty of materials for making medicinal instruments are available in the Kurseong Hills of Darjeeling district. Medicinal plants are also plentifully available. The Kalimgpong Hills, which has a humid climate, is not an ideal place for medicinal plants. The previous name for Kurseong was “Kharsan”. Once it was a part of Sikkim. The name “Kharsan” is wrong. The previous name of Siliguri was “Dalimpir”, and once it was a part of Bhutan. The king of Bhutan once forcibly occupied this region. The previous name of Darjeeling was “Dorjiling”.

Of the various medicinal plants, jatamangsii and ipikak grow well at high altitudes. A large area from Jhalda to Angara – that is, Jhalda, Muri, Silli, Gautamdhara and Angara – is an ideal place for cultivating herbs. This particular region of Ráŕh experiences greater rainfall than the other regions of Ráŕh. Plenty of medicinal plants can also be acquired from Sabrum, Panisagar and Dharmanagar in Tripura. In the forests of the Sundarbans, plenty of medicinal plants can be found. Saline soil itself has medicinal value. Starch which is used to stiffen shirts can be made from gol fruits. Plenty of gol trees grow in the Sundarbans. Similarly, the Garo Hills of Meghalaya and the Hojai and Lanka subdivisions of Nagaon district in Assam can supply plenty of medicinal plants.

Mineral Medicines

Plenty of mercury is available in Ráŕh, along with other mineral resources. Mercury in the crude form of mercury sulphate can be found. There is also plenty of copper. If mercury and copper are mixed, many types of medicines can be made. The Tamakhun area of Manbhum district is full of copper. Copper was profitably exported to overseas countries in the past from the port of Tamralipta. In olden days boats and ships plied on the Kangsavati River, but now the same river has almost dried up.

Proftable Industries

The profitable industries in Bengal are mainly of two types – cash crops and non-agricultural industries.

Cash Crops

Sufficient black pepper can be grown in Tripura because the climate is congenial there. Of course, Tripura already grows black pepper and hot chilli, but the production should be increased. There is a very good market for hot chilli in Bangladesh.

Bengal is deficient in the production of pulses. It only produces enough pulses to meet the demand of the people for five months of the year, so for the remaining seven months pulses are imported from outside. After áus paddy is harvested, three crops of green gram can be grown. Golden gram can be grown on the field after the paddy has been harvested. After one month when the hybrid variety of áus is harvested, the tops of the green gram will be lopped off. Many shoots will grow from the stalks which can be harvested after sixty days. Through this process golden gram can be harvested three times a year. The offcuts can be used for cattle fodder.

There are two main varieties of cow pea – the late winter variety (mághii aŕahar), also known as the “small” variety of cow pea, and the late spring variety (chaetii aŕahar), also known as the “big” variety of cow pea. Besides these two, there is another variety of cow pea, the late autumn variety (ághanii). In the high and barren land of Ráŕh this variety of pulse can be grown with áus paddy. Black gram can grow in abundance in Bengal. It is a five month crop. It grows abundantly in Coochbehar, Dinajpur, Burdwan, Malda and Purulia.

Bengal gram is a five month crop. It is spread in the wet aman field in those areas where there is a shortage of water. If you want to grow the big variety of green gram, the seeds should be sown in October after harvesting the hybrid paddy. This crop is harvested in Caetra, the last month of the Bengali year.

Horse gram is grown in abundance throughout Bengal, but it is not good for health as it can cause paralysis. These days there is a new variety of gram in the market which is a bit soft. Although it is a four month crop, its cultivation is not very profitable.

Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda, Raiganj, the Islampur subdivision of Dinajpur district, the Mekhlinganj subdivision of Coochbehar district, and parts of Jalpaiguri district minus Dinhata subdivision are ideal for the cultivation of wheat. Lentils can be grown in the wheat field as an associate crop. In the comparatively dry regions of Tripura, green gram can be grown early. If the production of pulses is increased, the total amount of pulses grown in Bengal will be more than the requirement of the people, and the surplus can be exported. All varieties of pulse except lentils are presently imported. The surplus pulses grown in Tripura can be exported to Bangladesh. The skins of pulses are very healthy fodder for cows. As there is a shortage of pasture lands, the chaff of pulses can be used as a good cattle fodder.

Rubber is a very good cash crop. Rubber can be grown in abundance in those areas of Bengal which have plenty of rainfall; the land is wavy but rainwater does not accumulate. In Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Dhubri, the northeastern part of Cachar district, and Tripura, rubber can grow particularly well.

For cocoa cultivation extensive and heavy rainfall is required. For coffee, a moderate amount of rainfall is required. Coffee can be grown in the Birbhum, Purulia and Bankura districts of Ráŕh. Coffee can be cultivated even in the dry infertile land of Ráŕh, but tea cultivation may not be so profitable. There is much similarity between Tripura and Ráŕh, so coffee can be grown in both places. Similarly, cocoa can be grown in Tripura. Cocoa trees are called “cacao” and the fruit is called “cocoa”.

Jute is also a cash crop, but instead of using jute for sacks, it could be better utilized in making coarse clothing. In Cachar, Sylhet and the Sabrum area of Tripura, oranges can be grown, but not abundantly. In Tripura and southern Bengal cashew nut can be a good cash crop. It was first cultivated in Midnapore, and was known as hijli bádám. Cashew nut has tremendous food value. It is also a very lucrative cash crop. In the Contai subdivision of Midnapore, cashew nut is being produced on a large scale.

Bangladesh has only two cash crops – raw jute and hide. If hide is tanned and exported to different countries, it may bring in a lot of foreign exchange. But as there is no developed tanning technology in the country, Bangladesh sustains heavy losses by exporting untanned hides to foreign countries. If people continue to use plastic goods instead of leather products, then both the jute and leather markets will suffer severely. I am sorry to say Bangladesh does not follow the rules of nature.

Of all the sericultural items, silk and lac are the most important cash crops. Non-mulberry silk can be grown on Indian plum trees, and high quality silk can be grown on kusum trees. Lac is of three varieties – Jhalda, Murshidabad and Baharampur. These three places are famous for lac production. There is a good market for lac throughout the world. In Bengal the demand is decreasing day by day because once Bengali women would use lac ornaments, but now this practice has gone out of fashion.

In Bangalistan beeswax does not have a good market. Paraffin wax has supplanted beeswax. Beeswax has great medicinal value. For beekeeping, the best places are the Sundarbans, Meghalaya, Tripura and Ráŕh. Beeswax cannot compete successfully with paraffin wax.

In olden times paddy was regarded as the goddess of fortune, and the husk was called tus. About 1,200 years ago, Mansingh lived in Ráŕh and Manbazar was the capital of his kingdom. He had two daughters, Bhádumani and Tusumani. After he died, Tusumani ascended the throne and became a very popular queen. In Ráŕh there is a festival called “Tusu” in her honour. Unfortunately, these days tus is indiscriminately burnt.

There are several types of land from the viewpoint of the retention of water, and include:

  1. High and dry land (tánŕ land). This land is barren and little or no water is retained in the soil.
  2. Barren plain land (bad land). Barren plain land will hold water in the soil with some effort. Áus and aman can grow to some extent.
  3. Average land (kańali land). This type of land will hold water for a longer period than barren plain land, but it is inferior to moist fertile land.
  4. Moist fertile land (bahál land). This land retains water well and is suitable for most types of farming.

Although high and dry land is not ideal for the production of cash crops, some crops can be grown profitably in this type of land. For example, some crops that can be grown permanently in high and dry land include palmyra; dates; bakul [Minisapes elangi]; kheyer [Acasia catechu Willd.]; Indian plum; kusum [Schleichera trijuga Willd.]; and palash [Butea frondosa Koenig-ex Roxb.]. A temporary crop which can be grown in the same type of land is lemon grass for the cosmetics and medicine industries. If high and dry land can be ploughed, then in the month of Aśádha, the first month of the rainy season, cow pea and either the Rajendra bhuttá variety of maize (a forty-five to fifty day crop) or early áus can be grown together. After sixty days when cow pea is harvested, áus will remain in the field and be harvested in Áshvina. The stalk of the early variety of áus is good cattle food and can be used for bran oil.

The seeds of maize or corn are human food, the cobs can be used in the paper industry, and the stalks are a useful cattle fodder. If corn is fried in an earthen pan, popped corn is produced. If corn is fried and ground before the corn pops, fried corn flour is the result. If the corn is ground without removing the skin and without frying, coarse corn flour is obtained.

After maize is harvested, sweet potato can be planted in the holes in the ground. The potatoes should be watered by sprinkling water on the field until new leaves grow. After that, water will not be required. Sweet potato has more nutrition than red potato.

Sunflower can be grown with maize as an associate crop. Sunflower and maize cannot be grown as associate crops with áus. The sunflower and maize draw moisture from deep below the soil, and that moisture also helps in the growth of the red potato and the sweet potato.

Sargujá or niger can be grown on high and dry level land which cannot be ploughed or dug with a spade but can be broken with some difficulty. Niger can be grown in the high and dry land of Ráŕh. The oil has a pungent odour, which is why many people do not like to use it, but if it is deodorized it can be widely used. Cow pea, áus and sunflower cannot be grown in high and dry land, but sábui grass can be grown and is very useful for the paper industry. Lemon grass too can be grown and can be used for preparing medicines and cosmetics. Where even lemon grass and sábui grass cannot be grown on high and dry land, then plants such as palm, sal, piyal, Indian plum, kusum, palash, kheyer, and wild blackberry can be grown. If necessary, this sort of land can be used as pasture for cattle. If the area of the high and dry land is quite large, along the borders we can grow banyan, sishu [Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.], oak and wild blackberry for both wood and medicine; African sweet berry for sugar and alcohol; and Indian olive (mahul) which is very useful for making honey, bread, alcohol, molasses, oil and tasty foods. If these trees are grown, on the one hard we can prevent soil erosion and retain the fertility of the soil, and on the other hand the land will develop the capacity to retain water.

The juice extracted from sweet potato can be used to produce sugar and raw sugar and the remaining pulp can be used in the paper industry. Sweet potatoes can also be grown on high and dry land, but the tubers will be small. Sweet potato is a three month crop and is harvested in Paośa, the first month of winter. People can make pancakes out of sweet potato, although they will not be very nutritious. Tapioca is nutritious. On all high and dry land cow pea can be grown. Lavender (keyá) can also be grown, and with some effort we can get good fibre crops. In Vaeshákha and Jyaeśt́ha the land is usually left fallow.

Cow pea stalks can be used for fencing, fuel and thatching. The empty pods can be used for fodder, and pulses can be prepared from the seeds. If high and dry land is used for cultivation, then it may be difficult to raise cattle for want of pasture land. High and dry land which can be ploughed should not be used for pasture land. In high and dry land all types of cattle can be reared. In Ráŕh the people mostly rear sheep, and in the month of Áshvina the sheep farmers of Ráŕh usually leave their homes with a flock of sheep and move to Madhya Pradesh in search of healthy grass. From acasia we get tasar silk and medicine, and from Indian plum we get tasar, lac, and wood for sports goods. Wild berry (kathjam) can be used to prepare various types of medicines and non-mulberry silk. The berries can also give honey, but this honey is a bit hot. In olden times the kings of western Ráŕh used to plant sal, palm and pujasal.

Non-Agricultural Industries

Ráŕh has plenty of mica. Mica was formed about 1,000 million years ago. The Sanskrit name is abhra. It is readily available at Ánanda Nagar. In Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Coochbehar and Brahmanberia of Sylhet district – which is at present in Bangladesh – natural gas and oil are available. In other parts of Sylhet and the Khowai subdivision of Tripura, natural gas can also be found. There are large sulphur deposits stretching for eighty miles from Bakreswar to Nanur in Birbhum. The people of Birbhum, Purulia and Bankura are almost equally poor. Recently, after the Mayuraksi Dam was constructed, there has been a slight improvement in the standard of living of the people of Birbhum.

Leprosy is a disease of malnourishment and poverty. Although the people of Birbhum, Purulia and Bankura are equally poor, there are many cases of leprosy in Bankura and Purulia and few cases in Birbhum because of the presence of sulphur deposits. Sulphur is a useful antidote for skin diseases. Sulphur can also be utilized as an ingredient for various medicines.

Iodine is also a useful ingredient for various medicines. A large amount of iodine can be easily processed from seaweed in the Digha coastal area. It can also be extracted from sea water. The term “seaweed” include many types of sea vegetation. In the coastal areas of Chittagong, many types of seaweed are available. In fact, in all the coastal areas of Bangalistan, seaweeds with a high percentage of iodine are available. The best place to process iodine is Digha. Iodine and chlorine are marine products. Iodine can only be manufactured in South Bengal, not in North Bengal. Many people in North Bengal suffer from goitre, but in South Bengal the disease is almost eradicated. Borine can also be extracted from borax to make medicine. Borax can be found in the Bengali speaking area of Ranchi district.

In Ráŕh there can be prosperous aluminum factories in the belt from Jhalda to Angara. In the Bengali speaking areas of Ranchi district, there is a long bauxite belt. Ráŕh can easily develop profitable aluminium factories. It has more aluminium deposits than it needs to meet its own requirements.

In the areas close to the sea, canals can be constructed and filled with water. After a few days the water will evaporate and a layer of salt will remain on the canal bed. In a number of places the salt industry can be established commercially in Bangalistan. The salt industry can thrive in Digha, Ramnagar, Mohanpur, Contai and Junput and, to some extent, on the Kutubdiya Island in Bangladesh.

Midnapore, 24 Parganas, Khulna, Bakharganj, Naokhali and Chittagong are all coastal districts. The climate of Midnapore is like that of western Ráŕh. In the summer season the hot winds start blowing over the land and the climate is dry, so water evaporates very fast. Obviously salt can be easily and profitably produced. The three main blocks of Midnapore district that have the greatest possibility of developing the salt industry because they are closest to the sea are Digha, Contai and Ramnagar.

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2012

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