Denbigh will start as the big favourites to advance to the senior final when they battle Knox at 12:30 p.m. They were easy 52-10 winners over Herbert Morrison Technical, while Knox edged Anchovy High 31-27. In the urban semi-finals, junior champions, Gaynstead High will face Norman Manley High at 1:30 p.m. before Queen’s face Camperdown at 2:30 p.m. Defending Senior champions Camperdown and Excelsior, who suffered their first defeat this season against Queen’s at the same venue last Thursday, will meet in a high power senior semi-final at 3:30 p.m. Former champions Queen’s and Gaynstead will close the day’s proceedings when they meet in the second semi-final at 4:30 p.m. BIG FAVOURITES History will be created at the G.C. Foster College today as for the first time both the rural and urban schoolgirls’ netball semi-finals will be played on the same day and at the same venue. Junior rural action begins at 9:30 a.m. with Holmwood Technical facing Manchester High before defending champions Denbigh High oppose first-time semi-finalists St Thomas Technical. Many-time champions Holmwood will be seeking another final berth among the seniors. They tackle Manchester High at 11:30 a.m. The team got a scare in their quarter-final match against Glenmuir winning 38-37. They will have to improve on that performance if they hope to advance as they will be up against a confident Manchester High team that blew away Thompson Town 46-19.
Click here if you are unable to view this gallery on a mobile device.Led by Golden State Warriors CEO and President Rick Welts, Bay Area media on Monday toured the mostly finished Chase Center, where the Warriors will tip off their new season with a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 5.The massive scoreboard — said to be the largest, by a considerable margin, in the NBA. The Chase scoreboard, developed by Samsung, is more than 9,699 square feet of screen space. The …
Shouldn’t Darwin Day be named Darwin-Wallace Day? After all, Alfred Russell Wallace is by most accounts the co-discoverer of natural selection. Papers by Wallace and Darwin were read together at the Linnean Society meeting of 1858, over a year before Origin of Species was published. Some groups are seeking to give Wallace his due in the limelight – or, in the language of presidential politics, at least let him be Darwin’s running mate. In a letter to Nature,1 George W. Beccaloni and Vincent S. Smith complained that celebrations for Darwin Day are downplaying Wallace’s role. This was not to disparage the great Darwin, for they agreed with Kevin Padian (02/11/2008) that next year’s 200th birthday should be “celebrated enthusiastically.” But 2009 is also the 150th anniversary of the discovery of natural selection. There has been a long-standing attempt to marginalize the great Wallace, they argued. It almost seems intentional:This lack of interest in the 2008 anniversary is indicative of how Wallace’s achievements have been overshadowed by Darwin’s since Wallace’s death in 1913, a process certainly not helped by the Darwin ‘industry’ of recent decades. During his lifetime, Wallace received plenty of recognition from his contemporaries for his part in the discovery, as indicated by the many honours bestowed on him. These include the Darwin-Wallace and Linnean Gold Medals (Linnean Society); the Copley, Darwin and Royal Medals (Royal Society); and the Order of Merit. Isn’t it perhaps time for the current darwinocentric view of the history of biology to be revised?A website has been erected called The Alfred Russell Wallace Memorial Fund. The sponsors seek to correct the darwinocentric view of the history of biology and give Wallace more recognition.1. George W. Beccaloni and Vincent S. Smith, Correspondence, “Celebrations for Darwin downplay Wallace’s role,” Nature 451, 1050 (28 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/4511050d.Yes, it is time for the darwinocentric view of the history of biology to be revised. But adding one more misguided racist apostate storyteller is a process certainly not helped by the Darwin-Wallace industry of recent decades. Reasons why Wallace doesn’t get the press Darwin gets: (1) he was from a lower social class, (2) he delved into spiritualism and held some other weird beliefs, and (3) he did not believe that natural selection could explain man’s soul, rationality and morals. For this Darwin could only barely tolerate him. Since Wallace did not go all the way to complete naturalism, he could not share the glory of the Grand Tale that allowed Dawkins to become an intellectually fool-filled atheist. Darwin was devastated when Wallace had sent him that 1858 letter outlining the same theory of natural selection that he had been working on for years. Didn’t Darwin do the right thing, though, to share the stage at the Linnean Society with Wallace by having both their papers read together? Janet Browne in her excellent biography Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002) told how it was a scheme to protect Darwin from criticism while guaranteeing him the limelight. Darwin’s X-Men friends gave Wallace just enough press to keep him from complaining about priority, but afterwards did little to share the honor with him, and worked to ensconce Charlie as the “real” hero of the Law of Natural Selection. It was “audacious skulduggery” – as Browne termed the plan Charlie & Charlie (Darwin and Lyell) cooked up. “No pair of practised fixers could, if they wished, have cooked up a better scheme for promoting Darwin’s interests” (p. 35). Read all about it in chapter 1. The Wallace Fund site contains a quote from old man Wallace in 1913: “Truth is born into this world only with pangs and tribulations, and every fresh truth is received unwillingly. To expect the world to receive a new truth, or even an old truth, without challenging it, is to look for one of those miracles which do not occur.” Great. Let’s challenge Wallace and Darwin both. Question number one: How does Truth evolve?(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
The Absa Bank call centre in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more freephotos, visit the image library.)Mary AlexanderWith South Africa largely sheltered from the subprime crisis and resultant economic meltdown, the country’s banks now have a larger market capitalisation than the world’s major corporate banks.Absa Bank now has an equivalent market cap to its major shareholder, the once-giant Barclays UK, and Standard Bank is larger.South Africa’s stringent credit regulations are largely recognised as having prevented local banks being caught in the web of the subprime lending craze that entangled financial institutions across the world. “They have been pounded like you can’t believe,” said Wayne McCurrie of RMB Asset Management on Summit TV. “Our banks are nothing like the overseas banks.“Barclays UK was a massive bank – its market capitalisation, in other words what shareholders value the company at or what the share market values the company at – is not dissimilar to Absa’s market capitalisation, and it’s less than Standard Bank.“So our banks are now bigger in market cap terms than the major corporate banks.”In 2005 Barclays paid some R33-billion for a majority stake in Absa. The British bank’s share price has tumbled headlong recently.McCurrie said on Tuesday that the world’s major corporate banks had fallen us much as 30% to 40% in two days. “And that comes after an 80% fall – so they are now a fraction of what they used to be.“We are lucky in South Africa – not only are our banks insulated, the majority of our economy is insulated.“The resource sector is not – we’ve seen resource prices falling with platinum falling from US$2 200 an ounce to around $800 or $900 now. It’s been a dramatic effect. Unfortunately this adds to the general economic downturn we see in South Africa.“But it’s important to see that South Africa is in a downturn – it’s not a crisis, it’s not a collapse.”On Wednesday Absa assured investors that it was “unaffected” by Barclays UK’s troubled position. “Absa is a separately listed company on the JSE and is a South African registered bank regulated by the South African Reserve Bank,” Patrick Wadula, Absa’s head of media relations, told Sapa.The sell-off of banking shares in London continued on Wednesday, with Barclays’s shares falling to a 24-year-low, with rumours that the British government would nationalise the bank.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at email@example.comRelated articlesSeize the new yearWhy 2008 isn’t 1998 Africa captures investors’ eyes SA’s competitiveness steady Doing business easier in SA South Africa’s economy: key sectors Useful linksSummit TV transcript of interview with Wayne McCurrieSummit TVAbsa BankStandard BankNedbankFirst National BankJSE LimitedSouth African Reserve Bank
Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala will spend International Mandela Day on Tuesday 18 July 2017 with Brand South Africa and the South African Men’s Hockey Team at the New Jerusalem Children’s Home in Midrand.Ms Tandi Mahambehlala is South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Communications. (Image: GovernmentZA, Flickr)Johannesburg, Friday 14 July 2017 – Brand South Africa will host the Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala and the SA Men’s Hockey Team – who are competing in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals currently underway in Johannesburg at the Wits Hockey Stadium, to commemorate International Mandela Day at the New Jerusalem Children’s Home on 18 July 2017.International Mandela Day is a commemorative day inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices.To honour the late African leaders’ epic struggle, setbacks, renewed hope and ultimate triumph – the United Nations General Assembly via unanimous decision proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009, to mark his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle.It called on individuals to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Mandela had been a part of the movement.“The world remains beset by so much suffering , poverty and deprivation it is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all this famous call to action by our Former President Nelson Mandela is a continuation of legacy, which calls upon all South Africans of all races and creeds to unite and act against poverty,” said the Deputy Minister of Communications Ms Tandi Mahambehlala.This International Mandela Day activation – led Brand South Africa in collaboration with and partners the South African Hockey Association and the Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Project, is premised on Brand South Africa’s mandate to promote pride and patriotism among South Africa by working collaboratively with government, business and civil society.This Mandela Day – Brand South Africa with its aforementioned partners, call on all South Africans to play their part and act against poverty and unite to make a change that’ll enhance the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper for a better country and future.Media are invited to join the SA Men’s Hockey Team at the New Jerusalem Children’s Home as follows:Date: Tuesday 18 July 2017Time: 09h30 – 11h00Venue: 138 Steyn Road, President Park, Midrand, 1685RSVPs: Tsabeng Nthite on firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: +27 11 712 5061Follow the conversation on @MahambehlalaT; @Brand_SA and #ActionAgainstPoverty.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest After watching U.S. wheat acreage and production slide steadily for 18 years, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) has had quite enough and is coming out swinging.The counteroffensive, called simply the Wheat Action Plan, “right now is conceptual,” said NAWG President Brett Blankenship, a grower in eastern Washington State. “We’re reaching out to all parts of the industry,” he says. “The idea is … to raise productivity so that wheat no longer loses acreage to corn and soybeans.”Blankenship points to Norman Borlaug’s work in the mid-20th Century to improve wheat yield and disease resistance.“We had the first Green Revolution, and it revolutionized the production of wheat. We need another one. We need another step forward, and the Wheat Action Plan is the attempt to invigorate the investment we need … to go to the next level for wheat,” Blankenship said.That task is broad, but he said it means, first, improving on-farm productivity so that wheat is a more attractive crop economically. Then, “we need to double down on research … and we will elicit private technology companies to take a look at wheat and bring all technology to bear.”USDA crop data shows that average annual yields of other major crops have risen smartly over the decades. This year’s expected all class U.S. wheat yield (43.6 bushels per acre) is just 16% more than in 1985, while that for corn is up 42%; soybeans, 38%; long-grain rice, 43%, upland cotton, 24%, and sugar beets, 48%.Though the work of wheat researchers and others has improved wheat’s disease resistance and yields over the decades, NAWG calculates that for every $10 spent on public and private industry corn research in 2014 only 70 cents went into wheat research.Steve Joehl, NAWG director of research, said that wheat used to dominate acreage in the eastern Great Plains, but varietal advances for corn and soybeans have now made those the top crops in that region.“The first state that really adopted biotechnology in corn was [eastern] South Dakota,” he said. “That happened because the Bt gene for corn borer control was so effective … and the borer was killing farmers there on yield.”But as the 20th Century ended, growers there started seeding varieties with YieldGard borer control and saw their acreage and productivity soar as yields shot up, he said.Recently, Dupont, Monsanto and others announced heavy investment in 70- to 80-day corn varieties that will yield well in southern Canada as well as in northern areas of the U.S., Russia, Hungary and elsewhere. The new corn genetics “will take away wheat acreage,” he said.Needed genetic improvements for wheat are many, but developing strong resistance to fusarium head blight, called scab, could be a huge gain because the disease hurts wheat coast to coast, Joehl said. North Dakota State University is working on the fight against scab, and is presenting a research update to grower groups, researchers, millers, food processors and others who will focus on the scab problem at a national forum in St. Louis in December.Blankenship said that for his own low-rainfall farming area, “improved rust resistance in the high moisture years, drought tolerance and a breakthrough in yield” are at the top of his wish list. “Our yields have been rather stagnant my entire career,” he said.Boosting research investment by private industry, Congress and state legislatures will be a challenge, “but one of the collateral problems for loss of wheat production is the way wheat pays for research through the state-by-state patchwork of commissions” that oversee the wheat checkoff programs. “When production falls, you have less funds to invest in research,” he said.NAWG will also support the political fight to secure Congress’ OK for the newly inked Trans Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade pact that is supported by large farm commodity groups who expect to see reduced obstacles to sales in TPP countries. Blankenship notes that 85% of wheat grown in the U.S. Pacific Northwest is exported, so any reduced barriers mean extra demand for his crop.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest More evidence is cropping up all the time to support the environmentally friendly nature of biotech seeds and crops. As we’ve learned in Hawaii, GM papayas are a great example of how biotechnology keeps forests intact and decreases the amount of pesticides needed to grow marketable fruits. I call this “GMOrganic” because it’s earth-friendly, farmer-friendly and good for the consumer.Our three-generation farm has been growing papayas since the 1960s and continues to grow these delicious, highly sought after Hawaiian staple. The papaya is a fruit that many locals buy religiously, every week for years. But for a long time, this local favorite was under constant threat.The papaya ringspot virus was prevalent for decades and managed for a long time by cutting down the infected trees or moving fields. Leaf hopper bugs spread the virus, and no pesticide could stop or control the disease. Once a leaf was bit, the whole tree was infected and would eventually die or become a vector itself. The virus would come and go on the islands, and was managed well for the most part. But with no permanent solution, the virus became more prevalent as time went by. Simply cutting down infected trees or plowing new fields no longer stopped the problem. Some farmers even relocated to other islands to find refuge but they couldn’t fully escape the problem. No matter what farmers tried, the papaya ringspot disease ravaged fields across our state.Then, thanks to biotechnology, a new breed of tree came in to save papaya farms from extinction. The GMO solution saved crops by creating a plant that essentially was vaccinated with a weaker form of the virus. A farmer could now grow crops without having to cut down forests to escape the virus. We could once again plant in existing fields without fearing crop failure. GM papayas saved our businesses and helped preserve our vibrant ecosystem. These stronger trees produce a more consistent supply of papayas, often yielding fruit for up to five years. The trees are also less susceptible to other common fungal diseases and consistently provide sweet, juicy fruit in all seasons.This nutritious breakfast staple is once again on Hawaiian plates, and our customers are happy to have safe affordable fruits available year-round. Lines of eager customers waiting at stores for our papayas are once again a regular occurrence, thanks to biotechnology. Our farm is alive and buzzing, and our fields are green with papaya trees brimming with fruit, ensuring a harvest for years to come.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It was an interesting year for Ohio grain farmers with weather of all kinds through the growing season. A final number on the corn yield monitor of anywhere near 200 would be considered successful for most producers.Byron Gearhart of Ross County tallied a 258.85 bushel per acre entry in the irrigated division of this year’s National Corn Grower’s Association (NCGA) yield contest with the DKC67-57RIB Dekalb variety — good enough to top the state in the category. It’s not the first time Gearhart has been recognized for high yields, having topped the podium for many years prior.“It’s all about detail, detail, and a bit of sheer dumb luck,” Gearhart remarked about his success.Though this time around, he said it was disappointing that number wasn’t higher.“I don’t know how to put it, but Mother Nature still rules the roost. We would like to have seen 300. We had the input costs, we had everything there in place — but we just ended up with short ears,” he said. “And everybody in the area in the same problem and I think it was somewhat statewide — we just had very short ears. So we’re disappointed overall. We’re happy we did well, but we fell short of expectations.”So short, in fact, that Gearhart didn’t plan on submitting an entry for this year’s contest. His secretary decided to enter anyway.To look at his success and potential for bigger numbers down the road, Gearhart has taken a research-like approach to his farming, taking careful note of the many factors that play into a high yield at year’s end. He openly walks us through aspects of his operation that play into the final bushels and his ongoing success.Gearhart’s operation boasts approximately 750 acres worth of irrigation. A must have, he said, for his soil types.“Down here we farm a gravel bar. Literally a foot of soil, maybe two feet, if you’re lucky you’ve got 30 inches. But I don’t have anything over 30 inches on gravel and I’ve got 150 feet of gravel. On my parents’ farm, which isn’t even five miles away, we have systematic tiling and heavy clay. We’re on the very bottom end of the Illinois glacier and so we’ve got a lot of gravel base to work with,” Gearhart said. “We are somewhat unique in that scenario compared to the rest of the state of Ohio. But when you want to come down here to learn irrigation, it’s a different ballgame than learning irrigation in northern Ohio for vegetable crops and sweet corn. It’s a totally different ballgame. There’s some things going on down here that only exist in river bottom or creek bottom ground.Gearhart has had numerous state victories in yield contests.“I remember the first year, we grew 100 bushel corn on this ground. Without irrigation, my normal corn yield is 130 to 135 and it’s 230 plus with irrigation,” Gearhart said. “Two-hundred-thirty to 250 bushels is the natural top for what we’re working with.”Irrigation is not common here in the Buckeye state and those who use it need to manage it carefully to maximize the benefits.“Like tile, it takes money to systematically irrigate a farm, but you have to do something,” he said. “We applied about 10 inches of water this year, which I don’t think was enough.”Another irrigator that has done well in the contest is NCGA national yield winner Randy Dowdy, who recorded over 500-bushel per acre field this past year. Dowdy is a big proponent of tissue sampling. Gearhart follows Dowdy closely and buys into the importance of tissue sampling describing it as far different than that of soil sampling.“We started it last year and we found out real quick that we knew nothing,” Gearhart said. “Because what the soil tests say, and what you would visually and mentally think, we found out the plant was not absorbing the nutrients the way we thought they would be. We had to make some serious adjustments because we didn’t actually believe the results from the first two times we did it.”Gearhart applies 28% through the pivot and supplements micronutrients as needed, including sulfur and boron. From there on, tissue sampling tells the additional needs of the crop. Gearhart said an interesting find of his was that testing resulted in his discovery of magnesium being too high, resulting in a tie-up of calcium in the plant.“We have some issues a typical soil test doesn’t really show you,” he said. “We had some ratios of nutrients that were out of whack and were tying things up. Now we come back to the gravel and Randy (Dowdy) is the only one I know of that has worse numbers than I do. I’ve got CECs in the single digits and organic matter in the half to 1% category. He’s actually got numbers worse than I’ve got. I’ve got a long ways to go if I ever want to compete with him, which is not my goal. But I’d just like to figure out how to improve what we’ve got. We’ve got limiting factors that we just don’t know what they are yet. We’re just getting started, but tissue sampling is a must if you want to try to push the envelope.”Gearhart said with those fixes, the need to get the nutrients to the root finds them using conventional tillage strategies.“That’s one of my little issues with no-till. Around here, if you no-till, you spread your fertilizer on top of the ground. If you know very much about phosphate, it doesn’t move very fast. The roots of my corn are not at ground level — not the first two inches. They’re eight inches to a foot down. So how do I get that fertilizer down quickly? Tillage is about the only way I can do it,” he said. “The other option is to put on liquid nutrients through the pivots. That’s how we can supplement for the bigger yields. We’ve got a nice base and then we add through the pivots so we’ve got maximum utilization that way.”Gearhart also said fungicide is a must with irrigation. The inputs and equipment required to take yields to the next level can be costly.“Being a pioneer is expensive,” Gearhart said. “Buying new technologies that are not proven is expensive. Trying to find the hidden factors that are stopping progressing is expensive. We didn’t put a man on the moon for just a hundred bucks.”Gearhart has found success over multiple years with multiple brands of seed. How much does seed choice play into control of the final yield? Gearhart said that the right genetics have serious advantages, but they need to be combined with proper in-field nutrient management by the producer.“We haven’t broken the long-term trend average in the last 70 years since the hybridization of corn,” he said. “Can we enhance what we’ve not been able to get in the past years?”Learning from this practical research, where does he hope to be ten years from now?“Retired in Tahiti would be nice but that’s not going to happen — I just can’t quit,” he said. “I’d like to see the farm averaging 300 bushel an acre under the pivots. I think we can do it. I don’t know if we can do it in five, but I’ve come really close. This was not a very good year with Mother Nature still ruling the roost and we have to live with it. But I think we can do it cost effectively. I need to figure out where some things are yet and I’ve got a whole group of people behind me trying to do some research, trying to figure out where we are. Some of the questions we’re asking, no one has any answers on so we’re having to figure it out on our own.”When it comes down to it, Gearhart is using all the tools available to figure out what his plants need and how he can best give it to them. Though these tools are useful, there’s one thing he’ll take above therest, he said.“Of all the attributes of man, physical ability, training, experience, I will take dumb luck all the time,” he said.Though Ohio didn’t come in on the national results from this year’s contest, the state contest winners from the Buckeye state included Aaron Stuckey in the non-irrigated division at 254 bushels per acre. Doug Swaim routed the no-till/strip-till non-irrigated division with a 276-bushel entry. Matthew Funderburgh was the top Ohioan in the no-till/strip-till irrigated division at 256 bushels. Gearhart ranked first in the irrigated contest at 258 bushels.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By John Brien, AgriGoldGrain fill is a critical part of a corn plant’s life, but is often overlooked because it is kind of slow, boring and uneventful to watch. What is actually occurring soon after pollination is utterly amazing considering an acre of corn has to “build” over 11,200 pounds of dry matter to equal 200 bushel of grain yield. Therefore grain fill is anything but boring and is vital for high yields.Grain fill is the period of corn growth and development between pollination and black layering (or physiological maturity). During grain fill the corn plant is using their leaves to capture sunlight to drive photosynthesis that in turn produces the sugars the plant needs to build yield. The corn plant also uses its roots to acquire moisture and nutrients to build the dry matter. Therefore the more sunlight a corn plant can intercept and the more nutrients and water it can aquire, equates to more optimal grain fill and therefore higher yield potential.What conditions lead to optimal grain fill? Optimal grain fill begins with having a long window of opportunity. The typical grain fill period for a corn crop is 45 to 60 days. If a grower is able to keep their corn fields in grain fill mode for 60+ days, the chance for high yields increase exponentially. The overall conditions growers should seek for optimal grain fill begin with mild daytime and night time temperatures. Temperatures in the mid 70s during the day and mid 60s at night are ideal. The closer to 90 degrees during the daytime the sooner the corn plant will shut down and shorten its grain fill window. Likewise nighttime temperatures over 70 degrees never allows the corn plant to rest and keeps the engine running and speeds the corn plant right through grain fill.Another component to an optimal grain fill window is maintaining a healthy upper canopy in the corn plant. The goal is to keep the upper third of the corn plant green and healthy as long as possible. A grower can keep the upper canopy healthy by limiting the amount of leaf diseases the corn plant has on its upper leaves and by reducing stress caused by nutrient deficiency, tillage layers, compaction layers and/or sidewall compaction caused by the corn planter that often leads to premature death as witnessed by the corn plant dying from the top down.The third factor in extending the grain filling period is ensuring the corn crop is not starved for any nutrients, especially nitrogen after pollination. Corn plants that have adequate nutrients will be able to fully capitalize on the captured sunlight used for photosynthesis. Also nutrient deficiency causes the corn plant to cannibalize itself to ensure the ear has everything it needs and can therefore lead to root rots that lead to premature death and a shorter grain fill window.The final component to a long grain fill period is adequate moisture. Water is the driving medium of all portions of grain fill. Without water, the corn plant is unable to acquire nutrients via the soil and cannot perform most metabolic reactions in the corn plant that are responsible for growth and grain fill. Rainfall is unpredictable and most growers have no control over when, where and how much they will receive. Therefore to help the corn plant not to shorten its grain fill period during short periods of dryness, growers need to concentrate on establishing a deep and robust root system that will help “weather proof” their corn fields. Deep roots and ample soil oxygen can help reduce stress during grain fill and allow the corn plant to maximize yields under all conditions.Grain fill is complicated and involves many different factors. Some of the factors are out of a growers hands, such as temperatures and rainfall events, but the job of a corn grower is to evaluate the factors they can impact, such as keeping the canopy green and growing along with establishing a deep, robust root system, and then put a plan of attack together to help lengthen grain fill as long as possible to maximize their corn yields.
“It’s a good initiative. No other organisation openly supports Dalits. Whatever may be its larger goals, it gives strength to our community, which is facing oppression,” says Rajnish Gautam.An assistant professor at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University here, Mr. Gautam feels the Bhim Sena is the Dalit alternative to the social outreach of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He is, in particular, enamoured by the outfit’s leader Chandrashekhar Azad, a young Dalit man, for his “direct action” approach to dealing with atrocities against the community.“He is one of us. We need a strong man like him. He openly supports Dalits and is vocal. Other [Dalit] leaders take time to act. His thinking is energetic,” says Mr. Gautam.A die-hard Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supporter, Mr. Gautam’s favourable stand towards the Bhim Sena is significant as the party supremo Mayawati has dismissed the fledging outfit based out of Saharanpur as a “political conspiracy” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).But he is not alone. Dalit youth The Hindu spoke to were almost unanimous in expressing their disappointment over Ms. Mayawati’s allegations against the Bhim Sena. They believe that the Bhim Sena rose out of the Dalit movement and the failure of the mainstream political parties to espouse the Dalit cause.Sunil Kumar Saroj, a Pratapgarh resident pursuing his Masters in physical education here, claims Ms. Mayawati was “compelled” to visit Saharanpur only under the “pressure” from the popularity of the Bhim Sena, which has caught the imagination of Dalit youth.“She went to Saharanpur only when Azad was gaining mileage. Usually, she reaches late or does not go at all. Even in Gujarat [the Una incident], she went late,” says Mr. Saroj. The 28-year-old lives at the Ambedkar Hostel, which was originally the State headquarters of the BSP. It is also a hub where Dalit youth from across U.P. form their political opinion and are exposed to the ideology of Ambedkar. But as the controversy and suspicion surrounding the Bhim Sena gathers steam, one can hear clearly divergent views that are critical of the BSP.Mr. Gautam, who is from Gorakhpur, is unhappy with Ms. Mayawati and feels the community would lose its trust towards her if she continues to be disconnected from the current mood.‘Perhaps she is insecure’“She does not respond quickly to burning issues. When somebody like Chandrashekhar, who is one of us, does something to empower Dalits and support them, she starts making allegations. She should not have made those remarks. Perhaps she is insecure,” says Mr. Gautam.After weeks of silence, Ms. Mayawati on Thursday finally spoke up on the Bhim Sena. She not only distanced herself from the outfit after State intelligence bureau reports claimed that it was patronised by her party, in particular her brother and the BSP vice-president Anand Kumar, she went on to allege the Bhim Sena was a “product” of the BJP, propped up to destroy social brotherhood.The State government has also accused the Bhim Sena of instigating and flaring up Dalit-Thakur clashes in the western U.P. district.Satyendra Pratap, a IV year B.Tech student from Hardoi, says Ms. Mayawati’s comments confuse the Dalit movement. “It sends a wrong message. It would create suspicion towards any new leadership emerging from the community,” says Mr. Pratap.He is also critical of the way Ms. Mayawati behaved during her much-delayed visit to Saharanpur recently. “She was seen smiling and waving her hands at the crowd. Did she go there to seek votes or feel the pain of the people whose homes were destroyed? There was nothing to be happy about,” says Mr. Pratap.Akash Anand,a student, says the Bhim Sena is in the nacent stages of a social movement but says its direct action approach is in sync with need of the times.