Passed By Ancestors, Forgotten By Us — Traditional Indian Ways Of Sustainability
I am a firm believer in the ancient Indian culture and sustainable way of living, being two threads knitted perfectly in the fabric of daily living. For example, the emphasis on freshly cooked and hand made meals was a priority for our older generations. One of the major reasons why and still, pre-processed or ready-to-cook meals were never a huge hit in Indian palates.
Let’s talk about a few things Indian, which I think, have been forgotten but were a regular part of ancient Indian households underlining sustainability.
Building Sustainable Homes
Long before modern architectural styles kicked in, bringing in cement and sand, traditional Indian houses were the epitome of embracing sustainability. From being constructed using traditional regional materials such as mud, grass or wood, they were also designed in a way to accommodate natural sunlight, temperature control, thus minimizing the dependency on fossil fuels for electricity etc.
The value of storing and preserving rainwater, especially in dry regions, was done with the formation of artificial lakes. These lakes not only were a source of water during dry seasons but helped in balancing the ecology. But, with the ever-growing populations, these have been lost fast with societies now facing a water crisis. An excellent example of this is Banglore which used to be known as the lake city of India.
Eating and Serving Food On Natural Plates
We used to eat on banana leaves, sal leaves, also popularly known as Pattal. Be it huge celebrations or gatherings, these options not only had the quotient of eco-friendliness but also anti-microbial properties. No sooner have these environment friendly options have been replaced with single-use plastic glassed and plates.
Handlooms — Sewing Nature With Conscious Consumption
Handloom fabrics such as Kanjeevaram, Ikatt, Brocades and a lot more have held such a special place in our ancient culture. The process of using handlooms to create art to decorate our silhouette has been the most sustainable clothing art in ancient India. But with fast fashion and hoarding brands trying to sell flashy clothes have engulfed this precious art.
Curd Making Or Ghee(Clarified Butter) Extraction
Curd and Ghee are just to name a few of the things that were commonly extracted using hand-techinques at home. The technique is very simple yet people have given in to curd and ghee coming in plastic packets to avoid the hassle. The diminishing interest to make an effort of creating an ingredient at home and the convenience to pick items off the shelf has led to such commodities being sold in plastics.
These were just a few traditional ancient Indian ways of living that fostered a sustainable way of living which fostered and stroke a balance with nature. Sadly, these practises have been dying due to the rapid urbanization and the lack of transendence of these techniques between generations.