Thoughts on economics and liberty

Email from Aruna Rodgrigues who had lodged a PIL against GMO in the Indian Supreme Court in 2005

I’m posting this email that I received on 10 June 2019 from Aruna Rodrigues about whom I’d never heard before but turns out she had lodged the PIL in 2005 which led to the Supreme Court appointing a Technical Committee. I’ll respond to Aruna’s comments in a separate post.


Dear Mr Sabhlok

I don’t usually respond to GMO cliques like this ‘Bt brinjal’ group. We know the names for sure. Your email was circulated and demands a response, if only briefly, because you have resorted to slander. There is a decency at the very least, that is expected? May be that too is blowing in the wind. In the process of this reply, however, I will touch on a few well-known scientific and basic facts on Bt brinjal and GMOs, not in hope, but for the record. I have cut and paste from your emails below to highlight one or two issues, as well as the larger plan to get farmers to plant Bt brinjal, with regard to which you state — .

Our party is supporting the civil disobedience by farmers on 10 June at Akola because we are persuaded about the merits of Bt brinjal and do not agree with the indefinite moratorium which is a direct attack on poor Indians”

This action will indeed be a civil and criminal breach of the law, and it matters not a jot whether all of you in your clique agree or not. Perish the thought that there is any comparison with that huge man and patriot Mahatma Gandhi, a name synonymous with saintly integrity and his ‘Satyagraha’ on behalf of India’s Independence. On the other hand, the action you support will be blatant war on the biosafety and biosecurity of India, the most serious and criminal breach of the GMO biosafety law, and quite simply anti-national, dangerous propaganda inciting farmers and people to biosafety violence . It will bring the required penalties.

The perfume and aroma of a rose is now in your collective understanding indistinguishable from the stench of a garbage heap. We are indeed in a crisis beyond imagining

Many of us have spent half work-lifetimes, diligently studying the science of GMOs and then we would not state something without ascertaining the facts from the standpoint of Independent science. This is how complex this matter is and how vast and you spend 2 hours!. Personally, there are over 70 volumes of submissions in the Supreme Court supported by data from outstanding international scientists some of whom are also advisors to UN bodies/FAO etc. I  do not perjure my soul.

Vandana repeatedly raises half-truths, in fact blatant lies. What got me thoroughly riled was her insistence that protection of organic farming has to be a consideration for banning GM crops. But GM IS ORGANIC! Brinjals produced by GM are almost pesticide-free, probably use less fertiliser and are entirely natural, made of organic chemicalsBt proteins are organic and consumed by humans like any other protein. Does she even know what is organic? Does she know what happens during human digestion? 

You are at minus 5 in terms of knowledge and heading in that general  direction. But mainly because I have not time and because from the style visible, you would appear not to want to know, I will be as brief as possible.

For starters, Organic and GMOs – Vandana is not only right, but quite right. The latter eliminates the former, because co-existence (between GMO and Non-GMO) in not possible. GMOs in their technological avatar of BT and HT Crops are indeed pesticidal crops and Bt crops internalise Cry Toxins and HT crops absorb significant quantities of the herbicide they are designed to withstand and designed to absorb. There are serious, very serious  questions of biosafety connected with both. The outstanding issue is one of  irreversible contamination and in so far as brinjal is concerned, we are the richest source of brinjal genetic diversity (germplasm) in the world with 2500 varieties and wild species.

In August 2008, the Bt. Brinjal Biosafety-Dossier having remained unpublished for sixteen months despite a Supreme Court order, was eventually released into the public domain when the Regulators were forced to comply with its full publication (with the raw data), which then revealed its fraudulence when examined and appraised by independent scientists of international stature —  studies said to be done were not done, as many as 36 of 37 environmental studies, leaving aside other risk assessment protocols.

As for metabolism – Are you saying you understand it?  All the major medical research institutions in the world are still getting to grips with its still unknown depths. Indeed Monsanto has made hay for decades saying that the Bt gene is only lethal to alkaline gut systems ie worms. The myth was promoted with the help of both the US Regulators and quickly adopted by our own. Now we find this is not the case. And we also find that Bt cotton has failed from the govt.’s  own admission and data. But that is another story


Aruna R


This is what the This is what the 37th Parliamentary Standing Committee of 2012 (on GMOs) had to say on Bt.Brinjal and regulation

“—-Convinced that these developments are not merely slippages due to oversight or human error but indicative of collusion of a worst kind, they have recommended a thorough probe into the Bt. Brinjal, matter from the beginning up to the imposing of moratorium on its commercialisation by the then Minister of Environment and Forests (l/C) on g February, 2010 by a team of independent scientists and environmentalists” (Recommendation – Para No. 2.79

Aruna Rodrigues

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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