Biodiversity

Midas Touch

Herbal Extraction

Midas Touch

Medicinal & Aromatic

Midas Touch
About Us
Midas Touch is an Environmental Conservation Organization which was established in 2009, headquartered in Imphal, Manipur. We work in partnership with community towards sustainability challenges by empowering people to live a respectable, sustainable life, using nature’s assets, while also protecting them.

We are built on a strong foundation of science and partnership, empowering individuals and communities to be self-reliant, while caring for nature, biodiversity, and working for the overall well-being of humanity and the planet. Scientific intervention for societal impact also plays a key role in our organization.

Self-reliance is at the core of Midas Touch
Our Causes

Popular Causes

Midas Touch Manipur Projects

Indigenous and traditional knowledge

We work on areas to strengthen traditional knowledge and culture, including ethno-education programs in villages which are still predominant with Traditional Healers. We help restore and support the relationship between elders and apprentices to insure the continuance of knowledge and also we are in the process of creating database

Endangered Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

North-East India is a treasure house of vast variety of plant resources being a part of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. The region falls in biogeographic tri-junction of the Indian, Himalaya and Oriental landmass. Exploitation of floras and faunas due to its commercial medicinal properties are immense in today’s world, the species are facing the onslaught of indiscriminate over-exploitation.

Preservation of Manipur Traditional Dolls & Thongjao Pottery

Thongjao pottery is considered to be one of the ancient pottery makers in Manipur . Midas Touch is trying to work with the artisans in order to assist in sustainable livelihood and also bring about certain aspects of innovation.




What We Do?

Working towards sustainability

We are nonprofit, non governmental organisation working towards environmental conservation and community development

Plantation
Natural Hub

Consultancy
Awareness Program

Grass Roots Innovation & Technology

Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge

Our Mission

To conserve, restore and protect our biodiversity in order to make Earth a better place to live and to help transform the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet, while focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Vision

Building a future where everyone lives a happy, secured and dignified life, in a world that is Greener, and where all plant and animal life flourishes For us, Sustainability is the bottom line.

How Can You Help?

Join us in sustaining lives and nature
Meet Our Team

Our Team

Midas Touch

Rajkumar Tomba

Senior Director

Dr Bachaspatimayum Debkumari

Founder & Executive Director

B. Debachandra Sharma

Secretary, Co-founder
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Latest Article

20 Sep

Plants used by the Meitei community in religious purposes


PLANTS USED BY THE MEITEI COMMUNITY IN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

 

Humans have been dependent on plants since time immemorial for various purposes. Be it foods, carbon sequestration, oxygen, and many plant-based products. The use and cultivation of various plants have been passed down from generation to generation. Ethnobotany is the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous (native) plants.

The Meitei people are an ethnic group native to the state of Manipur in North-Eastern India. The Meitei primarily settled in the Imphal valley region in modern-day Manipur although a sizable population have settled, in Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, with a notable presence in the neighboring countries of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Meitei ethnic group represents around 53% of the population of Manipur state, followed by various Naga tribes at 24% and various Kuki-Zo tribes at 16%. The Meitei community practices mainly two religions Hinduism and Sanamahism (some practices Christianity).

 An ethnobotanical field survey was carried out among the Meitei communities residing at Imphal West district, Manipur. Initially, a formal request were made to the respective individuals introducing ourselves and explaining the purpose of our visit to them. Thereafter, interviews was conducted individually .They  were elders and senior citizens who are knowledgeable in ethnobotany.  We were able to collect information on about 20 plants species that are used in the rituals of the Meitei community that practices Sanamahism.

LOCAL NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL

PART USED FOR RLIGIOUS PURPOSE

RITUALISTIC USES

Tingthou

Cynodon dactylon

Maibam Phireppa Meitei

Shoot

Used in rituals

Pungphai

Dactyloctenium aegyptcum

Maibam Phireppa Meitei

Young shoot

Used in rituals

Tairen

Cedrela toona

Maibam Phireppa Meitei

Small branches

Used in rituals and t repel evil from household by local maiba and maibi

Kundo

Jasminum  multiflorum

Laishram Bimolata

Flower

Used as a garland in marriage

Khoiju

Plectranthus ternifolius

Laishram Bimolata

Dried leaves

Repels evil spirits every household of the Meitei community smoked the house during lamtathangja

 (Saturday of may)

Leikham

Goniothalamus sesquipedalis

Laishram Bimolata

Dried leaves

Repels evil spirits

Leishang

Huperzia squarrosa

Maibam Phireppa Meitei

Stem

Used commonly in rituals for the new born child and marriage etc.

Kusumlei

Carthamus tinctorius

Latasana Devi

Flower

As an offering to God at chei-raoba festival

Kombirei

Iris laevigata

Latasana Devi

Flower

As an offering to God at chei-raoba festival

Leiri

Symplocos paniculata

Latasana Devi

Inflorescence

As an offering to God at chei-raoba festival

Mayokpha

Terminalia arjuna

Latasana Devi

plant

Believed to be the incarnation of Ibudhou Pakhangba , a diety of the Meitei community

Sana khongnang

Ficus religiosa

Laishram Bimolata

Plant

Meitei community believes that the soul of forefathers resides above the top of the tree  

Uchan

Pinus kesiya

Chingangbam Loyangambameitei

Wood

Used commonly in rituals

Chouhi

Casia fistula

Elangbam Manileima

Flower

As an offering to Umanglai

Chu angouba

Saccharum officinarum

Elangbam Manileima

Stem

Used commonly in rituals

Langthrei

Eupatorium birmanicum

Laishram Bimolata

Young shoot

Used commonly in rituals

Kwamana

Piper betle

Elangbam Manileima

Leaf

Used commonly in rituals

Kwamaru

Areca catechu

Elangbam Manileima

Fruit

Used commonly in rituals

Kuraoangouba

Erythrina suberosa

Laishram Bimolata

Wood

Used in rituals, barks taken in Saturday are used in talisman prepared by the priest(maiba and maibi) for protection against ghost and evil spirits

Mekruk

Canarium resiniferum

Chingangbam Loyangambameitei

Resin

The resins are bunt above the charcoal during rituals

 

 

 Most of the plants that are used in the rituals are found to possess medicinal properties. The community developed a different  procedures to protect the knowledge of important indigenous plants which are interlinked directly with their life activities. They develop different cultural activities such as religion, ceremony, ritual, and festivals to mark the importance of the plants. Some of the remarkable festivals are Lai-Haraoba, Sajibu chei-raoba, etc. Through the festivals and rituals, the importance of the plants is enhanced and familiarize to the coming generation. The traditional beliefs and the taboos help sin conserving the sacred plants up to some extent from the increasing urbanization.

 In order to protect and preserve our traditional knowledge, documentation in various forms have become a critical need of the hour. May it be informal writing like blogging, utilizing social media platforms to connect with the present generation and passing on authentic traditional knowledge is key to bringing awareness about the need to conserve our indigenous knowledge.

(Contributor: Leenthoi Laishram is presently pursuing MSc. Forestry at North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST), Arunachal Pradesh; she is currently under Midas Touch Pro Bono Mentorship Program; she can be reached at leenthoilaishram@gmail.com)

 

 

09 Dec

Traditional Agriculture Vs Modern Agriculture

Agriculture is not only about producing food that we require but it is a way of life that define our society value and culture, our health perspective and our consciousness towards the well being of our future generation and environment. Today, this value chain is at stake due to human greed and self-centred profit mongers. On the other hand, the pressure given upon our land and environment by the fast pace of so called development at the stake of our land and environment has also added to biodiversity loss and climate change.

Today, we talk of Sustainable Agriculture, Rain – Water harvesting, Bio – Diversity conservation and Preservation of Environment and Ecology and even these mentioned above hot topics have become a centre point of debate, discussion, government policy ( whether it may be a policy for name sake) and part of syllabus at school, colleges and universities. The modern generation today need to learn all the above mentioned topic by giving extra effort, time and even by investing additional resources but have we ever imagine that these problems were not a matter of concern when we introspect our traditional days or olden days, because giving importance to this issues were daily day to day part of life of our ancestors and our grand parents and existing together within the rules of nature was way of life. According to traditional belief, Hills or forest is our father, rivers are our mother and the paddy fields are resident of our grain goddess. Imagine how we can commit any mistake to harm our holy places which are life – line of our very existence and integral part of our belief for brighter future and blessed generation. 

Our agriculture was far sustainable before the advent of modern agriculture as everything was within the control of our mother nature, who always has sufficient to give for the need of her children and in the custody to every community. But today, even the seed is out of farmer’s custody, which is one of the biggest threat of modern agriculture. Where has all our indigenous seeds gone. Should we take it just as a normal phenomenal or take it as a serious conspiracy played by the profit mongers to increased Zero’s in their bank accounts by putting the entire farming community and agriculture at stake and on the other hand, the entire human race is being poisoned slowly by the so called chemical fertilizers, weedicides, insecticides and pesticides on the pretext of helping to increase production and controlling diseases of our agriculture. We did not have to harvest rain water, as our existing environment itself was rain water harvester by default but that very harvester has been destroyed by us itself. Bio – Diversity conservation was never needed because our act never destroyed the beautiful diversity we had because it was our heritage and source of livelihood. Preservation of Environment and ecology was not required because we prayed to the forest god to give us hint and show us way that whether we should cut a big and mature tree or not. We act to the wish of nature. It can be termed as superstition by the modern agriculture but it is far better to live in that so called superstition environment instead of destroying every thing in the name of modern development and destroying even the essence of our very own existence. 

Permaculture, which can be also called as permanent culture is a new interpretation of our traditional agriculture into modern term. The techniques, methods and design adopted in this culture are our very own traditional system with some new explanation. Ranging from seed preservation, using farm yard manure, preparing medicines from natural sources and pattern of planting are all synonymous to our traditional practice except for few modification and addition of innovative techniques added to suit the changing environment in the form of Vermi- compost manure and all.

Now, it depends on us whether to put at stake the entire world through slow poisoning or once again reclaim our healthy environment of our “Agri – CULTURE” for the betterment of our generations to come and the world.

(Contributor : Sana Khumukcham is a trained Permaculturist,she can be reached at sana.umathel86@gmail.com)

08 Mar

Bamboo in North East India and its role in carbon sequestration

Bamboo in North East India and its role in carbon sequestration

Bachaspatimayum Debkumari, PhD

 

India has the world’s largest fields of bamboo. It grows on nearly 13% of the country’s forest land. The eight North-eastern States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura – grow 67% of India’s bamboo and have 45% of global bamboo reserves. Nearly 35 species of superior quality bamboos are found in the region. Regional trade bodies say that Northeast is crucial for India to tap the estimated $10 billion market potential of bamboo. North East India is known as the home of Bamboo and occupies 54810 sq. km of area under bamboo cover which is about 39 per cent of the country’s total area. Among seven states of North-East India, Arunachal Pradesh occupies largest bamboo area (16,083 sq. km followed by Manipur (9,303 sq. km), Mizoram (9,245 sq. km) and Assam with 7,238 sq. km (FSI-2011). Bamboo forest plays an important role in in the socioeconomic development of people of the region. Management of the natural bamboo forests in the tropics should aim for sequestration of atmospheric CO2 for combating climate change.

Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, underground, or the oceans so that carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere could be reduced. About two-thirds of terrestrial carbon is sequestered in the standing forest vegetation, forest debris, and in forest soils. Soil can be source or sink of greenhouse gases depending on land use and management. Carbon stored by plants through the process of photosynthesis exceeds the amount of carbon released through the processes of respiration and decomposition of organic matter. Soil is a major reservoir for carbon containing globally twice as much as atmosphere and three times as much as vegetation. The Kyoto Protocol proposed that C reduction could take place by reducing fossil fuel emissions, or by accumulating C in vegetation and in the soil of terrestrial ecosystems.  Bamboo forests have an efficient carbon sequestration capacity and play an important role in responding to global climate change

Growing forest trees to sequester carbon is a relative inexpensive means to combating climate change. Carbon sequestration by growing forests has been shown to be a cost-effective option for mitigation of global climatic change. Bamboo has received increasing attention over the last two decades for its economic and environmental values. Because of its high ecological and socioeconomic versatility, and especially its great potential for carbon sequestration and its unique role in mitigating climate change bamboo has been receiving increasing attention in recent years. With its fast growth rate and high annual regrowth after harvesting, the bamboo forest has a high potential in sequestering carbon dioxide   from atmosphere.

Bamboos are fast growing and attained maturity in 4/5 years. Thus bamboos can be significant sinks of atmospheric carbon (C) playing a critical role to mitigate climate change.

(Contributor: Dr Bachaspatimayum Debkumari is presently working as DST Women Scientist B at Department of Botany , Manipur University , she is the  Founder of Midas Touch; she can be reached at b.debkumari@gmail.com )