At a time when the threat of a new wave of coronaviruses is about to disrupt public life again, Bollywood film-producers-directors are thinking ten times about the overall situation before making a movie or releasing a movie. After the release of a movie, its financial success largely depends on whether it is being accepted by the audience or film buffs. At this point in time, corona has been blocked from entering the cinema halls due to various restrictions, which has added to the worries on the foreheads of those involved in a movie. The ‘OTT Platform’ is now the only way for directors to release movies and reach audiences.
The movie ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ has been able to create quite a stir in India and around the world. Southern duo Allu Arjun and Rashmika Mandana have played the lead roles in the movie. The movie has already grossed over three and a half crore rupees worldwide since its release. Corona’s huge income in this situation is a dream come true for any movie director-producer. The movie shows how Pushpa Raj (played by Allu Arjun), who was involved in smuggling sandalwood, built his own empire. Not only that, but many more incidents have been perfectly portrayed in the movie. Allu Arjun, Fahad Fasil and other actors who have acted in different roles in the movie have been able to draw extra attention for the perfect acting, interesting plot as well as great cinematography.
Our main topic of discussion is not ‘Pushpa: The Rise’, nor the impact of coronavirus on the movie industry. In the movie ‘Pushpa: The Rise’, which was released and became a commercial success at this time of coronavirus, the issue of illicit trade in precious sandalwood was raised. The movie may give you a basic idea about this wood, but you need to know a lot more to get an idea of its reality. How a huge smuggling network has developed around this timber, how it has created a huge demand in the world market, why this timber is so highly valued, exactly why it is banned in many countries of the world including India despite its high demand – these questions will be answered in this article. .
If asked, “Why is sandalwood so valued worldwide?”, There are several reasons to answer. There are still two types of sandalwood in the world – white sandalwood and red sandalwood. They have been given such names based on color. Although there is fragrance of white sandalwood, there is no fragrance of red sandalwood or ‘Raktachandan’ wood. One of the reasons behind the huge popularity of Raktachandan wood around the world is that this wood has medicinal properties. In many societies around the world, it is believed that sandalwood contains ingredients that can purify contaminated blood. Not only this, with the help of wood you can get rid of the diseases caused by insect bites. This wood is also used to treat burnt skin. There is a huge demand for this timber in many Arab countries around the world, in many countries in East Asia.
Let’s find out why any business related to this timber has been ‘banned’ in India. The main reason is that this timber has come to a point where it is not too late to become extinct. A number of international organizations have already identified the tree from which the timber is produced as ‘endangered’ or ‘endangered’. Only five percent of the world’s sandalwood trees survive. This tree does not grow in any other country in the world except India, nor does it grow in any other state in India except Andhra Pradesh. This tree does not grow in all the districts of Andhra Pradesh. Nellore, Kurnool, Chittoor and Kadappa – these are the only four districts in Andhra Pradesh where these trees grow in remote hilly areas. It is clear to the naked eye that the supply of this tree is very low. According to the normal rules of the economy, if the supply of a product is less than the demand, then the price of that product goes up. Due to this the price of wood of this tree is much higher than other wood. The price of one ton of sandalwood wood in the international market is one crore to one and a half crore rupees!
Since the timber trade is prohibited, the timber is smuggled illegally to meet the demand of the world market. Illegal traders cut down forest trees through local tribal, and cut them down to size. They are then hidden in various local godown. Indigenous people can earn much more than what they earn by cultivating sugarcane locally by collecting this sandalwood. After collecting the timber from the hills and cutting them to size, waiting for the opportunity, then the security guards can cross the border by truck. After receiving the consignments, the illegal traders across the border sent them to different parts of the country by evading the security guards on the other side. The local government of Andhra Pradesh is aware of this, often conducting various raids in the forest to arrest the carpenters who are there to cut down the trees. More than 30 carpenters and more than half a dozen security guards have been killed in the past decade. There are allegations that during the operation, indigenous carpenters attacked the security guards with hammers, knives, sticks etc. Human rights groups, on the other hand, claim that security forces often attack unarmed indigenous peoples, which is against human rights.
If we are talking about a single country where the demand for sandalwood is highest, then the name of China will definitely come up. This rare wooden musical instrument and furniture has been in great demand among the Chinese aristocracy since ancient times. At present a large part of the amount of sandalwood smuggled from India goes to Nepal and then to China. Several Chinese nationals have been arrested from the border areas of India in the last decade for their alleged involvement in the illicit trade in sandalwood. In China, the remnants of furniture and musical instruments that are first made from these woods are sent to pharmaceutical factories.
Despite regular raids by the local administration, it is not possible to stop the smuggling of timber. There have been countless casualties over the past decade, thousands of tons of timber have been seized, but smuggling has not stopped. The traffickers hide behind the responsibility of collecting the timber from the local trial’s in the hilly areas, the security guards never find them. Maybe the day will soon come when this tree will no longer be found in the mountains. At the same time, about three thousand people involved in various activities like cutting down trees, collecting them, transporting them by truck, etc., have to choose another profession.