The overwhelmingly positive opinions about the much touted Bt brinjal are truly admirable but one wonders if they are not a trifle hasty in their judgment. After all, genetic engineering does have its drawbacks, the chief among them being that it robs us of what is truly essential — a gene pool consisting of rich, diverse and unique seeds. Having a likely solution to the gnawing hunger of the world’s poor can surely mean that we should leave no stone unturned in harnessing genetics and reengineering seed structures at their very basic, elemental stage. But at the onset of any epidemic, one may be faced with absolute devastation as opposed to the piecemeal resistance with the “ordinary seeds.” One should consider all this and more before triumphantly setting forth to embrace what is definitely a breakthrough for science and humanity.
Even though the Green Revolution has changed the face of India in foodgrain production, it was not without any negative effects. Its impact was ‘region specific’ and ‘class specific’ and also had negative ecological impacts. This was well understood later and now a call has been given for an ecologically and environmentally viable “Evergreen Revolution.” Similarly, it would be prudent to address all concerns and gain the confidence of all sections with respect to Bt brinjal.