Kolkata: A slice of Darjeeling has come alive at the 43rd International Kolkata Book Fair, with the Lepcha Development Board being given the space for the first time this year.The stall that has been set up under the banner of West Bengal Model Lepcha Development Board, stocks a plethora of books and magazines written by authors from their community, translated into Bengali, English and Hindi. It has created a lot of interest among the visitors of the Book Fair. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseApart from books, the stall also has various items showcasing the culture and tradition of the Lepcha community in the Hills that makes up about 20 percent of the population there. The main attraction of the stall is the exhibition of a variety of dresses, old scriptures and various old books belonging to the community. It may be mentioned that the stall has evoked a lot of curiosity among the people visiting the fair, because most of them are unaware of the special lifestyle, customs and habits of this community. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe visitors were seen interacting with members of the community manning the stall, with the latter responding to their queries in Hindi and English, with a pleasant smile on their faces. They were also seen donning their traditional outfits in the stall. “We are not only showcasing our books and magazines but also our traditional musical instruments, our dresses and everything else that relate to our culture. We have also displayed the special fishing rod that we use for catching fishes and a number of handicraft items made by our community,” said Ugen Lepcha, one of the staff manning the stall. It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has formed the Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board for the Lepcha community, one of the indigenous communities of Darjeeling and has taken up several initiatives for their development. “More than 70 percent of the collection of books in our stall has already been sold. We are extremely happy with the book lovers in the city welcoming us with so much love and honour,” Lepcha maintained.
A wide variety of animal species – including elephants, chimpanzees, ravens and lions – can engage in rational decision-making, a study suggests. These animals exhibit so-called “executive control” when it comes to making decisions, consciously considering their goals and ways to achieve them before acting, according to researchers at the University of Houston in the US.Previous research has shown that animals can remember specific events, use tools and solve problems.However, exactly what that means – whether they are making rational decisions or simply reacting to their environment through mindless reflex – remains a matter of scientific dispute.Language is required for some sophisticated forms of metacognition, or thinking about thinking, said Cameron Buckner, assistant professor at the University of Houston.However, bolstered by a review of previously published research, Buckner concluded that a wide variety of animals – elephants, chimpanzees, ravens and lions, among others – engage in rational decision-making.”These data suggest that not only do some animals have a subjective take on the suitability of the option they are evaluating for their goal, they possess a subjective, internal signal regarding their confidence in this take that can be deployed to select amongst different options,” he said.Language remains a key differentiator, and Buckner noted that serious attempts in the 1970s and ’80s to teach animals human language found that although they were able to express simple ideas, they did not engage in complex thought and language structures.Ancient philosophers relied upon anecdotal evidence to study the issue, but today’s researchers conduct sophisticated controlled experiments.In the new study published in the journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Buckner offers several examples to support his argument.Matriarchal elephants in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park are able to determine the threat level of human intruders by differentiating ethnicity, gender and age, Buckner said.This suggests an understanding that adult Maasai tribesmen sometimes kill elephants in competition for grazing or in retaliation for attacks against humans, while Kamba tribesmen and women and children from both tribes do not pose a threat, he said.In another example, Buckner noted that giraffes are not generally considered prey by lions in Africa, due to the long-necked animals’ ability to deliver skull-crushing kicks.However, lions in South Africa’s Selous Game Reserve are reported to have learned that giraffes found in a sandy river bed can get stuck and even trip, making them suitable prey.This suggests an understanding that adult Maasai tribesmen sometimes kill elephants in competition for grazing or in retaliation for attacks against humans, while Kamba tribesmen and women and children from both tribes do not pose a threat, he said.