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Tribal clock moves backwards

india Updated: Feb 03, 2009 00:41 IST
Ejaz Kaiser
Ejaz Kaiser
Hindustan Times
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What if the hands of our clocks began moving in the opposite direction? Not clockwise, from left to right, but anti-clockwise, from right to left? Would the world come to an end? Would we travel back into the future?

Far from it. As the Gond tribals of Koriya district in north Chhattisgarh have shown, such clocks too tell the time perfectly. Only the position of some of the numerals from one to 12 needs to be altered.

“Clock hands moving anti-clockwise do not violate any physical laws,” said M.S. Rawat, professor of mechanical engineering at Bilaspur Engineering College. “Making them move clockwise is just a convention we follow. It’s like driving on the left side of the road. Countries which drive on the right manage their traffic perfectly well too!”

The decision to adopt the ‘anti-clockwise clock’ was taken late last year by the Gondwana Samaj in this district, stemming from a long-standing Gond belief that movements from left to right are inauspicious. “The departed soul of our ancestors will never forgive us if we continue to use conventional watches and clocks”, said Sukaina, a local farmer.

“The existing clock is a colonial relic,” said Nemchand Dhikra, a farmer from Garurdol tehsil in Koriya. “We adopted it under European influence. We should discard it if we want to go back to our roots.”