Delayed Monsoons and Adhik Masa — What's the Relation?
As The Hindustan Times reported, there was an unusual (not so unusual, if you're a farmer though) complaint last year: A group of farmers in Anandgaon village in Maharashtra filed a police complaint against the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). They accused the department of misleading them. “If IMD cannot forecast accurately, it is better we shut down this department instead of keeping such white elephants,” Yogesh Pande, spokesperson of the farmers body, said.
Now if you don't know — IMD rarely gets its rain predictions right. Even when they do get it right, it may not apply to your district/area since so many factors come into play when it comes to rain and the algorithm that's written to predict it is not adaptive enough to take into consideration all the variables involved.
What's Gone So, So Wrong?
As per Prof C K Raju, it's the adoption of the wrong Gregorian calendar that has led to this crisis of delayed monsoon when it's actually on time:
"A calendar does not simply refer to that piece of paper which decorates the walls— pandering to the vanities of petty Roman dictators. In the Indian context, the calendar must be able to determine the rainy season just as the year (vars-a) relates to rain (varsa) in the language.
Agriculture traditionally was the mainstay of the Indian economy, and still remains vital to the Indian economy. Accordingly, a method of timekeeping in the form of a good calendar remains a critical technology in India. Traditional calendar-making techniques, calibrated over centuries, therefore, deserve serious consideration and evaluation, and should not be rejected in a cavalier manner. Consider the current situation. This year (an aside: it was 2003, but the pattern has been repeating ever since) the monsoon did not arrive for so long that there was a severe water crisis, and the government declared the state to be severely drought affected. Eventually the monsoon has arrived, after nearly a month of delay, and in Bhopal at least, the deficit has been wiped out, with floods in nearby rivers. (It is still raining heavily, but water is still being supplied only on alternate days!)
The question is this: was the monsoon delayed? or is the calendar wrong?"
Adhik Masa and Indian Calendar
How many of you know that Indian Calendars like Hindu/Vikrami/Buddhist Calendars are much more accurate and scientific than Gregorian Calendar that we all follow today?
And how many of you know that during Adhik Masa, it doesn't rain (or rains very little) and our ancestors knew how to make a scientific calendar that keeps in mind both the solar + lunar movements so farmers don't have to suffer.
Today, people think it's Aug/Sep/Oct so it's got to rain. Well, no. It all depends on many factors, but in a tropical country like India tidal forces (aside from heat) play a big part which Gregorian Calendar ignores altogether which results in delayed monsoons that, well, aren't actually delayed. No wonder farmers want to sue IMD.
So, What is Adhik Masa (AKA Purushottam Masa)?
Hindu calendar tracks movements of the Moon as well as the Sun. Now, moon takes about 29.53 days to revolve around the earth. This makes lunar month ~29 days only. Adding all these 12 lunar months the year will have only ~354 days while Solar year is about 365 days. To adjust lunar months to solar year, Lunar calendar adds one extra month every third year.
This extra month is known Adhik Masa. This is the 13th month of the lunar calendar and hence Hindu/Vikrami Calendar has 13 months in every ~3 years.
This is a complete opposite to ham-handed approach of Gregorian Calendar where you add 1 day extra every other month and do leap year nonsense resulting in a season where it's not going to rain for a whole month or two, but since it's August (or any other month of Monsoon) you think it's gotta rain (but as we just told you just now, it's not going to).