Spirit of the Jungle
In the mountains and forests of India, the wind whistles through the trees, and swift-flowing brooks roll over weathered stones. Whistling thrushes, minivets, barbets, partridge and cicadas join the wind and water to create an incredible symphony in a natural amphitheater. The world is alive and at peace, the sounds seem to suggest.
But what, I wonder, do misled politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists hear when they visit such places. The jingle of money perhaps? That urges them on...unmindful of the fact that they trundle over the best things in life - the air we breathe, the water we drink or the soil of which our farmers eke out a living. Timber, fruit trees, limestone, hydel power they want it all. I watch my natural canvas being replaced by a bizarre collage of slums, dirt, siltation and disease.
Paradise in the Wild
Last of Asiatic Lions
Hunt for Indian Tiger
India's rainforests and the myriad animals including the tiger ensconced therein are severely threatened by politicians, businessmen and the government functionaries who have become their obedient camp followers. This callous coterie believes it has the god-given right to unravel the natural tapestry of India. The truth is, their acts of vandalism will probably go unpunished since they have learned to cover their destructive trail in hypocritical politicalese, legalese and bureaucratese.
The life of India is ebbing away before our very eyes. Not because of the murder, bloodshed and terrorism, which has tragically taken our once peaceful country by the throat, but because of the violence being inflicted by eco-terrorists on the one Earth that nurtures us all. There is a willful sabotage of the munificent natural ecosystems, which have determined the quality of life of the Indian people for centuries. The power brokers who have assumed charge of our destinies have brutalised our land thorough acts of commission. They have willfully ignored the voice of reason, expressed by scientists, ecologists and social activists in forum after forum. What we are witnessing in the name of development is large scale `ecocide.'
Every creature has a special ecological role to play. Everything in nature has a purpose. Rather than play god, our planners might just see the wisdom in resurrecting ancient Indian mores, most of which are deeply scientific. Essentially, these remind humans that they are co-inhabitants of this earth. Not proprietors.
Born primates, we seem to be gradually elevating ourselves to the status of gods. Armed with brutally primitive science that nevertheless gives us the power to alter the very structures of life through DNA manipulation, we tinker with evolution, searching for profitů without the least idea as to the consequences of this misadventure.
The human race is presented with a choice of adventures. We could surf the path of development, using gateways and opportunities crafted and presented to us by nature. Or we could blast new avenues through the tangled web of life, in an attempt to constrain diversity and coerce nature to conform to own image.
Upon the outcome of such potentials and pitfalls depends the future of life on earth. I, for one, look forward to the day when Indians will recognise and punish the Earth-Enemies in our midst. Their right place is in the dung heap of history.
Courtesy: Sanctuary Magazine
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.