Author: Rajiv Krish*
Recently, my family and I relocated back from the silicon valley of the east to the Venice of east, a change which accountants terms as a change from service tax (tax for software services in the silicon valley) to value added tax (VAT tax for trade in the Indian town of Venice). Kerala, in its entirety is a state enveloped with greenery and stamped with rain. A traveler passing through her breadth would see the most wonderful sight of nature in this part which is south to the Konkan belt of the Western Ghats. Environmentalists would envy (as if their place is not this lush green), doctors would de-stress (and would advise patients too, to get de-stressed here) and the real estate brokers will jump with ecstasy (that they got to build a green-facing apartment now). It is a peculiar scenery, west of the Eastern ghats and during the monsoon plants, trees and natural vegetation would grow so much that the nature appears as if it has not done a hair cutting since months.
Delegates sitting in air conditioned rooms for Stockholm and Rio Conference talked a lot about forests. Laws like the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the umbrella legislation, codified various enactments like the prevention of air and water pollution acts of yester years. But the mass got to know about the concept of environmental protection from what they read in the newspaper about the Supreme Court decision in the case of T. N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India. In the case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court introduced three criterions to categorize various types of forests, viz.
(i) Reserve forest – the most restricted category of forests which may be declared so by the State Government by way of a notification. Use of the forest by local people is generally prohibited unless permitted by the forest officer;
(ii) Protected forest – a category comprising forest other than the reserve forest which the State Government again has the power to notify and utilize the trees, whose timber, fruit or other non-wood products to pay-off the Government expenses (the objects in it have revenue raising potential); and
(iii) Village forest – over which the State Government has powers to assign the rights to govern or manage the forest and it may be assigned to a village community.
Here, they encroach, destroy and throw plastic waste, non-degradable biological and non biological wastes, excretes and plastic bags to cover up all the sins they want to destroy. They deride the environment, denigrate the host, and root out the soil beneath bringing out the warmth of the soil that was resting underneath for centuries together. They want to build the bee-hive like structures to come up to the expectations of their buyers, to make the economic theory realistic “For Thou, We Produce” (We produce it for you [you meaning the customer]). But they don’t realize it is “For Thou” and not “For Just Thou”. The intent of the said economic theory is not that man, and man only must enjoy the natural resources, but economies work over environmental sciences.
Grandmother tales told us “Earth is your Mother” (Bhoomi Matha), “Universe is your Family” (Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam) and River Ganges, its curly hair flowing down to the unending Ocean (Samudra). Deforestation is like hurting; and hurting the nature is like hurting your own mother. How can one do that in deeds or even with words? Who would ever want to cut down the greenery and paint a bad picture about his own family? Nature takes the nature of human beings lightly. Even if man cuts down her beauty, then after a rain and a while, spouts wake up to the sunrise, and a union of each and every such awakening brings back the beauty, back to the eyes, the beauty for eyes that can be seen only towards the west of the Eastern Ghats – so as the grandmother tale goes – “that Earth is considered as the mother of all; and she forgives the sins of all.”
*Rajiv Krish is a Director at M/s Waum Team Pvt. Ltd.