Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Planting 2.50 Crore Trees & Killing 250 Nilgais'!

“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.” ...Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Clarissa Pinkola Estés is an American poet, Jungian pscyhoanalyst, post-trauma recovery specialist, author and spoken word artist. Similar to William Carlos Williams and other poets who worked in the health professions, Estés is a certified senior Jungian analyst who has practiced clinically for over 45 years. Her doctorate, from the Union Institute & University, is in ethno-clinical psychology on the study of social and psychological patterns in cultural and tribal groups. What Clarissa says about the trees seems literally taken by our State Govt as on 1st July, the State Govt has decided to plant 2.5 crore i.e.  some 25 million trees all across the State; indeed a noble drive & nothing wrong with the idea question is how many of them survive & what about conserving the existing trees? Presently all Govt machinery is busy in advertizing the plantation drive as well making arrangements to complete the target of plantation but on same time there was a news in Bihar State where nearly 250 numbers of  Nilgai i.e. Blue Bulls has been shot down & permission has been given for the same by MOEF i.e. Ministry of Forest & Environment! On prima fascia these two events or news will look like nothing common, as plantation of 2.5 crore trees is drive for aforestization undertaken by Maharashtra State Govt where as killing of some 250 odd numbers of Nilgais’ is decision taken by Central Forest Ministry & that to in State of Bihar, so what is common factor? Well today its Bihar, tomorrow it will be Maharashtra is one aspect & second is plantation is indeed good but what is the future of forests in our State? As ours is much more urbanized State than Bihar where Nilagi which indeed is a listed wild animal & has become threat to farmers, eating their crops so they have to shoot it down. In our State every day one or other species is getting absolute, look at the leopard conflicts in Pune rural area; same is nearby Tadoba tiger project where attacks of tigers on human beings, living in the vicinity or project tiger is common. 

On one side we are clapping our backs for rising population of the Tigers but on other side of the coin, where is the land in form of forests for this increased population of the tigers? And when I say land for the tigers it means not just forest i.e. trees & tigers but it means where entire life cycle of which tiger is at apex is! As tiger alone can’t survive in the woods, it needs prey in form of deer’s, wild boars, sambhar & many such herbivores animals. And all these prey animals in turn needs their food which is grass, leaf of many trees & fruits of trees like Umbar, Jamun & many more & yes the water bodies too & unpolluted water bodies is important! So all these grass & trees needs land to grow & serve as food courts for thousands of such animals. And along with serving as food court to the animals which are prey for the tiger, these grass lands & trees are homes for thousands of other species which may not be in lime light like tiger but they too are equally important links of tiger’s life cycle! As a forest is complete not with just tiger, deer & trees or grass lands but right from ant house to birds, insects & smaller animals like hairs as well jackals’, jungle cats, snakes & many such is what makes any forest a perfect life system.

On this background in our State which is one of the fastest urbanizing State; major threat is how to make the entire forest survive & just plantation of trees won’t make replacement for the fast vanishing forests is what we need to understand. As ideally out of total land available approximately 33% land should be under forests, where as though no one can be sure but in our State lands under all kinds of forest isn’t more that 15% is what assumed. This is way below the ideal norm & this isn’t definitely a creditable thing for our State! And result of this is major threat to entire biodiversity as every day we are depriving some or other species from its right to live or even survive! Right from pollution of natural water resources which causes loss of habitat for fish & water birds to utilizing every available sq ft of land for purposes like residential, farm houses or industry, we are reducing entire green cover around under the name of development. And when it’s not any of such use then we dig the earth or break the hills for natural resources essential for construction such as sand, murrum or metal i.e. khadi or stone! Reason may be any but end result is same i.e. reduction in forest area. This makes every species other than human being depending on forest either to get extinct or come in human habitats for its basic needs & get killed by humans under the offense of encroaching on humans! High time to remind our own self that development is indeed good but at what cost?

This is where the poor Nilgai’s in Bihar met their fate of getting gunned down as their only offense was their population has increased & they couldn’t buy land for their homes neither can appoint any architect or engineer to build a safe home for themselves, nor they couldn’t find any project where some developer has build homes for them! I can’t blame  farmers also, who are victims of these Nilgais as what else you can expect from a poor family which has raised the crop which is their only source of income & in one night if heard of some animals is grounding your hard earned crop to zero, you can’t expect sympathy for those animals by the farmers! Then who is the culprit, if not Nilgais' or the farmers which have pressurized Govt to gun down the Nilgais' heard? I think every one of us & the entire system, especially the one which we call Govt whose job is to see that not only their voters but every living object in the State deserves their home & well being. 

Unfortunately our all policies are made keeping us i.e. human beings in focus & that makes us most selfish specie! No, I am no philanthropic or some Saint to make such statement, what I meant is we are foolishly selfish as we haven’t understood what kind of life we want for our own self & yet we are making policies thinking we are doing them for our well being! As imagine a life with luxurious cars, perfect public transport, good roads, flyovers, IT parks, Malls, Schools, Hospitals & Industries taking care of our every need! Yes it will be a good life but without any greenery around or no birds flying in the sky or deer running across the grass lands & no forest around leave apart a tiger roaming in his kingdom or a river carrying black water with no vegetation or fish in it; will we still call it a life? Time has come to define what really good life is for us! I am not against development but whose job is to balance it properly, is the question I will ask!

I think planting 2.50 crores trees is a good move but more than that we should make space available to these trees & agreed every tree is important, may it be scattered across yet we need to focus on creating pockets of trees which can be homes to other species in form of forests. At the same time need is identifying existing such pockets which are in forms of lesser known forests may it be grass lands or shrubs or wet lands & make policies to conserve them. In our State hundreds of such places exist, urge every district governance to enlist them & make a program to conserve them. Tourism can one sure way to generate money for such programs as well tie up with corporate companies & make them adopt these pieces of forests. The only hitch is people don’t believe their money will be used properly for the cause when Govt is involved so we can use local NGO’s for such conservation programs. At the same time another important aspect is ever increasing population of human beings which demands continuously more land for their survival causing limitation for growth of forests! So a strong need is there to take birth control program with equal zest as of the plantation drive, which unfortunately our every Govt has forgotten!

Remember whatever we want to do to protect as well conserve not only the forests but every single tree & specie, let’s do it fast as time is running against the forests! Or else today its poor Nilgai in Bihar we are shooting down for over population, tomorrow god forgive us, we will have to order shooting down human beings itself for our survival; again whose survival will be the question & who will shoot whom!


Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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