The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 29 , 2014
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At a considerable height, with the mist floating in through the window, the sounds of nature enveloping the mind and soul, and a 180-degree view of the Himalaya, one realizes the importance of India’s need to protect, conserve, and respect its manmade habitats and natural treasures. The prevailing disregard is disturbing. This apathy is reinforced during the rainy season when the results of indiscriminate and greedy felling of trees and the intrusion of construction into areas that need to be left pristine and untampered with are far more tangible.

Careless, often rapacious, planning has led to irrevocable degradation that cannot be corrected. Therefore, it is imperative to mandate that alternatives are put in place simultaneously to ensure that the green cover remains constant at a certain stipulated percentage in all the states of the country. There are lessons to be learned and, thereafter, a patterning done with clear dos and don’ts marked on the map of India that will protect the country from rampant, unauthorized destruction. Natural resources need to be exploited but also protected. For that reason, substandard planning is more of an assault on India than all else. Following the reorganization of what is allowed and that which is not permitted under any circumstances, the next most important aspect of administrative management is the setting up of efficient, responsible and accountable municipalities.

New poison

Plastic dominates our lives. It is singularly the most toxic product. Plastic has poisoned the environment other than the equally damaging effluents that irresponsible, uncaring industrial units dump into rivers and on the soil of this land. Such acts are unpatriotic and anti-national. The authorities should not show any compassion towards those who damage India consciously in the pursuit of wealth by cutting corners. Sadly, the Indian political system is responsible for this free-for-all because it is the corporate world that subsidizes politics. Hence, industry gets away with murder, as it defies existing laws in lieu of funding political parties in power. This is the fundamental truth upon which corruption thrives. If the whip can be cracked to restore dignity in the political process and permit white money to legally fund political entities, the first step towards a real clean up would begin.

The strict regulation of industry is a must if we are to restore this land and civilization. It is a sector that has been pampered at the cost of our cities and towns and their well-being. Water sources have been polluted. This callousness has resulted in the spread of disease and viruses. The soil has been assaulted with chemicals that have maimed us and our children. This is the first set of principles upon which the idea of ‘development’ stands.

Indian traditions dealt with the environment and natural habitats in a sensible way. The recycling of waste as manure helped foster organic living. We need to revert to some of those legacies and adapt them to contemporary realities. If there is a concerted effort to restore and reinvent all that has been tried and tested by past generations, this nation could be a leader in this new millennium. Most of these tools and techniques are being dismantled by the developed world because it has failed to integrate itself with the natural world without polluting it. We must not follow that faulty and failed trajectory but, instead, assess the traditional methodologies and reinvent them for our times and needs.

This renewal should include a strong revival of ayurveda and homeopathy, yoga and meditation, as well as the spheres of everyday life, such as food and drink. The cycle of life must be harmonized with the natural habitat.