Theme: Nature

Man fumbles with Nature's Bounty in Sundarbans

Mother India sits with Himalayan crown on head
washed by the seas, her feet on water rest;
on her east is the Bay of Bengal
replete with Natural history
on her west is the Arabian Sea
replete with human activity.
Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna at their estuaries
meet the Bay of Bengal with creeks and tributaries
gifting billion tones of sediments to the wide wide sea
which forms the islands in earth-water alchemy.
Huge tidal waves enter the water-woven islands
depositing some silts, washing away portions of the lands.
New mudflats rise up, fragile islands disappear;
none can predict the movements of tide and time, as they are.
Crawling crabs in shadowy sunbathed banks and shore
sundari, mangrove, tiger, deer, crocks and snakes, fishes galore;
from time immemorial all these make the Sundarbans    
with Bonbibi, the deity of the world’s largest estuarine forest
at its head. A biodiversity hotspot with foods aplenty for each;
woodcutters, honey collectors, animals, trees and fairies
live, as if in symbiosis.
With 10000 km of land, 70% of it in saline water,
India and Bangladesh share it at the rate of 40:60,
a political division of natural heredity;
it is the world’s largest delta, largest mangrove forest,
a global identity.

About 250 years ago, man began living here
with mud embankments
to stop the ingress of saline water; to cultivate.
Man can live as part of Nature, in tune with it
but he intervened in its functioning, restricted silt deposit;
river beds swelled causing water level to rise as of the sea
due to global warming; water flowing above the level of the boundaries.
Besides warning, Cyclone Aila 2010 was a harsh marine reaction;
razing four lakh huts, killing 300 humans
and breaching about 1000 km of embankment asunder;
nature and ecology disrupted, millions of lives are in danger.

The latest scene of Nature’s dance would be performed
if man’s pride of subduing her by money-brain power
is not abandoned.
Replacing mud embankments by brick-mortar-concrete
high boundary walls
using heavy machines and heterogeneous materials
like polypropylene sheets to bind the earth and water
is a faux pas like trifling with the vast and unpredictable Nature.
All ill-gotten costly plans, children of the
politician-bureaucrat-contractor nexus
have not gained an inch of success
due to inherent weakness.
Earth water sky air and fire have their own symphony;
it would be best to meet them in their terms, in their territory.
Experience and science prohibit execution of such plan;
Instead, making an entire mud boundary would be a better action.
The best perhaps would be to come out to let Nature live on its own.


More By  :  Aju Mukhopadhyay

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