30 June 2014

Forest Documentation of Mahan Forest © Vivek M / Greenpeace


Motherhood is a joyful experience. It helps you value things around you and feel emotions which you were not ever aware of! Having said that, a mom feels fiercely protective about her baby and wants her child to experience all the wonders and joys of the world. And I am no different. I am a new mother and I want my girl to experience the bounties of nature like I did when I was growing up. Owing to my father's profession, I had a chance to live in nature's lap. Though the industrial pollution in the neighbouring areas were worrisome and took a toll on my dad's health, we were fortunate to live in an area surrounded by greenery, small rivulets etc. For us spotting a fox at the dead of the night while preparing for board exams was of great excitement.

But coming to my girl's childhood and the days ahead, I know she might not be as lucky. She would grow up in a concrete jungle and stuffed animals would be her friends. But atleast there's hope that we can take trips to forest areas and witness wildlife and nature in its natural beauty. Or is there no hope for the next gen? Well, if recent reports on govt's moves regarding forest clearances are to be true, the next gen is definitely doomed.

Destroying forests, wildlife and displacing tribal life in the name of development is most definitely quashing whatever little hope is still left. The recent leaked IB report on NGOs, demonises NGOs for giving us that hope! It is a perfect example of corporate greed coupled with arm twisting politics to silence any voice of dissent. Development for some is as good as development for none. Destroying forests, contaminating our food by introducing GM is certainly not progress, and that's certainly not how we would like to leave the world for our next generations. But the IB begs to differ; it portrays NGOs as villains who are hampering development and progress. If the IB and the corporates have their way, then soon there will be no forests, pristine oceans and organic food left. The IB calls these NGOs anti-national but is it anti-national to protect forests, to refuse GM from being dished out on our plates? Infact it is as national as it can get, after all the goal of these NGOs is to ensure, sujalam sufalam mataram! Then, how can these NGOs be accused of indulging in anti-national activities when our national anthem celebrates India's natural bounty and natural wealth!

Having said so, I am scared for my girl's future. I want her to see tigers, birds in their natural habitat, not in a zoo, or even worse in a stuffed format in pseudo zoos. Will the government ensure that? I am scared because what should I tell her when she asks, "Maa, what is a tiger?" I shudder to think how to explain it to her how we screwed up Mother Nature. If we do not stop this corporate greed now, we might end up in a situation often portrayed on celluloid by Hollywood directors and it is most definitely not a nice one.

So, are the concerned people ready to listen!

Debanjana Choudhuri is a senior media officer with Greenpeace India.