Roaring Nature: A Call For Personal Change
By Mir Faizan Anwar
31 July, 2015
Everything that surrounds us has purposeful balance. From tiny organisms that go unnoticed to giant mammals, microflora to mighty trees, deep oceans to towering mountains, there is a manner and framework. Space with unimaginable celestial bodies, the sun and the moon have perfection. In this puzzling universe, humans curiously have a significant position, top among creatures’ list, the cream and jugular vein. However, this wayward human has openly defied nature, looted its resources and left it screaming. It looks difficult to come out of bars and cages of greediness unless we introspect and understand the purpose of life.
Mother earth has been tortured and beaten to death. There have been much nature right violations than human rights. Much water has over flown and the course is changing now. Nature has its own watch mechanism looking for miscreants and eco-robbers. Ecological transformations have prompted nature to take its own measures Mother earth has shown from time to time how it can set things right and restore its lost glory. Yes it has already begun its course and set proposals. The recommendations are being followed and earth is turning harsher to its looters and robbers.
Who are these wanton looters and robbers slicing and ripping apart mother earth? Well that’s not so much hard nut to crack. It’s you and I, the culprits and yes victims too. While earth is being pinched and punched everywhere, Kashmir is not an exception. Infact Vale of Kashmir is more stressed and depressed with environmental challenges, yet we have not begun to recognize and realize the reality. We may pretend to stay ignorant even as bulldozing environmental ethics and laws of nature. Earth has cried enough of it often being ignored by us. But now such howls have turned to roars, which we cannot escape.
The September deluge in Kashmir has not so far faded from memories of its inhabitants which left hundreds and thousands stranded and in utter distress. It was followed by strange winter believed to have been one of the drier ever witnessed. People prayed and asked for snow and rain during the dry Chillai Kalan. Nothing could move our petitions and litigations of snow cases. We had to proceed for wintery sun to lie basking alike brown bears. But then something happened. The retired Chillai Kalan for that season immediately had then something to offer. It snowed unusually in the month of March. However much could not stay intact and melted down in low lying belts instantly with shining spring sun. That time onwards Kashmir has not yet seen stable weather. The late winter extended to spring and now this summer with rains and chill. We are still in winter attire readying for Pheran and Kanger. It is nearing to be a year since the nightmarish and horrendous episode happened, and yet we have another flood threat, besides having faced few more alike since the major deluge. Thanks to Almighty, reportedly danger is over and Jehlum is said to be receding though sluggishly. Everyone is hopeful of bright sunny days ahead. So stays the much strong hope of peaceful and docile Jehlum. People infact have gathered for mass prayers, asking forgiveness and blessings.
Actions universally call for reactions. So has been true to the mother earth. Earth has tolerated enough of our greed and wanton loot. Time testing is over now. Earth has started reacting to highly catalysed actions. The recurrent flood threats are nothing but reminders from nature to stop depleting natural resources and encroaching water bodies. Wetlands in our Valley have seen the wrath of human loot. From encroachments to filling up, we have left Kashmir torn and tattered. We are verily witnessing climate change. The floods in Kashmir can be scanned only through environmental destruction. The degradation of environment encompasses encroachment of waterbodies and wetlands, wanton loot of forests, mining and destruction of biodiversity which have been repeatedly spoken about.
Additionally Kashmir’s distinction in natural resources and strategic location has thrown it to traps in the crossroads of conflict and hostilities between major Asian powers- India, Pakistan and China. The ongoing conflict torn state of Valley has tormented lives and triggered despair, anxiety and tension among inhabitants. With so much of waywardness in following basic rules over past few decades has not even left nature untouched. The charisma boasting Valley fell to the miscreants and eco-robbers. Lush and blossoming green wealth was put to axe and saws. The mountains were pierced and left tormented. Wildlife was ruthlessly massacred without any mercy. The wetlands were encroached- filled, levelled and impressive buildings constructed. The housing facilities and towering shopping establishments were painted on the natural landscape. Lakes of yore, crystal clear and pure polluted and invaded were converted to playfields and estates. The environmental tragedy of conflict era has been continuing and nothing much has improved. One can continue the list publishing volumes of gloomy Kashmir.
This calls for re-evaluation of our actions and a redirection of our energies towards the reduction or possible reversal of the alarming environmental crisis. In this backdrop glorious Quran calls on us to recognize our own contribution to the crisis. Allah says “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness] (Quran 30:41). According to the verse cited, Allah is giving us a taste of our own medicine so that we may return from the wrong paths we have taken in life. We have caused corruption on land and sea, and it is up to us to mend our ways. If we are to reverse the deterioration of our environment then we definitely have to make some hard choices and change our practices. In other words, ecological change calls for personal change.
Our present crisis calls on religious leaders to find faith-based messages that will inspire and motivate the faithful towards environmental awareness. There is plenty of content in the Quran and Hadith to meet this need. Furthermore as environment belongs equally to all humans irrespective of religions we practice, I look forward for religious heads of other communities as well to begin overhauling the environment through their sacred texts, help contain climate change and pacify the roaring nature. That is one of the most hopeful and strongest ways following which we can create awareness and bring positive transformation. What remains to be seen is the extent to which we will unite to this call for personal change.
Mir Faizan Anwar is a researcher in Forestry Email: email@example.com
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