Ours is a small place, it is a University town. Till about ten years ago it had been a quiet, serene and green place. My grandfather used to say he had passed this place in the 1940s and it been a barren hill. Over the years, a lot of change has taken place, but those changes were in keeping with the place. But now they are of a different kind. Valleys are being filled and mountains are being levelled, the whole world is being turned upside down. A concrete jungle is taking the place of a live, green jungle. All this for apartments and shopping malls and cinema theatres. Educational institutions and hospitals are acceptable but not the others . Ironically these buildings are given the names of the very trees that have been destroyed. It is as if this is the beginning of the End.
Recently, my husband’s student came here after a long time. He told us he had heard about the changes and had kept away for a long time as he wanted to retain the memories of those earlier days. Most people who had lived here earlier feel the same. We miss those days. I suppose the same is happening everywhere. In the name of ‘development’ so much is being destroyed.
Last month, I had been re-reading a lot of books by Isaac Asimov. I just finished reading Foundation and Earth. It had been an exciting journey across the galaxy visiting different planets. The hero is searching for Earth. The time is twenty thousand years from now. He and his companions find Earth but there is no Life. Earth is completely radioactive. There was a hollow feeling in the heart when I read this. I know it is only a story. It may not happen. But so much of what Science Fiction writers have been writing has come true. And the road we are taking may make our planet a dead one some time in the far future. We who are here now will not be there then.
In moments when such thoughts come to mind, I am all the more grateful to all those people who are doing their best to protect and conserve our planet. This proverb which I had read quite some time ago is so apt.
“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” Ancient American Indian Proverb