I have just finished reading Centennial by James Michener. It is a wonderful book. The story is set in what is now Colorado. I have read many of Michener’s books and have enjoyed all of them. In this book as in many others by him he begins the story with events which occurred millions of years ago. We learn about how the surface of the earth changed over eons. Mountains and valleys came into and went out of existence. The author writes, “The time required! The slow passage of years! the constant alterations! It is a poem of existence, this rock, not a lyric but a slow-moving epic whose beat has been set by eons of the world’s experience.” When I read these lines the thought kept coming to mind about what we are doing now to our planet. Mountains are being leveled, and valleys being filled, all in the name of ‘development’. This destruction is happening at an alarming rate. The passage of time is not at all slow.
Michener writes about the animals that roamed that part of the world. Many species were born, lived for many years and died off: a part of the natural course of events. But with the coming of man, animals, birds and nature’s bounty were destroyed, all for greed. A character in the novel says, “So long as the streams kept to the mountains they were pure and free; it was when they mingled with men that abuses began.” The same is happening now.
But, there is goodness also in the world. Yesterday I read in the newspaper about an organization called Pyas Foundation (Pyas means thirst in Hindi) They are helping to improve the situation in drought-hit areas in Belagavi (in the northern part of Karnataka) by rejuvenating lakes and conducting awareness programmes. There are many such people who are helping to save our planet.
(For sustainable solutions – deccanherald.com
If you have been active on social media, you would not miss the buzz around the work of Pyaas Foundation of Belagavi and its most vocal founder, Dr Madhav Prabhu.)
The author takes us on a journey spanning millions of years up to the1970s. Life has changed so much through the passage of time. People have come and gone. My father-in-law is 92. He says that no one of his generation in their younger days dreamt about the kind of changes that would take place within their lifetime. A way of life which had not changed for generations underwent a drastic transformation. It is difficult for him to understand what is happening now. What of him? Even I am bemused by the changes that have happened over the last quarter century in our little town.
Looking back, life was good. But, with the passage of time, many of the changes, especially in technology, have become an integral part of our lives. It is difficult to imagine our days without technology. At the same time there is so much we wish had not taken place in our lives. But such things do happen, and we are left asking ourselves, “What are we leaving behind for the future generations?”
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring