A few weeks ago we read in the newspaper that about thousand acres of virgin forest in Swamimalai forest block in Sandur are going to be destroyed for the sake of mining of iron and manganese ore. The deputy conservator of forests warned of all the consequences of the destruction but the government has given its approval. A tragedy is happening. Recently I completed a book called Defiance. It is the English translation of a book in Kannada written by Na Mogasale. The story covers a period of almost one hundred years, across generations, in my part of the country. The novel portrays how nature was destroyed over the years : cultivable lands become quarries and old trees were cut down for logs. The land owners could do nothing about it because they no longer owned their ancestral lands which had been given to tenants under The Land Tenancy Act. We are seeing the same happening all around us. I wonder when we learn the folly of our ways? And maybe it will be too late.
The land behind our house was cleared of all trees. In March, soil was being transported every day. We have learnt a five-star hotel is coming up. The owners of the land have excavated the plot to level it. So on three sides there are vertical unstable mud walls. On one side the wall caved in. Two days ago the plot above collapsed. There has been a caving in under the highway. That is scary. Now the builders are building concrete walls. They are in a hurry because our monsoon season starts in June. We wonder who will come to such hotels. So much is being destroyed for the sake of hotels!
When it felt there was only destruction on all sides, we read with relief about people in Hassan district of our state clearing , desilting and rejuvenating traditional water tanks and lakes. Volunteers are working at it every day. It gladdens the heart and one is filled with hope. Maybe we leaving behind something for the future generations.
The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring