Sundays are dear to every one, even for me. Sunday is the day of washing clothes, cleaning and decorating my home, preparing a lavish meal and finally a good amount of leisure with lots of readable items. The readable items include specially the Sunday supplements of the newspapers, both Assamese and English. (I think having a regional language as mother tongue gives you the freedom of knowing several languages) Today as I was doing the ritual, I was going through the Brunch, the Sunday magazine of Hindustan Times (http://www.hindustantimes.com/Brunch) a story attracted my attention. This post is a result of the thoughts after reading that cover story.
The story “India’s Fastest Vanishing Treasures” by Sharanay S. The article describes various natural as well as cultural treasures which are or will be vanishing very fast. The list is long…which includes the Indian Vulture, Uttarakhand, the Surando, Gujarat, the Pangolin, across India, Rogan Art, Kutch, Hampi, Karnataka, Majuli Island, Assam, Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, the Rudravina, Uttarakhand, Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra, Kudiyattam, Kerala, the Great Indian Bustard, Rajasthan, the Gharial, Uttarakhand, Valley of flowers, Uttarakhand, the Bengal Tiger, Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites, Kerala, the Indian Rhinoceros, Rakhigarhi, Haryana, Manas National Park, Assam, Cheriyal mask-making, Andhra Pradesh, Sisupalgarh, Orissa, Urban Legends, Addas of Kolkata, Rajaon ki Baoli, Delhi, Irani cafés of Mumbai and Taverns of Goa.
I was quite surprised to see something very dear to me in the list. But the shocking point was that all the items in the list are the pride of India, Indian culture and Indian heritage. Before going to the point, I would like to discuss about the things that are much dearer to me. First item in the list is Majuli Island, Assam. (As I belong to Assam, India, it should not be taken as selfishness of me to discuss the items from Assam Only) Geographically, Majuli is the largest river island in the world. Situated in Brahmaputra River, the island is one of the greatest centers of Assamese/Vaishnavite culture. Second and most dearest to me in the list is Manas National Park. Most of the photography in my blog is of Manas National Park. I love this place from the chore of my heart. Why? Because, I am born and brought up at a place only 40 km away from it and from childhood, I am enchanted by it. Second, I got my first salaried job in an organization (ATREE) which is working in Manas and Kaziranga World Heritage Sites. Third cause is a bit more personal, my husband, an WWF-India employee, works in Manas National Park. So you can say that Manas is very dear to me and when I saw its name in the list my heart sank. The third item in the list is One Horned Rhinoceros. Rhinos are pride of Assam and we have the largest one horned rhinos in the world. More importantly, the hubby is working to save this magnificient animal.
I have mentioned that I was surprised to see the list but not shocked at the inclusion of all the above three items. At the core of my heart, I know the situation of them. But the columnist also pointed out the time limit of vanishing of them. The Majuli island will last for only two decades, rhinos have a population of only 2500 and Manas actually “Expected to last: As long as new conservation measures are put into effect”. So basically, all the items will last not more than 20 years. 20 years?? Mere 20 years and we are still blaming each other. For atleast 10 years, the petition for declaring Majuli as World Heritage Site (Cultural) is going on. Every year, it is rejected or postponed for proposal improvement. There are many people working for all the causes, within the govt and outside the govt but all have failed in their effort to make Majuli an WHS. And rhinos?? The less said is better. Likewise, Manas National park is the only protected area which has five conservation statuses i.e. National Park, World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserve, Tiger Reserve and Elephant Reserve. Still it is going through law and order problems since 1980s.
The question is whom should we blame…the govt, the poachers or us? For me the answer will be us. Any issue, and we people will be there, protesting, rioting or doing debates in News channels. And after that…we will come home, have dinner and go to sleep. All done. Where is our moral conscience? There is always non stop cries after the rejection of WHS petition of Majuli or a rhino killing in Manas or Kaziranga. But when there is good news, no one will be there to cheer you up. If Majuli is going to be vanished after twenty years, it’s our fault, if Manas is going to be destroyed, it’s only our fault. Every year lakhs of rupees are spent in the name of securing Majuli but still it managed to secure its name in the above mentioned list. There are forest guards who are guarding it without the guarantee of their jobs or life but still we are blaming the forest dept. Rhinos are vanishing and we people are still fighting among us. People, wake up.Wake up and think, are we doing anything to save the items that featured in the list of India’s Fastest Vanishing Treasures?
P.S.- The post is a result of self-frustration and shame. The view point is totally personal and any resemblance to it is purely con-incidental.