Hook, Line And Sinker
August 2007: Ancient Indians worshipped nature. By contrast, ‘modern’ Indians were indoctrinated by the British belief that nature was an impediment to progress and that wild places had to be subdued using clinical violence.
When the British departed, powerful Indians, therefore, began to hack, plunder and pillage their way to ill-gotten wealth in earnest. The British ethic that the only good forest was a dead one ensnared many freedom fighters who enthusiastically supported the erosion of India’s ecological underpinnings.
Thus were Himalayan ecosystems defiled. Tigers sacrificed for minerals. The Western Ghats flattened. Central Indian forests replaced by tropical pine and eucalyptus. Corals fed into cement factories. Rivers dammed. Coasts poisoned. And wetlands reclaimed.
The virtual purpose of the Indian government continues to be the extirpation of our ecological heritage. This is still how the rich get richer, the poor poorer. Frankly, if Pakistan actually wanted to harm India, they would be hard put to do a better job than successive Indian Prime Ministers and their inept, often avaricious cabinet members, who freely induce, influence, threaten and (when all else fails) discredit scientists and environmentalists who urge developmental restraint.
The floods, droughts and climate change impacts that ravage India each year are directly traceable to this sustained aggression.
So is the death of this shark in Indian waters.
India’s Commerce Ministry – supported by no-account scientists who opine that hunting tens of millions of sharks has little impact on marine ecology – benignly looks on as sharks are caught, fins sliced, and then dumped back in the sea to die a painful, lingering death.
As fish stocks plummet, glaciers melt and floods ravage city and countryside, the truth is clear – Indian planners are devoid of ecological intelligence. They have swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the fiction that nature must be destroyed for India to develop.
Young Indians know this to be false. They understand that climate change is man-caused and must, therefore, be man-solved. They also know that sharks, tigers and elephants are the best imaginable “climate-control engineers” for ecosystems that sequester and store carbon.
More to the point, they know that rescuing the shark and its ocean home, far from being an animal welfare issue, is the master key to human survival.
Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXVII No. 4, August 2007