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The Disobedient Planet

The Disobedient Planet

Author: Bittu Sahgal

This magnificent Rock Eagle-owl Bubo bengalensis was caught in a defiant pose by Sanjeet Mangat, while in Shokaliya, Rajasthan, as it was about to take off, giving the photographer just enough time to get this brilliant eye-level shot. Photo: Sanjeet Mangat.

I do not wear authority well. Even as a student I would reject bland diktats, particularly if the logic of a command escaped me. Consequently, much to the exasperation of my elders, and sundry figures of authority, “But why?” became my recurrent refrain.

Down the decades I found no escape from this state of affairs. I still resist illogical authority: “But why extract coal from irreplaceable tiger forests for ephemeral gain? But why build dams in the high Himalaya, when glacial melt has rendered river flows fickle? But why mutilate mangroves, when the ecosystems feed millions and keep us safe from storms?”

I confess, without apology, that in the Homo sapiens Vs. The Rest battle, I root for The Rest. When I see an eagle-owl dominate its forest home I am, in fact, filled with triumph. Ditto when frogs croak, butterflies flit, bees buzz, or flamingos feed in the myriad urban niches that wild creatures have wrested from us. The triumph is magnified in the company of wild sharks, rhinos, elephants, and bears, which also infuse a smidgen of smugness into my beating heart.

Why victory? Why smugness, you ask?

Because every wild species alive today represents a resistance movement against the scorched-earth policies and practices of that arrogant and misguided animal, Homo sapiens – a neighbour from hell – the most dangerous animal in the world.

When I see lifeforms, survivors, existing outside human command, I am heartened by the fact that the human throttlehold over planet Earth has been unable to subdue nature. Despite a loss here and there, the scorebook suggests that The Rest is far outperforming Homo sapiens in the life and death game of survival. This is because we keep scoring self-goals; trashing our planet’s survival infrastructures in a futile attempt to force nature to dance to our tune. It will not. Nature will not dance to our tune, nor obey our orders, nor fall in line with our King Canute-like orders. Nature is this exquisite, headstrong, disobedient wonder that knows just one dance step (with infinite variations). And, if we persist in treading out of line, it will respond by stepping on much more than just our toes. No deposit bonuses australian online casino sites slots for cash

First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXIV No. 5, October 2014.


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