Back to The Jungle Book

As a child I used to love fairy tales. Read voraciously and keenly. Absorbing much like a sponge and just soaking up all the magical fairy tales and stories from far away lands. There was a world that I envisioned and a world that I had pictured in my mind as the perfect world where chocolates would just simply grow on trees and natural beauty would surround us while we fit into that landscape of green and lush. Goldilocks adventures into the woods were a particular favourite where she would sneak into the lives of the 3 bears just to be caught red handed, jump out the window and disappear into the woods again. Each story that was worth remembering had revolved around the mysteries of the woods and deep forests. Red riding hood braving the woods and the big bad wolf to meet her grandma, Snow white and the seven dwarfs living in a small cottage in the woods, Hansel and Gretel finding their treasures in the deep woods….Alice in wonderland…etc etc..The list is never ending. I doubt I would have remembered any of these stories as a child if they had contained a setting in which Red riding hood walked through garbage lined streets, under the blazing sun and leering men to reach her Grandma.

These stories were meant to provide an escape, to inspire and to show us a world to aspire to. What a perfect would should be like and what we should have strived to build for us. Amazingly, everything that we were taught as children and that we loved as children is being destroyed by us, before our very eyes and there is nothing that the majority of us is doing about it. Voices have been lost in layers of cynicism and a sense of righteousness has been replaced by insatiable greed.

I was watching The jungle book the other day and I was amazed at how it instantly transported me to that innocence of childhood and wanting a life of such simplicity and beauty. I almost felt sad for Mowgli when he reached the man village and parted from Baloo and Bagheera. Instead of relief that he was back to where he belonged my heart ached to see him back in the jungle. It struck me then that I didn’t like my own world anymore. It made me wonder how much we’ve destroyed our world and that too up to a point where we ourselves are constantly looking for escapes. How have we managed to build a world around us along with a life that we constantly need to run away from? What would the world have been like had we stayed true to a child’s love for the magical, wooded storyland? Would we have lived in a land that was still pure and beautiful?

As a country we’re sitting on the verge of a natural disaster. Our forests are fast disappearing under the greed of those that continue to sell our country. Our wildlife perishes at the hands of those that wield the axe. The mute are suffering the gravest injustice and no voices speak for them anymore. The non-patriots, the non-loyal and the corrupt seeds of our country continue the rampage at an alarmingly accelerated rate. True patriotism lies in being loyal to our natural heritage. True religion lies in saving our natural heritage. Not in singing songs of devotion, chanting hymns without knowing the meanings and raising flags while destroying our country.

I’ve always wondered why is it that those that destroy our forests think that they can survive without them. What makes them confident that they can survive without our ecosystem? It is the very life giving force that our forests gift us with which we seek to destroy. Why do natural disasters and calamities shock us anymore? Why do we cry for the lack of clean drinking water when we are slowly and steadily working towards destroying the very rivers that provide us with that?

Those that have read my words and feel that somewhere something needs to be salvaged while it still can please don’t stay quiet or be party to the grave injustice being done to our ecosystem. Raise your voices, raise awareness and speak up when you see crime against our natural heritage and our wildlife.

The wisdom was there for us to imbibe a long time back. The ancients have written the word many eons ago. While we choose to glorify the Geeta and other teachings that have religious sentiments from our scriptures we choose to ignore the most essential, basic and fundamental lesson that was passed on to us. The only lesson that can help salvage the losses of today and leave us a ray of hope for the future.

“Do not cut down the  forest with its tigers and do not banish the tigers from the forest; the tiger perishes without the forest and the forest perishes without its tigers”  - Mahabharata, 400 BCE, Udyogaparva.

And we perish without either....


About the author: Neha Parmar is a wildlife photographer and a conservationist with some tolerable talent for writing. If you liked, connected or have a contrary perspective with anything that you read please feel to share your feedback. 

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