Peace – According to old Indian belief – is not only being in harmony with the people around, but also to be in harmony with one’s inner self and with one’s environs – the physical and the natural. Since times immortal, Man has worshipped and respected Nature. The protection of natural milieu is inculcated in us since birth via various cultural beliefs, rituals and activities. In return Nature provides us with necessities for life – heat, air, water and food.
Modernization in its steamrolling universal impact of growing industrialization, urbanization and consumptive culture appears to be pervading and is determined to degrade the ecological balance, jeopardizing environmental equilibrium and systems – the symbiotic harmony and relationships, threatening our collective security and posterity.
Rajasthan is on a different footing in regards to environment in comparison to other states of India. Ecologically, it is a fragile zone. It faces crucial problems of desertification, soil erosion, lack of vegetative cover, rainfall uncertainties, and unprecedented water scarcity including drinking water shortage. The primitive tribes of the state always understood the need to remain in the tolerance limit and carrying capacity of their physical milieu. The Vishnois, the Bhils, the Gonds, all protected their environs using various social and religious methods – the ‘orans’ to quote as an example. But in recent times, the scene has changed.
Poverty, increasing population, industrialization, urbanization and such other related factors are putting pressure on already scarce resources like land and water. Farmers’ agitation in Gharsana, unrest in Tonk for the Bisalpur waters, Banswara population reacting on the Mahi – Bajajsagar project, questions raised by Jaisalmer people regarding atomic tests in their area, Jaipur openly coming on road against land acquisition for SEZ ! all are examples of the people of Rajasthan becoming contious as to the who and how of the utilization of their natural resources. The above quoted seemingly local events have the power to become big eco-political issues and lead to political upheavals and unrest if not dealt with properly and on time.
Is this the entry of Green Politics in our economically underdeveloped, ecologically fragile, a comparatively politically quiet state of Rajasthan? The present paper aims to put up and find an answer to this question – for our politicians and our policy formers – in an attempt to save our state from the perils of such a development.
Author: Dr. Shalu Sain