Ecocriticism. A New Response to Indian Poetry from Tagore to Present

Eco-poetry


Textbook, 2014
105 Pages, Grade: Ecopoetry

Excerpt

Dedication

He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small (Coleridge).

Dedicated to all those who/which got misplaced, displaced, died, due to the environmental

pollution, wars caused by courteous efforts of human beings. For all forthcoming generations and extinct species, trees and other valuable species.

Acknowledgement

In the name of Allah who is the creator and sustainer of this universe and who has created this universe in a balance. I am thankful to all who have helped me to reach the final process to share some thoughts about the ecology and poetry so that an ecological consciousness could be achieved. Hence,

I am highly thankful to Dr. Gulfishaan Habeeb, (Ecocritic) Dr. Syed Mohammed Haseebuddin Quadri, Prof. Amina Kishore, and Dr. Shugufta Shaheen for their limitless, invaluable support.

I am highly indebted to Dr. Nirmal Selmvamony CUT an (Ecocritic), Huda, Gousia, Madhevi, Bakshi, Iqbal, Zaffer, Masrook, Shouket, Baba, Imtiyaz, Riyaz, Showkat, Ab. Hamid, Mushtaq, Mr. Govindaiah, Mr. Ompraksh, Mr. Devender and Ms. Nusrat. Salim and others for their valuable support.

I am extremely obligated to my Father, Mother, Uncle, Aunty Brothers, and Sisters at home who have encouraged me to go through this draft.

Lastly with love to all children at home to whom the future of the unpredictable green world belongs.

Introduction

Nature has its own shape and value which we humans are not in a position to understand, so to be with or to read about green planet, nature and other natural creatures is something different which these postmodern industrial comforts hardly teach. Nature has a unique inspiration and that is why dwellers of the earth from past have been praising this natural phenomenon. To write about natural phenomenon is something different because it the thing which sustains us and if the natural phenomenon would not have been created by God it would have been difficult to have pleasing planet like earth. From last few decades there has been a regular deterioration and the things which hold this biosphere are vanishing at the alarming rate. Our actions make our present, past and future. The way we live presently denotes that the world is going to extinct very soon as the good goes worse. So, to correct the worse we should maintain the ecological balance on this green planet. Indeed man i s i n need to have development in every sense, because he is inspired by the present discoveries. He is a man of new thinking, new knowledge. He is in search of a second home to settle his progeny there and that is why he in a quick process is losing the hold of the planet. We should know that even a small insect has its significance in the ecological chain, if we lost one, we will lose the whole chain. I also a grew up under certain influences, circumstances but when I take a cursory look around I usually find that people do move away from the ecological/environmental concepts even they show high environmental morals but in this or that way they are almost all corrupted. There I sometimes feel that the generation of my great grand and grandparents (RIP) was good because they never polluted or destroyed that much as we are polluting and destroying at present, therefore, had better environmental sense than we have. They used to plant trees, preserve the birds; they had good agro business and had a habit to preserve the water bodies etc., they never perused the nuclear race and never made their future unpredictable but unfortunately we lack this aspect we have made this earth a flash point of nuclear war weapons and our living is unpredictable. Consequence are before us in various forms and time will come when the new generation will find the birds, other wild species, different kinds of trees in zoos, botanical gardens, i n artistic forms or in the books etc., The need of the hour is to show a collaborative environmental dedication on every front so that we and our future generations may see the blooming tomorrow of colorful species and trees. In this respect ecocriticism has emerged such a discipline which not only shows the relationship between literary, other books and environment but on the academic level it has given us a chance to learn environmental and other green ethics to have a safe future.

The ecological problem is not a socioeconomic problem or ecological problem of a small hamlet where I am living at present but it an overall problem which everyone among us face through unusual challenges, whether malnutrition, extinction of species, starvation, draught, killing of wild life, construction of unhealthy homes, receding of glaciers, rising of sea level, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, cutting down of trees, disappearance of water bodies etc. All these things are happening before us because we have become greedy of economic freedom which means freedom of human will. So there is a need to make academic blocks which will help to bring the eco-consciousness among us. Hence poets have been writing since decades and they have made the natural flora and fauna their spirit. They have been giving us an awareness how the natural habitat is the only source of sustaining life on this planet but we seldom heed. Thus the need of an hour to create an ecological spheres from all the sides so that our progeny could see what we are going to preserve for them not in the zoos but in the deep and deep wild forests. The term ecocriticism is helpful to read the literary texts through the eco-lens and it this term which is an ecofriendly term to read any text with ecological perspective. The present study though highlights the ecological sphere of India and how the Indian poets have celebrate and mourn the presence and loss of natural species. This study will try to highlight the ecopoetic consciousness through Indian poets how do they feel to write about Indian environmental aspect which is a leading economy now not only in certain factors but has a capacity to produce nuclear war weapons and other lethal weapons. The main aim of the entire study is to show what type of consciousness is required in the present world whether East, West, North or South so that a sustainable ecology could be saved to have a life in balance. The study is trying to show how poetry is helpful to show a difference between place and space and what should we do so that we could achieve safe and sound biosphere.

We’ll live together or we’ll die alone

In our world poisoned by exploitation

Those who have taken, now they must give And end the vanity of nations

We’ve but one Earth on which to live

The international ideal unites the human race. (Amy Britton in Revolution Rock 156).

...ecocriticism, ultimately a form of environmental advocacy, is primarily a critical and literary tool, a kind of reading designed to expose and facilitate analysis of a text’s orientation both to the world it imagines and to the world in which it takes shape, along with the conditions and contexts that affect that orientation, whatever it might be (Branch 260).

To define ecocriticism I will try to use it in a different connotation so, for me Ecocriticism is a branch of literary science[1] which has paved way for literary scholars to link the time bound ecological scenario with the literary discourse as we know all written stuff is filled with wisdom and this wisdom has been discussed in two different ways, philosophical and pragmatic. The primary includes aesthetic and later shows scientific.

It is well-known fact that 21st century world in which we reside in is more of capitalism and everything is being visualized in terms of yielding process to generate economy without keeping in view its drastic consequences or other changes that it would make in both the ways. Therefore, conquering of capitalism has smoothened way for consumerism in society. Production in this constructive variety has caused havoc in this universe because whatever man is generating

has nearly the modern industrial effect on the environment. So the capacity of capitalistic economy always tries to maintain the market of monopoly as the capitalistic man almost neglects other issues which he thinks are trivial without knowing that the things he is producing do make a devastation in this universe. This has not only adversely affected humanity but other species too whose rights man has curbed down from the centuries. Therefore, it has become clear that 21st century human being has virtually neglected the ecological aspects of the things created by God as he submitted his will to the modern industrial developments and he hardly exchange anything towards other issues, whether it is humanism, animalism or the talk about other species including trees, small/big insects to large mammals etc. Hence by neglecting their individuality and identity he forgot that the cosmos in which he lives created by God has a specific purpose:

No one thinks

They can make the Difference

So they just pollute The Earth

They are all wrong.

Smoke fills the sky from Factories miles

And miles away (Damage 11-19).

Without any ambiguity man has made tremendous progress in various scientific and nonscientific fields and to satiate his own ego he made things of comfort and discomfort. To show his machine supremacy[2]. With this machine power man did all odds on the cost of ecology as he waged wars which created havoc in the whole cosmos. Indeed this all would have been

different if man had not submitted his will towards the machines to produce non-comfortable industrial consuming goods. With the consequence man has become prey in the sleight of hands and he is not in a position to judge in between Right and wrong:

finding themselves in a box of toothpicks,

A pack of loose leaf (1-28).

The above lines are enough to expose the barbaric act of man to create ecological mayhem. So to send a mass awareness among the masses of capitalistic forces that if man kept his ravage towards biosphere in the same way then the day is not far when he will be in great trouble. Therefore, ecocriticism as term has come with a healing approach. It tries to make a bond in between man and natural world. Hence ecocriticism is not representing natural creatures of the land including trees etc., but it represents the leading approach of 21st century human being.

In fact ecocriticism being a new term in literary science has made the beginning of new dawn and it can be associated with any subject as ecocriticism means to find out the relationship between literature and environment. The need to look at the environmental problems was felt in US only when Rachel Carson published his landmark book Silent Spring in 1962 to show the dangers of pesticide used by human being for different purposes. Therefore, has taken a 21st century mode even the term ecocriticism being regarded as a term coined by white men as exposed by American researchers and was taken a term of threat that it will again initiate colonialism. But soon it was evolved that the term is useful in order to understand the ecological problems throughout the world as it was first coined by William Rueckert in 1978 in Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism to highlight the relationship in between ecology and literature.

So, in this respect literature equally subject as a whole engulfs everything. If we talk in terms of ecology, literature, economics, politics, science, history, geography, geology, etc., in fact all do form the part of literature. Everything is connected to everything else, hence ecocriticism should not be termed with literature only because the term ecocriticism shares its basic entity with all ecological aspects dealt in the physical environment. Both culture and nature are two interconnected things and all other subjects fall in this albeit in terms of critical response, how subject is dealing with it as William Rueckert puts it by saying that “how can we move from the community of literature to the larger biospherical community which ecology tells uswe belong to even as we are destroying it?” (Chandra et al. 14).

Ecological problems even were not of much concern in the earlier times but as much as man used the innovatory tools the destruction came before us in hazardous ways that is why present ecological disasters have become the meal of every aspect of our life even when we read newspaper, magazines other literary and nonliterary bulletins, listen or watch radio, TV we find there is hardly any news bulletin, advertisement, talk, etc., which is not giving us clues about the disaster of ecology in different forms. Therefore, ecocriticism as an academic term helps us to understand and to find out the solution to the environmental problems that we are caught up within this ultra-modern scenario i.e., pollution, industrialization, felling down of the trees, construction of roads, dams on the river sides to generate the hydroelectricity, establishment of nuclear plants to generate thermal energy with the effects of radiation of which recent Japan disaster is a live example; extraction of oil from the deep oceans. Leakage of oil in the deep seas, killing of marine life etc. Hence, ecocriticism rejuvenates the concept of man/nature relationship among the Eiffel Builders[3] of the world who paved the way to all this disaster.

Ecocriticism being truly an inner and outer disciplinary area represents how the subject is being represented or is representing the truths about the environment in its cultural, social, economic, political and other norms in a book or by a book where man and nature form a single entity. It reveals the influences of human enterprise on the natural habitat within the realms of the whole created universe where man can approach towards the issues related to the environment. Hence being an umbrella term denies the monolithic approaches, consequently, includes a wide spectrum where the environmental problems are being discussed to have a solution for the ongoing environmental crisis throughout the globe whether it be the receding of glaciers, rising of sea level, extinction of species, depilation of ozone layer, felling down of trees, human related problem, or whether any other socio economic or political problem as everywhere an environmental scale is being used to keep the ongoing checks:

Environmental problems require analysis in cultural as well as scientific terms, because they are the outcome of an interaction between ecological knowledge of nature and its cultural inflection. [Ecocriticism] supplies us model of cultural reading practice tied to moral and political concerns, and one which is alert to both the real or literal and the figural or constructed interpretations of nature and the environment (Garrard 14).

Ecocriticism first tries to simplify how literary-cultural approaches have a role in defining the representation made by man in terms of its surrounding and how he preserves and consumes the things. Secondly it tries to show how the environmental changes do form an impact in the literary and cultural ethics of the human society where it has its share. Hence it becomes clear that ecocriticism tries to develop an ethical analysis where the marginalization of the environment could be measured at any context in any term, as ecocritical approaches with its vast boundary allows us to understand how different aspects and elements are being taken. What appearance and idea they are associated with, and whether all these approaches do have a right place on the canvas of environmentalism or not e.g., a poem Toothpicks by Jessica Frohman illustrates the same:

Growling, grinding machines raze The calm forest’s heart.

Smog clogs the unpolluted air, Men yell orders:

Back, Forth Trees tumble: [..]

Earth In fear of nature’s wet wrath: Forcing it to bleed into streams Washing away nutrients. [...]

Voiceless trees stand in fear

Their size solely an obstacle

To man’s tremendous blade:

Loud, nondiscriminatory chain saws.

All must shout above the growling, grinding machines In praise of these gentle Goliaths.

They cannot become casualty:

finding themselves in a box of toothpicks,

A pack of loose leaf (1-28 poem is edited by me).

The above lines are enough to expose the barbaric act man to create ecological havoc. So to send a mass awareness among the masses of capitalistic forces that if man kept his ravage towards biosphere in the same way then the day is not far when he will be in great trouble. Therefore, ecocriticism as term has come with a healing approach. It tries to make a bond in-between man and natural world. Hence ecocriticism is not representing natural creatures of the land including trees etc., but it represents the leading approach of 21st century human being. William Rueckert in Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism has a focus on the issues related to environment. Rueckert’s concern remains that the literary critics should address the environmental issues. Therefore, ecocriticism is a form of literary criticism which is based on an ecological perspective as it is to study and perceive the relationship between humans and the natural world in the literary texts:

The ecocriticism wants to track environmental ideas and representations wherever they appear, to see more clearly a debate which seems to be taking place, often part-concealed, in a great many cultural spaces. Most of all, ecocriticism seeks to evaluate texts and ides in terms of their coherence and usefulness as responses to environmental crisis (Garrard 4).

Hence ecocriticism being a literary form like feminism, and other literary theories can be evolved with other literary terms and will give us a benefit to understand ecology and its problems at human and nonhuman spheres as man is surrounded by biotic and non-biotic community and whatever he shares its social, cultural, economic, aesthetic, political, ecological, scientific, psychological, anthropocentric and other approaches too, so ecocriticism will benefit if it is being associated with other terms too. As we live in a postmodern scenario where aroma of flux is being found everywhere in every aspect and we all know that postmodernist thought assumes that “nature is a social and psychological construct, because all writing is anthropocentric in that it must be filtered through a human consciousness” (Chandra 14). So, ecocriticism like the historic and postmodern approach reveals the fundamental bond in-between man and ecology how man should act in order to have a safe passage so that he could solve the ecological paradox in this anthropocentric age. Ecocriticism like other literary critical texts shows us the cultural changes how man is being interwoven by different cultural norms and how these cultures affect his day to day life. E.g., the changing cultural of ecology determines his place and other biotic and non-biotic communities and with the passage of change these things change too and ultimately they have their effect on man and its surrounding. So ecocriticism like new criticism could make an affective ecological approach as:

Ecocriticism is not just a means of analyzing nature in literature; it implies a move toward a more biocentric world-view, an extension of ethics, a broadening of humans' conception of global community to include nonhuman life forms and the physical environment. Just as feminist and African American literary criticism call for a change in culture--that is, they attempt to move the culture toward a broader world-view by exposing an earlier narrowness of view--so too does ecological literary criticism advocate for cultural change by examining how the narrowness of our culture's assumptions about the natural world has limited our ability to envision an ecologically sustainable human society. (xiii)

There is no doubt that marginalization plays a great role in this modern world and literary texts are no exception to highlight all such aspects and many such great works of the world have come forward after the severe attack from the critics. but unfortunately the environmentalism was given no such heed as other issues were given even a lot about ecological concerns is available in the literary and nonliterary texts. So to establish something new it has to pass through many critical junctures. Similarly the nature of ecocriticism differed from time to time and the concept of nature and nature writing adopted the same approach slowly and made its place in the critical territories. The notion for which the theory of ecocriticism has been established was to find the relationship between man and nature how he is living within the realms of nature. The main aim of ecocriticism is to define the place of ecology, nature, environment, landscape, and man in the literary texts. So it becomes evident that the similar terms like nature, ecology, environment etc., cannot be resolved on this very juncture by writing about them, but prime concern of ecocriticism is to explore different locations and prospects from which ecology, nature and environment could be advanced.

The world is changing very rigorously and development over took ecological concerns across the world including India. Even though research in Indian ecocritical field has not been as expansive as in the West but treatment of ecology in Indian historic, religious, political and other literary works has never been on the wane. So, to take a literary tour of the Indian environment it is necessary to have a cursory look on the Indian history both in religious and political perspective including warfare and it will lead us to an understanding of the facts about the man nature relationship, and how the modification of the landscape took place. Issues related to the transformation of the environment are fundamental to environmental history and environmental literary texts. In this context, Indian situation in English is no exception.

History reveals the facts about the civilizations and ecology of the world. How ancient people lived the crucial junctures of their life. To trap the resources like us they were also inhabited to the natural habitat. In this regard the natural resources have played a great role in their lives as they are playing at present for us. One among such civilization was Indus Valley Civilization which forms part of Indian subcontinent on the banks of the Indus River helps us to understand the role of environment in the lives of the people how the two formed a companionship with each other ie., nature vs man:

The vigor of the Indus civilization had thus been shaped long before the tribes of cattle-rearing nomads who called themselves Aryans (the noble ones) descended from the north. The ecological; scenario faced by these new comers was very different from that which had given rise to the Indus civilization. As nomads they could adjust to the changing environment. Initially the plains of the Punjab provided rich pastures for their cattle until a sharp decrease in rainfall drove them eastwards, to the jungles of the Ganga-Yamuna river system which receded in this period of perennial drought (Kulke 4).

The ancient civilization was pastorally very rich in various ways as it showed great concern towards rurality rather than urbanity and other engineering goods. During this period people were mostly prone to cultivation of crops, gardening and had domesticated many animals. Indus Valley Civilization reiterates how developing cities work in accordance with the natural environment. The study of Indus Valley Civilization shows how the people were ecologically conscious and how they were almost equipped to tackle the disasters like water scarcity and other environmental disasters. The city was developed on the basis of water management schemes, the rain and the river water was used for cultivation and drinking purposes which paved way for their eco-sensitive approach of being in touch with the most essential thing of the 21st century. Even the cities almost thousands in number were scattered almost on the area of twice as France so water was one of the fundamental elements for them because they knew that it is only the marriage of water with the earth that could yield crops. To conserve water they had gigantic water management scheme and it was only with that water management scheme they turned deserts into the gardens but it is also believed that “the fall of the Indus civilization was substantially due to their inability to check the degradation of their environment (Rangarajan 33). Hence in this respect the Indian folk song for the Ghaggar River that used to flow through Thar Desert in Rajasthan has now become a myth, only visible marks of the river are to be traced and the song which is usually sung by the present nomads of the adjacent areas shows the mythical devotion of people to the river. The song further illustrates how people believed in the spirituality of the goddesses of the river which according to them blessed the whole world:

The Goddesses of the Ghagrar River

If we accompany them

on the land of gold to the blessed river If we thank them for

the fertile land they gave us

We will see our reflection in the river

Where magnificent fish swim (Athlete, Youtube).

People of Ancient Civilization believed that the alliance of water with man purifies the souls. But this ‘techno psychosis man’ has lost everything. He trespassed on both the river, and rain water which has become fatal for both environment and human life. He led to pollution and other harmful things which in return showered the acid rain and this has not only destroyed crops, plants and animal species as well but kept the human life on the high risk:

India is on the verge of facing an increasing threat from acid rain. The large scale industrialization and dependence on the use of coal and crude oil distillates like diesel have led to acidification of the atmosphere. The worst culprits are automobile exhaust fumes; coal fired thermal power plants and steel industry. India enjoys the dubious distinction of releasing the maximum pollutants in atmosphere after China. Total sulphur emissions in India are expected to rise from 4400 kilotons in 1960 to 65500 kilotons in 2000, 10,900 kilotons in 2010 and 18500 kilotons in 2020

During two decades the acid content of rain in Delhi has increased the acid rain may not cause irreparable damage to the country’s biodiversity and even damage the food chain (Sharma 389).

Hence Environmental history not only explores the interactions between society and its physical environment, on symbolic as well as on material levels to get the organizational factors responsible for the environmental changes. But it also reveals the new perceptions to interpret the modern issues associated with changes of landscape, by understanding current conflicts over the distribution and safeguard of natural resources that are the essentials of life. There is no doubt that man exploits nature for the sake of economic advancement, so the conflict among the three that is man, nature and economic development including technology is a growing conflict because all the three cannot go hand in hand. Therefore, it is difficult to curtail the economic progress which is enhanced by the means of technology to maintain the quality of environment. Subsequently the historical background of environmental protection in India could specify that the natural species mainly wildlife were considered as the greatest constituents for the significance of global system. As the whole scheme for the preservation of environment was particularly oriented towards the protection of the entire environment, accordingly the entire ancient Indian society too had concerns towards the environment:

History and the environment are interdependent and Indian history owes much to an environment which has highly differentiated structure and which is in some ways extremely generous but can also prove to be very hostile and challenging to those who have to cope with it (Kulke et. al. 16).

So environmental history is not only to know how the natural habitat exists or what is it all about. But it also illustrates human interaction with the natural world to know the relationship between man and the nature; the durable safeguard and the ill consequences which man has made in his habitation, or how man should utilize all these things which sustain the life on this very planet. Hence, man nature relationship is based on the ethics and morality of humans, how they live amid the culture which in one sense is different from their own, but on the other they too form its basic part. With the degradation of the environment man is not only making the extinction of the species to satisfy his greed but he slowly slaughters his own progeny too because man and ecology are the two parts of the same coin dependent on each other. Therefore, the main aim of environmental history is to focus on two dimensions of man nature relationship just as it was in Indus Civilization. So it is worthwhile to know the influence of interaction between humans and the environment in the past and the relationship between humans and other surrounding world accordingly to analyze the interaction between the two. In this regard the contemporary India, world’s second largest populated country with 1.241 billion of people is advancing in the field of visionary scientific and other discoveries.

Hence, present India has a good fusion of fishing boats, trawlers, sheep rearing shepherds, cowherds with milk-processing units, paddy fields, forests, rubber plantations, brick kilns to take the fertile soil away, village blacksmith to gigantic steel, cooper and iron mills, and mining to large cement mills. Beyond all this India has a rich variety from handloom to nuclear reactors, Nuclear weapons to produce radioactive instead of contributing for humanity a new life saving thing that would have taken her to the heights in the world of humanity instead gave a most gigantic Vikrant in the sea that took India in the elite nations war race. It means that India has everything from Mahatma Gandhi to the Nuclear Vikrant in the sea to guard its people: Amid strains of panchavadyam (orchestra of five instruments) and rendition of Sanskrit “shlokas,” INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, was launched at Cochin Shipyard Limited..., catapulting the country to an elite club of nations that can design and build 40,000-tonne aircraft carriers (The Hindu 1).

The Indian geography and ecology is changing rapidly as the urban development schemes are booming with great speed and it bears its direct impact on the ecology of India. The shopping malls in metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities are increasing in number which means bad impact on the third world environment. This impact is received from all the sectors and government policies do not leave any stone unturned to go from bad to worse. To highlight all these phases of the changing global environment particularly of India, Indian environmental history has a vital role to play because history depicts the course of time with the changing times. Hence literature as a part of culture and history has always played a great role in the fact finding of the relationship between the two. Environment is being symbolized with the day-to-day life through different perspectives. The main concern about environment in India starts from different land forms including desert land, wet land, forest land, and other land forms used for the agriculture purpose:

India has suffered serious environmental problems in last 30-40 years. Forests have shrunk, wildlife is vanishing, the air and water have become laden with dangerous pollutants.The traditional societies in Asia had never experienced such problems and so the answer was to restore the practices that existed before the era of the western colonial rule (Rangarajan 98).

This sense of loss and the impact it has on society has been summed up thus: “contemporary humanity, having materially destroyed vast areas of wilderness - and many other animals - is now routinely configured as spiritually hollow, as lacking the essence of the human through the repression, withdrawal, destruction or absence, rather than latent threat, of inner wild” (Huggan et. al 134). The development in this third world country is made on the basis of the economic development and human population treading more and more towards the forest and wetland areas. The mass migration and unchecked economic development is seen by Prime Minister Norway Brundtland in her lecture in UN The Solution to a Global Crisis, Environment: and even armed struggle as peoples compete for ever more scare land and water resources. In the more developed countries, the fortunate children of new generation may delay their confrontation with the imminent environmental crisis, but today’s new-born will be facing the ultimate collapse of vital resources base (Lecture).

All these facts are traceable through Indian history, Indian literary texts, Indian geography and oral traditions where the changing attitude of people towards the forests and other natural resources is visible or is being sought out to have an access to the actual damage of the Indian environment. The main damage is levied on the Himalayan ecology which not only forms the essence for the Indian rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, other rivers, streams, and springs but forms the great ecological web for the entire globe. India too has signed the Kyoto protocol (Carbon Treaty). The aim is to provide safeguard to the Himalayan ecology which forms the

main Pillar of diverse ecological ranges and avenues as Rangan in his book Of Myths and Movements: Rewriting Chipko into Himalayan History writes:

the main role of the hill forests should not be to yield revenue, but to maintain a balance in the climatic condition of the whole of north India, and the fertility of the Gangetic plain. If we ignore their ecological importance in favor of their short time economic utility it will be prejudicial to the climate of north India and will dangerously enhance the cycle, recurring and altering floods and droughts. Every green tree standing on the hills is a sentry against the invasion of flood and famine. Feeling it on any pretext is an encouragement to flood (28).

In the colonial and postcolonial India, to safeguard the Indian environment, significant role was played by the prominent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi; Rabindranath Tagore; Salim Ali, an ornithologist (the bird man of India); Jim Corbett, Indian Anglian writer and a hunter; E.M. Forster; Kenneth Anderson; Ruskin Bond; Kailash Sankhala; M. Krishnan; Chandi Prasad Bhatt; Surenderlal Bahugana; Mira Behn, etc.

Man is writing the changing spheres of history by himself because the history created or recreated is an essence of any culture. History which he writes is developed by two ways either Divine course or by the course of actions done by man and historians keep on writing this course without any delay. Same is the case with the ecological history as with the course of time the ecology gets changed equally the impact of human civilization goes on increasing and ecological habitation is being encroached, and trespassed because human beings need more and more to satisfy their needs and demands which bears its direct impact on the environment. Similarly from time to time Indian history has witnessed a great changes in different ways including ecological aspects. E.g., colonial, postcolonial, postmodern scenario etc., bear its direct influence on the Indian ecosystem. India being under Mughals was different when it came under the British rulers. The course has changed after she became independent and now the postmodern scenario is completely different as developmental works are progressing in a rapid scale. Therefore, every aspect has played a vital role on Indian society, culture, economy, politics, ecology and so on.

India under Mughal emperors has seen vast ecological changes as they were not only fond of establishing their emperor by building grand structures but they were fond of hunting different wildlife species despite the fact that they brought different species of animals and other trees to India. Even the Mughal period in India is somehow known as the golden age but the course of ecology was on change. In the similar way Britishers who ruled India for about 200 years have initiated the modern development in India. In the British rule India saw many significant changes in technology as they introduced modern warfare weaponry system, printing press, railway engine, motor cars etc.,

Gandhi the man of Ahimsa (non-violence) was a staunch opposite of the British colonialism and his approach towards freedom was not only for the people of the state but it was freedom for the whole geography of the Indian subcontinent which comprises of ecology and economy of the region. His work Hind Swaraj (1909) gives us an “alternative perspective on developmenthow the current mode of development is exploitative of man by man and nature by man”’ (Parida 85).

Mira Behn moved towards the Himalayan region in her late 40s and started a cattle center because for her the cattle are central to the sustainable development in the field of agriculture. But she felt distressed that people forgot their ethical and ecological values:

The tragedy today is that educated and moneyed classes are altogether out of touch with the vital fundamentals of existence--- our Mother earth, and the animal and vegetable population which she sustains. This world of Nature’s planning is ruthlessly plundered, despoiled and disorganized by man whenever he gets the chance. By his science and machinery he may get huge returns for a time, but ultimately will come desolation. We have got to study Nature’s balance, and develop our lives within her laws, if we are to survive a physically health and morally decent species (Sharma 13).

Mira Behn’s ecological concerns are shared with the well-known ecologist Sunderlal Bahugana who worked with her in the Bhilangana Valley, Kedarnath the recently devastated place. The war and tension with China and Pakistan too made a deep ecological encroachment in the region as some parts of Himalayan ranges still come in Indian Territory. So India made the ecological vandalization as the roads were constructed almost in all Himalayan ranges on the cost of ecology:

an extensive programme of road construction was promoted by the shock of the Chinese military presence, on the Himalayan frontier. Construction was undertaken in great haste after 1962 and military expedience outweighed any concern for careful planning and sound engineering.

more than 10,000 km of highways were added to the existing road network in theHimalaya. [Therefore] the poor alignment and ill-considered design produced soil losses of 1.99 million tons per year. [the existing road construction] 1985-1987 indicates that 44,000 km of new roads had been constructed and calculated that during the construction phase an average kilometer of rad had required removal of 40,000-80,000m[3] debris. [In addition to this the four wars of 1974, 1965, 1971 including Kargil war 1999 and several other problems lead to accelerate

construction of more and more unusual roads which is a great threat to the ecology of some regions as these things have their direct impact on the Himalayan glaciers. In addition to this India has almost planned to construct a huge eco-Apartheid wall which will be greater than the Berlin wall across the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir along DLOC !. The wall will not only separate homogenous group of people which share common traits and other things but it will affect the wild creatures and the whole region will look like a sterile dessert, thus will affect the whole scenario of geography and ecology of the region. Therefore, the whole concern comes under the postcolonial colonial and postmodern ecocriticism. Thus the wall will be disastrous for the ecology of Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory in statuesque]” (Ives 100-101). Huggan et. al in his introduction to the book Postcolonial Ecocriticism: Literature, Animals, Environment quotes Bahugana “the ecological crisis in Himalaya is not an isolated event [but] makes man the butcher of the earth (1).

So it was this setback which gave birth to the new. New environmental movements began in India. The main motive of these movements is to develop a response to a wide spectrum of struggles and conflicts over the use of natural resources, human rights violation, wild and other animal protection, and social injustice issues, therefore, these movements form a part of green postcolonialism and construct a bridge in between postcolonialism and environmental studies in contradictory and conflicting manner:

Equally any field purporting to attach interpretative importance to environment must be able to trace the social, historical and material co-ordinates of categories such as forests, rivers, bio-regions and species (Huggan et. al 2).

[...]


1. I have used the word literary science because ecocriticism is a scientific term and it includes all scientific discourses while literature is purely an aesthetic term. Since I have used this term to show that everything belongs to everything.

2. The word machine supremacy indicates man’s greed for power.

3. The term Eiffel Builders is coined by me to represent the big Builders of the world who dig deep into the earth to build up the grand structures from 100 m (329 ft) - 829.8 m (2,722 ft) or even higher without knowing the consequences and its pitfalls. So the term categorizes all builders.

Excerpt out of 105 pages

Details

Title
Ecocriticism. A New Response to Indian Poetry from Tagore to Present
Subtitle
Eco-poetry
Grade
Ecopoetry
Author
Year
2014
Pages
105
Catalog Number
V283816
ISBN (eBook)
9783656837541
ISBN (Book)
9783656837558
File size
664 KB
Language
English
Tags
ecocriticism, response, indian, poetry, tagore, present, eco-poetry
Quote paper
Naseer Khan (Author), 2014, Ecocriticism. A New Response to Indian Poetry from Tagore to Present, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/283816

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Title: Ecocriticism. A New Response to Indian Poetry from Tagore to Present


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