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I was born in the jungle

I know it like you would know the lanes in your city

I have seen it come alive when the heavens above shower it,

I have seen it morose when the sun god blazes on

I have seen it blossom beautifully in the winters

I know the biggest and the tiniest creature in this nature’s machine

I know their role as you would know the nuts and bolts and levers of an engine

I am as much a part of the jungle as the jungle a part of me

It defines me, it sustains me, it gives me an identity

The generous river, the tiny rivulet, the soothing lake-they are the lifeline- of the jungle & hence me

The jungle is my temple, the plants and the creatures are my deities

You would offer sacrifices and fast for your gods – so that they protect you

I on the other hand protect my god from indiscriminate use – so that they in turn help me flourish

Are you a Farmer?- would you raze down all your crop?

Are you an Industrialist? Would you demolish your factory?

Are you an Owner? Would you destroy your private property?

Then what made you think that I would destruct the one thing which keeps me going?

What made you think that I would be nature’s offender?

I, who of all the things, uphold the power and sanctity of the nature, condemned to be a slayer of the same?

Look around you..What do you see?

A wooden desk, is it? Where do you think it came from?

Clean white paper to write down your University knowledge

An ethnically designed living room with handcrafted pillow covers

And what is it that you have in the corner..the Big Stripped Cat ..Stuffed…to speak of your escapades?

Big SUVs to commute and ever vertically bound huge buildings with metal frames to stay in

The oh-so enticing street- full with shops, selling myriad things, calling upon you to buy them…

Exotic jewellery …art with half nude men and women…intellectual magazines which speak for me and my likes…

Books which glorify the nature..Tours in nature’s bounty…wildlife photography which leaves you wonder struck..

Look. Observe. Think.

What fuels this lifestyle? Where do things come from? Certainly not out of thin air? (you wish)

It comes from the ever bountiful jungle…from my home to your home…

However the jungle doesn’t mind…but then you want more…and more….ceaselessly

You take as much as you want …ignorant (or is it feigned?) of the consequences…

Why is it then that I am being labelled as the one ‘responsible’ for degeneration of the jungle?

Alas the balance is disturbed…the sand gives way beneath the feet…

You wake up.

You decide.

Protect. Conserve. Preserve.

I couldn’t agree with you more

The jungle and its beings need to be saved.

Question is, from whom?

I won’t blame you…i would blame the ideas which are destructive…

Ideas which are more powerful than (wo) men themselves…which compel you to think only in one particular way…

Even you are but a peg in the larger structure… but you have the capacity to change…to look around, learn and respect even from the tiniest being..

You can change things if you want…one small step at a time would also do…

But then you blame me.

I am the one from whom the jungle needs to be shielded – the place I call my home and creatures with whom I co-existed even before you could say ‘development’

Zones must be created which are inviolate…no humans

Human includes you and me as well…yes I am a human…just like you…

The similarity ends with the homogenising term.

I am vastly different from you.

My lifestyle is not destructive…though you have made it out to be so

It’s not a question of me versus the jungle. It never was… though you have made it out to be so

I was never apart from the jungle….though you have distanced me from it…

For you it is something ‘out there’ that needs to be protected…

For me it is my very existence that is at stake…

You then talk in a language that I don’t understand…

You speak of ‘rehabilitate’ and ‘relocate’…

You then justify it by saying ‘scientific’, ‘sacrifice’ for the ‘good of the nation’…

What science I enquire, as told by whom? You simply answer science, modern science

What happened to my traditional science?  You reply backward

Why am I the scapegoat I question? You answer somebody

Whose nation I ask? You say ours

Ours. That includes me as well, doesn’t it?

Then how come I was never consulted?

Why am I being alienated from my Universe?

Why am I being deprived of my only means of survival?

Why am I being sucked into your cities and made to live on streets and pavements?

Why am I being denied to decide my own course?

I am being pushed to the brink. My back is to the wall

I prefer to die fighting than die in apathy

I am doomed either ways.

Devki

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