Friday, November 30, 2012
28 November 2012
Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan
Minister, Environment & Forests
New Delhi 110003
Dear Smt. Natarajan,
Sub: Flamingo city
I write to you once more to strengthen your hand in your laudable efforts to protect our country’s unmatched wilderness areas. This time it is in support of your battle in Gujarat, where that fantastic oddity of the natural world, the flamingo, is threatened by a proposed road whose purpose is dubious, and for which, if it must be constructed, there is an alternate that will fit the original intent—and, vitally, by-pass Flamingo city, sparing this natural pink-city of India, which is also the expressed intention of your ministry.
There are Indians who question your stand, bringing up an overused, but generally effective bugbear—is the safety of flamingos above the defense imperatives of our country?
The vehement answer, Smt. Natarajan, is a resounding YES. The perpetrators of the query are myopic. Their concern for our country’s safety is single-minded, not multi-pronged. They assume external aggression as the only threat we face.
It is an universal truth often forgotten amidst the intoxication of our hubris, that the boundaries of all political entities are protected not only by forces raised from within human society, but that the land itself defends us from within by the mesh of its physical features, its rivers, forests, grasslands, estuaries, lakes, hills and mountains, deserts, etc. These may seem barriers to our lebensraum, but they most definitely are part of the natural defense systems of our land, mantling us protectively within their ecological clockwork. No such natural area is ever sanitized of its inhabitants to be replaced permanently by an unnatural one, without the rending of the fabric of our country’s ecology, and hence safety. It cannot be. That is a simple rule of the cosmos. To try and sanitize a habitat, by superseding its incomprehensibly intricate vitality by a shortsighted, short-termed goal, be it a road that will enhance our country’s security, is a folly with insidious ramifications. One whose domino effect, the successful foisting of a single agenda, external threat, as a panacea for bulldozing projects through ecologically sensitive areas, will lay bare, one by one, each and every vital physical organ of our country, as though she were inflicted with an auto-immune disease, and destroy her from within.
Flamingo city is one such natural phenomenon. It cannot be conceived as a simple tree in a forest; one among many. It is a standalone wonder, unrivalled on Earth, like the Gir forest, pride of Gujarat, is. A duplicate does not exist. Gujarat guards the Asiatic lion with all her teeth. She should also be made to understand the irreplaceable worth, the intrinsic value, the immense cultural connotations, and the responsibility that comes with authority, of safeguarding of Flamingo city and its denizens.
In a much-loved literary classic, wherein flamingos too figure, an adventurous young girl arrives at a crossroads, and asks of a rabbit, which path she should take. That depends, he replies, on where you want to be.
Gujarat, and indeed, every corner of our glorious land stand at just such crossroads. Every decision will hinge on the rabbit’s pitch. Where do we want to be?
We cannot sacrifice the remnants of our natural defenses, the internal bastion of stability vital to our survival, for the demigod of external threat. We must take a stand upon the grounds of reason and convince our fellow citizens that a façade of safe political boundaries, protected by interventional infrastructural solutions, is not prudence but a charade of public-deception unless the natural resources of our country are also safeguarded.
I support you wholeheartedly in your defense of Flamingo city.