This refers to Professor Sanjeeva Raj’s article (The Hindu, Open Page, September 23, 2012) on biodiversity and how it is a God-blessed gift to our great, tropical country.

However, how many do really understand and appreciate even the basics about it, forget the subtle aspects, including, or rather especially, the ill-educated, selfish, incompetent, corrupt politicians and rulers at the helm of affairs? Is CoP-11, now under way in Hyderabad, a fortnight of drama, fun and free lunch for thousands with practically nothing worthwhile achieved at the end of the day as was the outcome of the ‘great’ conference at Rio-de-Janeiro, nearly 20 years ago?

As to the protection of (let us say) Indian biodiversity — a big deal indeed — you will appreciate that it would require the sincere, honest efforts of educated, rather enlightened, masses; do we have them in our by and large illiterate (and nearly 100% educated) nation?

Then what about the deliberate, continual damage sustained to the biodiversity in the country by our ‘rulers for the past 65 years of our “self rule”?

I sincerely wish, somebody at the conference will bring out, just to mention a few, vis-à-vis (at least) Indian biodiversity:

— the literal rape of the Western Ghats;

— the devastation of the Himalayas from Haridwar to Badrinath, caused by our uneducated pilgrims, year after year;

— the unredeemable pollution of our rivers, including (or especially) the great Maa Ganga, which have been reduced to sewers;

— and nearer home, in Hyderabad, the ruining of the Hussainsagar lake, by the annual immersion of Ganesh idols;

— and the indiscriminate felling of hundreds of substantial trees (some of them more them 100 years old) for road widening or that stupid Outer Ring Road etc.

I also recall the suggestion some time ago of ‘developing’ the great Sundarbans as a tourist attraction by some selfish, money-hungry Indian multi-billionaire. Well, if that materialises, it will be some more nails in the coffin of Indian biodiversity.

(The writer’s email is: bhargavasc_yapral@ rediffmail.com)

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