I stared at the TV screen horrified by what I saw. Hundreds of villagers were running with lathis and shouting. Their target was a hapless leopard that had strayed into their village. The leopard was lynched, killed and triumphantly carried around. I quickly switched off the TV not wanting to see more. A couple of weeks later, similar news surfaced in the newspaper. An elephant that strayed into a village had fallen into a ditch and died. The villagers not too fond of the unwanted visitor ran after him with drums and stick scaring the gentle animal so much that it fell into a ditch. In Mysore, another elephant got separated from its partner and scared by hundreds of people screaming at him, had gored a security guard to death.
Probably all that these animals wanted was to quickly go back to their habitat, their home. People say they ‘strayed’ into human habitation. I would say it’s we who are straying into their habitation. Forests originally belong to them; we came much much later. With human population increasing, forests getting cut, corridors destroyed, where exactly will the original forest dwellers go?
Many people don’t realize that we require them around us more than they require us. If you remove humans from this earth, the earth will thrive. If you remove the animals and trees, the earth will die a horrible torturous death. And without them, we will also cease to be humans. Think about it.
Do you ever remember a time when you brightened up as a beautiful butterfly came and sat on your hand? Or a time when feeding a sparrow gave you so much satisfaction? When you marveled at the strength and the beauty of a wild elephant? Or a time when you lay down on a field of grass and just listened to the rustling of leaves from the trees around?
A friend recently mentioned how just one monsoon trek in the lush green and rain lashed Sahyadris helped him last a long way with his hectic work schedule. Look back and you will also find that the happiest and most peaceful moments were the ones which took you close to nature and earth.
Just think about it.