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A CLOSE LOOK

Respecting other lives and Nature's inviolability

Nilratan Halder | Published: November 29, 2019 19:56:20 | Updated: November 30, 2019 21:04:43


On Bangla calendar, Agrahayan was never very chilly but the first footfalls of the winter could easily be heard at this time. That the planet is getting warmer is quite evident from the fact that this land no longer experiences the bone-jerking cold even during the peak winter. Yet there were indications following the cyclonic storm Bulbul that winter this time would arrive earlier than it usually does. That possibility now looks remote.

However in the freezing regions north to the Himalayas, the winter spell seems to have begun with all its ferocity. Birds from  far-off Siberia, Mongolia and China started arriving to Bangladesh right from September. The lakes of Jahangirnagar University -a yearly rendezvous of migratory birds -have already become melodious enough by their occasional chirping as they float motionless on water, sometimes with their beaks hidden in the back of their wings. Then all on a sudden, flocks of them are on flight formation, circling the water bodies before they settle down once again. Another flock takes to its wings.

The haors in Sylhet should have received these winged guests by this time. But apart from the bird sanctuaries like Hakaluki, Tanguar and Bikka Beel, they are unlikely to be safe. Even in some of the bird sanctuaries, poachers clandestinely hunt migratory birds. What is most unacceptable is the open sale of these birds at road-crossings of cities and towns, including this capital. Apart from migratory birds, some of the local varieties are also randomly hunted down and no wonder those are on the verge of extinction.

Against mindless extermination of animal species, some organisations have come up at the initiative of environmentally conscious people. At times they take a leading role in releasing the captured animals or birds into forests or open air. But then the hunters have also gone one step forward in that they blind the captured birds so that those cannot fly. Indeed, the cruelty of the human kind knows no bound.

The problem is with the concept that the world belongs to man and all other living beings or non-living things have been created for him only. Such a myopic, biased and despotic view of the world has incited an outrageous instinct to play with lives of other species. Human beings have started taking the role only second to the God. They consider themselves capable of making and unmaking lives like the creator himself.

Let's take one example of the world's largest number of birds. Which one do you presume? If you think, it is a wild species, you are grossly mistaken. The truth is that broiler fowls with an astounding number of 23 billion surpass any other species by a wide margin. The next population size of a wild species is only 1.5 billion. This shows that the number of broiler chicks is three times the human population. God certainly had no intention of creating this bird in such a huge number with no capacity for procreation and foraging.

It is a world that has been distorted, damaged and many of its living beings totally exterminated by none other than the human species. It has sought to acquire more than it needs. No other animal -howevermuch fierce an animal may be -has been noted for its avarice comparable to man. Mahatma Gandhi, through most of his life, has experimented on living with the bare minimum. It was not for nothing that his principles of Ahimsa and Satyagraha, although rejected by modern society, still beacons to people who revere every life as sacred. His dietetic experimentation to the extent of obsession may not appeal to many but the ideal of simple living and non-violence seem to be the most potent weapon to fight today's madness. Environmental footprint has changed for the worse because of the many misdeeds by the most intelligent creatures on the planet Earth and, no wonder, today their future too is under threat. In the scheme of things, even the tiniest life has its role well defined.

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