Ecological disaster in the offing…
Recent furious disaster in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is an eye-opener for state like Jammu and Kashmir. Flash floods followed by crashing rocks brought down everything erected by man flouting basic and fundamental principles of nature. Nature’s fury exposed much talked about preparedness of mankind to handle natural disasters and say not to greed and materialistic approach of man towards ecology and environment. Nature has its own ways and means to heal wounds inflicted on the mother earth and its ecosystem and no one can dare to stand in between as it is governed by Him and His will prevails. Over exploitation of natural resources and environment by mankind to satisfy his materialistic urge is going on unabatedly in every part of this region and these two states were no difference. Being nestles in the fragile ecosystem of mighty Himalayan bosom these states could not afford tampering with their ecosystem and live in peace with nature.
Jammu and Kashmir State’s ecology and the environmental setup along with its geological standing (its seismic vulnerability) categorising it into the most fragile ecosystems that requires careful handling. For time immemorial life in this part of the world has been symbiotic with nature in character and practice and more often nature would rectify the distortions with not much inconvenience to its inhabitants. But for past more than six decades People of Jammu and Kashmir have shown very little regard for environment and are indulging in brutal destruction of nature.
Freedom from autocracy made us arrogant and we misunderstood independence with licence to indulge in loot and vandalising the nature. Corruption and political patronage to looters of natural resources along with unending materialist urge have ruined our ecosystem and we are almost at the verge of an eco-disaster of much bigger shape and magnitude than the one that hit Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh recently. Both state and the individuals are equally responsible for unabated environmental sabotage giving vague reasons of development and prosperity. No doubt Almighty has bestowed nature with a treasure of natural resources for His creatures but that requires to be explored in the most sacred ways and honest means, not by resorting to plunder.
Kashmir, its mountains, rivers, water bodies and forest cover are presently under immense pressure of human intrusion—a brutal interference of over-exploiting nature. And all this goes in the name of development, prosperity, harnessing hydro-power potential; exploiting tourism and off late religious sentiments. Hydro power potential management, fair enough, but there has to be some respect and regard for nature. An objective review of existing power projects and the ones in making will give a different picture of our concern for environment. The way basic principles of environment and ecology are compromised and at times violated while constructing hydro-power projects in Jammu and Kashmir is obviously going to affect the fragile ecosystem and in the long run will prove disastrous. Our overenthusiastic tourism exploration is pushing us to environmentally fragile zones—up into the hills and woods. Tourism can be one of the vital economic activities but stretching it beyond permissible natural limits at the cost of environment will lead us nowhere. Presently Pilgrim tourism world over contributes considerably in tourism earnings but at the same time it is governed by strict rules and regulations of quality and quantity. In this part of the world as always religiosity has overtaken logic and reasoning and thus instead of pilgrim tourism in harmony with nature we are heading towards imminent disaster through zealotry. Uttarakhand fury is a lesson for us; the sacred ‘Char Dham’ yatra ( the most prominent part of Pilgrim tourism in Uttrakhand) that was going on for years completely in agreement with nature took an ugly turn, because materialistic brute within the mankind turned it into a cruel entrepreneur who preferred materialism over faith and nature. Hope while promoting Pilgrim tourism we will be kind to nature and will not invite rage of Almighty.
We in Kashmir are sitting on a ticking time bomb of ecological catastrophe unless we mend our ways to exploit nature harshly. More we meddle with nature most disastrous will be our fate and at that time no man or machine can save us from fury of nature as happened in Uttarakhand.