AND IT IS UP TO US TO KEEP IT UNPOLLUTED’
BY RUKMA SALUJA
This is the story of university student Prakriti’s prayer to the Mother Goddess for peace and prosperity for the entire creation that resides on Planet Earth.
Prakriti and her family experience life through joys and struggles, including the recent ravaging pandemic. Through the experiences of college professor Kalyani, close friend Jannat, family friend Ganesh and development professional Phoolpreet, the plot addresses significant themes such as environment conservation, climate change, education and integrated development.
A native of Khushrang village in the hill state of Uttarakhand, Prakriti both as a participant and an observer in the journey represents our interaction with the natural environment. Her story encourages the reader to introspect and shatters the illusion of a safe world, helping the reader to hold on to hope and seek solutions towards preservation rather than destruction.
Bhavna Mathur has a post-graduate degree in community resource management and extension from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. Her poems and articles reflect her views on life and express refreshing thoughts about childhood, life and people. The spiritual meaning of life and the purpose of living are themes that hold her interest. The impact of rapid globalisation and industrialisation on the environment are her areas of concern.
Excerpts from an interview with the author:
What inspired The Fragrant Healing Earth?
Nature and its breathtaking beauty have inspired me since I started writing as a child. The excesses that emerge as an offshoot of development have always influenced my perspectives regarding the environment and our place in it. Clean air, water and soil are resources I believe are really life-forces for the entire ecosystem for survival. During the pandemic, I put my thoughts on paper and through the story clearly understood the link between the pandemic and pressing environmental concerns.
When did you begin to take such a deep interest in environmental issues?
I started with writing poetry on nature at the age of 10. I was an intern on the Environment Project and also studied resource management.
Development, more often than not, equals the destruction of nature. Is there another way?
Sustainable development takes effort, time and ingenuity but holds the key to making development productive rather than destructive. Governments and organisations are coming up with innovative policies that, if followed with the right intent, can ensure a safe and green earth for all.
What are some key points of resource management?
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. Live a life that balances the judicious use of natural resources, for one’s need and not for greed. Turning to renewable sources of energy is the need of the hour and individuals and communities are taking to it in remarkable ways.
What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference?
We must practise what we preach, be sensitive to our surroundings. We should reduce our carbon footprint, conserve paper, segregate waste to keep the soil clean, plant more for a lush, green cover, check vehicular congestion, make cleanliness a part of our lifestyle. The biosphere is our gift to our children, and it is up to us to keep it unpolluted.