As I write this piece, my thoughts find voice in the words of William Wordsworth, albeit I am an engineering student first and a nature lover later:
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:-
We murder to dissect.
Of late, in the backdrop of destruction of bushes (what greenies would term as “meddling” with the ecosystem) in IIT Patna campus, Dr. Shovan Bhaumik, (Assistant Professor, IIT Patna) wrote an e-mail to Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya (Director, IIT Patna). Through his email, he raised his concern about the callous approach taken by the authority in recent times for giving a new look to the college. Dr. Bhaumik wrote in his e-mail:
“Almost 70% of the bushes are destroyed injudiciously without giving any thought to the natural habitat of the wild beings. For quick destruction, IIT authority is setting fire to all the bushes which is furthermore dangerous for the wild life. Just now, I called a member of the environment committee and was shocked to hear that all the natural bushes inside academic area will be destroyed for beautification with ‘flowers’.” These bushes essentially serve as the habitat of hares, birds, nylghai, porcupine, mongoose, etc.
Dr. Bhaumik further added that these animals and birds should be regarded as the “Pride of IIT Patna” as is the case with IIT Kanpur which boasts of having exquisite peacocks in its campus, IIT Kharagpur of beautiful birds, and IIT Chennai of agile and mirthful deers.
So the need for revamping the so-called beautification process and the argument of
“Not destroying the flora and fauna in an unpragmatic manner and also creating a substitute for the poor birds and animals” was heard, as Mr Somnath Roy (Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering) replied to Dr. Bhaumik and thanked him for escalating the matter. Now the IIT-Patna authority has taken this seriously, and it is heartening to witness that they are not destroying the homes of animals and birds anymore. Perhaps now they have understood the point that nature is most beautiful when it’s left in its own devices.
To conclude the piece, I certainly suppose that for the construction of a new laboratory, library, or a building, the sanctity of nature will be disturbed, and it’s justified in that scenario to carry out such acts. After all, nothing can raise a country’s productivity except technology, and technology is the final product of a complex of sciences, each of them kept alive and moving by the achievements of a few independent minds. However, if the reason to carry out such activities is to “beautify the campus according to your whims and fancies” (and without any solid reason that is pro-science and pro-technology), then it’s totally unjust.
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