Editor – in – Chief, National Geographic Societyrightly said,
"There are some
parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won't go. For
me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness
of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to
overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors,
smells, tastes, and sounds... I had been seeing the world in black & white
and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered
in brilliant technicolor."
As Swami Vivekananda, a great Indian Philosopher rightly said,
"Civilizations have arisen in other parts of the world. In ancient and
modern times, wonderful ideas have been carried forward from one race to another...But
mark you, my friends, it has been always with the blast of war trumpets and the
march of embattled cohorts. Each idea had to be soaked in a deluge of
blood..... Each word of power had to be followed by the groans of millions, by
the wails of orphans, by the tears of widows. This, many other nations have
taught; but India for thousands of years peacefully existed. Here activity
prevailed when even Greece did not exist... Even earlier, when history has no
record, and tradition dares not peer into the gloom of that intense past, even
from until now, ideas after ideas have marched out from her, but every word has
been spoken with a blessing behind it and peace before it. We, of all nations
of the world, have never been a conquering race, and that blessing is on our
head, and therefore we live!"
An American decided to write a book about famous churches around the world.
So he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to China .
On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read "$10,000 per call".
The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for.
The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 you could talk to God.
The American thanked the priest and went along his way.
Next stop was in Japan. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it.
He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in China and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was.
She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 he could talk to God.
"Oh okay, thank you", said the American.
He then traveled to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia, Germany and France and many other countries.
In every church he saw the same golden telephone with the same "$10,000 per call" sign under it.
The American, upon leaving Vermont decided to travel to up to India to see if Indians had the same phone.
He arrived in India, and again, in the first church he entered, there was a similar golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read "1 Rupee per call".
The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. "Father, I've traveled all over the world and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to heaven, but everywhere else the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?"
The priest smiled and answered, "You're in India son - it's a local Call".
"She (India) has
left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long
succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim her place amongst the
great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to
the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo,
India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!"
As Mark Twain, a well known American Author rightly said,
"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."
As Mark Twain, a well known American Author rightly said,
"India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only."
At a time when the common man himself is showing concern for the country's environment and taking active part in initiatives and campaigns to curb environmental pollution, it is extremely disturbing to learn that the very people who are supposed to represent the people of this beautiful nation, are dirtying it; through their actions and the dirty policies they frame.
Rewind to 1973- The erstwhile PM Indira Gandhi launched Project Tiger, owing to the alarming fall in the tiger population. The success of this project is attributed to its strategy. The tiger reserves consist of a core area as well as a buffer area. The core area would be completely isolated from human interference and the buffer area would allow human activities, including forestry operations and concessions to local people, but in a regulated manner. In 2011, this was further strengthened by means of a Guidance Document released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which asserted that the recommendation of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) was essential "for any kind of destruction/damage/removal of any wildlife or diverting the habitat of any wild animal" even for non-forestry activites up to 10 kilometres from the boundaries of National Parks and Sanctuaries.
Back to the Present- Jairam Ramesh was replaced by Jayanthi Natrajan for good, but certainly not for the country's good. Immediately after the start of her term, the inclusion of elephant corridors in the Guidance Document was hotly debated by Jagdish Kishwan, additional Director for General Wildlife over a series of letters to various officials. The Minister, however, chose to ignore the contention until it came up for review in February 2012.
The MoEF convened in a meeting chaired by the Minister, where the group decided to omit just a few words from the Guidance Document, but with massive implications. The outcome of the meeting meant that projects impacting tiger reserves, elephant reserves, and wildlife corridors need not be placed before the Standing Committee of the NBWL and that any project proposals can be cleared as per the discretion of the ministry's Environment Division. It also stated that all projects rejected by the NBWL in the last year could now be reviewed. What is most disturbing, is that months after the meeting, neither has the document on the MoEF website been updated, nor have the changes been made public. Interestingly, not a single member of the NBWL had been invited for the meeting, including the Director General of Forests in the MoEF.
Are the elephants truly welcome?
We can only guess what the true motive of the MoEF was, in modifying the guidelines and not even making it public. After all, the series of events leading up to the change seems to suggest law manipulation and a clear lack of transparency!
The results of that change have already begun rearing their ugly heads; 3 tigers have been found dead in a span of 3 days in the jungles of the Tarai region, Uttar Pradesh under suspicious circumstances. If those very people, who are put in charge to protect the irreplaceable and fragile ecosystems of this Beautiful country, what progress, can we, as citizens even think of making? And more importantly, what about the plight of those tigers and elephants, whose homes are now so insecure?
India is a beautiful country. However certain people in this country take the nation and her resources for granted and abuse them. We strongly condemn statements that India is dirty country; the fact is that India is beautiful, it’s the people who are dirty. Through this initiative we aim to highlight those committing the crime against our country and her image and also promote those few Beautiful Indians who are working hard towards restoring her pride. It all comes down to this: Whenever you see someone dirtying India, immediately click a pic and post it in the Dirty Indians Album with a caption. Also, each time you notice someone doing good work for our country, click a picture and post it in the Beautiful India Album. We believe that this campaign can go a long way to support all those who support India and dissuade those who don't. This is your page... help us, join us, and let's reach a point where Beautiful India has MANY MORE pictures than Dirty Indians. Possible? We certainly think so!