During the nineteenth century, industrialists, using competitive capitalist methods to exploit their environment and their fellows, wrought immense havoc and degradation. People began to fear that unless wealth gave men better lives, allowing them to exercise their creative and appreciative powers and to pursue their aspirations the earth would become barren of beauty and humanity. There were many who felt it their mission to rebuke men for grasping at monetary wealth and instead many got inspired like William Morris and Oscar Wilde who denounced industrial squalor and pleaded for a society that nourished the artists in every man.
The nature poets of the 19th century deeply influenced peoples tastes and sensibilities. Landscape painting and sketching became the fashion and scenery and wild life a cult. The nature mysticism of the English poet William Wordsworth served many as a substitute for lost religion. An alternative substitute was art for art's sake and the conclusion of Walter Payers The Renaissance provided a credo and an ideal for whole generation.
Success in life lay not in making money and getting on by self help, winning friends and influencing people, but in preserving a flexible outlook. The writers of the said era through their creative works emphasized to keep always eager, ardent, curious, responsive and percipient and to live in the unique and fully realised moment with heightened, cultivated sensibility, a life of sensations in which thoughts had a part only if they gave insight that illuminated the moment.
So it was rather a choice between nature and civilization, a plea for the right or even need, to contract out at times and to keep in touch with this vast, savage howling mother of ours Nature. This idea lies behind our present provisions for nature reserves and national parks and the moment for wilderness conservation. Since 19th century much water has flown down the rivers and innumerable poets and writers have glorified the beauty hidden in the lap of nature but the damage to the mother nature by selfish man has never stopped.
The deforestation of forests, the encroachment to the streams and rivers, the sale of forest lands, the building of big structures in the no man's land has disturbed the the ecological chains and mostly the animals in search of their prey have started moving to populated areas. Although the onus and accountability lies with the administration but we too have not understood what damage we have caused to the environment which in broader perspective has brought global change in environment. Here the creative poets, artists, theaterists have a big role to play to educate people through their writings about the significance of preserving the nature and natural resources. No one is against development but not at the cost of murdering the beauty of the nature which will invite only Gods wrath on us.
Sanjay Pandita, a Kashmiri Pandit, is settled in Dehradun
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.