In our hands

Our annual guests ~ Amur Falcons ~ are here once again. And with them, they bring hope. Hope for us actually because their arrival indicates that we are still environment-friendly and safe for them to spend some time of their lives in our land ~ adding richness to our ecology. Who know where our feathered guests have come from and the exotic lands they have traversed? Who knows what other fabulous lands they will visit after their departure? Who knows whether the same ones will ever re-visit us? But we must know that it is in our hands to ensure that Nagaland will never be their graveyards. This needs to be underscored repeatedly because we have internalized violence so much that we have come to believe that it is in our genes. We have come to internalize the false belief that hunting is an integral part of our culture ~ thereby we have erroneously internalized mindless and wanton destruction and made it synonymous with bravery. How can hurting, harming, maiming and killing defenseless birds and animals, or even another human being, be bravery? These are the narratives that must now be centre-staged in handing over our cultural heritage to the younger generations via our numerous forms of literature, as well as all forms of visual and performing arts, including music. These are also the narratives that must be centre-staged in the syllabi of Environment education offered in our schools and colleges. These narratives must actually form an integral part of Sermons from the Pulpit on Sundays and other days because we must know ourselves and our place in the greater theme and scheme of life on our planet ~ the only habitable planet for all forms of life, so far. We must be taught and we must learn to take responsibility for all forms of life on the planet ~ unless we do so we jeopardize our own lives and existence. Thankfully, over the years we have changed our outlook and attitudes on these and other feathered creatures, animals, plant life, etc. In fact, Nagaland, particularly Wokha district has gained international fame for hosting our feathered guests with the best of Naga hospitality ~ after which the rest of the entire Northeast welcomed the visiting Amur Falcons with open arms. Over the years much painstaking work has been done by our Department of Wildlife Protection, environmentalists, including wildlife enthusiasts, village councils, district administrations and individuals to create awareness and educate our people to preserve, protect and promote these feathered friends, as indeed all wildlife ~ and it has become a people’s movement across this region, much supported by Government of Northeastern states. Let us understand that we are doing this not only for our wildlife but also for ourselves because our collective existence is co-dependent on each other. Despite all these efforts, it is extremely horrifying and upsetting to learn that some people have actually negated these endeavours for peaceful co-existence between human a wild life and have hurt, harmed and maimed our feathered guests in Mokokchung district ~ as per media reports. The Mokokchung district administration must come down on these malefactors with a very heavy hand and award them exemplary punishment, as per the Wildlife Protect Act. This is also the perfect occasion for all elected representatives of Mokokchung district to the State Legislative Assembly, irrespective of political parties and other differences, to stand as one and send the unambiguous message to the entire district that they do not compromise on the preservation, protection and promotion of wildlife in the district ~ especially by supporting the district administration in nabbing and penalizing reprobates, who have no respect for our planet. In fact, all our elected representatives need to be very vocal and active on this issue ~ besides others, of course. What has allegedly and reportedly happened in some part of Mokokchung district is nothing short of people sacrificing and slogging to build a house but some scoundrels are catapulting it down. This is discreditable not only for Mokokchung district but also for Nagaland. Today young people across the globe have taken upon themselves the responsibility of saving our environment and planet to create a future for themselves and their children ~ actually, the responsibility of grown-ups. So it is time for our Government, Church, civil society and individuals to come together on this issue and for our youngsters to assume responsibility for the same ~ much like youngsters across the globe.