From Editor’s Desk

WhatsApp Image 2023-07-31 at 14.03.59

-Novanita Sharma

It is that time of the year when we eagerly look forward to the turn in season, from the unforgiving swelt and heat to the sharadia autumn scape of night jasmines and misty mornings in this corner of the planet. Life springs back to hope with another autumn arriving at our doorsteps to lighten the pain of our regular hustle and tussle with its sublime gentleness. This year the mood of this autumn festivity is been preceded by the Pragjyotishpur Literature Festival, a unique literary and intellectual brainstorming taking place in Guwahati for the past two days. This literature festival is different from all other literary events in many ways, and one of the most encouraging aspects of this literature festival is the space provided for a panel discussion on ‘Nature-writings’. This is the first Pragjyotishpur literature festival of India and perhaps the first literature festival of the country to have included ‘nature writings’ in the elite league of Indian literature. This gives hope to the young writers who aspire to contribute to this genre. Confusions, conflicts, disagreements, and dissatisfactions shrouds the present state of nature-writing in India. The panel discussion and the interactions, in this literature festival speaks volumes about the evolution and importance of nature writings in Assam. The panel discussion included well known names from the fields of nature-conservation, journalism, creative literature, editing, and publishing from eastern India. Ancient Indian scriptures, religious texts, oral traditions bear the roots of nature-based writings in India which has a great role in inspiring the collective consciousness of people to bond with Nature. This is true for all cultures and communities in India. The panel noted the contributions of early modern literature magazines of Assam like the Arunodoi, the Junaki in sowing the seeds of nature-writings in Assam. 

In the contemporary world, Nature-writing emerged as a genre of purposeful literature, which is centered on the cause of nature conservation. Nature writing requires personal commitment on part of the author to the cause of nature conservation. The one who creates nature-writing must evolve from being a dormant nature lover to the state of an active nature activist. One cannot create nature-writings without experiencing love and kinship for forests, mountains, and the natural world; in fact, nature-writings requires the courage in the author to walk the extra mile from being a nature-lover to that of a nature-activist. While love for nature could be satisfying and peaceful, activism for protection of the natural world is the action befitting the sincerity of our love for Nature. Nature-writings is a powerful medium to effectively steer our actions for protection, conservation, and preservation of our forests, oceans, mountains, and all the natural habitats for biodiversity conservation. In the present world of information overdose, creating effective narratives of nature-writings is a challenge. Nature writings is not about statistical figures with a random shower of jargons, it needs deeper understanding of Nature and its apt reflection in the form of readable literature. It is impossible to separate nature-writings from nature conservation, in this sense both works on the same philosophy of compassion and sacrifice. We protect our forests for the well being of the forest, we create nature-writings to drive the thoughts and actions towards conservation and preservation of millions of species which makes this world beautiful for us. The anthropogenic thoughts of gain and benefits of human beings are pinned down to honor Nature through these narratives. The writer transports the reader to the point of writer’s conviction about nature conservation through these writings. The challenge of creating these narratives begins with the birth of a nature-activist in the writer because the pen won’t create nature writing no matter how skilled and nuanced the writer is, if the mind is not risen. Nature-writing is a mind movement, it is neither about self-gratification of the writer nor is it about the sensuous pleasures of the reader. No matter its form, nature writings must generate the genuine compassionate action for nature conservation. These narratives must create a mind movement for nature conservation, it must go beyond the narrow self-satisfying world of literature. Amidst these challenges and debates, nature-writing is emerging as the future of popular literature. The young generation is yearning for these narratives, they have mammoth environmental challenges ahead of them. We created this predicament for them, and more so by not providing them with the corrective measures. All our efforts to nurture our children will be in negatives if we fail to train the minds of our youngsters, we need not teach them what to think rather we should teach them how to think. Effective Nature-writings will contribute greatly in this direction. Nature-writings will take the mainstay of literature in future. It is important to know the roots of this purposeful literature and contribute to its growth with genuine commitment. This futuristic literature is based on the ancient Indian philosophy of ahimsa, karuna, maiytreyee; in the contemporary world it finds competence and acceptance with scientific validation of its contents, facts, and figures. Nature-writings will be significant in establishing dialogue with our future generations about our collective responsibility towards this planet; it will be one of the most effective mediums to connect the future global citizens with our spiritual, philosophical, and humanitarian connection with the natural world.  The people of Assam have an important role to play, in leading rest of the country in this nature-writings movement. We have a long way to go, the positive side is that we began the journey. Everyone has the responsibility to propel this mind movement of nature conservation. Pragjyotishpur Literature festival 2023 is setting a precedent for rest to follow in this regard. This autumn seems to bear an extra ounce of happiness for the one’s like me, who wants to see every school, every college in Assam teeming with budding Nature-writing authors, our beloved forests and mountains coming to life through the narratives of these youngsters. ‘The Seed’, a Nature’s Beckon blog remains firmly committed to contribute to this surge of Nature-writings movement in Assam.