- Novanita Sharma
The dusty rustle of February air is gradually settling down as the freshness of pre-monsoon breeze revisits our chosen corner once again. This sets the mood of celebration in nature; every living being, from the tiny insects to the towering trees embrace life by shedding away the layers of death and decay collected over the passing winter. Spring is here again. The harbinger of hope which arrives every year connecting everyone with the essence of constant change, the fundamental driving force of life. Someone aptly said, ‘spring is never gone, it is arriving’. Hope is the most important aspect of our world, especially for human beings who derive direction, motivation, and inspiration from thoughts; our mind enables us to supersede the basic biological instincts of survival and proliferation. Spring season comes as a constant reminder of the inherent resilience of life which fights against all difficulties. This season of natural bounty has inspired human civilizations especially in East with various dimensions of philosophy and festivity. Hope is represented in the deeply entwined community involvement, traditionally practiced in these festivities which reflects the significance of collective efforts of community for peace and harmony of everyone. We find hope in individual and collective initiatives of human beings for the happiness of others. Greatest hope is found in human endeavours which are based on selfless contributions of human minds towards the benefit of Nature and other living beings. The consciousness of nature conservation is based on the purest form of altruism, it is a source of hope for entire mankind. India’s age-old philosophy of compassion and community celebration is widely prevalent across the rituals & rites of traditional festivals of the country, the spring festivities of India encompasses these values in vibrant exuberance as found in the ‘Bohag Bihu’ extravaganza in Assam. This spring festivities in modern times however calls for an introspective search within our communities, we are answerable to our future generations whether we can ensure this timeless flow of spring for them and their descendants in future. The reality of contemporary world questions our celebrations, we ought to answer the predicament. What if spring fails to arrive, what if birds, bees, trees, and plants does not respond to spring? We must connect in collective efforts to answer these predicaments. In Assam, progressive environment leadership has paved a road of eco-responsibility amongst the citizens which is evident in the biodiversity conservation movement of Assam under the leadership of Nature’s Beckon. This eco-responsibility is been represented in many forms in the past 4 decades since the late 1970s; the recent addition includes a literary event called ‘Purvotar Prakriti Sahitya Sanmelan’ – India’s first ‘Nature writings’ conference held by Sankardeva Kalakshetra in its premises at Guwahati. This marks a new dawn in Assam. This conference ushers hope, vitality, and purpose to the greater Assamese society in the field of nature conservation. This conference held at the end of February 2023 set a new direction for literature in India. This pathbreaking literary event objectively introduced ‘Nature-writings’, as a new genre of writings in the field of literature. It succeeded in defining ‘Nature-writings’ which refers to writings and literatures dedicated to inspire the motivation of ‘nature conservation’ amongst the readers. The world is throng with countless accounts of Nature inspired literatures. The richness of world literature is indebted to Mother Nature for its inspirations. We come across various forms of nature inspirations in literatures from the classical to contemporary times – nature-worshiping, nature-personifications, nature as metaphor, nature as the backdrop, so forth and so on. Nature has been the muse of artists and all thinkers from time immemorial. But ‘Nature writings’ signals a change of ideas here; this is an evolved genre of literature which addresses the crying needs of our planet which calls for protection of Nature from mindless exploitation by human beings. This genre goes beyond entertainment and self-gratification of human minds; it is neither indulgent nor passive love for Nature, it is rather an active resistance to the passive inaction of human world towards the needs of the tormented Nature over the centuries of human vanity. ‘Nature writings’ is a powerful tool for nature conservation, it has the potential to contribute in bringing social and intellectual changes in future. An effective model of such change is gradually becoming visible in the biodiversity conservation movement of Assam. Many great individuals have contributed in the advent of ‘Nature writings’ in Assam, but Nature’s Beckon played the crucial role of leading a parallel ‘Nature writings’ movement in Assam. The growth and popularity of ‘nature writings in Assam have richly contributed to a unique intellectual and literary upsurge. The shift is visible in the gradual increase in the number of books of this genre every year, young readers show keen interest in these books. The journey of Nature’s Beckon is marked with growth of ‘nature-writings’ in Assam from a nascent stage of struggle and ignorance to the present stature of national leadership as seen in the first ‘Nature-writings’ conference held in Guwahati, Assam. Nature writings constitute a rare genre of purposeful literature which represents the power of pen to act as an effective medium of delivering social change in world. The spring of 2023 brings another good news for all nature lovers of Assam. Nature’s Beckon’s Gramya Abhayaranya (village sanctuary) movement, an initiative to effectively engage and empower rural India in biodiversity conservation movement is spreading amongst the villages of Assam. A micro village wildlife sanctuary is inaugurated in March 2023 at Bortika, Mudoigaon in Golaghat by the Honorable Chief Minister of Assam. This is been created based on the idea of ‘Gramya Abhayaranya’, conceptualised by Nature’s Beckon, this concept is spread through various books and publications of the organisation. This model of village sanctuary will enable the village community to protect and manage their own forests through judicious use of resources. A prominent reflection of gradual socio-intellectual changes is slowly becoming visible in Assam, the biodiversity conservation movement led by organisations like Nature’s Beckon with the steady growth of ‘Nature-writings’ movement has made this possible. We must make every possible effort to carry forward this commitment towards nature conservation in Assam. At a time when India is rising in the world scene as an undeniable global player, we the people of Assam and NE India must take the reign of biodiversity conservation movement of the country. Let the country awake to this rising in East. India’s natural resources rich eastern states with an illustrious history of ancient knowledge and cultures will lead the country in this green awakening.
Wishing everyone a purposeful ‘Bohagi Utsav’ ahead. Let our celebrations be a reason of hope and a message of harmony for all living beings.