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An Elegant Mosaic


R. Rajamani


By Ruskin Bond
Penguin/Viking, New Delhi,, 2004, pp.289, Rs. 295.00

THE ECOLOGICAL VILLAGE
By M.G.Jackson
Other India Press, Goa, 2005, pp. 177, Rs. 200.00

THE VALUE OF NATURE: ECOLOGICAL POLITICS IN INDIA
Edited by Smithu Kothari , Imtiaz Ahmed, Helmut Reifeld
Rainbow Publishers, Ahmedabad, 2003, pp. 283, price not stated.

THE ENEMY OF NATURE: THE END OF CAPITALISM OR THE END OF THE WORLD?
By Joel Kovel
Tulika Books, New Delhi (First published by Zed Books, London & New York), 2003, pp. 273, Rs. 475.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 9 September 2005

These four volumes which were a joy to read do not have any golden thread running through them but certainly there is the gossamer thread of nature binding them as though woven by a spider who cares for humankind, whatever be the thoughts of human beings themselves on the spider! One is immediately and sadly struck by the thought that such books are read more by readers like the reviewer who already have admiration for nature and genuinely empathize with some of the thoughts that run through these. Unfortunately not many others who are in a position to damage nature uncaringly or sometimes unwittingly and others who can conserve nature but succumb to the blandishments of growth or greed read such books. But there should be no jumping of the gun and one must set out first the thoughts and ideas expressed in these volumes.   Ruskin Bond described in a review as “Our very own resident Wordworh in prose” draws on his experiences with nature in various places such as Delhi, Dehra Dun, Mussoorie and the Himalayas. His stance is declared midway thus: “when we walk close to nature, we come to a better understanding of life; for it is from the natural world that we first emerged and to which we still belong”. He writes with feeling and verve even about the smallest things he notices in nature and the language is at times bewitching. As when he saw ‘a snake swim past, a slim brown snake, beautiful and lonely’. And again, he thanks his god ‘for leaves and grass and the smell of things, the smell of mint and myrtle and bruised clover and the touch of things, the touch of grass and air and sky’. His gentle humour shines on most pages and there are good laughs to be shared not only when you read of his grandfather but also when you hear of the large number of crows who visit the semul to have a few sips of the nectar ‘before setting out on the day’s mischief’ ! His descriptions can surprise you. Thus, the branches of a walnut tree in winter ‘are smooth and straight and round like the arms of a woman in a painting by Jamini Roy’. There is so much to enjoy as when he writes of tribals and trees and so much to ponder when Ramu asks “How can there be ...


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