The other day, I had an unexpected visitor in the compound of my ancestral house in South Goa. It turned out to be a spectacled cobra, a venomous snake, which was rescued almost an hour after it was sighted.
Its rescuers, two energetic youngsters, with love for the reptiles, released it in the wild to its rightful place.
One of the reasons the snake may have strayed into human settlement is the loss of its rightful habitat. The appearance of this venomous snake speaks of the present and future danger that we are in.
I found its presence to be an ominous sign for green Goa which is fast losing its forest cover to wanton destruction.
This creature that slithers through the forest on its belly, one must remember, is an important member of the food chain cycle on the planet; but how does that matter to us, humans, who believe that they are in full control of their destiny?
Very little do we realise that our lives are intertwined with the animal life around us. But the greed for progress and questionable development has made us so blind that we refuse to acknowledge the importance of plant and animal life around us. We continue to live in denial.
And, our very intelligent governments, both at the Centre and in Goa, are waiting to rip through the biodiverse Mollem forest cover to lay another railway line, just because we have to arrive faster at point B from point A. Is there any harm if we have to wait a little longer and reach a little later at our final destination?
My thoughts, automatically move to the kind of destruction that’s waiting to happen if this linear project through the forest is carried out. The fragmentation of the forest will cause loss and displacement of wildlife and plant life at a time when the world is reeling under the effects of climate change.
The tiger reserve is the panacea to all the ills that are plaguing our forests. The reserve will ensure that our forests and the animal life within get a protective cover. It will also mean the flora and fauna will rejuvenate and our rivers will also flow abundantly.
The law of nature impresses upon us not to change the course of what’s already in existence. If we do that, then it will amount to tampering with the law of nature. Human wisdom and intelligence cannot override the law of nature and if we do so, then let us also be ready for the consequences.
The other day, the spectacled cobra, which felt threatened, was ready to strike to protect itself. Its poison had the power to paralyse and even cause death in a human being.
Unlike humans, a snake will not strike out of anger, but fear. But before it is actually ready to strike you with its poison, it will give you enough warning to go away. It would not want its poison to go to waste.
While the laws of nature apply to animal and plant life, nothing applies to human beings, whose venomous or poisonous ways are killing the planet and have driven it to the edge. What makes us more venomous than snakes is our attitude of superiority to every other living being on the planet.
Look around, and what can we see? Our atmosphere and water are full of poison, which people in the city are breathing and drinking day in and day out. We have poisoned our forests, seas, lakes and reservoirs, so much so that we have become the poison.
The Earth is a giver, but we must also know how much it can give us and how much we can extract. Is there a limit? There is everything for our needs, but not for our greed which will drive us to our end.