Friday, April 23, 2010

Soil and Dust

After a long time read an article in Malayalam weekly magazine Mathrubhumi Azchappathippu. These days I feel that there is a clear deterioration in the quality of this wonderful assortment of best articles written in malayalam. The essay that I read was written by Anand.

I read a novel by Anand way back in 1995, when I was a ninth standard kid. It was Marubhoomikal undakunnathu- The origin of deserts. It went highly above my head then but I was really intrigued by the difference in narrative. I had read Kafka at that time, without comprehending much of course. This novel had made a similar feeling in me then. Afterwards when I read his Govardhante Yathrakal (The journeys of Govardhan) I was awestruck. It was a different reading on Indian history. His novels are a thinking man's treat.

But I started a real liking to this man's writing when I started reading his essays on various affairs. He calls a spade a spade. After Godhra when all where condemning Hindu terrorism, Anand took the stand that just like Hindu fanatics, Muslim fanatism is also a reality and should be attacked equally. You cannot imagine how the idealism ridden thinkers and cultural readers of the time attacked Anand. Still he was not apologetic.

So today I read his latest article titled Mannum Podiyum- Soil and dust. It starts with a little known natural calamity happened in middle of 1930s in Texas state USA- The Dust Bowl. In Texas or the Great Plains, there was a time when 3 ecological elements coexisted peacefully. The aboriginal Indians, Bisons and Grass. The arrival of Europeans caused the extinction of all of them- Indians where massacred, Bisons where poached in Millions and ate, grass lands where destroyed and cultivated in large amounts. Within two generations, nature struck back. Due to continous farming the top soil lost its fertility making it dusty. The heavy wind naturally blowing in the area raised the dust and massive shifting of top soil through air happened. Around 450 million tons of top soil was displaced. It was a tragedy of gigantic proportions making millions houseless. The great depression in 30s was an aftereffect.

Anand describes the political and economic side effects of this events that lead into Depression and finally into two world wars and various social reform movements in USA making it a superpower that it is now.

He suggests Rajasthan became a desert by a similar process but one that took more time. The process of farming of Wheat in this region, where Sindhu river is canalised for the purpose of making Rajasthan green can cause a similar situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment