Should we allow development at the cost of nature? Let’s take a look at this story from the epic Mahabhrat.
When a fire broke out at Varanavrat, everyone assumed that the Pandava’s along with their mother Kunti died in that fire. But years later they came back to Hasthinapur; alive, safe and armed with a powerful ally of Panchal by marrying to Draupadi. The King Dhritirashtra has no option but to divide the kingdom among Yudhisthira and Duryodhan. But again they played a cruel joke on Pandavas. In the name of division; the King offered the dreaded forest of Khandava to Yudhisthira and the developed Hasthinapur to Duryodhan.
Pandavas were worried as they don’t know how to make this forest their Kingdom. The solution comes from Krishna; their friend, philosopher and guide. Destroy the forest to build the city. All the six of them, five Pandava’s and Draupadi, asked these questions; how justified it is to destroy the forest in the name of development? Is it necessary? Don’t we have any other options? Where should we draw the line? How can we compensate the loss of nature? How can we decide the balance between nature and development?
These questions still haunts us. Aarey is a dense forest that spreads across 4000 Acre area in the Goregaon suburb of Mumbai. It is home to a lot of animals, birds and different species of trees. Now the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) wants to construct a car-shed inside Aarey for its Metro-III project. For this they need around 21 Acres of land and they have to cut down around 500 trees for it. So, again the same questions; how justified it is? And how can we compensate it? The rule says; one has to compensate by planting trees for every tree they hacked down. But is it sufficient? At the same time, development is also very necessary for us. We can’t compromise with that either.
In Mahabharat, Krishna justifies his suggestion. He convinced the Pandavas and Arjuna burned down the whole Khandava to create Indraprastha. But today, after around 5000 years of Mahabharat, we need to reconsider Krishna’s suggestion. We need to answer these questions keeping the current environment condition in mind.
Also read: Why Ganesha Wrote Mahabharata?