PU Mirror and Nurture Nature Global, in collaboration with Unmukt Bharat and Legal Desire organised an online event “Komerobi: Mark the Wilderness Around”, from October 3rd to November 2nd. The event was initiated to spread awareness among people regarding importance of wildlife conservation by creating a direct link of human life with the wildlife. Various online competitions were organised as a part of this event wherein the participants had to submit entries (audio, videography or write-up+photography) drawing parallels between our world and that of the animals.
Armaan Dhillon and Japleen Kaur, both the students from GGDSD College, Chandigarh, secured the first position in the write-up+photography category. Their entry beautifully portrayed the void between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of the society, stressing over how in a mad rat-race of greed and desire humans have started preying on the weaker sections, much like a predator in the jungle. PU Mirror recently interviewed them regarding their views about wildlife, here’s what they had to say:-
Q- How did you decide what you will include in your entry?
Japleen– First of all, I am very grateful and it’s truly an honour that I could make an impact via my words regarding a much-neglected topic, yet one which needs earnest attention.
I am not a resident of Chandigarh and it’s my first year here. I remember how in the initial days, it was a consistent struggle to adapt to the surroundings. Remembering those days back then, instantly struck a chord in my mind. How everyone, be it a student who has left her hometown to continue her further studies or a beggar on the street; everyone is a struggler. And it goes without saying that my struggle is not even 1% of what they go through.
Armaan– It came to me naturally that I had to portray class differences and other sorts of social and economic inequalities prevalent in our society; I have been influenced by Marxist philosophy ever since I was a child and therefore I chose this realistic aspect of our ‘concrete-jungle’ of a society. I try to project my political beliefs through my images.
Q- In your entry, you compared the poor and needy people of the society with a deer (or preys) and the rich and well-to-do with predators. But the prey-predator hierarchy is a way of nature, so don’t you think that the void between the rich and the poor has also become a way of nature in our social life?
Japleen– We compared the poor to the prey and the rich to the predator. With the on-going scenario around us, we are all aware of how the gap between the two classes keeps on widening with each passing day, not just economically but also in terms of the exploitation one class faces at the hands of the other. True, there will always be a gap between the two and we can’t possibly reckon a world where everyone is either rich or poor. But there’s a word associated with wildlife called ‘vulnerable’. Given today’s situation, since we have more access to knowledge and the world as a whole, it becomes our moral duty to bring into light and glorify their struggles before their acknowledgment degrades to being ‘extinct’ from being ‘vulnerable’. We have all heard about the established food chains and naturally, we are a part of that.
Armaan– I wouldn’t call it a comparison. The poor, the minority, the ones who are backward not just economically but socially are the ones who are a prey to the establishment. Everyone in this race wants to be the king of the jungle; we are all so engrossed in the conquest of riches and comforts that we forget about these people who are left behind in this race.
Q-Komorebi asked participants to draw parallels between their life and the life of animals, but do you think it somehow brought to the fore the message that humans are slowly degrading to animals?
Japleen– We call ourselves human beings; are we actually acting like humans in all our being? Unabashedly degrading and exploiting the fellow members, forgetting that we are all a part of the same chain. Yet misusing our powers and constantly feeding upon others’ insecurities and loopholes, leaving behind less or nothing for them to feed upon. Have we degraded to being animals? Nope. We are worse off. A balance won’t and can’t be established until each member of the human society accepts the fact that we are here to co-exist. Far-fetched is the idea of the fulfillment of the needs of the lower strata, we need to first analyse and acknowledge their needs and struggle. After all, how can something be fulfilled until it’s not acknowledged? And they, by no means, are weak, their strengths and struggles haven’t been acknowledged. Give them the power and the resources and I am pretty sure that the prey-predator role would see an entire reverse.
I think that the Komorebi wildlife week has been an excellent concept that has incited people to think beyond their typical horizons when they ponder upon the word ‘wildlife’. And for once, as residents of the Earth, let’s make an effort to save all those who are accustomed of being subjected to attacks and are on the verge of being extinct, be it the real jungle or the one outside that realm, the one we have created.
Armaan– Comparing humans with animals or saying that we are degrading to become animals would be very irrational as the social life of a human cannot be compared to that of a monkey. Talking about humanity as one is a different thing but one individual human is not equal to or the same as the other, these differences amongst human beings is what has created a void.
Q- What is your idea of wildlife conservation?
Japleen– My idea of wildlife conservation is not just labeling a set of species as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘endangered’ but actually doing something to improve their situation. For instance, we all talk about the diminishing number of sparrows, but how many of us have actually thought about something as simple as planting native species of plants to help build a sparrow-friendly habitat or setting up a water bath to allow them to drink and bathe? For me, conservation begins with practical implementation.
Armaan– Wildlife conservation can be done on various levels, but a mere understanding of the diversity and appreciating everything that is alive- be it a microorganism or animals that are around us- is the first step. We need to understand how our presence affects then and how we can minimalize interference in their habitat. We must also teach the young ones how this diversity of living animals is so beautiful and how fragile their existence is. As human being- the most intelligent being – we must not exploit nature but take care of it as it is our moral duty.
We, humans, are the most evolved beings on the planet, so the responsibility to preserve and protect other species falls on our shoulders. We need more people to think and act like, Japleen & Armaan if we are to save our precious wildlife.
We’d like to congratulate them for the much-deserving victory!
Have a look at the entry here,
The 21st century Era: Amidst the advancing lifestyles and the ongoing race, if we go and ask people, everyone is going to claim being a struggler, overburdened by the hardships of her/his life. The truth is that all of this is a jungle and we, the animals. Irrespective of the nature of the animal, predator or the prey, everyone has the urge to survive. But also another truth is that everyone is not gaining an equal output out of this struggle. On one hand, are the resourceful and powerful people, having stable jobs paying their bills, on the other hand, people like rickshaw-pullers, beggars who are not even able to arrange for two square meals a day. Everyone is struggling, but everyone’s struggle is not being acknowledged. It is indeed inevitable for us to survive as a whole if we forget about the classes that are oppressed for their economical background, caste, them being a minority or disabled.
It’s not hidden that being a part of the abject poor and deprived strata of the society, entails one to a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. In context to the picture, what a weary yet stark realization it must be for him; to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability. Being physically disabled, besides belonging to a lower economical background, adds insult to an already existing injury. Yet what amazes one is the strong and firm look, he proudly adorns.
As stated above, all of us are surviving in a jungle. It’s an amalgamation of preys and the predators co-existing together- an amalgamation of the haves and the devoid of. Where the lion is always glorified for his strong front and chivalry, it’s time to pay attention towards the poor helpless deer, which by default, has become accustomed to being the prey. It’s indeed time to extend help to the needy and for once, acknowledge their struggle for survival in a jungle not only full of indifferent preys, but also callous hunters.
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About the Author:
Poet by heart; realist by mind
Curious to the core
I’m weirdness redefined.