312 pages, colour illustrations, colour maps
Journeys through India's Last Wild Places is a celebration and a requiem. It describes experiences of nature's untrammelled joys, countered by some sad tales. There are snapshots (of both the textual and visual kind) of greatly enlightened conservation successes, of the splendour of nature's pristine glory and glimpses of immense ecological disasters.
If one considers ‘wilderness’, as a place untouched by humanity's heavy hand, where no trace of modern civilisation intrudes on the pristine, then India seems to have lost all but a precious few of them. Yet biodiversity itself, the incredible variety of nature's experiments with life, seems to be seeking ways to adapt, perhaps even thrive, in the teeth of our preoccupation with fouling humanity's nest.
As far as the eye can see, no matter where one stands, the debris and detritus of wasteful and careless human lifestyles intrudes on the plain and spontaneous performance of nature's ways. Sometimes, it's a cigarette stub, or a shred of cloth tangled on a thorny bush, more often, a bright scrap of plastic, mocking nature's wizardry with colours.
As a people, we don't seem overly concerned. But what a wonder we are letting fade into distant memory.
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