Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lage raho Rajendra-bab!

Rajendra Kerkar, the green activist who exposed the killing of a tiger in Keri and forced the forest department to investigate the incident is now at the receiving end. The forest department is doing its best to prove that animal that was killed is not a tiger. The villagers of Keri, with prodding from powerful politicians, have moved against Kerkar. They have adopted a belligerent stance threatened to take him to court for defaming the village. Things can’t get worse for this dedicated green activist.

Rajendra-bab, when will you learn that honesty is not best policy? Why do you have to be so honest in a State that does not appreciate it? Why do you have to be so dedicated to saving the environment? Why do you have to fight night and day to save the foothills of the Western ghats from the ravages of mining? Why do you tax yourself with the job of saving the forests of Goa? Why do you waste your time fighting against Karnataka to save the Mhadei River from drying up? Why do you want to save tigers, barking deers, and panthers when you could easily find a job in the city? We warn you that if you continue like this no political party will consider you as a candidate for the next Assembly election. You will never be able to make friends in high places. Those entrusted with job of protecting the State will hound you till you stop.

Rajendra-bab, you must give up the mantle of protection and wear the cloak of poachers. Give up your pen, pick up a gun and go hunting. Stop all the talk about protecting forests and wildlife. Instead learn the art of cutting trees in the dead of the night. For a moment consider the amount of money you can make by selling the skin of a tiger or the meat of a deer. If you do not know, the scent of wild boar roast will bring tears to your eye. Have you ever thought of the money there is to be made by siding with the mine owners instead of the villagers? And, do you know how profitable it is to run a barge instead of soiling your entire being in the rough and tumble of the green movement?

Rajendra-bab, you are a law abiding citizen. You believe in saving the natural heritage of the State for future generations. You believe in saving the tiger and the fox. You believe in protecting natural resources. You want to save the Western Ghats and Mhadei river. You want to protect wild sanctuaries. You have a respect for all the God’s creatures and believe in reserving some space for them to flourish. But, when will you realize that all these ideals of yours place you on what wrong side of the establishment. Give up all these stupid beliefs of yours and one day you will get elected to the State Assembly. Shun these ideal of yours and you might rise to become a minister. Sell the green badge which you wear so proudly on your chest and one day you will be made Chief Conservator of Forests.

Rajendra-bab, you will not compromise. You will walk with a straight back and your head held high. You will continue to fight the good fight. We thank you for choosing the path of courage. It doesn’t matter if the animal shot was a tiger or an ass. The magicians in the forest department will take care of that. We are grateful that people of your caliber still walk the red soil of Goa.

Lage raho Rajendra-bab!

Opinion on edit page of Gomantak Times September 19, 2009, Panaji

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