Nature-Writings: New Rising In The World Of Literature
The topic of ‘nature-`writings’ often opens a pandoras box in the literary circles.
The history of mankind proves the fact that all human creativity, from literature, art, music to scientific inventions and technology is inspired by Nature.
It is difficult for most of us to objectively define ‘nature-writings’ in literature because it is difficult to find anything beyond the inspiration of Nature in our literature. Literatures from across varied cultures, civilizations and languages depicts outstanding works devoted to nature-worshiping, nature-personification, nature-depiction, nature-love; nature has been the muse of our literatures since ages.
From the classical literatures of great human minds to the modern writers, nature has stirred the best expressions of human beings through literature. The reference to ‘Nature’ in this context is about the natural world prevailing outside our existence.
While the journey of literature from our cave-dwelling ancestors to us passed through gradual transition from a backdrop of unadulterated natural world of our planet to the contemporary devastated and mutilated face of our planet caused due to human-driven exploitation of natural resources. The destruction of the natural world inspired the thoughts and science of nature-conservation in the modern times.
The change in the natural environments around the world is visible in published modern literatures which echoes the urgent need to protect our natural resources, preserve our forests, mountains, rivers, and wildlife from mindless human exploitation. ‘Nature-writings’ essentially represents the writings and published literatures which inspires the consciousness of nature-conservation amongst the readers.
This is an evolved genre of literature which depicts the rare shift of human thought process from being solely anthropogenic to the collective well-being of all living beings of this planet. Many great writers, philosophers, intellectuals, scientists, activists, poets, dramatists have contributed to the advent and gradual progress of this genre of literature.
The predicaments of our times posed in the names of burning rainforests, vanishing forest cover, mass species extinction, climate crisis, and so on, puts great emphasis on this genre of literature. ‘Nature-writings’ epitomises the collective responsibility of human beings to act responsibly towards the natural world, time have come to prove again that pen is mightier than sword.
Literature must play an active role in the nature-conservation movement, ‘nature-writings’ shakes away the passive inertness of literature in this regard.
Nature’s Beckon, an environment activists group of Northeast India played a crucial role in sprouting the seeds of ‘Nature-writings’ in Assam and its further growth through 4 decades of its journey. Nature’s Beckon works for biodiversity conservation and has led to the protection of several important natural forests of Assam through people’s participation since its inception in 1980s.
The remarkable journey of Nature’ Beckon led forest conservation is marked with contributions of this organisation to the growth of ‘Nature-writings’ in Assam. Renowned environment activist and writer, Sri. Soumyadeep Datta (Director-Nature’s Beckon) initiated a parallel ‘Nature-writings’ movement in Assam along with the biodiversity conservation movement sine 1980s.
‘Nature-writings’ has been utilised as an effective tool for biodiversity conservation by Nature’s Beckon through its diverse publications-brochures, newsletter, magazine, booklets, books, etc. Nature’s Beckon continues to led this unique literary & intellectual empowerment through ‘nature-writings’ in Assam. ‘The Seed’, a bilingual e-magazine of Nature’s Beckon is striving to connect the world with this ‘Nature-writings’ movement through digital platform.
Many writers and intellectuals of Assam has contributed in sowing the seeds of ‘Nature-writings’ in Assam, but the wide-ranging repertoire of ‘Nature-writings’ contributed by Soumydeep Datta through his books is incomparable in this regard. His books truly defined the genre of ‘Nature-writings’, his vibrant work found its reflection as powerful ‘Nature-writings’ in these books and this journey of Nature-writings continues to enrich the genre of ‘Nature-writings’ in Assam.
This ‘Nature-writings’ movement of Assam leads the country in a rare green-awakening. Sahitya Akademi organised India’s first symposium on ‘Writings on Nature and Forest Conservation’ in collaboration with Nature’s Beckon on 1st October, 2021 to mark the 67th Wildlife week of India. This symposium represents the rise of ‘Nature-writings’ as an accepted genre of literature at national level.
The contributions of the ‘Nature-writings’ movement of Nature’s Beckon and writers like Soumyadeep Datta is undeniable in leading this national consciousness. The popularity of ‘Nature-writings’ is evident in the growing number of writers and books in this genre year after year.
This literature movement proves its firm footing in Assam in India’s first ever ‘Nature-writings’ conference titled, ‘Purvotar Prakriti Sahitya Sanmelan’, organised by Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati in its premises on 25th February, 2023. This daylong conference gave a new direction to ‘Nature-writings’ by clearly stating its purpose and philosophy through elaborate deliberations and interactions.
This is a landmark event for the world of literature especially in India; the best part of it is that it took place in Assam. Cradled amidst the lofty Eastern Himalayas and the rich alluvial of Brahmaputra River systems, Assam leads the rest of India in the field of ‘Nature-writings’ with this literary event.
Purvotar Prakriti Sahitya Sanmelan, included several important sessions related to the journey and evolution of nature writings in Assam. The sessions included – Nature writings in Vaishnav literature, Nature writings in fiction (stories & novels) of Assamese literature, Nature oriented song writing in Assam, Nature oriented Drama writing in Assam, Nature writings in non – fiction (essays & research) in Assamese literature, Prevalence & future of nature writings in Assam.
Sri. Jitul Sonowal (Vice President – Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra) spoke about inspirations embedded in the ancient Indian philosophy for nature writings in his welcome address. He expressed hope and zeal of Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra to carry forward this journey of nature writings across the length & breadth of Assam.
Sri. Soumyadeep Datta cited the objectives of this conference and the significance of nature writings for nature conservation in ‘Praxanga byakhya’. He differentiated the genre of nature writings from the literature based on nature love, nature worshiping and narratives with mere description of nature. Literature whether it is fiction or non-fiction, that inspire the consciousness of nature conservation is essentially called Nature writings.
This is an evolved genre of literature which took inspiration from all previous forms of nature-oriented writings from ancient to modern eras, Nature writings is for the conservation/benefit of Nature. This genre of literature is unique being centered upon the motivation of human minds to contribute to the cause of nature conservation, this constitutes a creative tool for compassionate action of human minds towards the protection & preservation of Mother Nature.
Sri. Ranoj Pegu – Honorable Education Minister of Assam graced the inaugural session as the Chief Guest. He inaugurated the conference with his inspiring speech. He stressed upon the urgent need of human beings to reconnect with Nature in a bond of warmth and oneness. He urged everyone to break away from the prevalent withdrawal of our modern lifestyle, he encouraged everyone to establish a close bond with the vibrant natural world around us.
He emphasised upon the importance of oneness with Nature, this sense of oneness is fundamental for the future of nature conservation.
Sri. Arup Kumar Dutta – renowned writer graced the conference as the keynote speaker. He spoke at length about nature – inspired literatures from Indian as well as world literatures. He spoke about the importance of fiction writing in connecting readers with nature. He cited the significance of nature-based poetry, folklore, literature echoing the animistic philosophy, allegories, pastoral poems, etc in the genre of nature-writings.
The first panel discussion was presided by Dr. Ananda Bormudoi ( Well-known writer & Retd. Professor of Dibrugarh University). Dr. Dambaru Dhar Nath (Vice Chancellor, Auniati Viswavidyalaya, Teok) presented a detailed account about Nature writings in Vaishnava literature.
Sri. Atanu Bhattacharya (Executive Editor, Satsori ) presented an interesting account on the prevalence of nature – writings in fiction writings ( stories & novels) of Assamese literature. He connected the house with the presence of literature beyond romanticising and worshiping of nature in Assamese fiction writings. He mentioned about many writers/ story tellers who has enriched this form of nature- writings in Assam.
The second panel discussion was presided by Sri. Rupam Barua (Senior journalist & Editor- Xophura). Sri. Manjit Rajkonwar (Journalist, Newslive) presented an elaborate account about nature writings in Assamese song writing (Axomiya Geeti sahitya). He presented a detail account of nature-inspired song writing from the traditional/ religious to modern Assamese songs. He mentioned the contributions of significant cultural and musical icons of Assam.
Sri. Mrinal Jyoti Goswami (Assistant Professor – Krishna Kanta Handique Regional Open University) presented a beautiful account about the presence of nature oriented and nature based writings in Assamese drama & plays (Axomiya Natya Sahitya). He presented an interesting account about various Assamese Dramas citing examples from traditional dramas to modern plays that expressed itself through personification of nature in its plots.
He expressed the unavailability of dramas in written form, essentially a performing art many dramas based on nature writings are not available as published literature.
Sri. Rupam Barua ended the session with the positive affirmation that nature writings is progressing with our young generation, this is evident in growing number of contributions of this genre from young writers in children’s magazine like ‘Xophura’. He stressed the need to act beyond nature-love, and ‘nature writings’ is a powerful tool for this purpose.
The third panel discusson was presided by Sri. Dilip Chandan (Editor – Asom Bani). Dr. Arabinda Rajkhowa – Professor, North Lakhimpur College (Autonomous) enriched the conference with his informative presentation on Nature writings in non-fiction ( essays & research) in Assamese literature. He objectively defined the genre of nature – writings and reiterated upon the urgent need to mobilise literature to contribute towards the cause of nature conservation.
He mentioned about many well-known writers, intellectuals of Assam who has contributed to the growth and progress of this genre. He mentioned about the dynamic contributions of Sri. Soumyadeep Datta through his books and published literature towards the cause of nature conservation in Assam. The last session was on ‘Prevalence & Future of nature writings in Assam’.
This session was led by Smt. Anuradha Sharma Pujaree (Well-known writer & Editor, Xadin) & Sri. Soumyadeep Datta. Smt. Anuradha Sharma Pujaree spoke about the necessity to change our collective mindset towards nature conservation. She reiterated that a change of mindset is integral for the future of nature-conservation, it is indispensable for the future of our planet. Sri. Datta highlighted the need of collective responsibility towards our forests, our environment.
It is everybody’s responsibility to contribute to this cause. ‘Nature-writings’ is about purposeful literature, the aim is not entertainment but empowerment of minds for nature conservation. Those who will participate in this wave of change must begin with a firm commitment to contribute towards nature conservation. Nature-writings is the future of Assamese literature.
Every form of literature, every form of human creativity is inspired by Nature , the advent of ‘Nature-conservation’ writings is unique in being inspired by the values of compassion for Nature.
An open interactive session allowed expressions and sharing of thoughts from the participants. The conference ended with vote of thanks from Sri. Sadarshan Thakur (President – Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati). The conference was attended by many intellectuals, writers, educationists, teachers, social workers, environment activists, journalists, students, and youth from different parts of Assam.
This historic event put forward ‘Nature-writings’ as one of the most important genres of literature for the future. Nature-writings will soon find its reflection in other genres as well, it has latent potential to generate a holistic change in the collective mindsets of human societies. Every aspect of this event will be fruitful if we commit to let our pen contribute towards the cause of nature-conservation till eternity.
This promises to be a tireless and timeless journey because the damages caused to our planet is insurmountable. We better adorn the activist’s shoes to do justice to the cause of ‘Nature-writings’. Let this torch of empowerment lit entire Assam. Let ‘Nature-writings’ be a new dawn for the rest of the country.
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