In pursuit of maintaining life on earth for all living creatures, here it is important to highlight some basic pertinent questions rooted inthescope of ecologies but ignored notablyin contested lands often in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, what is at the stake of borderland Politics? Are the landscape ecologies apart from other things? If yes, do powerful nations often overlook the landscape ecologies of territorial unites while dealing with each other in confrontationaltimes?Are environmental sustainability safeguards practically ensured while accumulating and dumping ‘arms and ammunition’ (or other devastating articles) in sensitive ecological zones of frontier sides?Is the land required only for the survival of human beings? Or, living creatures other than humans have the equal right to live in their natural habitats without getting disturbed bydoctored human interventions? Are powerful South Asian Countries inclined onnot-to-own environmental laws in practice, and if it is so, who shall be there to go for a reality check upon them and each other? Pointing out these explicit and the other implicit issues embedded in each other forthought provoking consideration, a conscious approach in the direction of course correction will help in bringing a necessary change required in the present scenario of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
Borders marked on accepted maps are often honored, legalized and defended when seen in agreement or cooperation with the past and present, but contested when seen in disagreement with the past or in conflict with the other side or each other in the present. Although many, there are, but two of the most visible on-going contested lands identified the world over are: Israel-Palestine and Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh known with unique physical, cultural, linguistic, economic and aesthetic features though has been geopolitically partitioned into two union territories but these regions remain geographically naturally connected with each other through out. Time to time decisions taken and decreed by those working on top positions to direct other subordinate human faculties to re-write history but the facts naturally intact with geographical features of territorial units do not change with that. Or say, with decisions taken, commentaries, for and against, in the public opinionsmay run but facts always remain there forappropriateassessment. The announcement of the breakup of the erstwhile state into UTs was brought into the public forum on August 5,2019; and administratively it was brought into the effect on October 31, 2019. The decision has been done, as is said loudly, with the scope of bringing ‘too-much-good-luck’ to the people of the region(s).
Although the term ‘ecologies’ may get now used into multiple contexts, but an accepted specific definition says:‘‘ecologies or eco-systems are used to describe the dynamic interactions between plants, animals and micro-organisms and their environment, working together as a functional unit. Ecologies are living systems containing a diversity of factors that interact with each other that are self-organizing, adaptive and fragile” (The Concept of Learning Ecologies, Norman J Jackson).
Often described for its rich landscape ecologies in geo-historical perspectives, however, in modern times, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh remain geopolitically a continue subject/bone of contention either between India and Pakistan or between India and China. Here it bears to point out that, the recent breakup of the erstwhile state into UTs has been seen one additional reason for further hot talk, first between India and Pakistan; and now between India and China. The recent (untoward) happenings’ in Ladakh is a case in point. Contestation and confrontation between powerful nations may lead to build narratives and counter narratives through human agencies to prove each other either wrong or right, but, simultaneously, it takes history to record, assess and measure the overall loss that happen. To the loss occurring actually and the mountain ofdisturbances that graduallygetdeeply grounded in the natural functioning of landscape ecologies,conscious minds of state nations with an understanding of the significance of landscape ecologies in keeping environment stable cannot turn a blind eye into it.Indeed, so should not by the elected leaders of the state nationsnotablyin confrontational times.
Does the protection of landscape ecologies merit consideration while using and accumulating arms & ammunition? Or, in the words of scholars, G. Reichberg and H. Syse, ‘should military acts (or any other) that cause widespread harm to the environment be counted among the grave breaches of the laws of armed conflict? And why should the environment deserve this special protection? Is it because, vital human interests depend upon it – or because of its own inherent worth’? These are some of the basic fundamental questions that actually are firmly embedded in each other, and often do strike to the mind of hard-core ecologists and conscious minds of the state nations.
What so ever be the reasons, rushing and accumulating abundant ‘arms & ammunition’ (or other harmful decomposing articles) is in no way suitable act ever considered to the normal functioning of ecological zones anywhere on part of the earth. Since this act has long lasting dreadfulrepercussions. Knowing that, however, no working serious thought has ever been given over the years in case of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Once ecological zones of territorial units get disturbed (or become gradually dead), no later act shall suffice bring them back to normal life as to what they were naturally. Seeing it all happening around from all frontier sides will be in no body’s interest. Hope so!
In the interest of maintaining life, peace and prosperity for all living creatures on the frontier sides of border lands of Jammu & Kashmir; and Ladakhin particular and in south Asiain general, the occasion here reasonably demands decision makers and/or stake-holders timely intervention prior to the situation goes from badto worseandworst.
(Author is PhDwith specialization in environmental history and is working as an advisor of The Peace gong—global children’s newsletter connecting children for a non-violent planet)