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Poetry Book Review: Environment – A Plaintive Cry

By Syed Shamsuddin  

Environmentally speaking, G-B attaches immense significance and is as such literally to Pakistan what the polar region is to Mother Nature. Given this, it gets metaphorically reckoned with as the veritable environmental epicenter or the barometer to put it succinctly.

To geologists, the bewildering geological conundrum occasioned when the Indian sub-continental plate once part of Antarctica, underwent detachment and started drifting towards Asia preliminarily at a speed of five centimeter a year while steadily accelerating afterwards until its collision with the Asian plate when it began sliding underneath some 30 million years ago with the consequential heaving up giving rise to this amazing land lay abutting what is called the ‘Roof of the World’ in geographical parlance with the scientific process still said to remain underway albeit at a snail’s pace.

Precisely put, Gilgit-Baltistan remains host to innumerable lofty, virgin peaks, wonderful snow fields, water towers, and above all, the largest glaciers outside the polar region in the world. It is here that major tributaries of the grand River Indus gush forth which constitute the lifeline for the verdant plains in the south sans which life there could become quite inconceivable.

This brings into focus the environmental imperatives that necessitate ever remaining wary over to consistently and constantly keep monitoring the region’s environment in order that it is taken care of in the best possible scientific way and in an efficacious manner in this era of horrid ramifications resulting from the climate change bearing down on the planet to which this mountainous region is invariably not immune. It is to be seen that the incremental climate change here in this geological wonderland if not grappled, can wreak havoc all across the country.

A concise albeit thought-provoking poetry - indeed a cri de coeur entitled “A Plaintive Cry of Environment” by Syed Asad Hassan - a KIU (Karakoram International University) alumnus, graciously publicized by his alma mater for its launching shortly afterwards, is a sterling composition sui generis in that it uniquely encompasses the horrific impacts of environmental or climate change and its concomitants in the contemporary era in a holistic manner with an exemplary lucidity and pertinence of thought and diction. Quite interestingly a prodigious output like this has come from a student of environmental science of the Karakoram International University (KIU) in the recent past which ipso facto becomes straightaway ascribable to the relevant studies that spurred him on and inculcated in him the relevant versification. Undeniably, his association with the KIU invested him with and fired in him a pertinent poetical imagination that enabled to come up with the environment-specific poetry worth acclaim. The way it has painstakingly yet ardently been undertaken with great finesse and consummate skill and a dazzling clarity gets singled out for its uniqueness thereby making it worth emulation

This, at the same time, is very well pointer to the pedagogic proficiency of the KIU in inculcating in its students multi-faceted characteristics – both in curricular and co-curricular context and impregnating them with highly imaginative and scholarly attributes.

Indeed, there is dire need of analyzing the deeper trends obtaining in the environmental context today that underpin the fortunes of all nations. There can equally be no gainsaying that the centers of learning as a generative source they are, not only provide external excitement and stimulation but awaken in the student those very qualities of self motivation that grow from internal springs of inspiration for their employing scientifically to ameliorate the lot humankind.

As a tour de force it is, this poetical masterpiece would hopefully enliven the readers with the snippets so powerfully and persuasively poetized for their having a bearing on all the core environmental dilemmas facing humankind. The appeal so plain, is to be understood by the common run of people to work in unison to avoid further exacerbation of things in order yank the planet back from the brink of destruction. This material having been penned down in so clear, arresting fashion and far-reaching sweep, will surely make for a lively read and would evoke a widespread acclaim by strengthening the readers’ professed concern about the fate of the world tomorrow.

As with all poets, their world is filled with serenity, sedateness, lofty imagination and supreme inspiration. It is aptly remarked that poets are like glow-worms which display light at irregular and intermittently intervals. Poets’ sensitive and touchy hearts invest them with highly sensitive minds, grand perception and penetrating imagination. This imagination, the hop-ground of their fervid hearts, carries them far into the regions known only to the initiated few. Consequently, they plunge into the deep seas of thoughts, bringing out pearls at once rare and serene. It is aptly put that poet’s heart trembles just like an aspen-reed at the slightest rustling of tree leaves!

Last but not least, it redounds to the credit of KIU for having instilled into him an insatiable taste for environmental poetry, imparting to him a greater vision and opening to him the environment vistas for, he is justly proud of. True, centers of higher learning chisel one by one, the angularities of their students and shape them into a brilliant diamonds, helping them acquire profound insight into their respective disciplines. The young poet has ardently expressed his immense gratitude to KIU with all the gusto, zeal and fervor whilst the latter too, seems to have come up with reciprocal warmth and laudation.

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