Tourism : Development and Environmental Protection Towards A lasting Harmony

Tourism and ecology go together. They are complimentary to each other. Tourism is a means of nation’s economic development. Tourism brings happiness and prosperity without injuring the ecology. The planned development of tourism conserves the ecology, natural and cultural heritage and is watchful towards cleanliness and health.

India has unlimited cultural and natural wealth for the curious tourists: the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas, roaring sea waves, sprawling forests, wild-life, Taj, Qutubminar, Red Fort, Khajuraho, Ajanta-Ellora and Varanasi the cultural capital. We have rare wealth for the tourist. But can we conserve them  in this race for development? Shall this good earth of ours, India, be able to maintain her charm and beauty? These questions make us dumb and raise a big question of identity, of unbroken culture, of handing over heritage to the future generations.

The ambitious materialist hammers about development and he chants this always. What kind of development? Development of luxury goods and machines or development of means to provide food to the increasing millions? He who climbs on the ladder of development knows not the last rung. We notice all that science has given us but we notice not what it has robbed us of. Iron jaws of machine have gobbled up the greenery and robbed the quietitude of the valleys. The shaman of development has hypnotized us with the herb of materialism. Our traditions, customs, festivals, and melas look obsolete. We are reduced to decorating our drawing room with synthetic flowers, electronic gadgets and cars determining our status. The soothing music of cataracts and cirping of birds is replaced by ear-splitting sound of powerful audio-systems in whose loud noise the mechanical man, sick of the fast life, finds refuge to relax.

Development has murdered our sensitivity. The culprit is science but judgment will go against man, for he alone is to blame for his destruction. Today man has insulted nature, who gave life to our ancestors. Worshipping Neem, Peepal, Tulsi is our expression of gratitude towards these boons of nature. We have seated the cow and  Ganga on the highest pedestal. We swear in their names most solemnly. But man crushing nature under his feet is denying the mutual harmony between nature, matter and science. Will she forgive us? We must ponder. Every creature on the earth is important. Nothing is without use. Nature maintains balance, which makes life possible. Unscrupulous exploitation is causing hot house effect. Erosion of earth and deforestation is raising sea level which may sink cities and affect adversely the monsoon season.

Nature has given us the protective shield of the atmosphere above which is the ozone layer. Poisonous gases, smoke carbon monoxide etc. are harming ozone. Damage to the ozone layer means exposure to ultraviolet rays that cause cancer and are a threat to life. We have to do something so that we are not cursed by the success of our progress. Let future generations enjoy the progress and thank us in this regard. Come to Varanasi our city, we have much to do and a long way to go. Movement of bureaucracy is notoriously slow unless each of us realize and share responsibility nothing will come. Our involvement should be selfless not egoistical and publicized so that we become responsible citizens.

Myriads of Indian and foreign tourists come to the Ganga. The believers bathe in her, take her holy water and even carry it home. What faith and reverence do they have ! The city filth despite filtering machine reaches her from many points. The tourist loves to move through the world famous lanes and alleys but dares not look below. Can we not clean some of these tourist frequented lanes? Providing a clean atmosphere and cleanliness is our moral responsibility. Every citizen of Varanasi should be made aware of this through seminars, film shows, plantations, cultural programs etc. So in this age of globalization we must not lose our identity but remain Banarasi pure and unadulterated.