This emotional friend of ours went by the name of Santanu Phukan, which we abridged as ‘Santu’. With the dream of becoming self dependent he ventured into the Garo Hills to deal in the timber trade. He started felling trees from the ‘NOKMA’ of Garo Hills taken on lease. However one fine morning Santu arrived at Guwahati from the distant Garo Hills. We were all taken by surprise by this development. He invested such a huge amount in his timber trade and he abandoned it so suddenly. On repeated querries he would just answer that he could not acclimatize himself to the environment of the hills.
However as time elapsed, he one day described in details regarding his sudden withdrawal from Garo Hills. He narrated to us that he enjoyed the first few days in his trade profusely. However after a few days he started feeling depressed, particularly at the time of felling trees. At first the chanting of God’s name by the fellers fell on his ears and during the time when the tree fell he heard the tree wailing fervently. This continued for a few days after which he could not bear the wailing of the felled trees. The trees seemed to be living creatures to him and he no longer wanted to continue his livelihood by killing creatures. While he was narrating this story his eyes become moist and his voice shabby . He further added, ‘Do you know what an established timber trader had said to me ?
No person engaged in this timber trade could attain happiness in his life. His comments still resonates in my ears and pinches my heart deeply.’
Everyone hearing his narratives got sunned. There was pin drop silence prevailing everywhere all around for a minute or two. We all stared at his face intently.
In the name of business, the legal and illegal felling of trees is inviting a doomsday to this civilization.
Individuals constitute a society and hence the individual is very much a part and parcel of this society. And in this present age of affluency and elites a moneyed man by virtue of his wealth occupies important social position too. The social status of a man is being determined on his economic status. We simply marvel at the wealth possessed by a man but never care to think about the source from which he had earned it. There is no gain saying the fact that 90% of the affluent people in our society are involved in one sort of corruption or the oher.
As long as hands would not tremble while accepting bribes, and hearts would not shiver while pocketing public money unduly and eardrums would not be able hear the wailing sound of the trees, there can be no permanent peace and progress in our society.
We must be able to perceive that in order to maintain the ecological balance of nature, a thousands and thousands of Santanu Phukan should be born in our society who can hear the wailing of trees while those are being felled.