It was one of my tours to the hills of Manipur, where schools are built in tin shed huts with baked mud walls amidst the blue mountains of the Himalayan foothills. Walking down the road of the village I saw a boy with his school bag walking as slowly as he could but intently following something infront of him. The village roads were through paddy fields and the lush green paddy stocks attracted bright coloured dragon flies. The boy was walking softly not to disturb them and attempted a closer glimpse of them. Living with nature he had learnt to respect animal and plant life around him,though largely unlettered in life science as most of the time his teachers were cooking the meal, weaving basket or lazing in the sun .
Taking a walk in my city park I saw a child wildly chasing butterflies and approaching them tiptoed to grab at their delicate wings. Rather than being a marvel for him the butterfly was more of a relished capture. He ran over to his parents seated on the bench nearby to show the struggling butterfly held by its wings within his thumb and forefinger. He has never lived with the nature around him so has not learnt to value it.
Astonishing difference between both children.With this disturbing fact in my mind I entered my social science class and took my students to the ground and let them be by the flower bed on that winter morning .To my utter relief I saw few butterflies around the flower bed and my students ogling at them in awe with a silent demeanour and hushed whispers, ‘Look! Look! That’s purple,’
‘There! That one is sitting on the flower’.
Few of them signalled to me to join them.
I felt proud of my students as they showed respect for their natural surrounding and took a deep breath thinking that I need to reach out to more students and nurture them for a better world around us.