Dwijen Sharma: A Dedicated Ecologist

প্রকাশিত: ১০:৩৪ অপরাহ্ণ, সেপ্টেম্বর ১২, ২০২০

Dwijen Sharma: A Dedicated Ecologist



Swapan Nath

Professor Dwijen Sharma was born on 29th May 1929 at the village Shimulia of Barlekha Upazila in Moulvibazar district. His father Chandrakanta Sharma was an eminent kabiraj (Bhishok). Not only was that Chandrakanta innately a poet and naturalist for his profession. One of his elder brothers was also a kabiraj. According to this consequent their home is known to all as an iconic `home of kabiraj (kabirajbari)’. His mother Mognomoyee Devi was an accomplished housewife, but she was a self-educated woman and a good reader of literature, history and newspaper. From his writings about his mother we came to know that Sharma was directly and indirectly influenced by her in his childhood and earlylife.
Actually Sharma’s village was absolutely conceald by the beauty of nature as it was surrounded by the hill, wetland, haor and jungle. A small mountain named Patharia and the waterfall Madhobkundo are very close to his ancestral village Shimulia. He used to visit and hunt birds at the Patharia in his boyhood. On the other hand, he was more familiar with fishing and boating at the Hakaluki haor. Naturally he was impacted by the surrounding environment and features of his lovely village. So far we know that the Patharia, Madhobkundo, Hakaluki are very sufficient, impressive and effective enough to formulate an easthetical sense in a person and psychological change in any human mind. Hence, we think that the nativity and nature had become an excellent archetypal cognitive domain of Dwijen Sharma. It’s our perception that he had been extremely motivated and voided by his dreamy childhood. He had been bearing it`s influences subconsciously like an inverted order through out his life. It is crystal clear that his place of birth and the surroundings play the role of benchmark creating a very great writer like Dwijen Sharma.
So, while discussing Sharma`s unique writings we should remember and consider about his family, ancestors, nativity and nature where he really grew up. Therefore, kobiraj Chandrakanta created a medicated garden at their village home for his humanitarian profession. He got the best opportunity to know more about the flora-fauna, landscape and nature for practicing knowledge. Sharma grew up with a tremendous beauty of nature and thus improvised himself with it from his childhood.
Professor Sharma wrote more than 30 books about nature, environment, education, and horticulture etc., most of which are relevant to our environment and nature. His other translated books are related to history, culture, nature, politics and literarture. His books are: Shyamoli Nisorgo; Phulguli Jeno kotha; Sopushpok Udbider Srenibinyas; Gacher Kotha Phuler Kotha; Emi Namer Duronto Meyeti; Nisorgo Nirman Nandonik Bhabna; Somajtantre Bosobas; Jiboner Shesh Nei; Biggan o Shikkha: Dayboddhotar Nirikh; Kurchi Tomar Lagi; Darwin o Projatir Utpotti; Bigoljatrir Bhramonkotha; Gohon Kono Boner Dhare; Himalayer Udbidrajje Dalton Hucker; Banglar Brikkho; Sotirthoboloye Darwin; Momo Dukher Sadhon; Amar Ekttor o Onnano. The compilation of all writings mostly contains respectively in Prakriti Somogro-1; Prakriti Somogro-2 and Prakriti Somogro-3; and till now his scattered writings are beyond omnibus. Indeed, he had also translated so many books on politics, nature, environment, science, history and children books while he had been working at Progress Publication in Moscow. During that time he visited the Que-garden, the birth place of Charles Darwin. However, Prof Sharma was void and devout to the thought and writings of Darwin. It was a dream of his boyhood, that oneday he will touch the dreamy land of Que-garden. Meanwhile, he flourished himself through visiting the desired places.
Sharma completed his study respectively from Abdul Latif Siddiki Primary School, Barlekha PC High School, Karimgonj Public High School, Agartala Birbikram College, Kolkata City College, and Dhaka University. After the completion his study in 1958 he started his carrier at Barishal BrajaMohon College and two years later than he had joined Notordame College in Dhaka. In 1974 he left his own land and went to Moscow for new event of life at Progress Publisher as a translator.
He was awarded Bangla Academy Award in 1987 and EkusheyPadak in 2015 for his contribution to nature and literature. Besides these, he received other awards and honour like Dr. Kudrat-I-khuda Gold Medel, M Nurul Kader Shishu Sahitya Puroskar, Prakriti Sanrokkon Padak, and Prothom Alo Barsha Sera Boi.

We think that award is a factor but not as a whole. His unique creation compare with himself only. He was an extraordinary personality at his arena in Bangladesh. Because nobody could ever have considered the subjects like forest management, feature of land, wetland and environment management. Everybody thinks and focuses the macrolevel and research according to the overseaes document and examples. But only Prof. Sharma focused his native nature and plantation solely based on homeground. He remarks that we have no experience to cope up with nature amid industrialisation and rapid development. On the other hand, our population explosion is very unreasonable that created a huge pressure on land, economy and nature. Prof. Dwijen Sharma indicated his personal view that- `I want you to love the purity of nature; I would like to teach you how to preserve nature without harming its beautiful harmony. Remember, even learning to decorate your home with plants and trees is a great lesson and can contribute a lot to preserve nature.’ However, Sharma was not a traditional writer as a Botanist, about the arena of horticulture.
Especially he introduced himself with rare species and medicated trees which are used for Ayurvedic medicine. In his boyhood he got an opportunity to know taxonomy at his home atmosphere. He prepared himself regarding Botanic knowledge from his parents, neighbours and thus created an occult relationship with it. Also he decided to explore something new. He was delighted by this physical environment, and lately created himself as an eminent researcher, educationist, and literary personality. We went through his creation on environment, nature, ecology, literature and our observation is influenced by his own experience of childhood.
We have been following his steadfast and enthusiastic lifestyle. There is no deviation from this. He carried his dream to contribute it for the greater betterment of the country, countrymen, the spirit of 71, and nature. Oneday he expressed personally – `On my way to school, I would explore the jungles. I would collect wild flowers and pick wild fruits. One of my favourite fruits was wild guava. I have never seen such guavas and their bush-like trees in my life. In the jungles, I have faced herds of wild elephants many times.’
We are deadly concerned about the reformation in Soviet Union of `Glassnost-Parestroika’ in the era of Michail Gobachev in 1989. At last in 1991 a fabricated democratic process started there. During the breakdown of the USSR, all the states under Soviet Union became isolated and independent. Finally Russia and other Soviets declined socialist structure of the state as well as ideology of Marxism-Leninism. Consequently western market-economy increased and spread out to all corners of ex USSR. At that time all the state-run property and organizations closed frequently. As a result the Progress Publisher and others also shut down. They passed an order that all foreigners and workers must return their respective home. Also they denied give their salary and other attainable matter. Dwijen Sharma and his colleagues fell in a rigorous problem. But Sharma had been living in Moscow of his own management till 2000.
In 2000 he returned to Bangladesh and joined as an editor of an Encyclopedia at the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. And then he engaged himself to social service. From then he had been observeing our afforestation program and told that- We created a huge gap between nature and human life. This civilization has uprooted us from our rural life and confined us in a cage; finally we have deceived the three elements of nature: space, light and window.’ Also he explained.-During the colonial era, the British rulers imposed their model of development on us, distorting the natural socio-economic development of the subcontinent. Secondly, independent Bangladesh, the responsibility to build industries and develop the agriculture sector fell on the shoulders of the citizens of this new country. But we did not have any experience of urbanization and industrialization. So we built our cities without any proper planning. Third, the population exploded in such a way that it put a heavy pressure on nature.’

So we are very cleared from this statement that he was very conscious about our ecopolitical journey. Its known to all that Dwijen Sharma was an eminent researcher. Every moment he was thinking about the nature, pollution and eviction of natural forest. There are some vested groups and criminals in our country who want to grasp the khasland, forest and wetland. In the meantime Modhupur, Lawachara, Madhobkundo, Foyoslake, Kaptai Lake and forest lost its own beauty and tropical characteristics. Forests are being developed through segun, shal, koroi, acasia, and other variety of trees. But these are not familiar to our land and nature. Dwijen Sharma opposed against such type of plantation in the name of afforestation. We know the Govt. and non Govt. agencies in Bangladesh are seriously concerned about the land degradation and deforestation. Especially Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Bangladesh put up in a report titled Bangladesh National Conservation Strategy (2016-2031). It clearly defined our position in this report:
`The people of Bangladesh depend on its floral stock for their day-to-day sustenance as well as overall livelihood security. Through agriculture and forestry as well as aquatic plant diversity, plant resources provide food, fiber, medicine, timber and also contribute significantly to national economies and employment of the large population. …However, the present condition of floral diversity in Bangladesh is at stake.The stress is mainly induced due to population pressure, reckless pollution, habitat destruction through land use change, introduction and rapid spread of invasive alien species along with the recent climate change vulnerabilities. Over exploitation of resources, e.g. unregulated harvesting, illegal felling, encroachment, shifting cultivation in CHT, indiscriminate harvesting of medicinal plants and non-wood forest products exerts a significant negative.’
Prof Sharma spoke loudly to save our forest and environment whatever ultimately related to our livelihood and everyday life. He emphasised on illegal work and continuously destruction of land and ecosystem. Basically, Sharma raised his voice to save the ecosystem and biodiversity of our country which is very vulnerable due to our carelessness. He argued based on eco-justice ethics and values. This has been using ferquently in the field of environment, climate changes, and ecopolitics from 70s. Experts of ecojustice Rebecca A. Martusewicz & Laura Johnson exposed their opinion on ecojustice: “Ecological justice is both social and environmental justice. Ecological justice rests on the principle that ‘everything is interrelated’ and that ethical action in the environmental sphere is central to equity at a social level. …Ecological justice is based upon the principles and practices of restorative justice. This relational approach is relevant for both social justice between humans, such as restorative justice in the criminal justice system, but also extends into practice and conceptions of justice for the healing and respect for the common home of humanity…Social services believe a cultural shift in our relationships is required for humanity and eco-system to flourish, for healthy and respectful governance and in order to build communities of justice.’’ Unfortunately we are observing that all sections are ignoring ecosystem and our nature. They totally avoid the impact of climate changes. We, as a reader have learned the summery report of Eco-Justice Working Group. Some valuable note of this reports also cleared the concept and equitability of ecojustice ethics. Following a little part of this statement: `E-J ethics will be all the more pertinent as the world community seeks to meet the challenges of global warming in a time of widening social inequality…must recognize their ecological debt to poor communities and countries which have suffered major polluting effects and little social benefit from natural resource exploitation at the hands of corporate investors and their government sponsors, while experiencing disproportionate negative effects of climate change.’
Actually some natural forests were destroyed partially. That is only guided by ill-concept of ecopark, like afforestaion program. In fact, he exposed his feelings; especially emphasised on our heritage of ecosystem. Also he felt deeply about the running plantation program. Sharma observed huge eviction, pollution and afforestation program of colonial mood. We are also with Prof Sharma by which it has been observing some sort of eco-park established in Bangladesh a few years back. But we know well it’s not an eco-park which mostly replaced our tropical forests and natural ecosystem. It’s merely amusement centers, in the name of eco-park. All centers are running only for business purpose. Nobody cares for the beauty and biodiversity at all. We do not oppose that type of center for carnival or picnic. But we have a little question- why do you have to destroy nature in the name of eco-park? It’s replaced and poured by unfamiliar trees instead of tropical forest and naturally established ecosystem.
We have been living with monsters and darkness from the prehistoric period. All monsters and miscreants are created by this society. They are not the representative of us. In fact, the characteristics of this class are like a parasite. All of them are grabbers. We are always concerned about the grabbing forest, land and eviction of ethnic people. A discriminatory group has been eradicating those people indiscriminately. Prof Sharma opposed and protested such type of eviction and so called development of forest in the name of afforestation. Because they are totally ignored the ecosystem, eco balance, and feature of our nature. They are being focused only for ready cash.
Prof Sharma has argued and exposed his logic as below-

(1) `The reconstruction of nature is a massive and complex work in our country. That is a big problem. And it should be materialized according to a very constructive planning. It’s not the responsibility of any single person or institution, but inevitable for the participation of all classes. The preservation and sustainable development of our nature is impossible without expansion of universal aesthetic sense.’ [Prakriti Samagro 2: 65]

(2) `We belong to an innate attraction to nature, which has cultural heredity and scientific value. But this is very complex and has a dialectical relation with the opposite power which is obviously not one way. Human being has always been cherishing a revolutionary desire for being established from the time immemorial. A view of controlling and dominating the nature is mostly fulfilled now. In the present time- that revolution has developed widely like a big tree. But the conflict is not the end, so far never ending. Social structure of exploitation has been created from the inner conflict of this society and now it is extended to the nature and environment. Also this exploitation has been contaminated without any barrier from human society to nature and still continuing.’ [Prakriti Samagro 2: 159]

Sharma was an extraordinary writer and his writings are mostly science related issues like nature, ecology, environment, taxonomy which readers received very easily. Undoubtedly the reader reflects his/her voice in the above mentioned narration. Actually he inserted so many examples from literature, history and political writings. Readers do not feel the subject or content very complex rather feel very familiar with the context. That is the speciality of Dwijen Sharma. Also an ordinary reader gets an opportunity to know the literature, myth, and heritage. He spontaneously inserted various literary elements from the early-mediaval to modern world literature in his text; mostly from the Bangla Literature. I asked him a question in an interview -`why did you insert literary examples?’ He had given an answer-`only for the attention of the readers.’ As we know- his goal is only conveying the message –` save nature for you and human, and to create an uninterrupted tie with nature’.


December 2020