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The Wasteland

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Riverine floodplains and deltas that have cradled human civilization and are now ravaged by ecologically blind land-use policies form the context of this poem. Policies that term nutrient rich wetlands as "wastelands" are economically motivated and backed by policy makers for short-term gains. The conversion of wetlands makes refugees out of resident wild species. The first few lines of the poem describe the character of the fishing cat, the only cat in South Asia that is adapted for wetlands and is an indicator of the health of wetland ecosystems. The poem talks of a nemesis that awaits the human world—we would meet the same fate that we are meting out to the fishing cat. The poem ends as it alludes to the peace that a motherly womb offers. Wetlands are such wombs: they are life givers.

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