The herd of black bucks somewhere near Bhusaval on Jabalpur Pune rail track was an elating sight. The group of twenty or more was peacefully grazing on the scrub alongside the track. The scene is reminiscent of olden days whence larger tracts where occupied by these antelopes and other animals. But a crucial component of our ecosystem is now missing all over India and survives in small pockets totally at the mercy of humans.
The range is impressive by all means but lack the verdant greenery of Satpura. It is difficult to make out if the bare mountains evolved as such or were deprived of the green cover. Sahyadhari Mountains exhibit stepped up elevation with plateau on the top of most.
They are at their scenic most during the rains whence small trickling falls all over make the mountains enchanting. In the dry season the mountains appear as ghost of the dead with bare stony ridges and flats deprived of any short of cover. Sahydhari begin from Gujarat and traverse down to Southern India - the Western Ghats. The mountains block the narrow coastal strip from the Deccan Plateau and deprive the region of rain.
Ironically the ranges which spread over one lakh sixty thousand sq km are labeled as biodiversity hot spot. They may still be at places but most of the hill ranges are bare bereft of any green cover. The hills form the largest catchment area of complex network of rivers in India.
The formation started right from the beginning of tectonic plate movement from the major chunk the Gondwanaland. The ranges are called by various local names throughout their long stretch. In Northern Maharashtra they are known as Sahyadhari.
All along the track the bare mountains offer shelter to large and small towns and number of rural settlements. Humanity resides here since ages and major towns like Pune have emerged. The destruction of natural belts is very much evident on this scape. Overstretching civilization, expanding agriculture and growing cities have become the hall mark of this journey. Expansion and rabid industrialization is evident and the large housing complex and colonies are nothing but modern ghettos. The nature has taken back seat and the plunder and loot of natural resources goes on. And this is the story all over urban India.
The journey to Pune was a sad reminder of destruction of natural lands taking place all over. The pretext is there - so many people to feed so many people to employ and what not. It is a losing battle for nature and for the poor population of this country who have little to gain from the influx of poison fuming industries. All the wealth is in hands of the industrialists, traders, land owners and the corrupt politicians.