“The western economic model is highly toxic”. That’s what an Indian environmentalist said not long ago. He said also : “I hope we, Indians, have a better understanding of how nature functions”. It reminds me what a 15°-16° century indian guru envisioned. From the Thar desert where he was living, he predicted that mindless deforestation, the killing of wildlife and unbridled pollution would lead mankind nowhere.
His name was Jambhoji. He edicted 29 principles ( In hindi, twenty means “bis” and nine “nau” hence the name of his disciples”bishnoï”) and taught his followers they had to be dedicated to god ( himself is worshippped as an avatar of the hindu god Vishnu) and truthful. They must be satisfied with what they have, they must shun materialism, be vegetarians; they have to protect the flora and fauna, avoid cutting trees ( In the desert, trees are scarce but essential). In 1730, more than 300 “bishnoï” were killed while trying to prevent the loggers sent by the king to cut trees. And alcohol and intoxicants are banned.
Nowadays, most of the “bishnoï” are simple farmers who live in the desert. They respect the “chinkara”, a local deer they believe their guru is reincarnated in. Despite being hindus, they bury their dead instead of burning them : it saves wood. And their women are beautifully dressed… But “Bishnoï” villages streets are littered with plastic bags and their jeeps pollute as nowhere else in India. It seems that following the teachings or advices taught by someone who has an authority is more easy than thinking by oneself and adapt to the modern times !