World earth day: 22 april 2024-Jay Basu



[This year’s theme is the health hazards caused to both man and planet Earth by

the endemic uses of plastics. I take my

liberty from the official theme, and refocus

on the theme of War, that, as once Wilfred

Owen rued, continued to plague this planet since the Titanic Wars.]



The theme for World Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics, which purports to make man aware of widespread health hazards that go with the use of plastics. The theme of Planet vs. Plastics is keyed upon the fundamental issues of human and planetary health risks increasingly as plastics invade every nook and corner of man’s civilised life. Hopefully this year different institutes and communities are to write and speak for fight against plastics

for the cause of human and planetary health. Through Earth Day 2024 theme, organisers may also highlight how microplastics affect the health of young babies and children: a burning issue of the day.

Well, while a host of scholarly articles and writeups are likely to come up in celebration

of World Earth Day, 2024, let us take time off

to look at how War and its ramifications still continue to imperil the existence of life-on- Earth, and how men as prodigious as Tagore and Einstein thought on the devil dance of war still staring man in the face.


The messianic poet and Asia’s first Nobel Laureate (1913), Rabindranath Tagore (1861 -1941), was steeped in the wisdom of Ahimsā (non-violence). A profoundly liberal humanist and prophet, Tagore saw through the hysteric ‘war-madness’ of the twentieth century, and was deeply anguished over how it boiled down to the two World Wars and their aftermaths, leading to a ‘tower of skulls’ mounted upon

the mauled and maimed humanity.

The ‘devil dance of destruction’ stemmed, in his view, from a wedlock between mounting materialism and a furiously belligerent “nationalism” that ‘obstructed the free flow

of the inner life’ of man – man who is, in essence, an uncircumscribed free floater across all borders – national, international, racial or religious or whatever be all possible ramifications of “borderism”.

Tagore is the ageless prophet of a global human community, evolving to ‘a grand synthesis of all human races,’ by outright rejection of exclusivism and dogmatism

of all conceivable forms.

Tagore was an untiring messianic voice of

the idea that each human is a spiritual entity, sharing, in his/her quintessential beingness,

an intimation of Cosmic Soul, beyond being

a mere skinbag of blood, bones and tissues

caged in parochial, and crassly material and rational values.

It might be in place to mention here that as

the rumbles of the WW II were dying down

by the turn of mid-20th century, the liberal humanist ethos of the post-war era took up

the cudgels for humanity’s self-evaluation

in an incisive, retrospective and reminiscent mood.


In July 1955, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein published a joint manifesto, calling upon the humans not to devise anymore any “organised machinery of self-destruction”

and walk the path to war, as the future shock [the phrase, ‘future shock’ is here being taken out of Alvin Topler’s Title: The Future Shock]

of another world war would snowball to a complete apocalypse exterminating man

from the face of the beautiful planet Earth.

The choice facing humanity, Russell and Einstein warned in their 1955-Manifesto,

is ‘stark and dreadful and inescapable:

shall we put an end to the human race;

shall mankind renounce war, and stop

games and oeuvres of ravaging our Earth

‘There lies before us, if we choose,’ they iterated, ‘continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom.

Or shall we, instead, choose death, because

we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.’

Absolutely disillusioned and horrified by “the devil dance of destruction’ by self-appointed pious warlords and suicidal ‘fundamentalists’

of modern civilisation (the so-called secular and the religious), Rabindranath Tagore was

one to point out the elemental dichotomy in

the outlook of modern leaders who believed that Truth depended upon them and they do not depend on Truth.


In his book, “The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity”, the Pakistani writer Tareq Ali takes up this point of an inbuilt dichotomy in the master-minds of the modern civilisation, and hits the bull’s mark by the shot that all extremists, irrespective of their national, racial and religious identities –

no matter what their respective sources

and objectives are – are basically made

of the same stuff, same syndrome and

same ingredient.

And it is the ingredient of violence – frenetic and suicidal. Let the forthcoming World Earth

Day (22 April 2024) be a holy day for all of us

to pledge and keep to that pledge that we do

nothing to endanger our beautiful and unique


Close-up of dried, cracked earth.

And it is the ingredient of violence – frenetic and suicidal. Let the forthcoming World Earth

Day (22 April 2024) be a holy day for all of us

to pledge and keep to that pledge that we do

nothing to endanger our beautiful and unique

planet: 🌎

®© Jay Basu.