Literature has many aspects and people sometimes know some of them and at rare times, many of them. However, knowing all at once is impossible without any prefixes or suffixes. One has to realise that literature becomes larger than life if it is older than you by a century or more. Contemporary literature remains closer to people because it’s what’s happening rather than something that has already occurred. The concerns for ecology have become very apparent in recent decades as we are the ones who are facing this crisis. Contemporary literature represents nature as a devastating force which has been awakened by none other but us – habitants of this earth. In older literature, nature was a charming, soothing and calming presence – Wordsworth, Hardy and others will come to your thoughts.
Ecocriticism as a literary theory remains behind when we focus on the pieces of fiction we read instead of intellectual exercises on the theory itself. What we read matters the most at that moment rather than the theories or notions. Ecocriticism simply means awareness about ecological (that is vast in sense) concerns in a text which comes out naturally as you read it. Some authors like signalling the messages in an implicit manner that does not apparently reveal itself. Readers have to look for it consciously. And often, readers miss it who want to enjoy the novel and the critics have to point these things out in their book reviews or commentary.
In modern Indian English fiction, it is Amitav Ghosh who has been raising ecocritical concerns in his novels. The Hungry Tide is a prominent example of that. Other authors who sell millions of copies of their works seldom show any concerns for issues other than entertainment and thrill. Unlike Indian authors, many authors in the West and other countries are very alert about these issues and their works often include the concerns for our surroundings and planet. Explicit messages will make people aware and they will learn to take care of the house they live in and it is nothing lesser than our direct responsibility.
The best book reviewers in India should make sure that they try to find out the ways to highlight these issues so that readers can take note and read the books that offer something more than occasional entertainment. Many of the best book review websites in India have begun to offer literary articles that often describe the writings of popular Indian authors and this is a good trend. Authors should take their responsibilities and the readers will understand theirs eventually. Ecocriticism as literary theory is becoming popular and many scholars are constantly conducting their research works in this field. So, why are the Indian authors ignoring the call? It’s time to write for the hour and make people aware. Go ahead!