The Earth in Custody: Verses of Lament and Comment
by Subhash S. Naik
PageTurner Press and Media

"The U.N. squabbles
The nations fight
Despite Kyoto’s motto
Pollution increases its might."

In this unique poetry collection, the author tackles such interrelated topics as climate change, humankind's depletion of natural resources, exponential rates of species extinction, the low appreciation of nature, and the monumental pollution problem. Naik begins by explaining that the ancient "environmental ethics" which Indian civilization long embraced—specifically, to live in harmony with nature—have given way to scientific and technological achievements which may have benefits but have been employed at a significant cost to the Earth and her ecological systems. Humanity, Naik argues, is on the brink of disaster in terms of the damage it has inflicted upon the planet. An author of both Hindi and English verse, Naik employs numerous poetic styles: rubais, muktaks, gazals, haiku, limericks, dohas, ovis, free verse, adaptations of cultural tales, and more. With each example, the focus of these poems remains concentrated on the hallmark issue of the dangers of pollution.

Though the poet is an engineer by academic training, the diction choices and literary approach employed in the composition of these poems are purposefully non-technical, allowing for easy comprehension by the general reader. Noteworthy too is the obvious passion Naik has regarding environmental issues and for passing on his messages of eco-awareness to everyday citizen-readers. The more than one hundred poems contained herein are worthy of literary merit in their own right—even beyond their central call to action regarding humanity's treatment of the natural world. Appealing to both reason and emotion, regardless of one's cultural heritage, nationality, religion, or status in life, Naik's primary message comes across clearly: pollution is an "unwelcome guest," and eliminating it is up to everyone.

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