Jamaica Kincaid: Talks of trees and the tea tragedy at lit fest

If Gulzar charmed the audience with his nature poetry on the first day of the Jaipur Lit Fest, Caribbean author and a gardening writer Jamaica Kincaid and gardening correspondent for ‘The Independent’ Anna Pavord opened up an altogether different perspective on nature at the Diggi Palace on Saturday—Kritika Banerjee reports in The Times of India.
The two writers spoke extensively about gardening and their own experiences with the wild and cultivated plants at an animated session moderated by environmentalist Pradip Krishen at the Durbar Hall.
Kincaid traced the history of gardening to Bible and the Garden of Eden, and spoke about how the Tree of Life could be a mythical reference to farming and crop cultivation. “The idea of sustenance is tied to that of satisfying the need for food,” she explained.
“Gardening is a luxury. In Britain, the gardening boom took place with the rise of the middle class in the early 19th century,” said Pavord, and added that gardening and farming have more commonalities than differences.
Both the writers credited the diversity in plantation to the horticultural exchanges that opened up parts of the world to Europe. Notwithstanding, its negative impact on the wilderness, especially in the context of colonialism.
Pavord recounted her trip to Sri Lanka where all she saw in the name of vegetation was huge tea plantations. “I call it the tea tragedy. All I saw was that vast swathes of forests were abandoned for tea plantation since it was economically more viable,” she lamented.
Both Kincaid and Pavord however, sounded optimistic as gardening is gaining ground among the current generation. “If you can’t paint, or chisel a sculpture, you can try gardening. The practice is more of a way to unleash your creative energy towards growing something new that is beautiful to look at.”

For the original report go to http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Talks-of-trees-and-the-tea-tragedy-at-lit-fest/articleshow/11585216.cms

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