Nature has a magic, once you are attracted towards it, it encloses you so that you can’t elude.The beauty it grasps is so innocent and mesmerizing, that it opens our eyes to it’s flamboyance and we are not only able to experience it’s charm, but we even share our vision with others so that they are able to acquaint with it.
Such is the life of Jane Goodall.If we translate her life, it is sheer love, passion and understanding of nature.She is British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist.As a child, she grew a connection with nature through her fascination with animal behavior.She said:
“I wanted to talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle.” Jane Goodall
Her love for animals especially chimpanzees began when at the age of 2, her mother gave her a stuffed toy chimpanzee, which enthralled her.She developed a special bonding with animals, especially chimpanzees.She had a dream of living with the animals in Africa, her mother realized the truth in her heart and the devotion she possessed towards animals and encouraged her to live her dream.
In pursuit of her dream, after completely secondary education, she worked as a waitress,a secretary, as an assistant editor in a film studio, only to save money to travel to Africa.
“As a small child in England, I had this dream of going to Africa. We didn’t have any money and I was a girl, so everyone except my mother laughed at it. When I left school, there was no money for me to go to university, so I went to secretarial college and got a job.” – Jane Goodall
Her dream turned to reality when she traveled to Africa at 23 years of age.There in Tanzania, she met her mentor and teacher Louis Leakey, the curator of the Coryndon Museum in Nairobi.He had found which were believed to be the earliest remains of human species in the world in Africa, he wanted to know the behavior of human animal’s ancestors, and he chose Goodall to observe the behavior of species closely related to human, chimpanzees.
From there onwards, her life revolved around chimpanzees, their behavior and their habitats.She visited a group of chimpanzees around Gombe Natioanl Reserve daily to observe them.Initially they considered her a stranger and a danger.After almost two years of regular observations every day, she was able to develop acceptance in them towards her.They exhibited no fear being around her.She said regarding her interaction with them:
“Chimpanzees have given me so much. The long hours spent with them in the forest have enriched my life beyond measure. What I have learned from them has shaped my understanding of human behavior, of our place in nature.” – Jane Goodall
This gave birth to “Banana Club”, it is what she calls her methodology, a feeding method which bonded her even closer to them, and her observations became more fruitful.She used to live with them in the trees, eat their food, imitated their behaviors and made them imitate her’s.Her findings concluded that they had a distinct language consisting of 20 different sounds which they used to communicate.She observed them eating meat, which was new to ethologists as they previously considered them as vegetarians.She saw them using tools to hunt, catch and trap insects. which was considered previously as a human trait.She declared that touch, hugs an embraces were used by chimpanzees too, to comfort or show affection towards each other.
In 1965, National Geographic collaborated with her and a documentary called “Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees“, was broadcasted on television on December 22, 1965.It was a treat to watch for me later in my early teens.I became fascinated by her bonding with the chimpanzees.The way they loved and hugged her was amazing, but i didn’t knew that it took her so many years to develop that type of association.I came to know her research findings through the documentary, i thought whatever she was doing for nature and animal conservation and documenting their behavior was extra ordinary and that’s how i came to know about Jane Goodall.
By 80’s the population of chimpanzees was going instinct.This effected her the most, because she shared a special relationship with them.She went around the world to raise awareness in humanity to preserve animals, their environment and habitats.How can one feel, when one gives up all life to nurture a life form man is so hell-bent to destroy??? She said:
” Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved.” – Jane Goodall
She also said regarding Chimpanzees and animals:
“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” – Jane Goodall
She decided to create a Jane Goodall Institute, for conservation of chimpanzees in particular, nature and environment in general.Her purpose was to create a new generation of researchers, whom she can transfer her knowledge and responsibilities to.
“My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature. ” – Jane Goodall
I am truly impressed by her.She makes me realize that only those who dream, have the right to see it in reality as well.She is a proof that passion and a will for dedication sometimes surpasses lack of knowledge, infact it helps in gaining knowledge as well.There should be something in the lives of each of us, which makes us leaves our homes, leave the comfort of our houses, leave our dear ones, just to connect with it – our passion and dream.Such an enormous sheer sincerity is demand of each field in life.Nothing in the world is as important as nature itself, and we have no right to force nature to change it’s course, as it is as fatal for us as for nature.
“If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.” – Jane Goodall
“Anyone who tries to improve the lives of animals invariably comes in for criticism from those who believe such efforts are misplaced in a world of suffering humanity.” – Jane Goodall
According to Jane, we cannot consider conservation of animal life or plant life as less important than humanity.She thinks that humanity depends greatly on nature, and maybe some of our plights are created when we defy nature laws, and destroy it:
“In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.” – Jane Goodall
Jane also thought our behavior towards nature and natural elements like animals as unethical:
“The more we learn of the true nature of non-human animals, especially those with complex brains and corresponding complex social behavior, the more ethical concerns are raised regarding their use in the service of man — whether this be in entertainment, as “pets,” for food, in research laboratories, or any of the other uses to which we subject them.” – Jane Goodall
I have learnt from her life that animals need natural habitats.We can show our care for them and keep them in our houses as pets to protect them from harshness of material world that man has created, but it could be better if we place them in an environment they are more suitable in, an environment they are born for, especially wild animals.An aquarium can never replace a sea, no apartment can let a dog run about, or no leash walks can provide him the exercise he deserves.Caging birds for our happiness and companionship is ethically incorrect.
She symbolises peace.She herself also said:
“It is the peace of the forest i carry inside” – Jane Goodall
Finally, i have learnt about human negligence and heedlessness and insensitivity towards nature.Other forms of life in this world depend upon us for their survival.We need to realize that human decline is only because we have turned blind towards animals and plants, considering them least important.The circle of life is incomplete without them, infact, we depend on them in return for our survival as well.
“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” – Jane Goodall
A beautiful piece of Maulana Jallaluddin Rumi’s writings, i post with many thanks to Subhan Zain, a wonderfully talented blogger:
I Am A Sculptor
I am a sculptor, a molder of form.
In every moment I shape an idol.
But then, in front of you, I melt them down
I can rouse a hundred forms
and fill them with spirit,
but when I look into your face,
I want to throw them in the fire.
My souls spills into yours and is blended.
Because my soul has absorbed your fragrance,
I cherish it.
Every drop of blood I spill
informs the earth,
I merge with my Beloved
when I participate in love.
In this house of mud and water,
my heart has fallen to ruins.
Enter this house, my Love, or let me leave.
The Divani Shamsi Tabriz, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things;
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell;
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And, for the Spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Give all you have for loveliness;
Buy it, and never count the cost!
For one white, singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost;
And for a breath of ecstasy,
Give all you have been, or could be.
Poet: Sara Teasdale