India The Perfect Place to give the World a Better Nature-Centric Development Model

While man is putting together all his efforts to create a new life on Mars and explore other planets, the earth is being deeply ignored. We live in an illusion of awareness of Earth being affected by human activities. Everybody thinks they are wise and know their environment and habitat, but they are not doing full justice to the flora and fauna around them!

The need to discuss and bring forth issues to create a nature-centric society and eco-centric lifestyle arise from our consciousness to sustain life on earth. Humans have understood that their greed is limitless and cannot be catered to by the limited resources on earth. We measure a lifestyle using materialistic things owned by individuals and as a nation. Whether rich in oil, coal, forests, or endangered species, we are all involved in the rat race. Consumerism has taken a heavy toll on sensible beings who have lost their way home, shrouded by the flashiness of world markets.

India is the pioneer in creating a perfect eco-centric model. All our projects, whether harnessing rivers, cutting roads in the mountains, managing floods, preventing earthquakes, increasing forest area, or conserving wildlife species, are based on our nature-centric knowledge. We as a nation share a common vision with our government to create a sustainable living for our people and create a role model for the world to follow.

New Leadership

On August 15th 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at the Red Fort to the nation on our 75th anniversary of Independence. PM Modi gave India five resolutions for a better future. Regarding the “Panchpran” or “The Five Resolutions,” Prime Minister Modi stated that over the next 25 years, we must strongly highlight the following five goals;

(1) He urged his supporters to work towards making India a developed country and mentioned that we must work towards the development of entire humanity

(2) PM Modi wants us to forget our colonial past and erase traces of servitude from our minds

(3) He reminded us that we should be proud of our ancient legacy and our duties to the nation. Prime Minister Modi argued that talent in India frequently gets mentally imprisoned by language barriers because of the colonial mentality. Whether or not they knew them, he urged India to be proud of their native tongues. He added that we should be grateful that our ancestors contributed those languages to the world. He advised us to be proud of our heritage.

(4) The environmental movement talked about how our ancestors worked in unity and taught us how to coexist with nature. While the rest of the world is attempting to find a solution to global warming and mental health problems, he noted that our forefathers worked on these problems and provided all-inclusive remedies.

(5) He also urged a sense of duty among the citizens to work towards the nation’s development.

Prime Minister Modi talked about the holistic lifestyle we have followed for centuries. He suggested that since our ancestors provided solutions to global warming, we could bring change worldwide. The world is looking at Ayurveda, a holistic lifestyle, and more than India can provide. He highlighted India’s recent achievements, including producing more than 200 crores of Covid-19 vaccinations, providing tap water to millions of families, eliminating open defecation, using ethanol-blended gasoline, and more. (Refer Flow Chart 1)


Today, the measure of a good life has become the quantum of possessions owned by an individual, institution, or country. The current situation of worldly living and overused notions of growth prevalent all around us may be attributed to the constricting culture of consumerism and globalization.

Just like the tiny rain droplets turn into floods, the unceasing negligence of humans towards nature and natural resources has led to ozone depletion, greenhouse effects, and climate change. Climate change has woken up the whole world, and a concerted effort is needed to go green. In the race of advancement and industrialization, humans have realized that “Nature can cater to man’s need but cannot cater to man’s greed.” As per the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, the current generation should ‘meet the needs of the present without compromising the future generation’s ability to meet their own needs, especially with regards to use and waste of natural resources.’ In simple terms, greed is pushing us to use earth’s resources, and we are leaving nothing for our future generations. Global challenges like melting ice caps at poles, increasing extinction of animals, and climatic change have pushed humanity to look back on the old practices. The world now admits that sustainable development is the only way forward, and we must transform our world in harmony with nature.


Bharat (India) has a 10,000-year-old history where we have remained obedient citizens of nature. Ancient Bharatiya (Indian) culture coexisted with nature. Evidence for the same exists even today in our lifestyle and is seen in our cultural and religious rituals. Since it coexists subconsciously, we are unaware of the same, but it remains alive. Regarding sustainable development, India is the perfect model for nature-centric approaches to the rest of the world. This book is a curtain raiser to understanding the Indian cultural system, which summarizes the practices in consideration of environmental protection, making humans coexist in complete harmony with nature and natural resources. Let us check out how and why!

Our Vedas taught us not to harm the environment. The ancient religious texts that originated in ancient Bharat (India) emphasized the need to protect the water and all types of plants and animals. It educated us that earth is our mother and that we are her children. We are trained never to harm our water sources and keep the waters fresh. Live in tranquility with the atmosphere, water, crops, and vegetation. It is not just the Vedas that talks about managing, protecting, and preserving natural resources. Much literature touches upon the same subject, including our Upanishads, Arthashasthra, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. Verses upon verses remind us to live harmoniously with the environment and our forests.

Our ancestors never considered the environment as an object. For us, nature is alive, and we learn immensely from it. We also worship our rivers and trees. River worship is symbolic in the form to worship of water, as is evident in the names that have been used to denote them. Trees in their natural form are glorified. Nature was something to be revered, respected, and feared. Disasters were perceived as valuable lessons and tools to wipe out our mistakes and maintain a balance. The availability and management of our natural resources were decentralized. (Refer Color Plate 1)

 Bharat (India) is known as the land of multiple gods. We worship and respect everything that has life. We believe in God’s omnipresence, including trees, plants, animals, rivers, and mountains. Bharatiya (Indian) culture is a treasury of sustainability tips, and we must use it for our benefit.

How We Used to Manage

We successfully led our lives using a minimalistic model. When it comes to documentation, our post-Vedic era developments are somewhat blurred. Still, a prominent characteristic of men from that period was their ‘Shaurya,’ a combination of qualities like strength, control, and patience.

In many parts of Bharat (India), women were clad in only jewelry during that era. A specific space existed for women in society, regarded highly. They were free and lived without any threat or insecurity. It reflects the accepting and progressive mindset of society and men. Women felt exceptionally safe in their presence. It is well accepted that how a society treats its women reflects its extent of development. (Refer Color Plate 2)

Traditional Bharatiya (Indian) water harvesting systems were cost-effective, efficient, and community-based. Percolation ponds called Johads found in northwest Bharat (India) effectively collect and store rainwater. Ahar Pynes found in Bihar consist of channels and retention ponds that irrigate fertile lands, are maintained by multiple farmers, drain water during floods, and retain precious resources during droughts. Zings, found in Ladakh, collect glacier melt in a tank and irrigate crops.

Similarly, Kuhls found in Himachal Pradesh gather glacial water from streams and bring the water into the fields using channels. The Zabo systems in Nagaland accumulate rainwater and channel it down to paddy fields taking manure with it. Pats in Madhya Pradesh are cut into stone cliffs, diversion bunds collect and store the water, and irrigation channels divert the water into the villages. Without the Eris in Tamil Nadu, agriculture would be impossible. It controls soil erosion, stores runoff during the monsoons, helps flood control, and recharges the groundwater. Excavation of archaeological sites and the literature sources have revealed that; the people of Harappa Mohanjodaro and around the Indus River basin (2500 BC) had well-organized sanitary and drainage systems. (Refer Color Plate 3)  

Ancient Bharat (India) traveled from place to place using palanquins and horse-drawn entourages. As far back as 3000 BCE, goods were transported using boats. The whole state of Kerala is connected by the sea, inland backwaters, and rivers. Boats are reasonable, environment-friendly, and reliable modes of transport. Sea trade accounted for 90% of India’s ancient exports. Ports dot the coastline of Bharat (India). They connected Bharat (India) to various Southeast Asian countries and the Mediterranean Sea. 

We followed a simple lifestyle suited to our tropical conditions. Our combs were made of neem and bamboo. Both these plants are well known for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. We used milk and herbs for skincare. Amla, turmeric, shikakai, and soap nuts were also widely used. These products are not harsh on the skin, do not pollute the environment, and do not create additional waste.

We used utensils made from copper, aluminum, and iron for their medicinal qualities. We cooked with these utensils since they conduct heat well, reducing the amount of fuel and fire needed. Water stored in copper vessels has enormous health benefits and is an excellent alternative to plastic bottles. Terracotta pots are making a comeback as an alternative to chemicals and plastic.

Our clothes were made of silk and cotton, which are 100% biodegradable. Clothes went through multiple usage circles before we discarded them. Each piece of clothing lasted several years before ending up in landfills. The idea was to reduce, reuse and recycle.  

The Ajanta caves demonstrate how ancient architects used available natural resources. Low ceilings with sun windows used the sun’s energy to light up the halls and kept the hot air trapped inside. Cool water in surrounding rooms meant that the hot air naturally cooled, keeping the whole cave warm and comfortable.

Bharatiyas (Indians) always lived in harmony with nature. We used a mixture of soil, water, and straw called Cob to build our homes. These structures were earthquake resistant and created zero waste. Waterproof bamboo was used to build houses and bridges. Bharatiya (Indian) architecture was based on the critical concept of environmental conservation. All our ancient cities were well planned, had sewage systems, and excellent water management. We lived in complete harmony with our natural environment. Our building techniques have adapted, adjusted, and accepted ways to coexist with our environment. For centuries, Bharatiya (Indian) building techniques have done the same, and many rural Indians continue to do so.

In Bharat (India), natural resources are used for building purposes. We have used locally available materials to build houses. Our homes never use energy-consuming means to keep them warm or cool. Water supply and drainage systems were based on the same principles. Cement replaced mud, and iron replaced straw. (Refer Color Plate 4)

Present Issue

Much of India’s present greed for materialism and consumerism began primarily due to the arrival of the British. They invaded Bharat (India) not just economically but also socially and culturally.

Indians, primarily, never wrote their history. Successive foreign invaders destroyed our original texts and documented our history for us. Naturally, they jotted down the historical accounts of India from their viewpoint. Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter!

Pre-colonial Bharat (India) is a perfect example of how our societies thrived without giving importance or value to materialism. Though our lives were minimalistic, our living standards were pretty high. The era in question is between 6500 BC to 800 AD.

Reasons Why it Happened?

Despite a long history of social empowerment and equality, we abandoned our modest ways. It happened due to a fundamentally different mindset that influenced ‘Indian’ society during colonial times. Our initial thinking processes changed when our colonizers with western ideas began to shape our thoughts.

The British appearance of supremacy influenced us, and we left behind our native cultural customs. The British people, their lifestyles, clothing, educational techniques, and so forth were all made to appear appealing to overshadow our indigenous traditions. We were made to feel inferior for our ways of wearing and eating. The colonizers used western industrialized methods, which only served to exploit the indigenous while enriching the British. Industrialization was linked with adding value to natural resources and one’s knowledge, wisdom, and skill in India. Many ‘Indians’ experienced an identity crisis due to these clashing ideas.

Strive Till You Succeed

Going back is the only way we can march ahead!

We must embrace the traditional lifestyle and cultural practices, a life in harmony with nature. Plants, animals, and humans must find a balance and create space for each other on our planet. That is the kind of nature-centric lifestyle we aim at as a nation!

India has been a leader in the environmentally friendly practices of its people. The current approach should focus on policies and practices that cut down consumerism’s greed and restore the balance between economy and ecology. Protecting and conserving our land, rivers, water bodies, forests, and wildlife species should be at the forefront of all the policies made in the new Bharat (India).


At a glance, Bharat’s (India’s) history demonstrates the environment-friendly practices of her people. There have been legends in our history who have sacrificed their lives to protect the natural heritage and inspire environment lovers across the globe. Our ancestors have learned crucial aspects of the environment and lived in harmony with nature. But we are losing our traditional practices of sustainable development.

Today, carbon emissions, deforestation, climate change, etc., have become global issues. Looking back into history or following traditional practices will solve these problems. Modernization needs deep inspiration from nature. We need to ponder over our approaches toward development to protect our environment.

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