It doesn’t seem like a college campus by any stretch of one’s imagination.
Once I entered the IIT Madras campus through the Taramani gate it looked like a proper park with few buildings punctuating the forested area and a well maintained path leading the visitor to its heart.
The trees, the monkeys and deer all seemed to indicate somehow I had escaped the suffocating urban maze of Chennai.
Cycling through the Sylvan paths instead of dodging vehicles on the roads was a liberating experience.
I began to wonder why is the campus not open for the common people. Surely the people would cherish and honour the beauty of this little treasure in their city.
Sadly my assumptions were proven wrong when my guide told me it’s only the outsiders who bring vehicles inside. Bringing in pollution and chaos along with them.
The students are strictly warned against getting any such scooters or bikes for their daily commutes. Cycles are the only preferred form of transportation inside the campus.
It got me thinking, if the campus was opened to the public, the beauty of the place would be lost. Refuse and waste would suffocate the place just like any public park.
Is that the key to protecting all our diminishing natural parks and forests?
Limited or Controlled human access might be the last refuge for the wild in our country.
Maybe for the time being, its best to keep the ordinary public out of this sanctuary in Chennai. Maybe this policy should be more strictly applied to other places in and around city as well that have experienced a sharp degradation in recent times such as the Pallikarni marsh areas.