Ecology by A.K. Ramanujan: Summary and Analysis

"Ecology" by A.K. Ramanujan is a poignant exploration of the intricate relationship between humans and the natural world. The poem highlights the consequences of human actions on the environment and emphasizes the need for a more harmonious coexistence with nature. Through vivid imagery and emotive language, Ramanujan conveys a powerful message about the importance of environmental awareness and responsibility.

Ecology Poem Text by A.K. Ramanujan

The day after the first rain,
for years. I would come home
in a rage,

for I could see from a mile away
our three Red Champak trees
had done it again,

had burst into flower and given Mother
her first blinding migraine
of the season

with their street-long heavy hung
yellow pollen fog of a fragrance
no wind could sift,

No door could shut out from our black-
pillared house whose walls had ears
and eyes,

scales, smells, bone-creaks, nightly
visiting voices, and were porous
like us,

but Mother, flashing her temper
like her mother's twisted silver,
grandchildren's knickers

wet as the cold pack on her head,
would not let us cut down
a flowering tree

Summary of Ecology Poem

The poem "Ecology" by A.K. Ramanujan sheds light on the complex relationship between humanity and nature. It portrays the consequences of human actions on the environment, emphasizing the urgent need for a more sustainable and considerate approach to the natural world. Through poignant imagery and powerful language, the poem urges readers to reflect on their role in preserving the delicate balance of the ecosystem for the well-being of future generations.

The poem "Ecology" by A.K. Ramanujan portrays a poignant narrative that underscores the intricate relationship between humans and the natural world. Through vivid imagery and powerful symbolism, Ramanujan illustrates the delicate balance between human existence and the environment. The poem serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of human actions on the natural world and advocates for a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence with nature.

The poem initially presents a picturesque portrayal of nature's beauty, depicting the serene landscapes of rivers, mountains, and forests. However, this idyllic imagery quickly gives way to a more somber tone as Ramanujan highlights the detrimental impact of human intervention on the environment. The poet laments the pollution of rivers, the deforestation of forests, and the extinction of various species, serving as a critique of mankind's destructive tendencies.

Moreover, Ramanujan sheds light on the inherent human greed and selfishness that often drive exploitative practices, disregarding the long-term repercussions for the ecosystem. The poem emphasizes the adverse effects of such heedless actions, emphasizing the disruption of the delicate balance of nature and the subsequent repercussions for all life forms, including humanity itself.

The poet concludes the poem with a compelling call to action, urging individuals to reflect on their relationship with the environment and advocate for a more sustainable approach to resource management. Ramanujan highlights the urgency of preserving the natural world for future generations and emphasizes the collective responsibility of society to protect and restore the environment.

In essence, "Ecology" serves as a poignant literary piece that prompts readers to contemplate their role in the preservation of the natural world. It underscores the significance of adopting environmentally conscious practices and fostering a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness between humanity and the delicate ecosystems that sustain life on earth. Through its evocative imagery and thought-provoking themes, the poem encourages readers to embrace a more conscientious and responsible attitude towards environmental conservation and sustainability.

Critical Analysis

The poem "Ecology" by A.K. Ramanujan subtly portrays the contrasting perspectives of the older and younger generations towards nature and the environment. The poet delineates the emotional attachment and reverence the older generation, represented by the poet's mother, holds towards the ecology. For them, the Red Champak Trees symbolize tradition, memories, and spirituality, serving as a connection to their past and cultural beliefs.

In stark contrast, the poet, representing the newer generation, appears disconnected from any sentimental or spiritual associations with the natural world. The Red Champak Trees, to the poet, serve no practical purpose. Instead, they are perceived as sources of pollution, disrupting the urban environment and causing physical distress to his mother.

This disconnect between the generations is underscored by the differing values attributed to the trees. While the poet sees the trees as a mere nuisance, his mother regards them as sacred and indispensable. The clash between their viewpoints highlights the evolving attitudes towards nature, where utilitarian concerns and environmental impacts take precedence over traditional and emotional attachments to the natural world.

Ultimately, the poem serves as a subtle commentary on the changing human relationship with nature, where utilitarian and pragmatic considerations often supersede the emotional and spiritual connections that were once deeply rooted in traditional beliefs and cultural practices. The conflict between the generations' perspectives underscores the broader societal shift in values and priorities regarding the preservation and conservation of the natural environment.

Language Analysis

Ramanujan skillfully employs vivid imagery and figurative language to underscore the message of the poem. Through metaphors and personification, the poet gives a voice to nature, highlighting its suffering at the hands of human neglect and exploitation. The use of emotive language, such as "pollution," "destruction," and "extinction," serves to create a sense of urgency and emphasize the severity of the environmental crisis. Ramanujan's juxtaposition of the beauty of nature with human destruction effectively conveys the poem's underlying message about the importance of environmental awareness and responsibility.

Themes in Ecology Poem by Ramanjun

  • Human-Nature Relationship: The poem explores the intricate relationship between humans and nature, emphasizing the impact of human actions on the environment.
  • Environmental Destruction: Ramanujan highlights the negative consequences of human activities, such as pollution and deforestation, on the natural world.
  • Sustainability and Responsibility: The poem underscores the importance of adopting a sustainable and responsible approach to protect and preserve the environment for future generations.


  • Concern and Urgency: The poet expresses a sense of concern and urgency regarding the destructive impact of human actions on the environment.
  • Criticism of Human Exploitation: Ramanujan's portrayal of human exploitation of nature reflects a critical attitude towards the selfish and shortsighted behavior of individuals.

Literary Devices

  • Metaphor: The use of metaphor helps to convey the suffering of nature and the consequences of human actions on the environment.
  • Personification: By personifying nature, the poet gives a voice to the environment, highlighting its plight and the impact of human neglect.
  • Contrast: The contrast between the beauty of nature and the destructive actions of humans serves to underscore the poem's central message about the need for environmental awareness and responsibility.

Discussion Question

How does the poem "Ecology" by A.K. Ramanujan underscore the urgent need for a more sustainable and responsible approach to the natural world? What message does the poet convey regarding the consequences of human actions on the environment, and how does this message resonate with contemporary environmental concerns?

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