Even as Covid -19 has squelched humanity’s pride in itself to almost naught, but it has not numbed the titanic strength of its questioning mind. In the human evolution the birth of intellectualism, which I consider to have been its last mental creation, has been an awesome pillar of strength to it. Even when physically crippled, intellect can give man enormous rustication to bring him back to his feet. It is this power which is at work in the writing of this book.
The first thing that intrigues the reader of this book is its title: Earth on Trial – Fighting the Visible and Invisible Enemies. Which are the enemies of the earth, and furthermore, which are visible and which are invisible? The book having been written during the pandemic, one would think, going over its contents, that the chapters Covid – 19: Earth on Trial, Black Lives Matter, and The Broken System and the Dietary Supplements are the visible enemies. But which are the invisible enemies? Are the problems described in the chapters: My Ancestral Land, The Last Smile, and South Asia Comes to America visible or invisible? Only the books author can illuminate us on that.
The most interesting thing about this book is that the author throws to wind the book’s title when in Prologue he writes, “This book is a humble attempt to gather information, and write a chronology of my life during this pandemic, to tell our story, which is intertwined with world history.” Our story means author and his family’s story. That explains why the book has the chapters My Ancestral Land and South Asia Comes to America and bears pictures of him and his family.
Such a book as this is very difficult to write as you have to be able to connect the impersonal with the personal. The author has taken this awesome challenge and let us see if he has met it or not.
The book starts with Covi-19: Earth on Trial. The author has described in reasonably good detail the emergence of the pandemic and specifically how it has impacted U.S. He has described Trump’s deliberate hands-off approach, and at times going against science, to the solution of the problem because of the higher priority he attached to get himself reelected. The author also dwells on how life in U.S. will follow after the pandemic. Overall, it is a good informative chapter on the catastrophe that has ravaged the world, whose impact will shadow it for decades, and make some significant medical, business, social, and human life-style changes in its wake.
The second chapter, Black Lives Matter, is the most successful chapter of the book. It gives concisely, though significantly, the history of the 400-year-old racism between the whites and the blacks in U.S. It introduces the significant black leaders that changed the degree of the racism over the long haul of time. One would have thought that the American Civil War (1861 – 65) would have ended it once for all. But it didn’t, showing us that certain human group differences overwhelm quite a large number of us, in spite of our developed humanity and intellectualism.
The chapter on the multi-billion-dollar U.S. dietary supplements industry and the shocking lack of any governmental controls on it is well researched. It lays bare the damage the dietary supplements do every year to the millions of unsuspecting youths who are their biggest and the most ardent consumers. Most of the supplements’ claims are not verified by its manufacturers and have most of the times not been experienced by its consumers. Sometimes they have even caused a lot of harm to them, including death. It is well worth reading.
Jeevan Zutshi is a passionate social activist who has embarked upon bringing together diverse immigrant communities and locals in California. He has the ability to convert his personal ambitions to social good of the people he lives with.
The book gives us an impetus to think about humanity and its delicate future at this time of a devastating pandemic. Also, as human civilization as we know it now is still a young phenomenon, about 70,000 years old, since Home Sapiens gained the powers of cognition due to chemical changes in their brains.
Suffern, New York, Feb. 14, 2021