The forests, the trees, the flora and the fauna housing in and Coleridge around us are all our kinsmen, these do deserve protection and preservation. Indian sub-continent is having a multifaceted religion, cultural, linguistic and ethnic ethos where various festivals are being celebrated. And amongst those, Vanamahostava, a festival of tree culture and planting is most reverentially celebrated annually with the onset of monsoon to protect and preserve the degrading environment over this only bio-sustaining planet – the mother Earth. Elsewhere across the world, this is also celebrated enthusiastically for greening the globe. Some 65 (Sixty-five) years back, first Vanamahostava was celebrated with much fan and fair to awake and sensitize public masses in general and younger generations in particular about the importance of forests and all other forms of bio life and to dedicate this day for environmental protection for its stability and sustainability.
The concept of forest preservation and conservation has over the millennia past been honoured with utmost regard in almost all our religious scripts, the Vedas Purans and Upanisads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharta. The Quran, the Guru Granth Saheb the Bible speak volumes of the importance of the forests and its surroundings. Thus, as such Mr. J.Evenly rightly remarked, “we had better be without gold then our forests”. But it is dismally to say that this invaluable asset is going to be driven to the verge of extinction so to say towards death Knell. The axe and the gun had over the years been the only tools in hands of mad civilized man to eke out living not only for his need but more so for greed. Still sad is the careless handling of cigarette bit which may spell the doom forestry business and destroy the wildlife housing in and around the forests.
On the occasion of the celebration of the first Vanamahostava, our late President Dr.Rajinder Prasad rightfully remarked, “I wonder sometimes if there is any source which gives us so much and of which we know so little as forest”. In the same vein Mr.K.M.Munshi, the then food and agriculture minister said, “May the Gods, the Water, the Plants and the Forest trees accept our prayers and protect us forever and ever”. And he also further emphasized that if the nation has to be survive, the philosophy of life must be understood not only in ideas, words and deeds but in terms which would replant us firmly on earth and under a shady tree. The trees are the poems mother earth writes upon the sky, we fell them down and turn into paper that we may record our emptiness. The present day scenario is perfectly like that and the nature warns us to be forestry conscious and save the planet at all costs. Add to it, the appealing of Sheikh Nur-u-Din Wali who says,“Ann Paoshi tele Paoshi Van” which means food will last so long as forests.
It would, therefore, be most pertinent to note that our forest unlike other natural resources are ever renewable and their protection and preservation is of far greater importance than we have our life to us. Our life is wholly solely dependent upon forests and of bereft of these, our life would be a dull dying desert.
Let us think over as to what our revered Brhadarenyaka Upanisad enlighten us, “As a mighty tree is so indeed a man, his hair are leaves and the skin outer bark and its nerves are tough like inner fibre. His bones are wood within and marrow resembling pith. A tree when it is felled springs up from its root in a newer form, form what root does a man spring forth when he is cut off by death?
Undoubtedly, therefore, it is nature (Pakriti) and the process of her laws which are to be revered and going against those shall obliterate the entire ecosystem. As a result, therefore, we are subject to multihued problems e.g. mounting pollution, global warming tantamount to melting of snows and glaciers. There is over flooding of rivers resulting into uprising of water in seas and islands, apart from abrupt climatic changes and water crisis etc. Though the list is as long as unending.
The forest department commemorated 131 foundation day in Srinagar the other day on 24th June to mark 131 years of dedicated service.
Around 100 officers and officials of different ranks including retired officers participated in oath online and offline. Department acknowledge landmark achievement of planting 1.37 crores saplings last year. And this year the target are likely to be enhanced to provide green cover. This shall boost preservation and conversation of forest and wildlife and ecosystem. Going It is most prudent for all nations of the world to launch a gigantic programmed for extensive / intensive afforestation so that all barren and denuded areas are well clothes by trees cover to avert the fragile soil of its being eroded. The denuded mountainous tops are to be prioritized as the landslides and erosions shoot off from there and unless our mountains are safe, the low lying areas shall always be in peril. A man mountain relationship needs to be established. The policy makers on the environment shall have to pick up the thread in the orientation of new policies for all safeguards.
On the occasions of this year’s Vanamahostava celebration, let us all irrespective of gender or age plant at least ten plants as the saying goes; equal to ten wells is a tank, equal to ten tanks is a son and equal to ten sons is a tree (Agni Puran). After planting, our job is not over but thence after it becomes our bounden duty for the cares and upbringing of these plants like our progeny with love and affection. It is only then that these plants shall behold us with due regards.
As a corollary, therefore, let us pledge to protect and preserve our natural resources-the forest, its flora and fauna, its soil and minerals for the posterity otherwise they will be blaming us forever and ever. Let us learn to love nature as she loves us and without of her being with us we are no longer sustainable. If we do not protect nature and its surroundings, we as well do not deserve the right to protect ourselves at nature’s cost. All the developments we are doing and of which we are the most boastful are at the cost of nature which warrants to be replenished. Let nature and the process of her laws coexists and are honored alongside our developmental activities harmoniously.
Once this process is judiciously put in a place, only then we can claim to be the pride of nation and the most revered – “Mother earth”. Plant, protect and safeguard the planet, mother earth on all occasion, at all costs.
The author is Former Dy. Conservator of forest, J&Kglkhajuriafor@gmail.com Mob: 9797683140