Trees occupy central positions in the annals of Indian civilisation. A tree is the most visible representative of mother nature to an individual. There are many hymns in India since time immemorial in praise of trees. Some trees, such as mango, banyan etc. occupy extremely revered positions while other trees are also worshipped.
Thus, there is a custom after all auspicious functions (such as worshipping a deity) the priest sprinkles sacred water (shanti jal) over the gathering of worshippers chanting a mantra that prays for “shanti” (peace) for everything including trees (vanaspataye shanti….).
The mandatory inclusion of trees in the functions has deep rooted connotations since the oriental civilization in general and Indian civilization in particular have essentially grown in sync with the mother nature as our ancestors obviously found nature’s bounty a gift from the Almighty in realizing a life characterized by plain living and high thinking which has since become the main tenet of the Indian civilization.
Generations of Indians only multiplied the words of praise for the trees. Thus, one finds the later day poets and thinkers devoting considerable creative energy praising trees. Rabindranath Tagore wrote profusely on trees. His poems such as “Ak Je Chhilo Gaachh..” (There was a tree..) or ”Taal Gaachh” (Palm tree) speak volumes. Western nations also provide ample examples of praise of trees. For example, one may quote Bertold Brecht’s celebrated poem “To Posterity” where the poet writes: “…Ah what an age it is / When to speak of trees is almost a crime”.
While the ancestors’ concept of trees as close comrades –in-arms of human beings could have been speculative the modern-day Indian discovered experimental ways to prove it scientifically. Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose’s celebrated apparatus called “crescograph” proved conclusively that trees communicate with each other as well as with other forms of life including humans too. Likewise, a group of trees in a forest like Bharatvan protect each other, share food, communicate with each other much more than we humans do. Murdering a tree is murdering soil networks that take hundreds and thousands of years to form. It’s about time we acknowledge the fact that trees play an essential role in the consciousness of humans, and they are much more than “organic robots” designed to produce oxygen, timber and shade.
With regard to the “Bharat van” these points will translate into developing it without destroying any tree. There may come up some or all of the following: a natural outdoor centre for yoga and meditation, a place for social gatherings and picnics in nature , a place for birdwatching & morning walks in nature, a place for nature interpretation, a place which acts as the preventive and social medicine to keep the citizen of Nagpur away from the ills of nature deficit disorder.
To make the people of Nagpur realise the importance of trees and to reconnect lost individuals with Mother Nature , Apna Van Bharat Van volunteers and Half Day Wildlifers invites nature loving citizen of Nagpur to join traveller Dr Abheek Ghosh, birdwatching expert Shirish Nakhale, herpetologist Praveen Katre & Ketan Pandey to support #SaveBharatvan. These walks will also document the biodiversity of Bharat Van and we invite students and volunteers to join us in this process of citizen fuelled biodiversity survey.
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