#savebharatvan – uncanny powers of pro-active citizenship exercised by Nagpur citizen
The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe as its handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them.
The traditional Indian belief says, Yatha Raj thatha Praja.
If being the governors of our law order and way of life, you take actions that involve large scale murder & displacement of living things, then in generations to come it will become a way of life. If the mentality of displacement becomes a way of life, then there will come a day when there won’t be any place to move on to. The current government is a strong government a relatively young government an energetic government and the trends show that the current status quo will continue for a few more years. You will be defining the course the country will take – the paths it will charter. We the citizens beseech you to be in addition to all the qualities above, be a Kind & Sensible government. We want you to take us forward and let that path not lead to a precipice/ ledge which leads to an abyss.
With great power comes great responsibility. Wield yours Responsibly.
A humble citizen.
“Hey Doc, I heard that Bharatvan is saved” – The Whatsapp messages have not stopped since the last 3 days. My reply to each Bharatvan well-wisher – “Let us hold our celebrations till the final verdict of the honorable court and let’s continue exercising all-round active-citizenship.”
As I start writing this almost 72 hours after hearing the confirmatory news that Bharatvan has been saved, I am still a little skeptical as to whether this is really true. The mind also starts thinking about many other sinister possibilities that the present news that Bharatvan is saved might herald. If they have spared Bharatvan, which other urban jungles are they going to cut next? The mind naturally asks.
The cause of the present incredulity & anxiety is also the fact that many decisions of the Indian administrative services are politician dependent instead of being system-dependent; the word of an influential tree-cutting-road-building minister may often be the final word on the subject. It is also a very well-known fact that the words can change over time or the word meanings may get differently interpreted later on. Politicians are also known to have a different lingua franca which requires careful interpretation to understand the deeper meanings of their statements. So, while we must all be definitely happy about the recent news in newspapers about the administrators sparing Bharatvan & looking for an alternative road from Ravinagar square to Futala, but we must not lose our guard and remain vigilant of everything that happens around us.
And If the news is really true, then the save Bharatvan citizen movement will go into the annals of the history as one of the finest battle fought by the citizen of Nagpur to save their trees in this beautiful still-green city, ably supported by volunteers and guardian angels from all the corners of the world.
Firstly, for those who came late, Its time to recap the savebharatvan story. I came to know that the road in front of Futala lake in Nagpur (West) off Amravati Road is proposed to be beautified through a discussion on my Whatsapp group “Half Day Wildlife” around 8th November 2018. It was learned that various agencies were undertaking this beautification and development work. It was also learned that authorities were going to take ecologically damaging steps of cutting down the vast number of trees and also clog the catchment areas of the Futala lake to beautify the area. Clearance had been given by the Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) for handing over of near about one Hectare of its land to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and Maha-Metro for construction of the alternate concrete road between Bharat Nagar square on Amravati Road to Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran Office at Telangkhedi Hanuman Mandir Road. It was further reported that for the said road near about 500 or more big fully grown-up trees would be brutally cut.
Following a discussion on my travel & nature discussion WhatsApp group “Half Day Wildlife”, letters were written to all stakeholders and policymakers requesting them to stop this sacrilege, for these are venerable trees, supporting Nagpur for over 100 years. The Honourable High court took supreme cognizance of this letter written by Honorary Wildlife Warden Dr. Jaydeep Das and admitted a Suo-moto Public Interest Litigation and appointed Adv Kartik Shukul as the amicus-curie in this case. Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Maha Metro, PDKV, Heritage committee, PWD were made the primary respondents in this “citizen of Nagpur vs the administrators of Nagpur” head-on fight to save these 500+ trees case ; and the honorable High court gave a “tree-cutting-stay” and invited reactions on the citizen’s allegations from the various authorities named in the PIL.
This is where I came into the scene again. Following inputs from Half-Day Wildlife members, we planned and executed a series of events around “Saving Bharat Van” and wrote about them and created short audio-visual reports which got circulated to everyone in Nagpur thanks to a team of active social media warriors led by the dynamic Vaibhav Shinde Patil of team Ek Vadal Bharatcha and others. To execute these events, we kept finding cool, young guys with raw energy and out of the box ideas who volunteered and made each event a big hit. The story of saving bharatvan is a perfect case study in “People Management” or more correctly “Volunteer Management”. The city of Nagpur saw an unprecedented turnout of supremely capable and creative people ranging from kids to students to grandparents to working professionals to housewives to teachers who contributed in small parts as per their time, availability and interest to constantly fuel the movement by bringing in new, innovative, out of the box campaign ideas to keep the #savebharatvan topic trending and alive in public memory for close to one year.
One of the very first tools that we used to create awareness was the creation of 2 Rap songs which instantly connected with the youth of Nagpur and explained to them the Bharatvan problem and the possible solutions in simple words. The rap songs were created by the supremely talented artists of Nagpur Aniesh Rana and DPD aka Bhaiyo ka Bhai. The story of this movement is also a perfect case study of “Campaign Management” where a small core team of very positive, creative and straight thinking, analytical individuals directed a big group of volunteers doing various tasks, everything in sync with one another to do a series of events over the last 1 year to create awareness about Bharatvan to keep on connecting with other volunteers and doing innovative events to keep the topic trending.
The Nagpur press supported the citizen and became its mouthpiece, the voice of the citizen. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. The human chain on 1 May 2019 was an amalgamation of minds and hearts that were synchronized as one to show the strength of a purpose they were all committed to. A union of hands by world record creating Human Chain consisting of 7000+ citizens of Nagpur was the strong barricade against the ill-conceived thoughts of the planners. It was a show of strength of opposition to unsustainable development……….. ( to be continued in part 2)
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