The Man Who Grew A Forest On His Own!
For the past thirty years, he has been doing all to ensure that his native region gets greener. He has grown forests on almost brown hills and today when he sees people âtalkingâ green, he feels pained, for he believes in simply doing. Itâs time we learn a lesson from Sachidanand Bharti and get inspired by his love for green.
He is media-shy yet he is written about every time the issue is âgreenâ. He is a school-teacher but he is basically a climate crusader. He looks like any other man, but is known as the âtree manâ of Uttarakhand. And why not when he has played a crucial role in the reforestation of around a thousand hectares of land in Uttarakhand?
Meet Sachidanand Bharti, a school teacher, who, for the past three decades, has been doing all he can to ensure that Uttarakhand is as green as it can be.
Inspired by the Chipko Andolan of the 1980s, Bharti, along with a couple of like-minded people, decided to restore forests in his region. Though the task was daunting, Bharti and his team obviously never lost focus.
Today, when you ask Bharti about what made him do this, he says,
âWhen I reached my village Uffrain Khal after completing my studies, I was extremely disappointed to see the trouble the women of my village had to face in ensuring basic needs like fuel wood and fodder. It was all due to degeneration of forests and it was more of an embarrassment.â
He goes on to add,
âThen I decided I must do something to improve the state of affairs of the region. I began with motivating village folk to do their bit in the name of reforestation. And today, it has paid. It is all out of motivation and interest. Not a single penny has been sought from the government to regenerate forest on the around-1000 hectare of mountain land and the over 20,000 ponds created in the last 30 years.â
Though sharing this information telephonically, one could make out the pride he took in narrating his achievement.
He even invited this reporter to Ufrain Khal to see the forest and feel the thick humus that makes it difficult for one to walk on the land except for the designated pathways. âIt is a full-fledged natural forest,â says Bharti.
So does he feel satisfied after tasting success?
âTo an extent, yes, but much needs to be done to restore the old practices of this region, which play a crucial role in ensuring the green cover,â says Bharti with a voice full of concern. "Conservation of rain water on hills is very important for a forest. For this, there is this concept of Chaals and Khaals, which is nothing but about saving rain water in small ponds. We encouraged people to revive the tradition and the results are there for everyone to see.â
Bharti and his team have been instrumental in building an approximately 20,000 chaals. The numbers are estimates, because they do not count it, they simply do their bit.
Pic Courtesy: thehindu.com
Taking the discussion to a newer domain, Sachidanand says,
âIt is really sad to see the government taking no interest in reforestation. Whatever is being done is more of a lip service than actual work. There is obviously no emotional attachment and probably thatâs why the situation is so.â
Ask him to comment further in the light of increasing environment awareness, and he rues,
âIt is more of a fashion these days to talk about environment. There is hardly any emotional connect. Thatâs the reason why despite the so-called âincreasing awarenessâ, cases of forest fires in areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal are a routine.â
He goes on to add, before the poor signal finally played a spoil sport and disconnected the call, âPeople with vested interests have commercialised environment-related issues and now, it has taken the form of a full-fledged industry. This is sad.â Indeed this is sad.
Having said that, why canât we take a leaf from his book? We may be in the urban concrete jungles, but we too can do something to ensure that the Godâs-not-so-green earth gets greener. Also, we must simply not talk about conserving forests and protecting greenery, we must actually do something, just like Sachidanand Bharti has been doing for decades.
If he, with his modest resources could do it, we surely can, given the luxuries we enjoy. So, do give it a thought, and then, do act on it.
| Previous Post|
Project Akshar: Social Change Through Student Entrepreneurship
| Next Post|
Flower Power: Rosy Future For Floriculture