Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Van Mahotsav

I was at the State Assembly today afternoon for the Van Mahotsav function. Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore had first popularised Van Mahotsav – the festival of planting trees in the month of July - in Shantiniketan.
The Government of India officially initiated this festival in 1950 through politician, educationist and environmentalist K M Munshi, who was also the then Union Minister for Agriculture & Food, to create enthusiasm in the mind of the people for conservation of forests.
It was good to see representatives from all the political parties on the dais - a rare sight in Bengal of late. Besides the Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim and the Deputy Speaker, Asim Dasgupta (Finance Minister), Robin Mandal (Chief Whip CPI-M), Manas Bhuiyan (StateCongress Party President) and Partho Chatterjee (Leader of the Opposition) were there at the function. Not only were they all on the dais, including I, but also planted trees together amid recitation of shlokas (picture).
It is indeed a nice feeling to see members from the three major political parties together to plant mango saplings that would bear fruit for the next generation. Trees are a worthy cause for the politicians to transcend their differences and come together to do something for the next generation.
I recall last year when I was in People’s Republic of Korea I was requested to attend a function for planting a tree with their deputy external affairs minister at the National Park in Seoul (picture). Important representatives of other countries were also there at the function. What I witnessed was that even the tree planting was so well organised down to the minor details like customised tools and implements for digging the soil, pouring water, hand gloves etc.
Yesterday at the Assembly, it was again a nice experience to plant a tree followed by the Rabindra Sangeet, dance and traditional Van Mahotsav songs.
Planting trees do take place on many occasions in India and across the world. But it is not enough. The problem is that we have more tree cutters than tree planters. Has anyone ever spared a thought that had our earlier generation not planted trees there would have been no fruits for our generation after twenty years.
If every one of us planted a single tree a year we would have done a lot to save our habitat and the future from global warming.
ess bee

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