"Trees are an indispensable part of life. Without trees we will not survive. I believe if there is one God which we can see and touch, it is them." said Alok Ulfat, renowned theatre personality, who compered the whole event.
Students participating in the Second Annual Dehra Dun Tree Festival
Students from over 10 schools and colleges participated in the festival, including MKP PG College, Army School Birpur and Clement Town, University of Petroleum and Energy Sciences, John Martin Memorial School, St. Thomas College, St. Joseph's Academy, Oak Grove School Mussorie & Scholars Home.
"We celebrate trees by singing about them, enacting plays, debating, drawing and painting about them" said Anjali Bhatia, a CFGD member. The theme for painting competition was "My Dehra Dun, Clean and Green" while for the poster making competition was "Trees For Life". The paintings and posters were put up later on a wall as an exhibition for people to see and left many speechless.
The stage show began with "Gaura Devi". Staged by the Samgam Sanskrit Manch it received loud applauses frequently from the audience and reminded people of 1970's when the hills of Uttarakhand echoed with the slogan of Chipko. Vriksh Vikalp a play by students of UPES College, Anokha Tofha by children of John Martin Memorial College and Doobta Dehra Dun by MKP College touched an emotional chord with the audience.
"Participating in the play Vriksh Vikalp was really interesting for me" said Shubendra Singh, a student of UPES. "It was really exciting to perform in front of so many people. We had really worked hard, and we hope the message got through to the audience that trees also feel pain when they are cut and they do so much for us, yet we mercilessly chop them down"
Among the participants of the painting competition was 6 yr old Rhea Mary Rao. "I wanted to tell the people of my city not to use polybags and plant more trees. That is why I took part in the painting competition" said Rhea.
The biggest attraction of the festival was undoubtedly the Hug A Tree Corner. People queued up to hug a huge Silver Oak Tree and got their photographs taken. Said Harminder Singh, who studies in SBSPGI College "Today was the first time I hugged a tree and I was surprised that the tree hug me back. It was a touching moment. Now I will try and hug a tree every day."
Among the dignitaries who visited the festival were Prof. Grijesh Pant, VC Doon University, Dr Chetna Pokhriyal, Associate Professor of English, MKP College and Bro. George, Principal of St. Joseph's Academy. "We purposely never have any Chief Guests in our functions" explains Dr Nitin Pandey, a CFGD member "our Chief Guest is the ordinary person, on whom, we shower all our attention, with the hope of sensitizing him to the cause of environment".
As curtains fell on the festival, CFGD members looked happy and tired. Sipping from a cup of fruit juice, Laksha Mehta, an active member of CFGD said "wish we could have shown these plays to some government officials who are bent upon cutting trees, maybe that would have changed their outlook."
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