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“Ek thi Prithvi, Ek thi Gaura”

Gaura Devi inspires City youngsters

Dr Nitin Pandey

30-Sept-2009

Tree Festival, Dehradun, 2009
A Tree Hugger

They used words, songs, skits, dance, prayers, paintings, slogans and even a fancy dress to convey one simple message – without trees our Doon Valley will be an urban wasteland, if we don’t act now, it will be too late.

Citizens For Green Doon on Sunday organized the 1st Annual Dehradun Tree Festival. Though common in the Western World, this tree festival was probably the first in India. “The concept of a tree festival is to appreciate the trees, feel close to them and celebrate being near them” explained Anku Bakshi Sharma, the spokesperson for the group. No wonder that most people headed straight for “Hug a Tree” Corner. “That was the warmest hug I ever received in my life, after my mother’s of course” grinned Shashank Maithani, a 16yr old student who hugged a tree for the first time in her life.

Tree Festival, Dehradun, 2009
The yellow dragon with a "green" spirit

The Festival started with an hour long Artists Convention & Poster Making. “We have purposely not labelled our events as ‘Competition’ said Ruchi Singh Rao, a volunteer of Citizens For Green Doon “competitions raise our tension levels, this on the other hand is a festival, where everyone comes to enjoy” she added. Over 350 students from over a dozen schools of Dehradun participated in the event. The youngest participating artist was 3yr old Niharika Gulati, who drew her house with a tree. After the judges assessed them, these paintings were then put up on a wall as leaves of trees.

Setting the ball rolling was Mrs. Sonia Pandey, who called upon the youth to work actively for protecting the trees of Dehradun. She said that time has come for Doonites to take the reigns of Dehradun into their own hands and not to trust the politicians. ”Most of us have shed tears helplessly when trees were cut over the last few years in silence. Now we must wake up and act” she added.

Tree Festival, Dehradun, 2009
Singers of the Aina Group

Highlight of the show as a performance “Ek thi prithvi, Ek thi Gaura”, a 20 min play by artists of the Sambhav Group. Based on the life of legendary Gaura Devi who ignited the Chipko Movement in the hills of Uttarakhand in the 70’s, the play moved a number of spectators, including the host of the show, Alok Ulfat, a renowned theatre activist himself, to tears. Said Alok “I was so moved by the play that I went backstage and cried!” Alok’s play “Hari Zindagi” was also staged in the festival. Directed by Raman Rawat, the play tells the story of a village headman, who buys air conditioners & cars by getting the trees of his village cut and the protest by the villagers. Both the play received a thundering ovation from the crowd.

Giving a new dimension to the issue of tree chopping, leaders of various faiths talked to the audience about the importance of trees in various religions. While Rev. JP Singh quoted the Bible, Dr. S. Farooq quoted verses from the Koran to highlight the need to save trees. Ms TC Luding from Sakya Hospital read the English translation of a poem by HH The 14th Dalai Lama “The Sheltering Tree”, which points out that Buddha was born under a tree, he gained enlightenment under a tree and passed attained Nirvana, under two trees. She pointed out that in Buddhism it is forbidden for monks to cut trees. Nuns from Sakya Monastery lent the festival a spiritual bent when they prayed for the trees of Dehradun. Monks from Sakya Center also presented “Garcham”, a mask dance, which left the audience speechless.

Tree Festival, Dehradun, 2009
The Mask Dance

Yamini Negi, a student of St. Thomas College, gave a passionate talk on the need to protect the trees of the Doon valley, asking the audience to remember how green our valley was, only a few years ago. “Where have all the trees gone? Where is the fresh air, the morning dew and the monsoon rains? Where are the birds of Doon?” she asked the audience passionately. On the same theme, a group of youngsters, led by Abhinav Goyal, under the banner of Aina Group, sang a song “O Jaag Jay, Bhatke Musafir…” Students of Doon International School sang a beautiful song “Vraksh Mat Kato” and Shweta Kothari, of the same school, gave a talk on the importance of trees.

Tree Festival, Dehradun, 2009
Paintings on the Wall

That the three hour Tree festival left an indelible impression on the mind of visitors was clear from the feelings it provoked in them. Said Swati Bisht, a class 12 student of St. Thomas “To be honest, I had never heard of Gaura Devi before, now when I go home I will search the internet for her. I have become an ardent admirer of Gaura Devi. I wish when I grow up I become as strong a person as she was”

Summing up the evening, Alok Ulfat said “All revolutions come through dance, drama and art. Today we have tried to awaken the love for trees, in these young people using all these three mediums. I think the people of Doon are waking up”.
Tree Festival, Dehradun, 2009
Paintings on the Wall



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Date30-Dec-15
From: Jeffrey Browning - Unintentional pandering to his uncle with diouasnr toys is always appreciated. So glad you two take the time to have pictures taken of Rowan. Posterity thanks you.
Jeffrey Browning - Unintentional pandering to his uncle with diouasnr toys is always appreciated. So glad you two take the time to have pictures taken of Rowan. Posterity thanks you.


Date14-Oct-15
From: Oh Ty what a good job you are doing putting those lveeas back. I cannot wait for you to meet snow. You do such a good job for a dog without a tail. And snow does have lots of tails.
Oh Ty what a good job you are doing putting those lveeas back. I cannot wait for you to meet snow. You do such a good job for a dog without a tail. And snow does have lots of tails.


Date12-Mar-13
From: Manisha sirari
Wow.! It was the best play.i hd ever seen..


Date22-Dec-10
From: lalit v bisht
pl contnd the efforts for betterment of mankind.


Date22-Dec-10
From: lalit v bisht
pl contnd the efforts for bettermeny of mankind.


Date04-Nov-10
From: govind


Date21-Sep-10
From: Dr Santosh Kumar Singh
Very nice and inspiring. Pl keep the good work up.




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