PUNE: The Naiks decided to upturn norms of an ostentatious party for 1.5-month-old Alisha; instead Malshiras village was gifted a host of plants, including 51 saplings for local school students, at a cost of Rs50,000, reported Times of India. As our civic authorities grapple with accusations of indiscriminate tree-cutting for development, and not compensating for it by replanting enough...
PUNE: The Naiks decided to upturn norms of an ostentatious party for 1.5-month-old Alisha; instead Malshiras village was gifted a host of plants, including 51 saplings for local school students, at a cost of Rs50,000, reported Times of India.
As our civic authorities grapple with accusations of indiscriminate tree-cutting for development, and not compensating for it by replanting enough saplings, a small, sweet initiative by a city-based family may just be the example they need to emulate.
It was the birth of their daughter one-and-ahalf months ago that pushed the Shivajinagarbased couple, Ranjeet and Neha Naik, to take up the cause of a better future for the next generation. And, this impulse manifested on Sunday at the baby’s naming ceremony, when the new parents decided to ignore the usual social norms of an ostentatious party, and instead planted 101 trees at the Malshiras village near Bhuleshwar temple in Yavat, an area known to have faced droughts for some years now.
According to the Naiks -who were joined by friends and family for a simple ceremony -they were celebrating the auspicious occasion by committing to a social and environmental cause; they also donated 51 more saplings to students of a local village school to improve their grasp on conservation.
Ranjeet, who runs an AutoCad software training institute in Kothrud, and Neha, a professor at a Symbiosis institute in Viman Nagar, were blessed with a baby girl on August 18 this year. Thereafter, the usual expectations swirled in the air for her naming ceremony -an extravagant soiree at an exclusive venue, hundreds of guests, and a huge budget to garner the appreciation of attendees. But, the young couple decided to spend their money differently. On Sunday, scores of friends and family members braved the heat and milled around the village plot around 55 km from Pune to plant a variety of flora, including neem, mango, chiku, bamboo, coconut palm, gulmohar, banyan, Java plum, sacred fig, tamarind, etc. Sticks and netting were also put around the plants as a safeguard against animals; later, a cake was cut and the baby’s new name -Alisha -celebrated by the revellers.
Explaining why they came up with this innovative plan, Ranjeet shared, “Nature gives us so much, and it is high time we returned the favour. Our primary hope was to forge a new tradition for our generation -a more holistic one, to be followed by many more people. When I first mentioned this tree plantation idea to my kith and kin, they were enthused. Luckily for us, a friend suggested this spot in Malshiras, where he owns some agricultural land that happens to be open for plantation.This gave us 3.5 acres of land to plant new trees; there was no water problem either, as there is a pond in the area and we plan to deploy a water tanker.Planting may be easy, but it is more important to maintain the trees.”
And so, the couple will regularly be visiting Malshiras, at least once a week, and invigilating the growth of these plants. The damaged ones will be replaced and the help of some locals will also be enlisted.
For Neha, the activity bolstered more than one cause. She told Mirror, “The decline of females in India’s sex ratio has been unstoppable. Women are one half of society, and equals in every respect to men. To bring about social equilibrium, it is necessary to raise awareness about saving the girl child. Ecological awareness is equally important. We felt an effort for both should start from our home, and we hope our child’s generation follows this trend. We look forward to seeing the trees grow with her.”
In all, the Naiks spent around Rs 50,000 on the saplings, planting equipment, transport and lunch for the ceremony -their invitees expressed admiration for their unique idea. One such relative, Ashish Naik, said, “People spend thousands on such ceremonies – Ranjeet and Neha have shared their happiness in a very nice way. They not only made us part of this event, but we also felt closer to nature. Many of us had an epiphany about our ecological responsibilities. We plan to follow this tradition in our family in future, too.” Another kinsman, Dr Pradeep Kumavat, added, “Today, we enjoy the benefits of plantation efforts made by our ancestors -the future generation depends on us for the same.”
The local rural community welcomed the event as well, with many stepping forward to support the family. Arun Yadav, president of the Bhuleshwar temple trust, said, “People hardly visit our village, but today, these people came with a touching idea. We have witnessed water shortages for years now, and we are not able to fully use our agricultural lands due to this. There have been issues with indiscriminate tree-cutting in our surroundings, too. Plantation was an activity that had very much been on our minds, but these visitors came all the way from the city with the very same concept before that, and passed on a beautiful message to us all.”