Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, October 21, 2019

Villagers celebrate 100th b’day of 2 banyan trees

 

 

 

Trees tell tales, more so old banyan trees which are often steeped in folklore and legend. It was as much nostalgia as well as a desire to save their rich flora that prompted residents of Meenambalpuram, near Sellur in Madurai, to celebrate two 100-odd-year banyan trees.

 

 

 

The trees having been a part of their lives since childhood, Sunday was an occasion for the residents to organise a unique festival to offer their “gratitude to the two trees” and, more important, to conserve them. People from all walks of life, including politicians, environmentalists and professors, came together and shared stories and offered suggestions. Festival organisers said that while one of the banyan trees had withered over the years, the growth of another one was curtailed by encroachments.

 

 

 

“Now that most of the encroachments are cleared, care should be given so that the banyan trees can grow and spread again. Hopefully, festivals like this can initiate a positive change,” said R Abu Bucker, one of the organisers. The organisers said the Sellur tank, on the banks of which the banyan trees stand, should be desilted.

 

 

 

Professor and head of the department of communication at Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) S Nagarathinam, who was one of the chief guests at the festival, said the officials concerned should take immediate action to ensure the two trees were saved and clear the surrounding area so that the trees’ growth was not hindered.

 

 

 

“Urban green spaces should not mean only parks. There is no other tree like the banyan when it comes to providing shade. Just as parks are promoted, saving banyan trees should also be encouraged,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Source: The Times of India, 22 July 2019, Chennai.