`Hum honge kaamyaab': An Independence Day wish for the endangered Chevalla banyans

The event began on August 14 by putting up heart cutouts and posters on the trees. Participants lined the road, holding placards and shouting slogans in support of the banyan trees.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  15 Aug 2022 3:38 AM GMT
`Hum honge kaamyaab: An Independence Day wish for the endangered Chevalla banyans

Holding umbrellas and braving a light drizzle, about 40 people, including 8 children, attended a pre-Independence day event organized by the Nature Lovers of Hyderabad (NLH) near a few heritage banyan trees on Chevella road.

The event began on August 14 by putting up heart cutouts and posters on the trees. Participants lined the road, holding placards and shouting slogans in support of the banyan trees.

The nature lovers sang Vandemataram and Hum honge kaamyaab (in Hindi, Telugu, and English). Children did some nature crafts with jungle badam and Gulmohar pods.

Naturalist Kobita Dass Kolli used a model of a banyan tree that she made, to demonstrate why translocation does not work. Participants then read out poems on nature after which a quiz was conducted on India's national tree - the banyan. Prizes were distributed and refreshments were served.

Divya, a BMS student at St.Francis College said, "Earlier I believed that translocating trees is better than deforestation as the damage is minimal. But after today's session, I realized that translocating old heritage trees is almost as bad as deforestation. It affects not only the trees but also the whole ecosystem surrounding it."

Said Juhee Chapman, writer, and environmentalist, "The Bargad or Banyan tree is our national tree and on the eve of the 75 years of India's independence, today's initiative is an appeal to all to help fight to free these immortal trees, that are part of our history and legends, from being axed."

Nature Lovers of Hyderabad has been running a campaign to save 914 old and valuable banyan trees and 9000 other trees on the Hyderabad-Manneguda road since 2019. They recently geotagged each of the banyans and launched a map with details of the location of the trees with photographs.

NLH has been requesting the government to make the highway but leave the trees in situ. They would like the Telangana government to declare this road as the Telangana Biodiversity Heritage Road. They also filed a petition at the National Green Tribunal in Chennai in December 2021.

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