'Lest We Forget': A tree-lined memorial for Covid martyrs in Hyderabad's Jubilee Hills

On August 14, the second phase of Haritham, a green memorial in remembrance of the people who lost their lives due to Covid-19, was conducted at Prashasan Nagar in Jubilee Hills. Around 100 people participated in the program planting around 100 plants.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  15 Aug 2022 4:36 AM GMT
Lest We Forget: A tree-lined memorial for Covid martyrs in Hyderabads Jubilee Hills

Hyderabad: "It is one of those good occasions where we can remember whom we lost in the last two years. And seeing those beloved ones grow in the form of trees is very comforting. We can come here, spend some time, and recall our memories with those people. I lost three of my family members to Covid-19," says Sandeep Gajawada, one of the organizers of Haritham.

On August 14, the second phase of Haritham, a green memorial in remembrance of the people who lost their lives due to Covid-19, was conducted at Prashasan Nagar in Jubilee Hills. Around 100 people participated in the program planting around 100 plants.




"Compared to the first phase, more people have turned up this time. The GHMC had also provided more plants, around 400, this time," says Srujana, one of the organizers.

"Last time, the focus was on planting native plants like Neem, Mahogany, Ashoka, and Jamun. But this time, the specialty is that most of the plants do not require much maintenance. Most of the plants the GHMC has chosen this time are more than 4 feet high. Such plants are good at self-maintenance and do not need much human attention," says Sandeep.

Sandeep recalls the day when his aunt passed away. "One day at around 2 am, my aunt suddenly fell short of breath and her oxygen saturation level dipped drastically. We had a tough time finding an oxygen cylinder and later a hospital bed for her. But with the help of many good samaritans, especially on Twitter like Charan, we could give her proper medical assistance. However, she passed away. This incident hit me hard. I realized just like how a stranger helped me I had to take up that role now," explains Sandeep, a software employee.




Later, Sandeep took part in various Covid-19 volunteering programs like providing plasma, oxygen cylinders, etc to needy patients. Having closely watched many Covid-19 patients in their last hours, Sandeep has seen their struggles. "Let them live in the form of plants here," says Sandeep.

The program has been very warmly welcomed by the city's residents and for many of them, it is an emotional occasion. Like in the first phase, people came with their special messages written for their beloved ones, to be hung around their plants.

"I lost my mom last year due to Covid-19. Since then, I have been doing something in memory of her. For some time, I used to give food in an orphanage. I was thinking of planting trees in her memory but did not know where to find a place for the same. I tried a lot through Twitter but could not find a suitable option. That is when I came to know of Haritham 1.0. This is a great initiative. The programme reminds everyone of the reality that we come from nature and we go back to the same nature (Mitti se aakar, mitti mein hi vaapas jaathe hein)," says Kritika, one of the participants.




Young social activist and Junior Ambassador of the Drug-Free World India (DFWI) foundation Taniya Begum who took part in the programme gave a 'three tree challenge' to Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, and MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha. She requested them each to plant three trees and to encourage others to do the same. "On average, a tree produces 100 kgs of oxygen per year. So in a year, one person should plant three trees," says Taniya.

Uma Maheswari, CEO of Ahaira, a small group of Covid-19 survivors creating handcrafted clothing said that she was happy to be part of the programme and to plant a tree in memory of his late husband who died last year due to Covid-19.




IFS officers Mohan Chandra Pargaien, Krishna, We Hub CEO Deepthi Ravula, TRS party member Sofia Haseeb Siddiqui, Amoomat Society's Khalida Parveen, etc. were also present at the programme.

Earlier on 24 July, the first phase of Haritham was organized in Banjara Hills in which around 50-60 saplings were planted. The programme is conducted in collaboration with the Telangana government's Haritha Haram programme with the support of the Department of Forest and GHMC.

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