`Pachani chettu nenu raa': Lighting diyas of hope for banyans of Chevalla

On Sunday, tree lovers of the city gathered at Chevalla to celebrate Diwali under the 100-year-old Nizam-era banyan trees of Chevalla, which are on the chopping list due to the proposed four-lane project of the Hyderabad-Chevalla-Vijayapuri NH.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  1 Nov 2021 5:57 AM GMT
`Pachani chettu nenu raa: Lighting diyas of hope for banyans of Chevalla

Hyderabad: Little Tanvi is shouting loudly, "Save Chevalla, Save Banyans, Save Chevalla, Save Banyans."

She hardly knows the significance of the slogan but she calls at the top of her voice and strives her best to be heard.

Another girl is tying a red thread around a big banyan tree. She has befriended it and is ready to go to any extent to ensure that her newly formed friend is always safe.


On Sunday, tree lovers of the city gathered at Chevalla to celebrate Diwali under the 100-year-old Nizam-era banyan trees of Chevalla, which are on the chopping list due to the proposed four-lane project of the Hyderabad-Chevalla-Vijayapuri NH. They lighted diyas and kindled hope that they wouldn't lose their banyans. They pledged to protect the trees.


People belonging to different age groups and residents of different parts of the city came all the way to Chevalla on a Sunday to pledge their support. Sarada, a resident of Langar Houz came with her entire family.

"I brought my two children also. I want them to know the importance of such movements," said Sarada. The family together presented a Telugu folk song 'Pachani chettu nenu raa' which talks about preserving the environment.


Also, people from all economic groups gathered inspired by the cause. Asiya Khan, one of the founders of Tree Lovers Association recalled a phone call that she received. "I was so shocked when the person on the other end said that he wished to come for the event but didn't have a traditional dress to wear," said Asiya Khan.

In the poster of the event, people were encouraged to wear a traditional dress for the event.


"We should not live just for ourselves. Young girls like Malala and Greta Thunberg did it. Why not our politicians?" asked Akhileshwar, a former journalist and one of the oldest participants of the event.

Another speaker at the event noted that these are the same banyan trees that gave shade to the hundreds of migrants who walked their way home when the lockdown was announced in March 2020.


Before lighting diyas, people read poetry; kids made rangoli and tied colorful threads around the banyan trees at the event.

The group also took a pledge penned by Usha Raman, an environmentalist, and professor at the University of Hyderabad to protect the banyan trees of Chevalla at any cost.

Further, the movement plans to file PILs and ask the government to find alternate routes rather than axing thousands of banyans spreading along a 20km stretch.

"Would you hew me to the heartwood, cutter? Would you leave me open-hearted?
Would you turn me to timber, cutter? Leave me nothing but a heap of logs, a pile of brash?"
The banyans of Chevalla murmured the same lines from the poem Heartwood written by Robert Macfarlane.

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