Chandigarh (Punjab)— On the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, celebrated across the world in November last year, followers of the Sikh religion offered an innovative and commendable tribute to him. They planted ‘sacred forests’ in different parts of India in their noble bid to fight pollution crisis in the country.
India is facing a pollution crisis with the top 10 most polluted cities in the world falling in the country. However, Eco-Sikh, a volunteer organization, has brought some hope by building min-forests across the country.
Shruti Rana, a volunteer with Eco-Sikh, says: “I am part of this campaign which is about planting a mini-forest in a very small area.”
To mark the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, that happened on November 12 last year, Eco-Sikh built several mini-forests across India with the help of the Japanese Miywaki afforestation method.
A short documentary by Pluc TV/South Asia Monitor with support of Frank Islam Foundation has captured the noble eco initiative.
Eco-Sikh and Afforestt, another volunteer group, have trained forest creators to plant over 30,000 surviving trees in 58 Guru Nanak Sacred Forests spread across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.
The initiative has planted over one million trees at 1820 locations, planting 550 trees per location. Communities in other countries like Canada, Pakistan, Australia, USA and UK have also joined in.
These sacred forests popping up across India, show how communities are reimagining a green and pollution free India.
Shubhendu Sharma from Afforestt says: “The Miywaki forest methodology ensures plantation of trees that are native to the local area. The happiness you get from seeing a forest grow, you can’t get that from a fat paycheck or any other kind of materialism.”
Gaurav Gurjar, a tree expert with Afforestt, says: “We are losing native plant species. If we don’t take any action now, in the next 5-10 years, we will be at a point of no return.”
Tajinder Singh from Sacred Forest Plantation, Punjab, asks people to “Go for a forest bath, take a walk in the forest and take in that excess oxygen. This is the solution to many illnesses.”
Ravneet Pal Singh, Project Manager (South Asia), Eco-Sikh, says: “This method has been tried across the world for the last 25 years. With these urban jungles across Punjab, biodiversity is increasing. There is improved flora and fauna. Come, let’s build these Guru Nanak Sacred Forests across every village and town, every school and college.”
With their great contribution to making a clean and healthy India, Eco-Sikh is shining like a silver lining in the dark cloud.
Their work is worth emulation by other religious communities also.
Short Documentary: Fighting Air Pollution with Sacred Forests