Reforestation: The Aftermath

reforestation

Reforestation has come out in a big way here in Telangana in the form of “Haritha Haram.” For those who don’t know, “Haritha Haram” is a government initiative that targets to increase forest cover and to create a green belt in the state of Telangana, India.

Afforestation, as we know, has a multitude of advantages – it is a good alternative for flood mitigation, aids in climate control, filters the air of toxic gases, contributes to animal diversity, and helps in restoring groundwater resources. With this in mind, afforestation was taken up as an enormous project and called for the help of citizens from all over the state. Ministers, mayors, and celebrities all lent a hand to make a greener city. For a few weeks, the number of saplings being planted each day was the only thing on news. Schools, public parks, offices, homes, sidewalks – nothing was left barren.

While millions of young sprigs are planted on one side of the footpath, thirty foot towering trees were being butchered on the other side of the pathway. The few saplings that survive the harsh urban pollution are not nurtured and succumb to desiccation.

Afforestation is just not a weekend activity where you go out with your friends and shove a couple seeds into a pot of mud – it is a serious responsibility. To reap the benefits of afforestation, one must attend to the growth of the plant till can stand on its own roots.

 

Referendum: A Reality?

By definition, a referendum is a general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision. Till a few days ago, referendum was just a term in my political science text book, but it became a reality only after I read about “Brexit” (Britain leaving the European Union), so I did a little bit of reading and came to a few conclusions.

referendumIndia is the largest democracy in the entire world and we have different political parties to cater to different social groups. In such a situation, the Parliament House is rid with fierce competition to stay in power – this results in a very slow decision making process. When a situation comes to hand, political leaders spend more time pointing fingers and playing the blame game than discussing how to resolve the problem. A direct poll could help in taking a decision that is consensual to a larger population. When citizens are directly involved in the decision making process, the core of democracy comes alive.

On the other hand, in a country where most adults are politically uneducated, a common citizen may not have the knowledge to take such a decision. Often, the turnout of voters is low, and the final outcome is too narrow and ultimately leads to indecisiveness. Conducting too many referendums could be tiresome and would result in the people being unresponsive and apathetic. A referendum consists of a simple yes or no question which cannot unravel the complex problems that a country faces.

        Holding a referendum is rare, but not unheard of in India. The joining of Sikkim into the Republic of India and well Goa forming its own state rather than merging with Maharashtra are examples in which referendums were used to take a decision. As mentioned by a prominent journalist, “India, unlike Europe, doesn’t take chances. Referendums were called only when the result was known.” yes and no

Hence, I believe that while referendums inculcate the essence of democracy, political leaders and the government must employ them for appropriate problems and not just as a political ploy to influence the population.

Just a Smile

 

smile

Gurgling giggles, cheeky smirks, wide grins, deep chuckles, and loud guffaws are all a part of our routine “happy” mannerisms. But nowadays, finding a true smile is rare.

A real smile is born from our heart and causes the corners of our lips to turn up, but its journey doesn’t stop there – it continues to travel up to our eyes and is expressed in the form a jolly twinkle. A true smile is infectious and lights up the room. A simple smile accompanied with a reassuring pat on the back or an encouraging nod can do miracles on our soul. It knits loved ones closer, and dissolves ugly spats. It gives us the courage to face our inner demons.

The importance of smiling has practically been boiled down to a science. It expands the lungs, releases a type of neurotransmitter called endorphins which are natural stress busters, and it generates positive energy within us. In a nutshell, smiling makes us feel happy and lead a pleasant life. We adults ought to take a lesson from children and learn to smile more.

Try this:

As soon as you wake up, before you do anything, head over to the mirror and give yourself a wide grin. You are sure to have a positive attitude no matter which side of the bed you wake up on!

Nature’s Lullaby

 

sleeping in the grass

The thrash of the ocean waves against the stony cliff,

The drumming of a hummingbird’s heart as it laps in the nectar of a gulmohar,

The howl of the summer breeze as fruit laden mango branches sway to the moonlight’s music,

The crunch of the autumn leaves beneath my feet as I walk under a canopy of golden maple leaves,

The pitter patter of rain drops against the lotus leaf as they slip into the murky lake waters,

The splash of the frogs hopping on the marshy terrain during the humid monsoon,

The rustle of grass as it bends to the will of the tyrant winter winds….

Nature’s lullaby pulls me into a deep slumber even as I am surrounded by the bustle of the city.