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The Journey From Green Boy To Green Man

Madan Mohan, an environmental activist, advocate & social reformer, has been awarded #BhagirathSamman in 1997 #GangaMahotsav by KS Sudarshan, the then #Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In 1998, on Environment Day, Banaras Hindu University – BHU conferred on him Malviya Paryavaran Award. Observing his immense groundwork and contribution to environment, the Government of UP appointed him as a member of UP Wildlife Board in 2005. With an enriching journey spanning over three decades, Madan in a candid interview shares his incisive thoughts on various dimensions of environmental issues and urges why everyone should be concerned about the environment.

1. What did trigger you to become passionate about environmental causes?

In 1986, when I was in 9th class, I stole a sapling of neem plant from somebody’s nursery, I was massively chastised for this act at my maternal grandmother’s home. That sapling today has turned into a huge neem plant, nestling thousands of birds and producing tons of oxygen. This was a turning point in my life to get attracted towards #environment. Subsequently, I along with my friends planted more than 5,000 plants around the famous Trilochan Mahadev Temple in Jaunpur, most of which are still alive and have created a lush green ecosystem in that area. After that, in #Naupur, which is my native village, I developed my nursery in my own farmland and initiated the campaign on plantation.

2. What was your next stop in this journey?

When I got admission in BHU, I was mesmerised by the huge #greeneries and planned #plantation in the campus, which I have never seen anywhere. Thousands of people from outside throng in for jogging in the fresh air of Mahamana’s Campus. At any given day, the temperature of the campus was 2-degree lower than the city’s temperature. However, to maintain this environment, systemic plantation was very much needed. Along with my classmates, student union, and university administration, I started the plantation drive in the campus, and successfully planted more than 50,000 plants during 1993-2000. Furthermore, I planned a robust plant care mechanism for ensuring the sustainability of these plants. In return, BHU honoured me the title of “Green Boy.”

3. Is that passion still alive in you?

Yes. I have rather made this activity more community oriented. Whenever I get an invitation for a marriage ceremony or a birthday celebration, I gift them a sampling based on the environmental conditions of that location. Then administer a pledge for the members of that family to take care of that plant by properly nourishing it. That creates an emotional bonding between those people and the plants they plant. In this process, people get connected to the plants they root in an emotional way.

4. What’s your message to the larger audience on the significance of plantation in the contemporary period? When the world is battling with the challenges of climate change and rising carbon footprint, it’s pertinent for all not to forget the role of environment in assuaging these challenges. As we witness the mindless onslaught on the forests, greeneries, and green belts for large infrastructural projects in the country, the day is not far off from today when the oxygen level for survival will be diminished to such a level that people will die of asphyxiation. This is the high time that we must rise above the occasion and start driving the plantation movement across the country. I would suggest each person should plant at least 10 trees in a lifetime so that the nature will nestle us till humanity is there on the surface of this planet.

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