Mumbai: A tree in memory of our Corona warriors

Updated: Aug 01, 2020, 07:36 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

A Mumbai non-profit organisation believes there is a green way to pay homage to our frontline fighters; says there can be no better memorial

When we turn back the pages, some years on, when the COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past, it is unlikely that all of us would remember those on the frontlines of the deadly outbreak. Swept up in the swirl of normal life, the hurry to catch up on lost time, we may forget to spare a thought for the warriors who paid the ultimate price during the pandemic.

Leafy memorial

The Rashtrabhimani Seva Samiti, a non-profit organisation in Mumbai working to preserve and venerate history and our heroes by marrying those with the environmental cause, has decided to honour the Corona warriors.

The Samiti's secretary Manoj Misal said, "On July 18, we planted three trees in the city. We planted two opposite Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, the performing arts space and one near the old Prabhadevi Mandir." This old Mandir may be overshadowed by its more famous cousin, the Siddhivinayak Temple, but is seeped into the area's history and heritage. It is 305 years old.

Homage to a COVID-19 warrior by planting a sapling
Homage to a COVID-19 warrior by planting a sapling

Misal and Prashant Pal, the president of the Samiti which is based out of Mahim, said, "What can be a better memorial to those who have sacrificed so much, and ultimately their lives, in the ongoing fight, than a tree."

One drop

Of the two saplings Samiti workers planted opposite the Ravindra Natya Mandir, one is a tribute to a well-known social worker named Sandesh Jadhav, a Corona fighter. The other has a more generic banner, in commemoration of all the doctors, nurses, police officers, civic and social workers, in fact all those who died helping others in the wake of the pandemic.

Pal said, "We have always stressed that trees are a life-giving, nurturing force. Earlier, our two-year-old organisation had worked with a few BMC schools, encouraging them to plant at least one or two tree saplings in the empty space around their schools. People often find the idea of planting trees intimidating. They think they need to plant at least 50 to 100 saplings to make a difference. That is not true. You can plant just one tree. Just like each drop makes an ocean, every single tree can make a forest. That is why we have started small in our go-green initiative. We have planted just three trees as Coronavirus hero memorials."

In homage

Rashtrabhimani Seva Samiti members have been planting saplings for all the frontline workersRashtrabhimani Seva Samiti members have been planting saplings for all the frontline workers

Both Pal and Misal said, "We also held a programme last year to pay homage to our soldiers who lost their lives fighting against the terrorists on the border in Kashmir. We had a tree plantation drive for three soldiers in Pandharpur." Samiti members Vilas Phadke, Abhishek Shinde, Rajesh Raul, Bhaskar Devadiga and Ajay Potdar, along with their secretary and the president, have been urging Mumbai's Ganesh pandal authorities to plant at least one tree each.

"There are thousands of pandals in Mumbai, and this time the festival is understandably downsized. Even one tree each will make a significant impact," said those who believe in learning from the lessons 'histree' teaches us.

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