STAR OF THE DAY
What you aspire can be achieved

Mataprasad Tiwari – Making World Greener

ForestHe is not an ecologist, nor is he running a crusade to save earth from global warming but he is very clear in what he wants to do and goes about his job with childlike innocence. So much so that his fellow villagers found him insane to do what he was doing. Meet Mataprasad Tiwari – a 57-year-old tree-hugger in Meegni Village of Jalaun, 200 km from south Lucknow in India – who can be seen raising a family of trees around his 2-acre plot.

In Bundelkhand, Mataprasad’s green-field serves as the saving grace in an otherwise barren patch. He never cared when people initially called it as ‘paagal ka khet’ (madman’s field) and kept watering his dream which has now realized into 30,000 trees since he started 19 years ago. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the same group of people later renamed it as ‘Mataprasad ki Bagiya’ (Mataprasad’s orchard).  

His love for trees reflects in his vision of growing 1 lakh trees before he dies. Without knowing that he was doing a great service to the mankind and running a silent brigade against global warming, he says, “Our village used to look barren, I wanted to see it green.” His innocence finds further recognition when he says, “To me, it’s a zoological garden of sorts. So many beautiful birds, dogs, cats, bees and butterflies have made the bagiya their habitat.” The area hosts 1,050 fruit trees besides medicinal trees and shrubs.

He is so devoted towards his job that he has set up a hut in the orchard itself, away from his family. He adds, “It is not that I have abandoned my family. I do meet my wife and children once in a while but the orchard needs me more.” The family grows maize, mustard, wheat, sesame and vegetables on the 2-acre land surrounded by the orchard.

Mataprasad has now 6 people working with him and the orchard serves as the source of food for all of them. He has plans of selling what grows on the orchard and use that to pay those 6 people and fund the maintenance cost.

The most refreshing aspect of this noble service is the way Mataprasad raises his trees and his knowledge that can give a famed environmentalist run for his money. He waters his plants at the roots as, he says, it minimizes wastage. He uses dead leaves and animal waste to serve as manure that keeps the farming cost low. No wonder that he has been so successful in his uninhibited venture and certainly is aware of the ground rules to keep the cost low without sacrificing on health of the trees.

Today, June 5, 2009, is being celebrated as the Environment Day. While most of us are ‘just talking’ about global warming and questioning what should be done, Mataprasad is actually sowing the answers for us. Mr. Mataprasad Tiwari, you deserve to be our ‘Star of the Day’.

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