VAN MAHOTSAV- HISTORY & SIGNIFICANCE
What is Van Mahotsav?
It is an annual tree-planting festival celebrated in the 1st week of July i.e. from 1 July to 7 July every year to spread awareness of forest conservation and to save the environment. Thousands of trees are planted all over the country during this week. It is also known as Forest festival.
- The first Indian national tree plantation week was organized by S. Randhawa, Punjabi botanist from 20 to 27 July 1947. He was inspired by ideas of a forest week (festival of trees days) in various countries. The then Delhi Police Commissioner Khurshid Ahmad Khan inaugurated the first event of Van Mahotsav with the planting of Bauhinia saplings on 20 July 1947 to stress the impact of deforestation on flora and fauna.
- Later day, Pandit Nehru and Lady Mountbatten did planting at the Qutb Minar. Pandit Nehru spoke to say “…It was a matter of surprise to him that so far no interest had been taken in tree plantation. Large tracts of the country had become deserts owing to the negligence of the people who cut trees without realizing their great value…. There should be a law that no one should cut a tree unless he had first planted a new one in its place.
- “At the same time, Mahatma Gandhi also added to his prayer speech so others could copy the practices and understand the importance of forest. Deforestation led to diminished rainfall. Moreover trees required little care except in the early stages. An acre of land used for growing fruit trees would yield more fruit than a crop of wheat on the same area…”
- The tradition was continued and declared as a national activity in 1950 by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi who moved it to the first week of July and named it as Van mahotsav.
Significance of Van Mahotsav
Trees and forests play very crucial role in maintaining ecological balance and providing oxygen to human beings on the planet. The celebration of Van Mahotsav week reminds that we must protect forests and stop deforestation. It emphasize the practice of 3R Rule-
- Reuse and
Forest & Trees provides many advantages which are essential for life on the earth. It is the source of
- Food for human and animals, alternative fuels
- maintain ecological balance
- Improve air quality
- Climate amelioration
- Conserves water
- Reduces drought, Preserves soil erosion and pollution
- Supports wildlife
- Sustain biodiversity.
It aims to encourage people in India to plant more and more trees as industrialisation and urbanization have led to deforestation at large scale. Deforestation is a serious concern, hence Van Mahotsav week aims to bring more and more people together to grow and save forests in the country. The first week of July is just the right time for planting trees in most parts of India since monsoon joins that time.
Note- On the occasion of 72nd Van Mahotsav, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the ‘Ghar-Ghar Aushadhi Yojana’.