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Be Kind Judiciously 

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By S Paul

We, the people who get to be self-sufficient and even affluent do make a practice of demonstrating our sense of benevolence towards botanical plants during ‘harela’ by planting trees and bushes haphazardly and to animals (strays) by enticing them to become dependent on our largesse; most of the time overdoing it or upsetting the discipline of nature and social order.

The tree (greening) season being celebrated so enthusiastically and advertised through media has become a status symbol of the elite. Our simpleton farmers in the villages do it quietly on their own with a plan to provide moisture, shade, fodder, fruits, prevention of soil erosion and for firewood as is necessary for them to survive. But, we, the town people, plant on the road side, under the overhead electric lines, in buffer zones between residential complexes. This blocks the necessary sunlight and increases the menace of pollens. In our enthusiasm we even plant some fruiting trees which invite birds and animals carrying viruses and miscreants to throw stones or climb up trees and cause accidental injuries. We also try planting trees where the surrounding area is covered with concrete or tiles thereby preventing trees from growing healthy and strong with deep roots. Such a tree causes a lot of damage by falling during rain and storms. I have found that already fully grown trees can be reinforced by making flowering but non-parasitic creepers like bougainvillea, ivy, wisteria, allemande and many others that can grow abundantly in our climate.

People may consider planting flowering and shady trees mostly in parks and open places and fruit trees in places where it does not interfere with human habitat and cause man-animal-bird conflicts. Much better contribution to nature’s balance would be made if we take the trouble and organise mass plantation of fruit bearing and evergreens, etc., in existing forest area in our state; specially the denuded ones due to over felling of trees or illegal extraction.  Forests are the reason the state is so green and salubrious. This would also reduce the dependence of strays and birds on human ‘kindness’ which is actually a way of enslaving them by making them dependent upon our misplaced zeal of ‘Dharam Karam’ (alms giving). They would be able to shift back to their natural surroundings and provide the balance so that even the dangerous ones do not venture into human habitat in search of food. Have all those who consider feeding the stray dogs and cows, etc., with our leftovers as a work of ‘punya’ (charity) ever considered that they are only committing an imbalance in nature’s ways by making these animals lazy and unable to fend for themselves? Pets are cared for within our own home jurisdiction but strays are vagabonds and upset the social order. This then is cruelty to them. The menace created by stray dogs also must be dealt with as they tend to become vicious towards humans due to hunger and lack of territorial exclusivity. They merge as packs and behave as wild dogs which they naturally are. In the order of priority among species, Homo Sapiens must be preferred by us humans for survival.

Therefore please ‘think’ before being ‘kind’.