By Paramjit Singh
The melodious chirping sound of birds falling on the ears provides a soothing feeling of life and nature around in our environment. It signifies the presence of one of the most beautiful species, the avian, on our earth since its evolution. India is home to a very large number of species of birds found globally. This is because the nation’s natural environment is so much conducive for these bird species to flourish, all through its length and breadth. The Himalayan region in the north of India has some of the most beautiful and rare species to attract the birding community not only from the country but from all over the world. For a little deeper appreciation of this fact one has to be an ornithologist, an environmentalist or an avid birder. Nonetheless, even a commoner does sense that the company of birds gives a pleasant, soothing effect, even if not knowing many details about the species in particular. Moreover, the proven role of the birds in seed dispersal, balancing of population of insects and acting as scavengers too is part of the greater cycle of the ecosystem.
Once we talk of the birds, a reference to their natural abode ‘the trees’ is bound to follow. The felling of trees on one or the other pretext is making the news every day in the print and electronic media. Social media is flooded with all sorts of protest news and visuals from different locations of such felling of trees. One can also witness this felling taking place while passing through these sites every now and then. One such felling site is the Sahastradhara Road, till a decade ago known to be among the greenest roads of the city. It is matter of great concern that large-scale tree cutting at various locations will turn this beautiful Dehradun into just any city in the plains. Though still retaining its geo-location in the Doon Valley, it is bound to lose its past glory as one of the greenest cities in the north.
Phalguni Dasgupta, highly acclaimed veteran painter, also a resident of Sahastradhara Road, recounts how the natural beauty of many tall and green dense trees lining this road attracted him to build his home there, post retirement. Like other citizens of the city he, too, feels extremely upset about the way the Dehradun and Sahastradhara Road, in particular, are being deprived of their original character, once considered the dream city for all those wishing to settle in the lap of nature. His heartfelt pain for all the birds who will lose their nests forever, also the abode so vital for their survival, has resulted in a drawing, providing his impression of the loss to the avian world. He laments the unplanned depletion of green cover in the name of development and wants it stopped and more rational policies implemented nationwide.