Hindu College’s famous 50-year-old Virgin Tree - the oldest on the campus - was pruned when a dozen other trees were chopped down at the North campus college. The area around the landmark was barricaded as well.
The move was carried out on Sunday, when there was nobody around to protest apparently. The tree- fondly referred to as V-tree by students - is decorated every year on Valentine’s Day with water-filled condoms, heart-shaped balloons and photos of popular actresses.
“When we came back on Monday, portions of the tree were chopped off and other trees in the block were also cut down. The tree had its significance among students for years and was associated with the name of the institution. However, we were told by the authorities that proper permissions were sought and most of the students have come to terms with it,” said Shantam Saini, a third-year student.
Students said that there were rumours that the authorities were planning to chop the entire tree the coming weekend. Many students and alumni are planning a protest march. College authorities refused to comment.
The annual goddess, or the Damdami Mai as the students call it, is given a different name every year, usually after a popular actress of the time. In 2014, it was actress Deepika Padukone, while this year it is model-turned-actress Lisa Haydon.
The vilaithi kirar species has also been featured regularly in Hindi movies. Apart from being a popular hangout spot, it also serves as a place to rag juniors.
“Romancing under the tree is common and those caught by senior are ceremonially married off around the trunk,” remembers Shantanu Sarkar, a graduate of the college.