Hoshiyar Singh is doing his bit for the environment, one sapling at a time.
The nursery owner from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district gives a little gift of greenery every time a girl is born in his village, Solana. He gives them away to parks and schools, crematorium and graveyards, and has helped plant 30,000 trees in public places in the last four years. A sapling was his gift to his daughter on her kanyadan too.
Singh made the decision to do something to restore the rapidly disappearing green cover in his home district when he attended a funeral in 2011. The crematorium was devoid of trees and people performing the last rites of their loved ones had no protection from the searing sun.
“That day at the crematorium, I realised how trees and greenery were slowly disappearing from the face of the earth because of human activity. I then decided I would start planting and distributing trees to make public places more green,” said the 46-year-old.
His four-bigha nursery stands testimony to his mission — it is a riot of creepers and saplings of shade trees like banyan and neem that he hands out across the district.
“Singh gave us around 4,000 saplings of shade trees a few years ago and personally came to plant many of them,” said Shahabuddin Maniyar, a member of the local madrasa committee.
“In our village, every time a girl child is born, I go to the house with five to 10 saplings,” said Singh. “People need to understand the importance of planting trees and how we can counter global warming through this exercise.”
Recalling his gift to his daughter, who got married in April, he said, “Both the groom’s family and I are against dowry. And I felt that when I celebrate the birth of a daughter by giving out saplings, why can’t I do the same for my daughter on her kanyadan?”