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K K Jaiswal’s green crusade turns 50

This environmentalist has in the last five decades distributed and planted around 35 lakh saplings spread over 18 states, Nepal and Bhutan

ranchi Updated: Jun 05, 2017 17:13 IST
B Vijay Murty
B Vijay Murty
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Jharkhand,Palamu,KK Jaiswal
Green crusader K K Jaiswal at Khairadohar village in Palamu (HT File Photo)

He was all of 10 when he began distributing and planting trees, purchasing saplings from his pocket money. Forty years hence, he continues with the habit and has in the process planted around 35 lakh trees from Kathmandu to Kanyakumari.

Meet Kaushal Kishore Jaiswal, 60, resident of Jharkhand’s Daltonganj town for whom environment is the religion he follows and trees are his family members. His advancing age notwithstanding, he relentlessly continues in his mission with a regimented passion and teenager’s excitement.

The man with a mission is celebrating the golden jubilee of his save environment campaign he had launched in the arid Palamu division of Jharkhand, earlier Bihar. As usual, he has set a target of distributing and planting around two lakh saplings this year and he is confident of achieving the target easily.

“Fifty years is too long a period to chase your passion, but I still feel a beginner in my mission,” says the green crusader, who feels that water sold in pet bottles is a shame and curse to a civilized society. “It’s free gift of nature and hence it should be available free to all of us. However, since we have been recklessly cutting trees for our commercial needs, we have created an artificial crisis of water. I wonder the third world war could be for water,” he argued.

Blessed with two efficient sons, one is a businessman and the other a mukhiya (panchayat head), who have been taking care of the family’s needs well, Jaiswal has never felt hard pressed for time or resources in continuing with the mission. “There cannot be a better bank balance than trees for your kids in the days to come. Hence, invest in planting trees. While it will pay rich dividends to you when you are in absolute crisis for funds, the same trees will also protect environment as long as it stands tall.”

Jaiswal and his team of green crusaders irrespective of caste, gender, race or religion are spread over at least 18 states of the country. They are converting the wastelands green.

Jaiswal had in 1976 initiated a practice of tying raksha bandhan (a sacred thread that a sister ties on her brother’s wrist seeking protection from her) that he later christened Ban Rakhi movement. Tying a Ban Rakhi was a way to get people to consciously guard trees against felling. “The idea worked as nobody would allow their ‘brother’ to die. It affected 95 % survival of the planting saplings in Palamu,” he said.

Jaiswal has won praise from several reputed environmentalists like Chipko Movement leader Sunder Lal Bahuguna and Dr George A James from USA. He has organised plantation camps in several parts of India and even crossed international boundaries for planting trees in Nepal and Bhutan.

You are doing a wonderful job of spreading environmental awareness in a backward, tribal-dominated state like Jharkhand. Your efforts should fetch you more awards and recognitions,” says a letter from Bahuguna, which adorns the wall of Jaiswal’s drawing room in Daltonganj.

First Published: Jun 05, 2017 17:13 IST