CM Blogs on the start of Van Mahotsav 2012

Published By : Admin | July 29, 2012 | 16:32 IST
Share
 
Comments

 

 

Roots of progress: Planting trees for Gujarat’s holistic development

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow on the auspicious occasion of Pavitra Baras in the holy month of Shravan, I will inaugurate this year’s Van Mahotsav. In the last few years, the annual Van Mahotsav campaigns in Gujarat have added a totally new meaning to concepts of social forestry. It also brings out our determination and commitment to ensure that our future generations inherit a greener planter from us.

To inaugurate this year’s Van Mahotsav I will travel to Mangadh, a beautiful hill village located in Panchmahal’s Santrampur Taluka. It is the soil of Mangadh that produced some extremely brave Adivasi heroes who sounded the bugle of revolt against the unjust colonial imperialism. Back in 1913 the British mercilessly killed 1507 Adivasis when they had assembled to protest endless exploitation, reminding us of the brutal Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. It was for the first time since the First War of Independence in 1857 that the spark of patriotism was ignited among the people of Gujarat with so much intensity, dedication and idealism.

The Adivasis were led by Govind Guru, a beacon of bravery and inspiring leadership. Through his spiritual teachings, he worked for the cause of freedom, rights and self-respect of Adivasi communities. He tirelessly worked towards creating awakening among his people so that his community can develop at par with the rest of the society. 

Govind Guru was a man truly ahead of his time. The contribution of individuals such as Govind Guru remains edged in the memories of time and is something that simply cannot be erased from the annals of history. The people of Gujarat will never forget the mammoth contribution of its proud sons such as Govind Guru in taking the nation on the path towards freedom.

Today when we commence the Van Mahotsav 2012 from Mangadh, we are paying our wholehearted tributes to these brave individuals who sacrificed themselves at the altars of truth and justice. A Govind Guru Smriti Van with 1507 trees along with various exhibits will be set up as a tribute to these heroes. The oneness that our Adivasi friends have with nature is very well known and I am certain this step will enable many others to get inspired not only by the likes of Govind Guru but also the importance one must give to conserving our forests.

It is our firm belief that every initiative of the Gujarat Government must be a full-fledged mass movement! There is nothing more sacrosanct than the complete and active involvement of people power. In this regard, we ensured that all major Government initiatives are held not from the confines of the state capital but out there among the people. The Van Mahotsav is no exception- you would be interested to know that since 2005, the Mahotsav has been organized in different parts of Gujarat that is blessed with a distinct cultural and historical significance. There we strive to leave behind a permanent memory in the form of a ‘Van’ that serves as a cultural and tourist spot in its own right be it ‘Punit Van’ in Gandhinagar (2004), ‘Mangalya Van’ in Ambaji (2005), ‘Tirthankar Van’ in Taranga (2006), ‘Harihar Van’ in Somnath (2007), ‘Bhakti Van’ in Chotila (2008), ‘Shyamal Van’ in Shamlaji (2009), ‘Pavak Van’ in Palitana (2010) and ‘Virasat Van’ in Pavgadh (2011). This truly becomes a unique opportunity to explore our culture and strengthen our roots with history.

Gujarat is leaving no stone unturned to enhance the green cover across the state. Just a week ago, I was extremely pleased to read a newspaper report that said that Gandhinagar is India’s tree capital. Latest figures show that 53.9% of Gujarat’s capital is covered with trees which means there are 416 trees for every 100 people in the city. In our country geographical area under tree cover is 2.82%, while for Gujarat the number stands at 4%. In 2003, we had 25.1 crore trees outside the forest cover and by 2009 the number went up to 26.9 crore; in the next ten years we are working towards taking it to 35 crore. Infact, I am delighted to share that Gandhinagar, Vadodara and Bhavnagar are cities that are greener than most green cities of the country.

Friends, worshipping Mother Nature is an integral part of our rich culture. In our culture we believe that God resides in the trees! I am sure that this effort of Van Mahotsav will go a long way in creating a greener and more beautiful Gujarat. We must plant as many trees as possible- Infact very often I tell parents to plant 2 trees on the birth of a girl child.

I am attaching a copy of a book on Govind Guru and a report “Status of Tree Cover in the Urban Areas in Gujarat”. I congratulate the Forest Department in bringing out such an important report on tree cover in our cities. I am sure you will enjoy reading these fine pieces of work.

 

Yours

Narendra Modi

 

E Book- Mangadh Kranti na Nayak- Shri Govind Guru

E Book - Status of Tree Cover in the Urban Areas in Gujarat 

 

 

Govind Guru Smriti Van - Watch

Vave Gujarat Campaign – Watch

Explore More
Today's India is an aspirational society: PM Modi on Independence Day

Popular Speeches

Today's India is an aspirational society: PM Modi on Independence Day
Symbol Of Confident, 21st Century India

Media Coverage

Symbol Of Confident, 21st Century India
...

Nm on the go

Always be the first to hear from the PM. Get the App Now!
...
Badal Sahab will live on in our hearts: PM Modi
April 28, 2023
Share
 
Comments

On the evening of 25th April when I received the news of Sardar Parkash Singh Badal Ji’s demise, I was filled with immense sadness. In his passing away, I have lost a father figure, someone who guided me for decades. In ways more than one, he shaped India’s and Punjab’s politics that can be described as unparalleled.

That Badal Sahab was a big leader is widely accepted. But, more importantly, he was a big-hearted human being. Being a big leader is easier but being a big-hearted person requires a lot more. People across Punjab say - there was something very different about Badal Sahab! (‘Badal Sahab Ki Baat Alag Thi’)

It can be confidently said that Sardar Parkash Singh Badal Sahab ranks among the tallest Kisan Neta of our times. Agriculture was his real passion. Whenever he spoke on any occasion, his speeches were filled with facts, latest information and a lot of personal insight.

I got to closely interact with Badal Sahab in the 1990’s when I was involved in Party work in Northern India. Badal Sahab’s reputation preceded him - he was a political stalwart who had been Punjab’s youngest Chief Minister, a Union Cabinet Minister and someone who held sway over the hearts of crores of Punjabis across the world. I, on the other hand, was an ordinary Karyakarta. Yet, true to his nature, he never let this create a gap between us. He was filled with warmth and kindness. These were traits that remained with him till his last breath. Everyone who interacted closely with Badal Sahab would recall his wit and sense of humour.

In the mid and late 1990’s the political climate in Punjab was very different. The state had seen much turmoil and elections were due in 1997. Our Parties went to the people together and Badal Sahab was our leader. His credibility was a key reason that the people blessed us with a resounding win. Not only that, our alliance successfully won the Municipal Elections in Chandigarh and also the Lok Sabha seat in the city. His persona was such that our alliance went on to serve the state for 15 years between 1997 and 2017!

There is an anecdote I can never forget. After taking oath as CM, Badal Sahab told me that we would go to Amritsar together, where we would halt at night and the next day we would pray and have Langar. I was in my room at a guest house but, when he got to know of this, he came to my room and began to pick up my luggage. I asked him why is he doing this, to which he told me that I would have to come with him to the room meant for the CM and stay there only. I kept telling him that there is no need to do this but he insisted. Eventually, this is exactly what happened and Badal Sahab stayed in another room. I will always cherish this gesture of his towards a very ordinary Karyakarta like me.

Badal Sahab had a very special interest in Gaushalas and kept various cows. During one of our meetings, he told me that he had a desire to breed cows from Gir. I arranged 5 cows for him and after that, when we would meet, he would talk to me about the cows and also joke that those cows are Gujaratis in every way- they never get angry, agitated or attack anyone including when children are playing around. He would also remark that no wonder the Gujaratis are so gentle…after all they drink the milk of the cows of Gir.

After 2001, I got to interact with Badal Sahab in a different capacity - we were now Chief Ministers of our respective states.

I was blessed to receive Badal Sahab’s guidance on numerous issues, especially those related to agriculture including water conservation, animal husbandry and dairy. He was also someone who believed in tapping the potential of the diaspora, considering there are so many hardworking Punjabis settled overseas.

Once he told me that he wants to understand what Alang Shipyard is about. Then he came there and spent the entire day at Alang Shipyard and understood how recycling takes place. Punjab is not a coastal state so in a way, there was no direct relevance of a shipyard for him but such was his desire to learn new things that he spent the day there and understood different aspects of the sector.

I will always cherish his words of appreciation towards the Gujarat Government’s repair and restoration efforts of the holy Lakhpat Gurudwara in Kutch, which was damaged during the 2001 quake.

After the NDA Government came to power at the Centre in 2014, he once again provided valuable insights based on his rich governmental experience. He strongly supported several reforms including the historic GST.

I have highlighted just a few aspects of our interaction. At a larger level, his contribution to our nation is indelible. He was among the bravest soldiers for the restoration of democracy during the dark days of the Emergency. He himself suffered the high-handedness of the imperious Congress culture when his governments were dismissed. And, these experiences only made his belief in democracy stronger.

During the turbulent period of the 1970’s and 1980’s in Punjab Badal Sahab put Punjab First and India First. He steadfastly opposed any plan that would weaken India or compromise the interests of the people of Punjab even if it meant loss of power.

He was a man deeply committed to fulfilling the ideals of the great Guru Sahibs. He also made noteworthy efforts to preserve and celebrate the Sikh heritage. Who can also forget his role in ensuring justice for the riot victims of 1984?

Badal Sahab was a person who brought people together. He could work with leaders of all ideologies. Badal Sahab never associated any relationship with political gains or losses. This was particularly useful in furthering a spirit of national unity.

The void left by Badal Sahab’s demise will be tough to fill. Here was a statesman whose life witnessed many challenges but he overcame them and rose like a phoenix. He will be missed but he will live on in our hearts and he will also live on through the outstanding work he has done over decades.