Friday, April 3, 2015

Kushwant Singh Says

Read an excerpt from one of the articles of the Grand Old Man of Indian Journalism, the one and the only Kushwant Singh!!

Our forest wealth has fallen to dangerous levels causing enormous erosion of soil
and silting of our dams. Our river and coastal waters are heavily polluted.
We have to impose an immediate ban on the felling of trees and the use of wood
 for making furniture and buildings. There are plenty of synthetic substitutes to 
replace timber. Trees were an object of worship in olden times: some communities 
like the Bishnois of Haryana and Rajasthan still venerate trees and forbid them being 
cut down. We have to revive the tradition of sanctity accorded to trees. Enormous amount
of wood is wasted in cremating the dead. There is nothing in the Hindu or Sikh
religion requiring cremation by wood.

Annadurai and M.G. Ramachandran were buried. Many Hindu communities
in south India bury their dead. Most Jain munis are also buried. In towns and
cities where there are no electric or gas crematoriums, provision should be made
for Hindu-Sikh cemeteries. No graves or tombstones should be made on them
and the land ploughed over every five years and returned to agriculture. In
coastal towns and cities, the dead should be immersed in the sea. Tree planting
should be made a religious obligation as well as incorporated in our educational
system. No school or college student should be issued a school-leaving
certificate, his degree or diploma unless he or she can produce evidence of
having planted a specified number of trees and nourished them. Tree planting
should also be given the top priority in bequests for charity.

This is almost unknown in India. In Israel, on the other hand, you can see
miles of dense forests of pine and fir lining both sides of the highways. All of
them were planted in memory of the dead. That is how Israel has become green
while its Arab neighbours dwell in the desert. Tree planting is as important as
donating money to build schools, colleges and hospitals. We can, if we have the
will to do so, make our country green and prosperous. That must be the aim of
our religion.

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