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Spread Like A Banyan Tree

USMOIN1ckUS Moinuddin
Banyan tree (Ficus Benghalensis) is highly regarded in Indian culture and occupies the pride of place amongst the sacred trees of India. In the rural parts of India, a Banyan tree acts as the focal point of the village panchayat, and also as a gathering place for village councils and meetings.  It has aerial roots that grow down into the soil forming additional trunks. The roots coming out of the branches are at first as slender as cotton threads.  Gradually, as they grow longer, they anchor themselves in the ground. The roots grow into mighty pillars, supporting the weight of the heaviest branches. The leaves are large, leathery, glossy green in colour, and elliptical in shape, they are also used as animal fodder. Young leaves of the Banyan tree have an attractive reddish tinge.
The fruits of the tree are green and hard at first, soon they turn red and soft in texture. Birds and monkeys relish these fruits, but the taste of the fruits for the humans is poor. Further, they are often infected by hosts of insects that repel humans from consuming them.
It can reach a height of over hundred feet and the circumference of the canopy reaches 600 to 1000 ft. A Banyan tree can live for centuries, it symbolises long life and also represents the divine creator Brahma. It is invariably planted in front of the temples. The numerous stems of the Banyan trees are even regarded as the home of Gods and spirits. It was under a Banyan tree that the Hindu sages sat in a trance seeking enlightenment and it was here that they held discourses and conducted holy rituals. Gautama Buddha is believed to have sat under a Banyan tree for seven days, absorbed in his newfound realisation.
One summer, a Japanese organisation had organised a Bonsai exhibition at a botanical garden. I noticed a beautiful miniature Banyan tree in a pot.  A giant tree dwarfed by the Japanese art of Bonsai. At times we are no less than a Bonsai. We limit our thoughts and actions and fail to spread like a Banyan tree. We like to restrict ourselves with our tiny thoughts limiting our vision. Years pass. One fine day, the episodes from our childhood, youth and old age play like a big movie. With a big sigh, we comprehend that. Our own hands, our own choices and actions, have dwarfed us.
Your growth does make a difference. How massive is your growth intellectually, emotionally, professionally and economically?  A growth, where you can feel proud of your existence; a growth, where you can spread and provide  ‘shelter’ to the other human beings like a Banyan Tree.
TREE EXPLORERS CLUB: Bangalore: Recently, as part of the Tree Explorers Club initiative, an event to create awareness about the different varieties of trees in our surroundings was organized for the students and staff of Magnifique Public School, on Kanakapura Main Road. Environmentalist and Founder of the Global Environment Movement One Tree by One Person, U.S. Moinuddin gave elaborate details about the Rain Tree ( Albizia Saman), Gul Mohar (Delonix Regia) and Golden Duranta shrubs. U S Moinuddin said,“Though people love trees, most of us are unable to identify the commonly found trees in our surroundings.  Hence, Tree Explorers Club intends to create awareness about the role of trees for our survival in grass root levels, children are encouraged to participate in activities concerning the environment. Regular exposure on environment based topics helps them in developing a sense of responsibility towards environment and environment related issues.”
A student of tenth standard, Kiran.P, who had participated in the event said, “Today we came to know about the trees which are found in our surroundings, it was a fun filled learning experience, all of us had a fabulous time.”
A student of ninth standard Nachitha S.M. said, “Everyday we see trees. To our surprise, we discovered that we did not know most of their names. Now, we are not only learning their names but also their physical structure and their benefits.  The event was very attractive, and we are looking forward to have more of such events.”
Vidyauttam the Computer Science teacher of the school said, “The information that was generated by Environmentalist U.S. Moinuddin about the trees and the environment was fabulous. It was a learning experience to the students as well as to the teachers of the school.”
In the end, projects concerning the Gul Mohar trees and their role in providing aesthetic appeal to the surroundings were given to the students of the school.

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