Six trees make way for a mantap, statue of Valmiki

Citizens here are not exactly sure the sight of the Maharshi Valmiki Circle and, more than all, the story ofthe installation of a mantap and a statue of the sage will please the epic saint himself.

They feel the great sage Valmiki, who was jungle-bred and lived all his life amidst trees, would rather be upset on learning that the installation of his statue in the mantap required a ‘sacrifice’ of at least six trees.

Four tamarind trees and two other trees of other species were felled to install the statue at the circle on the Bangalore-Hindupur Road in town, recently.

The area, known as Court Circle, was renamed last year after Maharshi Valmiki. The mantap was installed on the occasion of Valmiki Jayanthi on October 29, and a day before, the Forest Department felled four trees, much to the shock and disappointment of citizens in the town, especially the environmentalists.

“Now, to cut six trees, to install Valmiki’s statue is ridiculous,” criticised writer Prof Gangadharamurthy.

“The trees were, undoubtedly, very old and provided shelter and shade to man and animal. Felling them to install the statue was definitely unnecessary, as they did not come in the way.

The old trees would certainly have added a bit of grace and even beauty to the statue and the mantap in the name of the seer. People would also have been attracted easier to the mantap if the trees were still there,” he said.

“A bare-looking mantap, with no shade around, will certainly not appeal to the citizens,” he added.

Mahesh, a college student, agreed, but with disappointment, “We had never imagined that the idea of installing a statue of Valmiki would cost us four trees. Now, the Circle has a hot, sunny feel, in contrast to the shade and cool of decades. The place would be all the more attractive if the idol was installed with the mantap without taking such a rash step.”

The Forest Department has the responsibility of protection of trees and the entire greenery around. But, it pains that the officers of the Department have unthinkingly chopped down and auctioned the trees. The act was lowly, added the professor.

“If such destruction of nature continues with no reaction or opposition, what greenery will we be left with? This is a frightening development,” Gangadharamurthy rued.

Between departments

Nagesh, the district forest officer, had told Deccan Herald in October, “The Social Welfare Department officers had requested us to cut the trees to get space for the installation of the idol and mantap. So, the department staff cut two tamarind trees and two trees of other varieties.”

He added that the officials concerned had assured that saplings will be planted around the idol and mantap after the installation.

Comments (+)