Trees make them express...

| 19 March 2002 22:41 IST

They were supposed to sit together at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the national capital next week, to receive the most prestigious Padma awards. But the Goan authorities compelled them to sit together on the footpaths of the state capital, last week, to save the age-old rain trees.

It was a unique protest organised spontaneously by the educated lot of Panaji, led by Padmabhushan recipient and renowned cartoonist Mario Miranda and Padmashree recipient Norma Alvares, the animal activist and environmental lawyer.

No dharna, no demonstration, no morcha, no slogan shouting, not even speeches. The nature lovers simply gathered on Sunday morning under the huge rain trees along the Panaji-Miramar stretch, displaying their love and affection towards the trees and the Mother Nature.

BJP Chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the Panaji MLA, had already announced that the plan to cut down 39 huge rain trees along the Campal-Miramar stretch to widen the road has been shelved. But he still plans to root out some of these trees 'scientifically' and plant them elsewhere.

"Trees are our life, don't take our life", wrote one small child on the poster she had drawn, along with several other kids who expressed their anguish through paintings and drawings. 'Forget human beings, think of the animals like monkeys and birds', said another child. 'Don't take away my home', cried a tiny sparrow from yet another poster.

Known for its artistic and musical mind, the real Goan culture had come alive on the streets of Panaji, singing at the tunes of traditional brass band of Goa and staging spontaneous street plays. Displaying balloons, holding competition of measuring girth of one of the huge rain tree, a quiz on nature and what not…

Adding his own flavour, Mario Miranda also drew cartoons, humiliating bureacucratic-minded officials and politicians, along with his Goan counterpart Alexyz. Eminent painters also joined the bandwagon, splashing brushes on the posters and giving life to the feeling of nature lovers.

The talk of the town in the picturesque city now is who that PWD bureaucrat, who came out with the crazy idea of cutting the age-old rain trees, which are considered treasure of Panaji and special attraction of tourists, whether an Indian or a foreigner.

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