By Manogya Loiwal
TAWANG, India, 10 April 2017
When the forest officials of Arunachal Pradesh found that going was getting tough for them in their pursuit to increase plantation cover in the high Himalayas, they turned to the Dalai Lama of Tibet. And, the Dalai Lama gave the entire effort a spiritual touch in Tawang.
The followers of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet believe that the spiritual leader is on a mission of peace and love. The Dalai Lama is in Tawang of Arunachal Pradesh, where thousands of followers are attending his public events. At one of the public functions in Tawang, the Dalai Lama talked about his other mission.
“All major rivers originate in Tibet — Indus, Ganga, and Tsangpo or Brahmaputra. Over one billion lives depend on these rivers. So we need to take special care of the Himalayas… Preservation of wildlife and environment is important and planting of trees is a way of serving the mankind too,” the Dalai Lama said in Tawang today.
The Dalai Lama’s Way
The Dalai Lama considers preserving the Himalayan ecology a mission, and afforestation the right means to achieve the end. The Dalai Lama is contributing to bring a considerable change in the scenic beauty by means of plantation in Arunachal Pradesh.
“My commitment is to preserve ecology and especially of Tibet. A Chinese scientist had said Tibetan plateau is the third pole. So, even they have realised the importance,” the Dalai Lama said.
So, when the forest officials of Arunachal Pradesh approached him to help them spread awareness about the dangers of deforestation and further the cause of environment protection, the Dalai Lama did what he does the best — give it a spiritual touch.
How the Dalai Lama helped forest officials
The forest department planned to distribute 110,000 saplings to the followers of the Dalai Lama as Prasad. The devotees were gathered at the Higher Secondary School Ground in Tawang.
The forest department officials distributed seeds and saplings among the followers of the Dalai Lama for planting the same at home and in their own locality.
The forest department officials of Arunachal Pradesh looked very enthusiastic with the response from the people. They believe that people who took away the saplings this time will take care of the growing plant with special love because of their faith in the Dalai Lama.
“When people take plants as blessings from Dalai Lama, they will treat them like a child and never let it die,” said senior forest officer Abdul Qayyum.
“Plantation drives require a lot of efforts to ensure the survival of saplings. We have more than seven lakh saplings in our three nurseries in Tawang district itself. After discussions with district administration we decided to give the saplings on the last day of sojourn of His Holiness,” Qayyum added.
Plants like Criptomeria japonica, Cupressus (locally called Thuja), two species of Pine, Dhoop, and Oak saplings were distributed along with barley seeds among the followers of the Dalai Lama. The government nursery usually sells one sapling at around Rs 13 each.
The Khandu connection
The Dalai Lama planted a sapling in the Dorjee Khandu Memorial Museum in Tawang as he inaugurated it during his sojourn.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu was present on the occasion. Pema Khandu is the son of former Arunachal Pradesh CM Dorjee Khandu, who died in a chopper crash in April, 2011.
Pema Khandu said, “His Holiness Dalai Lama visiting and inaugurating the memorial is a blessing for the people of Arunachal Pradesh. The saplings planted will remind us of our responsibility and efforts taken for a better environment.”