Van Mahotsav

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Amrit Kaur planting a tree at Rajghat, New Delhi, on 15 July 1950, in celebration of Van Mahotsava.

Van Mahotsav is an annual tree-planting festival in India. This movement was initiated in the year 1950 by India's Union Minister for Agriculture, Kulapati Dr.K M Munshi.

  • It has gained immense national importance and every year, millions of saplings are planted all across India in observation of the Van Mahotsav week.
  • It is expected that every citizen of India has to plant a sapling in the Van Mahotsav week.
  • It helps spread awareness amongst people about the harm caused by the cutting down of trees.
  • People celebrate Van Mahotsava by planting trees or saplings in homes, offices, schools, colleges, etc.
  • Awareness campaigns are held at various levels.
  • Novel promotions like free circulation of trees are also taken up by various organizations and volunteers.
  • The planting of trees during the festival serves various purposes like providing alternative fuel, increase production of food resources, helps create shelter-belts around fields to increase productivity, provide food for cattle, offers shade and decorative landscapes, helps conserves soil deterioration, etc.
  • The festival educates the awareness of trees among people and portrays the need of planting and tending of trees, as trees are one of the best ways to prevent global warming and reduce pollution.
  • Van Mahotsava is celebrated as a festival of life.
  • In India it was started as a crusade to save mother earth.
  • The name Van Mahotsava means "the festival of trees".
  • It began in July 1947 after a flourishing tree planting drive was undertaken in Delhi, in which national leaders like Dr Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru participated.
  • The festival was simultaneously celebrated in a number of states in India. Since then, thousands of saplings of diverse species are planted with energetic participation of the locals and various agencies like the forest department.

The awareness was initially spread as the chipko movement rose in popularity.

BY NAMAN GARG

  • Van Mahotsav was started in 1950 by K.M.Munshi, the then Union Minister for Agriculture and Food to create enthusiasm among masses for forest conservation and planting trees. It is a week-long festival, celebrated on different days in different parts of India.
  • In its original aim, every citizen of India is expected to plant a sapling during the Van Mahotsav Week.
  • Awareness campaigns about benefits and protection of trees and the harm caused by cutting down of trees are held. It is the festival of life.
  • The 'Van Mahotsav' festival of trees is a beautiful initiative to save the environment, to which we owe a lot.
  • Generally, native trees are planted as they readily adapted to the local conditions, integrate into eco-systems and have a high survival rate. Besides, such trees are helpful in supporting local birds, insects and animals as well.

State Governments and civic bodies supply saplings to schools, colleges and academic institutions, NGOs and welfare organizations for planting trees.

Due to the celebration of this festival in the month of July which is also the onset of the monsoon season, planting trees proves to be beneficial. Planting of trees also serves other purposes like providing alternative fuel options, food for cattle, helps in soil conservation and more than anything offers a natural aesthetic beauty. Planting of trees also helps to avoid soil erosion which may cause floods. Also, planting trees can be extremely effective in slowing down global warming and trees also help in reducing pollution as they make the air cleaner.

The constant felling of trees has been a problem for a long time now and as a result of that it is extremely important for us to create awareness for the same. According to the forest department for every tree felled ten trees should be planted to regain the loss of one. The survival of plants and animals is also put in danger as each and every time a tree is felled or a forest is uprooted. Van mahotsav is thus a widely celebrated festival.