On 11 September National Forest Martyrs Day was observed at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, depicted above. How many are aware that there is such a day? In 1730 more than 360 people were killed in Khejarli, in present Rajasthan, while protecting the khejri trees that the then king of Jodhpur state, wanted to cut down.All of them belonged to the Bishnoi, a group that continues to protect trees and animals. In the 1970s there was the chipko movement, where people in present Uttarakhand clung to trees to stop them being cut down. And since independence, more than 1400 foresters have been killed protecting forests and wildlife. Yet few seem to understand the importance of trees, and despite tree plantation drives, existing trees are constantly being cut.
People don’t seem to realize that trees are living beings. They communicate with one another, perhaps if we have enough sensitivity they would communicate with us too. According to various studies, they sleep at night, and cry out when being cut, though at a frequency we cannot hear. They absorb pollutants, provide oxygen, and shelter birds and other creatures. What would our planet be like without trees? Perhaps we will soon find out!