Mancherial: If Raksha Bandhan symbolises a brother’s committment to protect his sister from adversity, applying the inner meaning of India’s unique tradition to conserve greenery is a creative idea.
Gundeti Yogeshwar, a government teacher and crusader of environmental protection, has been tying ‘rakhis’ to trees for nearly two decades. He is currently working at Zilla Parishad High School for Boys, Mancherial district headquarters.
“The festival signifies that brothers provide protection to their sisters for tying them a ‘rakhi’. They should extend similar care to protect trees that play an important role in ecology. Trees take in toxic gases and let out life-saving oxygen for us. They are selfless friends of humans. We should strive hard to save greenery around us,” says Yogeshwar.
During Raksha Bandhan, Yogeshwar prepares eco-friendly ‘rakhis’ (bands) using various foodgrains, paper, jute, leaves, flower petals, bamboo etc. He involves students in making the ‘rakhis’ and then ties them to trees located in schools and around tanks. “I engage students in these activities to teach them the importance of protecting trees and going green,” he said.
Besides tying ‘rakhis’ to trees, Yogeshwar also administers a pledge to the students on the need to safeguard trees by watering them and protecting them from animals. The volunteers hug tree trunks and raise slogans urging public not to fell trees, even if it were for widening of roads and development as well.
The biological sciences teacher’s commitment for protecting the environment began way back in 2000. Since then he had been passionately creating awareness among public over consequences of climate change, use of plastic and the benefits of planting trees. He also pens poems and songs to educate masses on this topic.
Yogeshwar is also a State master trainer of National Green Corps, a programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. He trains, students, youth and officials of various departments in planting saplings. Yogeshwar also won an award by showcasing significance of biodiversity of Adilabad and Bathukamma festival in an international conference on Biodiversity and Education for Sustainable Development in Hyderabad in 2012.