It was the poet Joyce Kilmer who in his famous poem ‘Trees’ wrote:
I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree…
If a tree is a poem, then a walk through Bangalore’s streets is sheer poetry. I have often mentioned how much I love the city’s big old trees which line the roads, providing shade and beautiful bursts of colour in every season. In my previous posts, I have described some of the city’s most familiar trees like the Banyan, Tabebuia, Canaga, Rain Tree and Gulmohar.
An article in this morning’s paper featured some of the other trees familiar to Bangalore. I was interested to learn that many of these trees are not indigenous to India. The beautiful Jacaranda is a tree from Brazil, the Tabebuia hails from South America, the African tulip is West African and the Pink Cassia comes from Burma. Bangalore’s tree population is truly multicultural!
It’s no wonder Bangalore is known as the garden city. But many people feel that with rapid urban development, this romantic nickname has become obsolete. Indeed, many trees have been chopped down to make way for new buildings, wider roads and the metro project. It was heartbreaking to see Racecourse Road stripped bare of it’s huge ancient trees so that it could be widened and the disappearing trees on a stretch of CMH Road where work on the metro is in progress.
Long-time residents talk nostalgically about the ‘old’ Bangalore of 20 years ago and mourn the loss of colonial-style bungalows and green cover. At the same time, many of the same people are also proud of the city’s development…
Instead of moaning about the past, people should take a moment to consider the present and take action for the future. Bangalore is still a pleasant garden city full of parks and tree-lined streets. There are people who prefer to take action rather than complain about a past which will not come back. In the past few months there have been a series of demonstrations and actions aiming to save trees by organisations like Hasiru Usiru (which means ‘green breath’ in Kannada).
A demonstration in progress (Image: The Hindu)
Trees for Free has initiated tree-planting campaigns. Would you like to have a tree in front of your house? Contact them and they'll come and plant a tree 'for free'.
Wouldn't a city without trees be like life without poetry?