23 June, 2021

Land Of The Perennial Spring

Land Of The Perennial Spring
ON the eastern wing of Mussoorie where I live, the steep fall of land to Barlowganj combined with large, jealously-guarded school estates has allowed a fair growth of forest to remain. The best evidence is the perennial spring that rises above Sikandar Hall, family home of the Skinners. Luckily the Forest Department has taken over a vacant estate that commands the spring and are gunning for resort developers who try and foul its catchment by discharging their sewage into the public domain. This estate was formerly a thermometer factory that provided employment to the locals. For a couple of years the hillside rang to strident union demands for a better deal—till the factory closed down. Later, the chief landmark of Barlowganj, the castle that once housed the brothers who staffed St George's School (K.P.S. Gill is a famous old boy), was pulled down for a huge five-star hotel built by the Tehri Dam contractor. His manager made local history by spending a night in lock-up for felling timber. Thereafter trees were not felled, instead the earth around their roots was bulldozed to...

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