28 October, 2020

Life & Times Of A Treedom Fighter

Meet Nirakar, who dreams of sculpting a fellowship of one lakh trees before he exits

Life & Times Of A Treedom Fighter
The play of names has almost a touch of fable here—Nirakar, the formless one, regenerating the primal form of a forest that had passed into the mist. For the last 20 years Nirakar Mallick, a small farmer in Orissa’s Kendrapara district, has been greening a coastal landscape that had of late been experiencing more of brown. Droughts, as they are wont to be, are cruel in these parts. At other times, it’s excess water that’s the bane. Nirakar’s latest sally—the rebirthing of a forest on a two-hectare stretch circling the river Brahmani near his village—came after the green patch was denuded in the 1999 supercyclone.

The tidal waves that had swamped Orissa’s coasts had led to heavy soil erosion, rendering these villages forever vulnerable to floods. But now, thanks to Nirakar, over 5,000 trees of sundry varieties cover the area. This has not only helped restore the local ecosystem but also provided a potential source of income to the community.# People, however, were sceptical in the beginning. They were losing out on grazing ground for cattle. Some were also...



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