“I started planting trees when I was chucked out of college for protesting against the deteriorating quality of private colleges. Having been born and brought up in Salem, I was privy to almost all the issues that were caused due to industries and this strongly influenced my involvement in green movements.
I began to produce sustainable products, starting with the areca nut plates. Originally formulated by the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), it was overthrown due to its malleability. So, we took over the project and started producing good quality areca nut plates, which slowly divulged into other divisions like vermicomposting, biochar, etc.
As my vision grew, I stepped into activism, protesting and vehemently opposing some of the deadliest mining operations in Salem. It was during these years as an activist that I decided to get into farming, to set up a model of a cooperative forest.
As you can see in the Deccan plateau, most of the degraded/ undulated lands end up becoming a dump yard. One such land on the outskirts of Salem caught my eye and with the help of my friends, I accumulated few acres and started planting bamboo and several other trees.
The trees grew into complete forests and eventually, we were able to set a classic example of water conservation! One in every 10 farmers in India commits suicide or is struck by drought and other disasters. Very few are successful and millions are still failing today. Our fully functional model helped several farmers across the state.
My role as an activist led me to being jailed a couple of times and I have also been subject to custodial torture but this is what I signed up for! I am actively involved in lake restructuring and I have restored a lot of lakes, islands and bird sanctuaries. I have fought against the corporates and the government alike and I continue to do so!
While it is endearing to see people celebrate a day dedicated to nature, I strongly believe that each and every day is a nature’s day. We have been witnessing nature’s fury, so it is high time we take stock of what’s happening and act wisely.
Man made a lot of unimaginable things possible, so I hope we reach a point where we learn to coexist in complete harmony with our planet.”
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