Today I had the pleasure of attending the inauguration of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Save Forest (AKSF) program (வனம் செய்வோம்! வாழ்வியல் காப்போம்!) by Hon’ble Tamil Nadu Governor Sri Banwarilal Purohit at Vel’s University. I serve in the Advisory Board of APJ Abdul Kalam Foundation which is run by the House of Kalam (family of Dr Kalam).
The program is to plant more than one crore tree saplings across the state of Tamil Nadu. The species of trees planted in each district will depend on the local weather and soil conditions. The saplings grown would be distributed to students of schools and colleges. A mobile app for monitoring the growth of every sapling was also demoed as part of the event today. The plantation drive will start on July 27th 2019 and will go on during Dr Abdul Kalam’s Vision year of 2020.
Hon’ble Governor spoke about how Dr Kalam ailing from a humble background had scaled great heights in his career, including Dr Kalam’s contribution apart from aviation and defence to taking healthcare for the masses – for example in 1998, along with the cardiologist Soma Raju, Dr Kalam developed a low cost coronary stent, named the “Kalam-Raju Stent”.
Governor retold an incident from history that he had recently read – that of, when Kota city in Rajasthan was being formed, and the main bazaar street was designed, the would-be shop keepers were ordered by the (then) ruler to plant a peepal tree in the back of every shop and be taken care of – a fine example of saving the environment and the surroundings we live in. Peepal tree is a species of fig native to the Indian subcontinent and is regarded sacred in India.
After the inauguration event on the stage ended, the dignitaries went out to the open garden in the campus to plant a few saplings to mark the occasion. I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to plant a tree along with them, I cherished the moment!