1. TREE SPEAKS – C.Rajagopalachary
In this essay, the author speaks about the loosing of our culture along with practices we cherished in yester years. The cutting down of a tree upsets us the biological cycles as we all know. The author even in those days, was concerned about the likely ecological imbalance caused by man’s indiscriminate cutting down of trees. He also points out that the tree and such other ones have a life of their own.
Colonel’s evening walk:
C.Rajagopalachary narrates an incident which made him realize the importance of the trees. He had a friend named Ray Johnson who was a medical officer in Salem. Colonel Johnson was a great lover of trees. He had the habit of talking to the trees on the roadside, during his evening walks.
“He would bend intimately and kiss the trees and whisper to them kind words. This was odd but very beautiful to see”.
Killing of beautiful girl:
One day Mr. Johnson was shocked when a forty years old, huge pipal tree had been felled because it was too near the district board office. He wanted to voice his strong protest against it. The next day when Rajaji saw him, Colonel said,
“They have killed my tall, beautiful girl. They say this tree was too near the building. Who asked them to place their building so near the tree? The tree has been growing there these forty years, and this upstart building came to be there only last year” with eyes filling.
The doctor’s feelings made a deep impression on Rajaji. He visited the place next day late evening and saw the fallen giant pipal tree and ruminated, “Was each branch a separate life and the tree an uprooted family or was it even bigger than that, each flower having its own soul, the whole tree being a great city?”
He remembered the belief of Hindus that every tree had a life and soul like humans. That night the giant pipal tree appeared in his dream and asked, “Here I am, killed, murdered. I want you to take up my cause. They paid treble coolie rates to coax the men who at first refused to cut me down. The silver pieces seduced the good men.”
Rajaji agreed to the words of the papal tree. He wrote a letter to the ‘Madras Mail’ condemning strongly the folly of felling old trees. The members of the bar criticized him for his pre-occupation with trees, when everyone fighting for India’s freedom. Though Rajaji took active participation in the freedom struggle, he did not regret writing about the pipal tree.