Tarumitra - Patna's own Environment Movement



A movement started in 1988 by a couple of student has today became a environment movement for the thousand of children across the city and the nation. A home grown initiative, which was perfectly christened as " Taru Mitra " - meaning 'Friends of Trees' in Hindi and Sanskrit, is a household name now because of the student support it got during its 24 year of journey. A generation of the city has grown up with Tarumitra, no wonder that every student of Patna has been part of this movement in one form or either. The humble sincere effort that was started modestly with few student initially has today spread into 2,00,000 members in over 1000 schools and colleges all over India.

Tarumitra is a student movement to protect and promote a healthy environment on Earth. It aims in spreading information about ecological sensitivity and organizing campaigns for the preservation of bio-diversity. It co-ordinates the movement through students and Schools help the cause by joining it. No wonder, most of the school feel proud of being a part of this environment movement. Today, it has several full time volunteer from India and abroad.

It was the concerted effort of a Jesuit Fr. Robert Athickal and students from few schools under the leadership of Anindo Banerjee, a class IX student from Loyala High School, that this movement came into existence in 1988. In April 1989, four high school student from Loyala High School, Anindo Banerjee, Vijay Mathur, Sanjay Pandey and Jayant Chatterjee set out on a cycle rally in North India from Patna to New Delhi to promote awareness about the environment and the movement. They met with the then vice president of India Mr. Shankar Dhyal Sharma to present their findings. While returning, at Agra, Jayant fell seriosly ill and despite attempt, could not be saved. His demise shocked the movement, however his sacrifice for the environment made his companions to work and promote the movement with great zeal. Today, Jayant's sacrifice is one of the cornerstone of Tarumitra's foundation history, which is still remembered the same way as 23 years ago.

With the support from few School, the movement continued to attract students. in 1991, the headquater of Tarumitra named as Tarumitra Asram came up. The girls from Hartmann High School planted hundreds of trees in school campus as well as in local cemetry. The city woke up when hundreds of student descended on Gandhi Maidan to pull out nails and advertisement board from the 200 trees around it. This event was put on the frontpages of all the major newspapers, giving a great fillip to the movement. On August 9, 1991, student formed a human chain around a  125 year old tree at Serpentine road, which was being pulled down. The event led to registering a police case against the  tree pullers. Fews days later, the young activists of Tarumitra had to spend entire day guarding some 50 trees along Danapur-Arrah highway, which had been marked for feeling by PWD. Later PWD pulled out from its decision.Hundred of student took out a 'funeral' holding branches of a rare variety of tree which was cut down in January 1993. The embarrased government had to finally step in. Throughout its existence, Tarumitra has done similar kind of brave initiative to save the trees and promote awareness about environment.

The activists of Tarumitra has taken out massive rallies, organized protest demonstrations, resisted the felling of trees and forests, built road side gardens, cleaned up garbage dumps, planted rare variety of trees, taken house-to-house awareness schemes to name a few. Tarumitra has developed several garbage dumps into beautiful roadside gardens called 'Oxygen Belt' . Each garden is maintained by School or a plant nursery. Tarumitra maintains  a total of 38 Oxygen belts. Working with a Swiss Physist Wolfgong Scheffler, Tarumitra has helped to set up a plant to fabricate solar cookers along the traditional solar panels to harness solar energy. The activists has taken our processions for bannining the use of plastics.

Tarumitra has expanded from the Centre of the City to the remote areas of the country. It has joined hands with similar organizations to support the cause. It also takes part in International summits on environment. The attempt and sacrifice that Tarumitra has made is very much aprreciatable. The home grown initiative has shown the student about the urgent need for the environment. The movement came at a time when the environment was not on the spectrum,however its concerted effort has succeded in its goal. Jayant's sacrifice is showing fruit today by having a country wide base of Tarumitra Volunteer.

The fragrance of Tarumitra has impressed the netizens and children alike. We hope that Tarumitra, Patna's own movement, to continue with the same effort in the future. We hope that Tarumitra will do it best to conserve the trees and gardens of Patna and will do it on National level. We wish Tarumitra all the best in its endeavour.