Tag Archives: Devopriya Dutta

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar confers a Plaque of Approval

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There was palpable excitement among the students when they marched out of the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to meet the Chief Minister at the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan next to the sprawling Gandhi Maidan in the capital city of Patna.
It was World Environment Day! They were heading to Gyan bhawan..

Gyan bhawanGyan Bhawan Patna (International Convention Centre), is  built on the lines of Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. The green and quake-resistant complex, spread over 11.82 acres will be in two parts linked with a subway. Complex when completed will have several halls of different capacity including banquet hall, food courts and service area. International Convention Hall or Gyan Bhawan has a sitting capacity of 5,000, is a signature building.

They have been celebrating the World Environment Day since a week with a colorful array of programs including a few Residential camps, Road shows such as Cycle rallies, Tree plantations, Preparation of Seed bombs “beej bum” for monsoon plantations, Nursery preparations for conserving rare trees and Zumba finess sessioins to toughen the human body for summer ordeals.

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 Cycle rally to promote concern on air pollution and conservation of fuels: Ms Chumki das flagging off the rally from Jalalpur, Patnashashi chumki2 Chumki Das and Shashi Darshan,full time volunteer specialized in plastic surgery,  cycled to co-ordinate the rally for several days. They also saw to the staging of the Street plays in Saguna More. 

A Committee consisting of Devorpriya Dutta, Fr. Tony Penda SJ, Shashi Darshan, Nagesh Anand, Sarvjeet, Adarsh, Nilofer Praveen, and Praneta Rani from Champaran was active to make sure that the event took place in time.
Hajipur Team in collaboration with Tarumitra organized Street plays
A very specially prepared team of activists from Swabhiman, Hajipur,next district, came prepared to stage an ecological street play on the eve of the Environement day (Team with the Chairman of the Bihar Pollution Control Board, Dr. Ashok Ghosh, inside the Doordarshan studios Patna)

Pranoy IMS and Sr. Smita MMS who co-ordinated the training for the Street play were in for a surprise.  The team not only presented the street play right on the street corners, they were invited by the Ntional TV Doordarshan to telecast it for the World Environment day! That was a big surprise. The subaltern group from a nondescript village of Hajipur was suddenly on the National TV!

Several groups of school students visited the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to take part in activities such as filling polybags for nurseries, to prepare “seed bombs” i.e to make mud-balls of soil with seeds of trees inside.

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Several groups of students took pledge to plant and look after precious trees in their homes and neighbourhoods. (Group from Hajipur pledging)
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            Sr. Smita MMS prompts the Earth-pledge on the eve of the feast

The campers got up early morning on June 5th, they walked around the tree on naked feet, offered them arti to show reverence and Sr. Smita helped them to make the pledges to the Earth.

Nagesh Anand is a very creative volunteer who organizes Cosmic Walks for Big History Enthusiasts on Saturday evenings. Nagesh organized two cosmic walks in preparation for the World Environement day.

The Cosmic Walks are held either inside the Oxygen Bar or ourside under the trees. Nagesh takes a long stretch of clothes and arranges it into a spiral and lights up candles when he pauses the 36 Goldilocks conditions existed in the 4.5 billion year old history of the Earth. From the Big Bang to the arrival of life leading to the arrival of apes and humans, Nagesh tells the story in the form of a Meditation.
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  The Hajipur group got interested in many activities. Nagesh (inset) narrated the Big History of the Universe and the Earth mother to the participants from Hajipur after the sunset. Sitting under the sky, under the twinkling stars, he made sense to them with the accompanyig cosmic music he got from Dr. Orla Hazra who initiated him into the meditatives.  One of the participants Balesh was of the view that the story must be retold to every village in Bihar. He found it very inspiring and liberative.

In the mean time, Chumki Das got her kids to organize street theater near Jalalpur city.

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 Street plays are popular ways of raising concerns on contemporary issues. Students presented several plays on the eve of the Enviornment day!

Pallavi Bishwas, an music-afficionado brought in her art students for a week long residential camp. Her husband, Pandit Avinay Kashinath and  their two children both music enthusiasts stayed on to rev up the excitement.

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 The music and dance campers from Nrivaga helped in the plant nursery of rare plants. They filled up hundreds of poly bags to sow seeds of trees. 
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Dr. Anil Sulabh, noted poet joined to encourage the children to plant trees as part of the Environment Day celebrations! Debutante Kashika receiving a lemon grass plant from Dr. Sulabh. Dr. Upendranath Pandey,  Mangala Singh and Shambhu Kr Singh (on the row)

It has been several years since Tarumitra realized the importance of connecting Art with the Earth. Two largescale art workshops held in the forest within a space of a decade confirmed the conclusion that Art promotes well being and integrity of the Earth and its life-giving systems.

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The Nrivaga alpana “art designs” shows the intricate relationship Art has with Nature. Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha sings lullabies to the trees of the Bio-reserve whenever she visits the place! She presented a very intricate raga this time. 

Last but not the least to join the campaigns were the Trangender community in the city. Reshma Prasad, a lively activist among them has been helping the students to raise ecological concerns among the bureaucrats of the Governemnt. She along with her influential transgender community  is known to remove many hurdles to get ecology its prominent place among Patnaites.

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 Reshma Prasad (third from left)has a reputation to move mountains, joined Tarumitra students to make the celebration of World Environment Day a big event in the city. Padmashree Sr. Sudha Varghese (second from right) has been a big support for the students. 

Coming back to our story of the Chief Minister passing on accolades to Tarumitra students, the big event took place on 5 June towards the afternoon. The venue was the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan the Internatonal Convention Center. Students congregated in large numbers and Devopriya and Pranoy IMS were asked to be seated next to the Chief Minister. Dr. Ashok Ghosh and his team co-ordinated the event. All of a sudden the announcement reverberated  across the hall, “Tarumitra representative, please step up to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister!”

It was the turn of Devopriya Dutta to scramble up to the stage amidst deafening applause..

Devo with Chief Minister 2019
 Devopriya in her lucky red kurti climbed up the stage to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is flanked by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi. Balram sir (DAV BSEB), Dr Ashok Gosh are on the  left. 

While handing over the plaque, the Chief Minister commented, “Tarumitras are the ones  who are protecting the environment!” That was a big positive stroke from the Chief Minister!
“While we appreciate the effort of Dr. Ashok Ghosh to get the official recognition of the transformative role played by the students of the schools and colleges, we are sure that we have miles to go before we can sleep or take rest!” said Devopriya Dutta.

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The Citation reads, “We felicitate the Tarumitra students for their contribution to make enviornmental concerns especially concerns regarding Bio-diversity among the people!”

Speaking to the Media, Fr. Robert Athickal SJ commented that Tarumitra was convinced that they were on the right track to push the agenda of Bio-diversity to the forefront of their campaigns.

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 Devopriya Dutta  with Dr. Ghosh                       Zee News interviewing Fr R. Athickal SJ

Perhaps the cherry on the cake was a full page coverage of Tarumitra students by one of the leading newspapers, Prabhat Khabar with  a special supplement.

full page in Prabhat Khabar 2019
Ms Juhi Smita who did the full page story in Prabhat Khabar slogged for a week interviewing students and teachers across the State. 

Asian cousin-ship towards a Pollution-free planet

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Wow! There were over 200 delegates from the Asia and Pacific Regions gathered at the United Nations Convention Center in Bangkok. The theme of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit was to establish resource-efficient and pollution-free planet.

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Tarumitra was represented by Devopriya Dutta and Dr Robert Athickal, the Co-ordinator. Devopriya delivered a statement on the impacts of pesticides and toxins on children, emphasized on organic farming and Agro-ecology, and appealed for achieving sustainable development by making environmental studies a part of the curriculum.

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology. The Assembly Hall readily gave her a loud clap of approval of her concerns she voiced.

The Ministerial Summit was held from 4th-8th September 2017. Not only the country delegates from the Asia Pacific subcontinent participated in this event, various communities representing the civil society made their wonderful presence felt too. The main communities who presented their views for achieving the 17 sustainable development goals were the farmers, women, NGOs, children and youth, indigenous people mainly.

This Ministerial Summit was conducted for adopting and declaring a strong ministerial declaration with commitments to achieve gender equality, basic human rights, eradicating poverty, creating opportunities for green jobs, thus ensuring a self-sustained nation.

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya's Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya’s Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

All the Asian countries are the member states of the UN meeting, who come together in the annual Ministeral Summit organised by the UN family, the strongest network and the strongest family in the whole wide world. Some nations may be developed, some developing and others may be on their way of becoming self-sustained nations.

This summit reflected upon the success stories as well as the struggles made by these nations to ensure sustainable development with green economy. It was very nice to hear about Singapore, Bhutan and Burma as some of the greenest nations which the rest of the world is looking onto. Not only were these three nations appreciated by the member countries, there were regarded as the role models too.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra's interest in Environmental Education.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra’s interest in Environmental Education.

One of the major prime highlights of the summit was that nobody said that they represented this or that country–Everybody was unanimous in a common echo,  ‘We are all Asians. One world one planet.’ It was very heartening to witness more of women representation and the topic of gender issue to be highlighted in a very appropriate way. Even the LGBT community shared the same desk, same dining space and the same stand in this entire summit.

The visit to Bangkok was an insight into the infrastructure of the country and the lubricant of this entire mechanism was the resource.

"Great hospitality of Thailand!" the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN buildng

“Great hospitality of Thailand!” the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN building

The main resource or the asset of Thailand is that the people are happy, and why? Because they are hard-working. They are leading a life very close to nature. Not only they talk about being eco-friendly or eco-sensitive, but also practice what they preach. The traffic is well maintained. Hygiene and sanitation are given the topmost priority over there. They are seriously working towards reducing marine pollution and promoting agro-ecology via organic farming.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries. Our Bhutanese cousin in the center!

The entire five days Asia Pacific Summit made us believe that we are not the only ones worried about our green future, but serious and more constructive and innovative efforts are being taken by the rest of the world as well.

Tarumitra believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam “the whole world is a family” and this Asia Pacific Summit made the motion very loud and vivid that the whole world is my family. Our earth is our mother; we all are her children. She doesn’t differentiate on the basis of nationality, state or colour. Then, who are we to draw boundaries?  Our common goal is ensuring a green and sustainable future while living the present as well, in the same manner. It was very heartening to address each other in the summit as ‘My dear cousins’

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

“For the five days, miles away from our own motherland, the other 200 country delegates became our family members. The summit is now over, but the bonds that have been made will remain forever.” said Devopriya winding up her observations. She added, “We all breathe the same life-giving oxygen, eat the same food that is produced by the soil and drink the same water to be alive and fully sustained. We are one family and the Asia Pacific Ministerial was all about celebrating this universal and irreversible fellowship.”

Devopriya and Fr. Robert visited the Jesuit house close by and spent a day with Fr. Beda Yassao S.J and students who came to participate in a leadership program.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J at Xavier Hall close by.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J (seated at the back) at Xavier Hall close by.                                                                                             

“We came back profoundly impressed by the way the hardworking people of Thailand are building up their country!” commented Fr. Robert when the group came back to the Tarumitra forest in Patna. ”  He added, “As an Asian country they are integrating development with ecology often successfully integrating the dual concerns so well.”

   Contributed by: Ila Raj, Tarumitra Intern, Nepal

News: Spring Festival with the induction of a Fairy House

 

Tree house fairy

Patna. 1 March: As part of the Celebration of the Spring season, Tarumitra students inducted a fairy tree house on a Kamroop tree (Ficus retusa) in their Bio-reserve in Digha. Tiny tots from Notre Dame Montessori and high schoolers from S.R Vidyapeeth and Adarsh Bal Vidyalaya along with their teachers climbed up the tree house built by students from Assam and Bihar

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Montessori kids to high school students joined the Spring Festival at the bottom of the Fairy Tree, Kamroop Ficus retusa. Shashidarshan (extreme left) was the force behind the tree house above!

Adding to the excitement of the children, Chief Guest on the occasion, Ms Glenda Gaulstan, Principal, St. Dominic Savio’s High School and Guest of Honour, Sr. Mary Namrata SND, Headmistress, Notre Dame Academy cut the ribbon and blessed the tree house.

A fairy tree at the Bioreserve? That is a long story. Last many years children claim to be seeing fairies on the Ficus retusa!  One of the native North Americans, a venerable woman from the Mashantaket Pico people  who visited us a few years back told the children that the tree was “filled with beings!”  and she clarified to them that the Beings are good spirits like angels and fairies..

When the students congregated in the hall yesterday, there was excitement and eagerness to climb up the tree to spend sometime in the tree house! They arrived in small groups and occupied chairs in the hall and waited for the Chief guest to arrive.

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Gathered at the Teilhard de Chardin hall, the audience listening to the Chief Guest,  Ms Glenda Golstaun

It was an extraordinary day at the Tarumitra Bio-reserve of rare and vanishing trees. With the spring season in full bloom, a new tree house (fairy home) was inducted amidst the presence of students, educationists, well wishers and above all children of Patna schools.

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The 10×10 feet sized tree house was a labour of love between Assam and Bihar. Akshay Dutta was an expert on Bamboo work

Students from Assam and Bihar worked hard for more than a month for making the second tree house of Tarumitra in its premises. Software engineer and the chief architect of the tree house, Shashidarshan opined “This tree house is a step towards students especially, children befriending nature more closely.” Built on the rare Kamroop tree, this tree-house nestels approximately 20 feet high, having washroom too in its lay out. “The house will be powered by solar energy!” said Akshay from Assam who labored with bamboos to make the dream come true.
Why so much ado about a tree house?

The Fairy house, Pari mahal, has been in the consciousness of the visiting students ever since it was told to them that fairies lived on the tree!

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Tree house co-ordinated by Shashidarshan was an attempt to reconnect with the Earth says Ms Margaret Molomoo(right).

“This tree house is a step towards visualizing a simpler and greener lifestyle with a close bonding with tree-friends ” said the resident organic farmer and educationist Ms Margaret Molomoo from Darjeeling. “Our aim of igniting the young minds with a sense of reverence and respect for Mother Earth gets solidity on the tree house” she added.

It may be mentioned that veteran environmental activist Sr. Sarita Manavalan SCN planted the tree just 20 years back.

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Children climbing up to the “Fairy Home” on the Kamroop tree! Tree house focuses on our re-connection with the Earth

Devopriya Dutta who co-ordinates schools’ participation in ecological activities argued that human beings always want to go back to nature. “That’s why we prefer to go for a picnic to a forest floor on a holiday rather than to a Mall for shopping. All of us have deep bonds with Nature and every rendezvous with the Earth is a tryst we have with our long nature-connected past.”

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Principal Glenda Golstaun (Lower) Sr. Mary Namrata SND (middle) and Devopriya Dutta (above) coming down after their rendezvous with the fairies..

Paramjeet Kaur, a specialist on timber products said, “Bamboos can last up to 100 years or more if treated well. It is recyclable in many ways and has multipurpose usages. The idea behind tree house is also to promote bamboo architecture and making it a part of our daily lives.”

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Akshay Dutta from Assam overseeing the work of the tree house which took over a month

The program was followed by organic feast and refreshment straight from the Tarumitra organic farm. Present also were Principals and teachers from various schools along with Fr. Bobby Vadakkel from Bangalore.

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Led by Maria Winiger (left) and a Parliamentarian from Switzerland Catherine Hubacher (right) spent two days studying the working of Tarumitra.

Earlier a Delegation of Social workers, teachers and Parliamentarians from Switzerland visited the site and expressed their satisfaction over the experiments in Environmental Education imparted at Tarumitra. A Member of Parliament, Catherine Hubacher who climbed up the tree commented that the place was certainly fit for the fairies!

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Team leader Maria Winiger (top) with a veteran social worker Anita going up to the tree house

Cathering Hubacher, a parliamentarian from Switzerland inspected the tree and whispered to us, “Looks like it is fit for the fairies!

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Swiss MP Catherine Hubacher on the tree!

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Students from Adarsh Balvidyalaya and S. R Vidyapeeth getting used to the Tree house

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Sr. Namrata SND, Ms Glenda Golstaun and Devopriya Dutta evaluating the tree house in progess