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Jungle ki Aag : An article by B. C. Joshi

Uttarakhand Fire

It was nearly 3 am in the morning when I felt suffocated inside the moving Bus while traveling in Uttarakhand on 28th May 2005. We had just passed Haldwani a few minutes ago. It smelt fire and smoke. I glanced out of window and saw huge fire in nearby jungle. On later part of our journey from Kathgodam to Kapkote, what I witnessed was the burning evidence of unthoughtful human activities and cruelty towards nature. Almost every inch forest land either had fire engulfing it or traces of recent fire.

Uttarakhand Fire

Jungle caught fire or fire was ignited by unscrupulous elements
In daytime, when the sun was shining bright, I noticed that whole atmosphere of the hils was smoky spreading blanket of mist all over the hills. Even the visibility was very poor. I found this alien as I had expected a clean and fully transparent atmosphere where a person can see for miles without any difficulty.

The whole atmosphere had become smoky
Grassland (Bugyals?) and meadows full of greenery which I had in my childhood memories were nowhere to be seen. The land was bare, dusty and mostly black.

Uttarakhand Fire
Uttarakhand Fire

Bare land
Apart from the grass, Fire had destroyed small plants. I remember, there used to be thousands of small plants of hundreds of varieties making a thick green cover to the land of nearby forests not far from my village but now there are only traces of destruction by human being themselves.

Small plants are burnt
The ill effects of havoc that fire had played were not limited to small plants. Huge pine trees dripping ‘Leesa’ were also prime victims. Hundreds of pine trees has been destroyed.

Uttarakhand Fire
Uttarakhand Fire

Highly inflammable pine trees suffered most
I always felt pride in boasting the our state has best area / forest cover ratio in the country but I was zapped to see such a loss of ruthless demolition of green gift nature had bestowed on us in abundance. I had taken my wife to show her my lovely grasslands where I had spend hours and hours together in the lap of nature while escorting our herd of cows, sheeps, goats and other pet animals. The jungle full of Hisalu, kilmori, kafal and a red carpet of Buransh during this time of the year but all was lost. I returned home with heavy heart. Bhagwan mere logon ko sadbuddhi do. May god bless people.

Jane kahaaaaaaan gayeeeeee wo jungle?

Uttarakhand Fire

Where did those jungles go?

Article by B. C. Joshi

He can be contacted at highlanderbcj@yahoo.com