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It has been an eventful journey

Dr Nitin Pandey

30-Nov-2011

Some people hate us, some people love us, but one thing is certain, not many people can really ignore us. The 2 1/2 year journey, which began in July 2009 with five strangers meeting in Parade Ground, has now grown into a 2000 strong movement called Citizens For Green Doon. Some people think that I’m in it because I have nothing else better to do; few presume I plan to enter politics, yet others feel that I’m in it for fame, but what they don’t understand is that CFGD was never planned, it just happened and situations and circumstances molded it into something which apparently fate wanted.

As I lay in my hospital bed in March2009, after a major surgery, I promised myself that if I got out alive, I would do something which I had never done before and that was ‘to do something for the society’. God it seems accepted my offer a bit too seriously and barely weeks after I came back to Doon after completing my treatment, wheels began to churn.

Ruchi Singh Rao, Anjali Bhatia, Himanshu Arora, Laksha Mehta strangers till then, met me and my wife, Sonia, on a Sunday morning, 29th July 2009. Shocked by attempts to cut trees around Parade Ground, a large crowd had gathered there in support of the protesting students of the Sports College. Strangers met and discovered a common chord. Initially we tried to support the protesting students but after a while realized their limitations and so on 4th August Citizens For Green Doon was born.

The rapport which CFGD stuck with people was instantaneous. Passerbys joined in rallies protesting against tree fellings; our numbers swelled. So, when a month later the axe men returned to Parade Ground to complete their gory business our response was swift, we seized their “weapons” and chased them away. A few more “chipkos” and the green scarf we wear around our necks became a symbol of “nuisance” to both the administration and “development fans” but “you are doing what I always wanted to” for many others.

We started interacting with government officers. Except for a District Magistrate, who always referred to himself as “the government”, most officers were exceedingly sweet, and this is how we learnt the meaning of ‘sweet nothing’; nothing ever came out after such meetings. We did score some important goals too, but I’ll blow our trumpet elsewhere. As our strength grew, we diversified into street plays, theatre, plantations, transplantations of trees & RTI. We started celebrating an Annual Dehra Dun Tree Festival, the only of its kind in India. ”Green Voices” our theatre group and “Legal Cell” both manned by college students worked wonders. All this we did as a people’s movement, quite consciously resisting suggestions to turn ourselves into an NGO.

Gradually we realized that instead of fighting “tree by tree” it is better to change the way system works and the only way to do that was through courts, as until there is political will for change, bureaucrats have limited options. Six requests for appointment with Chief Minister drew a blank.

None of us in CFGD could have ever imagined doing the kind of things we do today. One thing led to another. We all are busy in our own lives; we are not professional NGO and yet we find time to do things. Our aim is to stop the reckless felling of green trees. We are in it because we care. We are not in it because we have nothing else to do.



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Date06-Jan-16
From: That's a smart way of thnnikig about it.
That's a smart way of thnnikig about it.


Date14-Oct-15
From: I tried to take photos of that float but they didnt turn out great& but I have one of just the smiokng chimney cause I thought it was so neat.Thats cool that you were there. We decided last minute to go with our neighbours since we had no other plans& a
I tried to take photos of that float but they didnt turn out great& but I have one of just the smiokng chimney cause I thought it was so neat.Thats cool that you were there. We decided last minute to go with our neighbours since we had no other plans& and no kids. LOLI saw John W walking behind the Montessori float but did not see S or K.Hope you enjoyed it.


Date30-Nov-11
From: Shruti
nostalgic! you are meant to do such things sir.. and you will live a wonderful life ahead.. and yes we are always with you.. proud to have such a friend like you.. take care... :)




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