Premchand Sahani painting on a roadside tree in West Champaran district. Image Credit: Lata Rani

Patna: A man in Indian state Bihar has come up with a novel idea of painting image of sages, saints and writing catchy slogans on tree trunks to save them from being felled. The initiative has won the hearts of the local villagers as well as local administration.

Premchand Sahani, 55, a resident of West Champaran district, turned to painting tree trunks with images of saints and sages after finding the local villagers ruthlessly cutting trees to use them as fuel wood or making furniture. But he intensified this campaign after he got huge relief from terminal allergy problem in the company of trees. Encouraged by the success of this initiative, Sahani who is a painter by profession has planned to paint 100,000 trees in the next five years.

“Once I suffered from allergy problem which caused me severe breathing complications. I felt as if I will die from suffocation. I consulted many doctors but my problem persisted. I lost hope for life and shifted to my abandoned home in the village with enough greenery. To my surprise, I found my prob-lem slowly subsiding and got much relief. Since then I launched a campaign to save trees,” Sahani told this correspondent over phone.

According to him, he earns around Rs5,000 a month through his painting business. Out of which he spends around half of the amount on painting trees and writing slogans to save them. “Trees give us life, happiness, fruits and pleasant atmosphere. It’s everyone’s responsibility to save them,” Sahani said.

What is further interesting, Sahani keeps an eye on the groups of wood-cutters and when he comes across any person cutting trees, he asks them to hurriedly tender apology. “We survive on trees but trees survive on themselves,” he says.

Sahani said normally he paints the images of sages and saints as mentioned in Indian mythology. “The people still follow the teachings of such great personalities who lived in forests, did penance for years, survived on fruits and always worked for environment protection. So, I thought painting their images on the trees will leave a huge impact on the minds of the people and deter the villagers in the country-side from cutting trees,” he said.

He also has been writing messages aimed at protecting trees from woodcutters. Some of these messages include “one tree is equivalent to 10 sons” and “trees are the ornaments of the earth which end pollution”.

His move for environment protection has earned wide applause from the local administration. “Such people are the true watchmen of the society. They indeed deserve praises,” said sub-divisional officer Deepak Kumar Mishra said.