Gorakhpur: An academician and botany-enthusiast from north India’s Uttar Pradesh is on an unconventional ‘mission’ to reinfuse and reintroduce the elements of spirituality through his interest and inclination towards understanding the crux of the plants, and how they could be useful in adding value to the lives of humans as well as animals.
Prof D.K. Singh, who retired from Gorakhpur University’s Department of Zoology, has been actively engaged in the study of plants and aims to plant holy trees, starting with Kalpavriksh.
Singh has conducted research on 40-45 plants with the aim to find their essence and utility for animals and human beings. A total of 27 people did their PhD under his guidance.
He worked in the varsity’s Environment Department for 15 years and even after retirement, he is still carrying out the research work.
According to Singh, till now he has distributed 17,200 saplings to people free of cost. These include medicinal species of plants like Parijat, Rudraksh, Kapoor, Peepal, Ashoka, Maulshree, Neem, Mango, Jamun, Cinnamon, Banana and Chi.
Singh’s main focus is on promoting the Kalpavriksh tree. It is one of the nine gems that came out of the churning of the ocean as per Hindu mythology.
Till now, Singh has distributed more than 300 Kalpavriksh saplings. The specialty of his campaign is that he does not just distribute saplings among people but also checks them on a regular basis.
Singh said: “The summer season starts early and lasts till late. In April last year, the maximum temperature reached 46 degrees Celsius in many countries. Between 1936 and 2006, the duration of the heat wave increased 25 times.”
“A new study has found that earth will cross the global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next decade. An increase of just one degree Celsius will increase the rate of Arctic ice melting 10 times. All these things give the message of a dreadful future. Green cover can be helpful in saving the earth,” he stated.
Singh said tree plantation needs to be run as a campaign to save the environment.
“If we plant as much green cover as the earth had at the beginning of the 20th century, we can reduce 100 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” he said, adding that to achieve this goal, public participation is necessary.
Singh said that our aim is to make people aware, so that they themselves plant more and more trees for the earth and for the future. It will be icing on the cake if these plants are multi-useful.
According to agricultural scientists, the age of the Kalpavriksh tree is considered to be one Kalpa.
The oldest Kalpavriksh is located in Senegal in Africa, which is 6,000 years old while the oldest Kalpavriksh in India is in Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh, which is about 4,000 years old.
The Kalpavriksh tree is about 100 to 150 feet high while its trunk can be 25 to 35 feet in diameter.
The root, stem, leaf, flower, bark and fruit of Kalpavriksh are rich in medicinal properties. Vitamin C, calcium, nutritious elements and minerals are found in abundance in this tree.
The leaves, fruit, bark, seeds of the tree are used in the treatment of asthma, heart disease, malaria and skin diseases. Six out of nine essential amino acids are found in its fruit. Its leaves are used in vegetables, kneaded in flour to make roti and also used as a syrup.
Kalpavriksha comes under the category of 10 endangered trees of the world.
The tree has great importance in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh religions. It is said to fulfil all desires and grant all wishes as per Hindu mythology.
A fully grown 200-year-old tree can store up to one lakh litres of water. This tree is a very good source of water conservation, as it comes under the category of maximum oxygen producing trees.
It is helpful in controlling pollution, hence it is also called the tree of life.
Kalpavriksh flowers bloom from May to August. These flowers have a special importance in the spiritual world.