Simulia: For Golaka Bihari Rout of Balasore district, “Plant a tree, take care of it and it will take care of you,” isn’t just a saying. He has been following the principle for years now.
The 59-year-old man sets out on his mission to plant trees every morning, armed with a bag of seeds and a spade. Be it roadside or fields he sows the seeds of plants wherever he gets a chance.
Golaka is spreading the mantra ‘Plant a tree and it will take care of you’ not only in his district, but also in Bhadrak and Jajpur districts. He visits schools and colleges to sell saplings, at just Rs 10 or Rs 15 a sapling.
Golaka was a teacher and is a resident of Patuli village in Bhandaripokhari block. His love for trees blossomed in childhood. The decrease in the number of trees in the state made him take up his mission.
As a social activist, his father had always encouraged him to do something for society. Once Golaka’s father told him, ‘You should protect trees or else you will see green leaves only in museums.” That was the day his life mission became clear to him.
Golaka said from childhood he had seen many ups and downs in life. But he never forgets the importance of trees. He says, “Trees are my life, my dream and everything.”
After four months of marriage Golaka lost his wife to cancer. His family forced him to go for a second marriage. But due to love for his wife he refused to marry again. He started planting more trees after his wife’s death and he does it in memory of his wife.
The green crusader says trees are his first love. “Trees are for me and I am for them. At every school that I visited I made it a point to encourage students to plant trees,” he said with a smile.
Golaka truly understands the need to save forests to save humanity. He says that before cutting down trees people should think twice as they are destroying the environment and animals too. Saving forests should be our utmost priority, he said.