“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
May 02, 2017 | Sanket Jain
Mahesh Shevade, an auto-rickshaw driver from Kolhapur, finds his reserves of strength by nurturing and donating saplings for free. 42-year-old Mahesh believes that planet could be saved by planting trees.
When on duty, he is always on the lookout for seeds and waste bags and he keeps collecting them. Whenever he goes to stops like Deokar Panand, Rajarampuri, Circuit House, Line Bazar, Nagala Park, he collects seeds found beneath the trees.
After collecting the seeds, they are nurtured, and looked after, until they can be transferred to a small bag. Several boys from his Rickshaw stand also help him with this activity of growing the saplings and ensure adequate supply of water and fertilizers.
Mahesh gives these saplings to the people who ask for it. He doesn’t charge for the saplings as he says ‘it is for the nature’. “Earlier, I used to keep an account of the number of saplings delivered, but I have stopped doing that now, because anyway I don’t charge any money for the same.”
With a firm smile he says, “It doesn’t require money to do this activity, it just requires dedication of a few minutes daily.” More than 8000 saplings have been donated till date. In 2010 and 2012, he donated several saplings to Walawalkar High School. He keeps donating it to several organizations and schools. Mahesh said that in the previous week he donated 500 saplings to the Kolhapur Forest Department.
Talking about the reason behind this social service, he says, “The planet is heating up and everybody should do something to solve this crisis. Everybody should plant 4 trees, be it home or office, and carry a bottle of water for the plants and trees.”
Mahesh has been an auto-rickshaw driver for more than 20 years now. He keeps collecting seeds while he awaits his turn in the rickshaw stand’s queue. Some of the saplings which he has delivered include those of cashew nut, almond, sugar-apple, jackfruit, mango, lemon, sacred fig (pimpal), and basil. Whenever Mahesh finds even a minute free, he rushes back to his saplings and makes sure they are taken care of properly.