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History, significance, festivals, and quotes related to Van Mahotsav in 2021

Every year in the month of July, during the Van Mahotsav or Forest Festival, thousands of trees are planted throughout the nation. From July 1 to July 7, Van Mahotsav week is observed to raise awareness about protecting forests and the environment.
For the planet’s ecology to remain in balance and for humans to have access to oxygen, trees and forests are essential. The Van Mahotsav week serves as a reminder of the need of preserving trees, putting an end to deforestation, and following the 3R guideline of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’

Children and adults of all ages can be seen participating in the plantation campaign and planting saplings during this week to spread awareness about the value of trees.

The inaugural Van Mahotsav Day was held in 1947 from July 20 to July 27 and was organised by Punjabi botanist MS Randhawa. On July 20, 1947, the first Van Mahotsav celebration was launched by Khurshid Ahmad Khan, the then-commissioner of the Delhi Police, to highlight the effects of deforestation on flora and fauna. National leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. Rajendra Prasad launched a successful plantation drive.

The custom of honouring Van Mahotsav and planting trees has persisted ever since. Kanaiyaka Maneklal Munshi, the minister of food and agriculture, proclaimed it a national activity in 1950. Later, the festival was shifted to the first week of July, and in 1950, it was given the new name of Van Mahotsav.

In India, Van Mahotsav week is observed to encourage people to plant more trees because they are being extensively felled as a result of industrialization and urbanisation. Food resources are produced, the ecological balance is maintained, air quality is improved, climate is improved, water is conserved, soil is preserved, wildlife is supported, drought is lessened, and soil erosion and pollution are prevented by trees.

Van Mahotsav Week strives to mobilise a growing number of people to grow and protect trees in response to the alarming issue of deforestation. According to reports, the Covid-19 pandemic had little effect in areas with a high human density and a high forest cover. Throughout this week, a lot of organisations are working hard to promote afforestation and raise awareness, including The World Wildlife Fund and Amazon Watch.


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