Saturday, June 17, 2000
F E A T U R E


Mission Green

THOUGH music is close to his heart, there is another lesser-known side to Daler Mehndiís personality ó that of an ardent environmental activist. He feels that it is the responsibility of every individual and institution to take steps to combat pollution and preserve the environment. He is trying to promote ecological/environmental awareness through his Green Drive. Gaurav & Saurabh met him for an interview.

You are a man with two missions ó To spread love and humanity through your music universally and to promote ecological/environmental awareness...Did any incident "make you" an environmentalist?

I was touring the Gulf for a performance in Dubai and Bahrain.When I compared them with Delhi, I felt ashamed of the place that I was living in.The capital of India should be the most beautiful city of the country. The people of Dubai were busy planting marigold flowers and successfully converting the city of sand into city of green, while I noticed people here were making the state even more deplorable.It was in 1998, that I started the plantation exercise much against everyoneís wishes.

 

Daler MehndiWhy are you an environmentalist?

I donít call myself an "environmentalist". I donít even know the technicalities of this term. I am just exercising my responsibility towards myself.I hope to enable myself to breathe in a healthy environment.While doing so, if it leads to better health conditions for others, nothing like it.

What has the "Daler Mehndi Green Drive" done for the Mother Earth in the past?

The "Daler Mehndi Green Drive" has led to the plantation of 8 lakh saplings in and around Delhi. Plantation has been carried out in 25 school premises and children have been encouraged to work seriously towards correcting the wrongs being done each day blindly by their senior counterparts. D.M. Green Drive is striving to make this plantation programme a mass movement. Children from various schools got together and painted beautiful Tulsi pots, planted Tulsi in them as gifts for Diwali and New Year. Less crackers were burnt during Diwali.Children themselves have taken the responsibility of burning poly bags and instead use jute bags or paper bags.

What do you think are the top most pressing environmental issues today?Why?

I feel the most pressing environmental issues of today are:

Care-a-hang attitude of people towards others and their own selves.

Itís not my job! Attitude.

Dishonesty

We make the government, which in turn makes the departments. We are the ones in the departments.

Yet, we cry and donít listen.We donít give a damn!

If you could tell someone to just do one thing for nature, what would that one thing be?

Be responsible.At least for yourself.

Do you believe that individuals can make a difference?

Yes, only individuals can make a difference. Only then a team would be formed and collective effort would follow.

How far do you think that DMGreen Drive has helped in making people more responsive towards the environment?

The DM GreenDrive is still struggling in helping people to help themselves. We planted trees in schools and received letters from 15 students saying that they planted trees in their colonies. That is an achievements. Though, it seems small, it is a significant achievement. . We are at it now, and nothing is going to stop us from achieving our goal. It is just a matter of time.We would like to make a sincere appeal to all those who care to read this interview":We are waiting for you to join hands with us. All those who are willing can reach us at www.daler.com or Daler Mehndi, PO Box 6602, Tilak Marg,New Delhi-18.