After beef and alcohol in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena has demanded the BMC to plant peepal and banyan trees because they are holy and sacred to Hindu culture. Shiv Sena-nominated member of the Tree Authority, horticulturist Hanumant Raje, has demanded before the authority to ban growing other non-holy trees.
The BMC had counted 16,01,514 trees in 16 administrative wards in the phase one of its GPS-based tree census survey. The survey identified 298 different tree species, with 20 rare ones and 1 hitherto not known to be in the city, adam’s apple or manilkara kaukil, in D ward. Rain trees are most common, and gulmohar and coconut trees are also pretty common.
“Our culture is itself is based on nature and its elements. It is the most environment friendly. The importance of trees in our culture is unique. Many of the trees that are referred in epics have medicinal values and can purify the air. The BMC must plant such trees so that they are preserved and people don’t hack them easily.” , Hanumant Raje.
Sena’s list of sacred trees includes: sweet lime, ashoka, tamarind, kadamba, bakul, khari, deodar, palas, chandan, belpatri, arjun and rudrakasha.
“These trees have special mention in the epics and are culturally relevant. Youngsters don’t know about them. The BMC should plant them and also put up boards giving information about them indicating their scientific names, medicinal use etc, so at least people will know about the trees.”
According to an official from BMC’s Garden Department , “There is no policy at the moment on what trees should be planted. Tree plantation is done routinely based on local requests. We prefer trees that require less water and are easy to maintain.”
Unsure of this demand, Congress corporator Devendra Amberkar says, “All trees are good for the environment,” said “We don’t want trees to be given any religious or cultural colour. As long as the BMC is planting more trees and preventing existing ones from being hacked, we will support them.”
To add to everyone’s misery, Jain Sadhus have started to advise their followers to avoid naan, kulchas and rumali rotis because restaurants could be adding egg to make the breads soft and spongy.
“The plain roti is the best choice,” Hemchandra Surishwarji Maharaj, a Jain sadhu for 43 years, told Mirror.
“It has been debated for long whether eggs are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. In our religion, we consider them non-vegetarian food. There is no guarantee that vegetarian restaurants will never use eggs as softening agents for breads.”
Hemchandra maharaj has communicated to over 500 followers to avoid eating these popular breads at restaurants. “As Jains, we walk the path of ahimsa and eating eggs knowingly or unknowingly is simply not right for us,” he said.
Food writer Vinita Bhatia says, “In our country, religious sentiments are taken very seriously, so it is unlikely that pure vegetarian restaurants will use egg.”
Ramesh Chheda, a Jain criminal lawyer., from Kurla, gave up eating these breads after reading about the issue. “I don’t want to do anything that is against my religion.”