BY Vijay Phanshikar:
THE early morning scooter ride through the Seminary Hills last week was certainly a pleasurable experience, but certainly not as rewarding as it used to be say until about 15 years ago. It is true that the current summer scorch has deprived the Seminary Hills area of a lot of its greenery. The visitor finds himself staring at the dried, yellowed tree-tops in what can be considered one of the best forest patches any city can have. Despite this summer-bereftness, one cannot escape feeling very sad that the city has done little to protect and preserve the greenery of the Seminary Hills. The visitor actually carries a terribly negative feeling when he finds a deliberate, urban dryness staring him in the face. Of course, the same can be said about many other spots in our wonderful city of Nagpur. We have really not bothered ourselves with the thought and concern for conservation of the city’s natural gifts such as the few forest patches, the rich green cover (described to be the second-best in the country), the three rivers and the lakes and tanks and local ponds that once numbered well over a dozen.
That morning’s tour through Seminary Hills brought to fore all that sadness in the mind. What a cruel society have we proved to be! It is not possible for a person like me to forget the greenness of the Seminary Hills throughout the year, no matter the summer. Countless childhood afternoons were spent loitering around in the Seminary Hills area either on bicycles or on foot with friends. It was truly a cool place -- in every sense of the term. Certainly cool in ecology, and equally ‘cool’ in sociology with temples and churches and monasteries and cemeteries schools and colleges and museums and playgrounds and parks and gardens and lakes and dairies and poultries and horse-riding clubs -- and also the wonderful Vayusena Nagar to its west (which was out of reach fore the common people).
There is no doubt that most of these still exist in the Seminary Hills area, but the greenery has been severely and ruthlessly curtailed by senseless urban greed. In fact, the Seminary Hills area is a heritage zone and invading it for satisfaction of ill-planned urban needs should be an anathema to any sensible society. But then, that is the actual trouble with Nagpur’s society its varied considerations -- as is the case with most places around the country. That is the reason why we have allowed the Seminary Hills area to lose its serene greenness. Oh, the difference to me! n