Vatavaran Diwas: Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims agree to keep neighbourhoods clean

Published: March 22, 2012
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In the seminar, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims all vowed to plant a tree in their neighborhoods, and also vowed to keep the streets in their localities clean.

In the seminar, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims all vowed to plant a tree in their neighborhoods, and also vowed to keep the streets in their localities clean.

KARACHI: Representatives of various religious communities pledged to plant trees in their neighborhoods and also in their houses of worship, while speaking at a seminar on Sikh Environment Day.

The event was organised by the Pakistan Sikh Council in collaboration with a US-based organisation EcoSikh at a hotel on Tuesday.

It was last year that Sikh Environment Day, also known as Vatavaran Diwas, was celebrated for the first time globally on March 14. In Pakistan it was on Tuesday that events took place in Karachi and Nankana Sahib to mark the day.

Explaining the significance of the day, chairman of the Pakistan Sikh Council, Sardar Ramesh Singh, said that the seventh Guru of Sikhism stressed preserving nature.

“When Guru Har Rai took charge as the seventh guru, he planted a tree in the gurdwara, and preached to everyone to keep the environment clean.” He said that the day would be celebrated every year to pay tribute to the guru who was an environmentalist, and planted flowers and fruits bearing trees during his lifetime.

In the seminar, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims all vowed to plant a tree in their neighborhoods, and also vowed to keep the streets in their localities clean.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Minister for Environment and Alternative Energy Sheikh Muhammad Afzal said that akin to Sikhism, Islam also emphasises cleanliness and preaches the importance of planting trees. Afzal was pleased to be addressing a seminar on environment in which people from different religious communities were present.

Leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf minority wing in Sindh, Michael Javed, stated that while the murder of one man was the murder of humanity, similarly destroying a single tree was the destruction of the whole environment. He shed light on the importance of the environment in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Another Christian representative, United Church of Pakistan Bishop Nazir Alam said that the entire Christian community has taken up the responsibility of keeping the environment clean in the city. “Around 50 per cent of sanitary workers in the city belong to our community. We are the ones who keep it dirt free and clean of litter.” He lamented that while the community works keeping in mind that they are citizens of the country, they are not given their rights and are not treated equally. “What is also needed along with cleanliness of neighborhoods is a cleansing of extremist minds and attitudes towards the minorities.”

Pandit Vijay Kumar said every religion stresses preserving nature. While talking to The Express Tribune, he said that in the Hindu religion, planting a tree is equal to raising ten sons, as the tree will provide shade for the next ten generations. He said that the leaves of Peepal tree are significant for pooja, while leaves of the Tulsi are used for Prasad. In every Hindu temple, trees have been planted as it a requirement of their religion.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Falcon
    Mar 22, 2012 - 3:50AM

    Certainly a great event and beneficial advice. Wish we could have more of these. Now for the PTI bashers (somehow couldn’t let it go ;)), who think that ‘the intolerant’ PTI is going to become a monster for minorities, you might want to read up the article again.

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  • Salim Ansari
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:05AM

    Vatavaran Diwas ???? Shall we start Namste next ?

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  • Dr Mishra, Yorkshire
    Mar 22, 2012 - 6:42AM

    Salim buddy, yes do say namaste. I shall say adaab from this side of the border. No harm

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  • Indradhanush
    Mar 22, 2012 - 7:52AM

    Nice to see pure hindi being used in pakistan. I like vatavaran diwas.

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  • Abba Jee
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:06AM

    Vatavaran Diwas means Environment Day. Hindi is as rich as Urdu.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:28AM

    @Salim Ansari: Dont call it Vatavaran Diwas , call it what u want but spread the message . Plant a tree.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 8:41AM

    @Salim Ansari:
    Why not?

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  • Richard
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:51AM

    Let us grow in our minds & souls not only in our physique brothers.

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  • Mohit Chinoy
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:21AM

    @Salim Ansari:
    Why muslims are always in fear and hatered

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  • Moderate
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:43AM

    @salim : you so missed the point. The message of unity, tolerance and accepting and celebrating diversity of bliefs and cultures is what brings peace to nations. The ‘minorities’ (for want of a better term) have proved to be better Pakistanis than us Muslims with their contribution to our society. Put aside your senseless remark and think about what your contribution is to Pakistan.

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 10:07AM

    This is Great news

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  • Atif Sharif
    Mar 22, 2012 - 10:18AM

    @Abba Jee:
    Yes you are right there in o major difference. The difference id based on roots of language of both, Hindi roots are in Sanskrit and Urdu roots are in Arabic and Persian.

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  • Indradhanush
    Mar 22, 2012 - 10:41AM

    @Abba Jee:
    Hindi is richer than urdu becuse it is a direct descendant of Sanskrit, the most perfect and most logical language in the world. Sanskrit carries the vibrations of the highest energy frequencies and being the oldest language resonates with the deepest layers of the human consciousness.

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  • Dee Cee
    Mar 22, 2012 - 11:00AM

    @Salim Ansari: That won’t kill anybody. “Vande Mataram”, Indian’s national song, has been rendered into “Maa tujhe salaam” by A. R. Rahman. Multilingualism increases an inclusive attitude and creates greater harmony. Salaam! :)

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 11:24AM

    @Salim ansari, totally agree with you, why shud i call it vatavaran or whatever diwas…isnt urdu & arabic, the beautiful & sacred of all languages on the planet have their own words for such things…sometimes i wonder if apart from giving our economy to the indians to sel ltheir cheap products, we are also selling our way of life and languages to them

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  • from India
    Mar 22, 2012 - 12:03PM

    @ Atif Sharif – just a correction ! Urdu has its source from Sanskrit with Perso-Arabic scripture. Basically, Urdu has been Islamized :-)

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  • Haris
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:37PM

    @Indradhanush: so why are you writing in English?

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  • Waqas
    Mar 22, 2012 - 1:51PM

    @Aqeel get a life!

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  • Raja
    Mar 22, 2012 - 6:10PM

    Where does all this Hindi-Urdu, Hindu-Muslim stuff come from? The Sikhs who organised the function called it Vatavaran Diwas and ET reported it as such. This is like asking why we are calling Dec 25th as Christmas Day. We should get a life !!!

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  • Rehman
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:02PM

    @aqeel ahmed and salim ansari

    we Pakistanis are genetically Indians and until only some 100 or 200 years ago most of us were Hindus. So be respectful.
    Another thing is that hindi is not the language of Hindus like Urdu is not the language of Muslims. Urdu has had many Hindu scholars like Munshi prem chand. Similarly, Arabic is also spoken by Arab christians. SO basically please learn some manners before making derogatory comments.

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  • Sanjay, Mumbai
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:17PM

    Right word should have been Paryavaran Diwas…Name doesnt matter..what matters is intent and end result..!!

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  • Faisal
    Mar 22, 2012 - 9:37PM

    @Salim Ansari

    OK, you can call it whatever they call it in Arabic, you know the true “language of muslims”…and Christians should call it whatever they call it in Italian(the language of Vatican)…funny world, isn’t it?

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  • Sid
    Mar 22, 2012 - 10:54PM

    Folks that is how the “Spin” works. Totally away from the topic or news posted here. Well Urdu, as it is, a diverse, versatile and accommodating in contrast to any other language that has prospered with time. It has no connections to any particular religion or race. On the contrary, Sanskrit as old as it is, somehow has shown all the signs of a dying language no matter which way you look at it.
    Lets be realistic, the Indian films watched all over the world are pronounced Hindi films which I never understood why. If that is Hindi then the program on BBC for Hindi service is in some other language but Hindi. To me Hindi films that we all watch are actually Urdu films. For takers of yet another “TWIST” !

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  • nikhat
    Mar 23, 2012 - 12:25AM

    @Salim Ansari:
    whats wrong in saying namastay? if others can say Salam to us then sometime we should also say namastay.

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  • nikhat
    Mar 23, 2012 - 12:27AM

    @jagjit sidhoo:
    well said Jagjeet. its the message that is important.by the way i like sanskirit and hindi language is full of sanskirit.

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  • nikhat
    Mar 23, 2012 - 12:30AM

    @Mohit Chinoy:
    not all muslimsMohit. ima muslim too . Education make s a big difference whether its in India or pakistan.

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  • Ishant
    Mar 23, 2012 - 3:00AM

    @Sid
    Forget Bollywood, even common people in Pakistan do not speak Urdu for casual chat, they speak “Hindi” or “Hindustani”, as it was previously known, which is derived from “Khari Boli” dialect of North India(Ganga-Yamuna doab). The real “Urdu” is found on Pakistani News channels or in the authentic Urdu literature, which is pure Urdu i.e Hindi+more concentration of Arabic and Persian words. The reason “Urdu is so diverse”, is becoz its a cocktail of many languages, like Hindi, Persian, Arabic, Turkic, Punjabi etc.

    As an Indian, I often do not understand many words which are used in Pakistani Urdu Media(electronic). Hindi is the predecessor of Urdu…not to mention the script difference. Hindi is written in Indian Devanagari script, whereas Urdu is written in Arab-Persian script.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:19PM

    @nikhat: The trees never got planted they got lost in this Hindi Urdu fight(i wish i could have called it a debate).

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:36PM

    @Sid: All India Radio uses Sanskritized Hindi and similarly your Pak radio & tv use Persianized Urdu i find it difficult to understand either so i normally watch the English channels. I have no difficulty with the movies Indian or Pakistani(loved Khuda ke liye)as they are in Hindustani the language you and i speak. Wish the govts would leave our language alone and stick to governance.Lets not forget the message PLANT TREES TO SAVE THE PLANET.

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  • bhandari
    Mar 24, 2012 - 2:49PM

    off the point everybody?? lets just forget this urdu hindi fight and lets make friends with the trees :-)

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