A plantsman is a person who loves plants for their own sake and knows how to cherish them.
Pankaj Kumar Datta, a resident of GC Centrum, Indirapuram, is a true plantsman at heart. His relationship with plants dates back to his childhood. Currently a naturo environmentalist, his sole mission in life is to sow the seeds of love for plants in every person he comes across.
This is his story..
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a retired SAIL employee and it has been a year since I retired. Now I am a naturo environmentalist and my work is to try and make people empathise with and love plants.
What is Naturo Environmentalism?
Naturo environmentalism is all about connecting with plants. My mission is to make people aware of the beauty of plants, so that they can appreciate nature. If I can convince even 20 out of a 100 people I meet, I will consider it a success.
Please tell us about your activities so far.
I was the first person to organise a flower show in Dwarka. That was in 2010. I have planted over 10,000 trees in association with NGOs, schools and RWAs. I also played a role in introducing the Green Schools program for Centre for Science and Environment. When in Delhi, I coordinated with the financial assistance scheme for Delhi Parks and Gardens Society to maintain green area.
Do you work anywhere now?
Soon after my retirement, I got certified in water harvesting and management along with environment audit and naturopathy. Now, I provide consultancy services for landscaping, beautification and value addition to gardens and parks.
Tell us about your favourite project.
That would have to be setting up a terrace garden in Cambridge School, Indirapuram. The principal was so pleased with the final result that he requested me to create another terrace garden for the auditorium.
Has this always been a passion?
I have always been interested in greenery. Wherever I went, I always had a garden around. It all began at home, with my own garden. Soon, I decided to educate myself and work towards forging a bond between nature and man.
What do you feel about plants?
It is completely emotional. Until and unless you truly feel for plants, you won't want to preserve it. To a person bereft of such emotions, there is no difference between a tree and a steel lamp post. My work is to make people love plants.
Do you have a tree you feel particularly connected to?
Oh, yes. Absolutely. There is a Jamun tree near NH24 in Indirapuram that was uprooted thrice due to storms. I have successfully managed to restore the tree every single time (smiles).
Are you trying any new ways to spread awareness?
I am trying to incorporate street plays, art and photography to further spread my ideas to the masses.
What do you do in your spare time?
I am a nature photographer and have been practicing for the past eight years. Taking pictures of plants and trees is my favourite past time.
Any final message for City Spidey readers?
Plants are living beings, just like us. Love them and protect them and see your world change for the best.