By Nigar Ataulla
Remember the cute little sparrow? It was our childhood friend, and one could spot it in our gardens years ago. Over the years, as malls, mansions and mobiles invaded our cities, including Bangalore, the bird found no space to build its home or even food to eat. It is now a rare sight to find women sitting outside the house and cleaning grains, which sparrows used to peck, because people have switched over to packed grains. Trees are being cut down to widen roads and make monstrous flyovers, knocking down who knows how many birds' nests? There is no insect food for these birds as we use chemical pesticides and fertilizers in our gardens. All this annoyed the sparrow and it flew away, God knows where.
In such a gloomy scenario, the initiative of Project SOS--Save Our Sparrows--initiated by the Burhani Foundation (India), in association with Nature Forever Society, comes as a big ray of hope.
On March 6, 2011, to mark the birthday of Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin as per the Gregorian calendar, the Save Our Sparrows project was launched, not just here in Bangalore but throughout the world, by distributing 52,000 bird feeders free to people. The Burhani Foundation organized the event at the Burhani Masjid Complex, on the outskirts of Bangalore. From 10 am onwards, kids, men, women, old and young, lined up to get their bird feeders. This magnanimous event is expected to enter both the Guinness Book of World Records and the Limca Book of Records as the single biggest nature conservation effort.
Janet Yegneshwaran, Founder of Trees For Free organization, is striving hard to make Bangalore green again. Through her efforts to plant trees and conserve nature, the city may turn green again. She was just the right person to be one of the judges and witnesses on the panel for this event, along with Dr Mir Md Noorul Hassan, Asst. Professor of Surgery at Bangalore Medical College. Rajesh G., Physical Education Instructor with the schools run by Burhani Foundation, was the counter and time keeper.
As 500 people walked away with the bird feeders to place them their homes, open yards, balconies and even offices, there arose a breeze of hope that the little sparrow would come back to the city.
While Burhani Foundation’s Project Save Our Sparrows is a model to be emulated to promote sensitivity about the environment around us, its organizational skills are also absolutely amazing. It takes sheer hard work to make an event like this successful, which it was, but team work and inter-personal skills matter a lot and that was in ample evidence. The soft-spoken, gentle and helpful Firoz T. Totanawala and Yakub T Totanawala and their team ensured that the project flowed with clockwork precision and perfection.
With World Sparrow Day being celebrated on March 20, it is important for us to reflect on how our lifestyles impact on the environment. In our greed to eat more, buy more, acquire more, spend more and build more, we have forgotten the needs of the humble, simple sparrow. After all, it’s sweet chirp-chirp is far more pleasant than our screeching, beeping mobiles. If you want to hear the pleasant chirp again, make some space in your hearts for this little bird and woo it to come back into your lives and gardens once again.
Source: Okhla Times