Painting the country green!

Updated: Apr 18, 2012, 11:26 AM IST

Ananya Bhattacharya

For people like you and I, just the thought of leaving behind a stable job, family and friends for two long years would sound nothing short of incredible. But when Ujjal Pal shouldered the self-endowed responsibility of cycling 28,000 kilometres, it was a bolt out of the blue for many people.

The idea is grand, and the endeavour definitely worth heaps of praises. But the thing that strikes the most in the entire issue is the dedication with which Ujjal Pal has dived into the work. This is nothing less than a herculean feat, and Ujjal’s devotion to the work is nothing less than extraordinary. His journey of 28, 000 kilometres is likely to be completed in a span of two years, and for the entire duration, there’s no turning back for Pal. In December 2011, the cyclist began painting the country green - his starting point being the Sunderban National Park in West Bengal. Ever since, he has not stopped. The awareness programme that Ujjal Pal is pursuing is considered an insurmountable feat by many. With the 3400 already-completed-kilometres, the cyclist has proved that nothing is impossible if the will to do so burns bright in a heart.

The ‘Green on Wheel’ campaign that Ujjal Pal has begun is to touch all the National Parks of the country. After 3400 kilometres of cycling, Pal has already been able to light the lamp of awareness in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. The aim of the campaign is to spread the message of planting at least one tree in a lifetime. Under the same, Pal has been visiting schools and villages adjacent to the National Parks, and has been motivating them to go green. Planting one tree in the entire life of a person, too, is worth a huge difference. After all, it is the earth that would be at the receiving end of the benefits.

Ask him about the expenditures, and he smiles. The entire amount that is expected to be spent on the trip is somewhere around 5.5 lakhs. All over Madhya Pradesh, Pal has received enormous support from the State Government. His accommodation and food have been provided for during his stay in Madhya Pradesh, and Pal is immensely grateful to the Madhya Pradesh Government. Scheduled to be completed in about 730 days, Ujjal Pal’s cycle trip is – simply put – extraordinary.

Leaving a stable job behind wasn’t a difficult task for Pal. He says, “Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about the entire campaign. My family, too, had their inhibitions. However, since I had decided to go ahead with such an aim in mind, it seemed quite natural for me to sacrifice certain things in favour of the greater need. And at this point of time, with the earth ailing under the burden of pollution and several other maladies, there can be nothing important than spreading awareness about planting trees.”

Buttressed by the strength of group meetings, pamphlet distributions, usage of stickers and posters and interaction with forest officials, Ujjal Pal’s solo campaign is now well past its incipience. In December 2013, the cyclist is to announce the proud completion of the work that he has begun a few months back. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are to be the end point of Pal’s campaign. Amidst tons of encouragement and the occasional apprehensions, Ujjal Pal’s brainchild is now 3400 kilometres long. The end is not in sight as of now, but the cyclist doesn’t even want his work to end. So, what next? Ujjal Pal is eyeing a world trip on his cycle – all across the seven continents, asking people to do the one thing that is perhaps the most necessary given the need of the hour – planting trees!

The spokes of the ‘Green on Wheel’ campaign has already touched a considerable part of the country by now. And with every passing hour, Ujjal Pal’s cycle of awareness keeps moving forward. With the dream of turning the impossible into possible, and the hope of seeing his dream metamorphose into reality, Ujjal pedals on. Into the wilderness, into the hearts of people. His cycle is not here to stop soon. And his dream of dotting the country with trees is the dream that many have dreamt. Ujjal Pal has walked many extra miles. Or cycled, for that matter. Literally.