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Life begins after death at HESCO Ashram


MAYANK SINGH | Dehradun, May 23, 2012 15:57
Tags : HESCO Ashram | Dehradun | Asharodi Range | |

Life begins after death at HESCO AshramWhile the temperature of Dehradun was hovering at 39 Degree Celsius, Shuklapur was still two to three degrees less. More than the difference in temperature is the sight of lovely lofty trees and the river which is coming out from the Asharodi Range which houses this complete area of around 50 acres.

When TSI tried to explore the entire concept of this Asharodi Watershed Development it led us to meet Dr Anil Joshi, the man who gave birth to this entire concept of System Recharging: Inclusive Growth. Dr Anil Joshi is running an NGO Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) and with this he is busy harmonizing the four elements of Chinta (Planning and Policy), Chintan (Discussion with the society), Chaitanya (Self Consciousness) and Chitaa (Pyre).

Dr Joshi, in white kurta and a khadi linen pant and sandal, dons a red khaadi piece of cloth on head. With a smile he says, “Nobody dies. Dead is the one who does not know how to live.” Sound philosophical? Indeed, it does but it is this very point which HESCO is busy proving the people in the country and the last element as mentioned above, Pyre, is the beginning of the second life for any person who dies and is brought to this NGO for cremation.

Holding a saplings, Dr. Joshi says, “This is Semwal. He is alive in this Amla which will one day grow and will bear fruits for the whole community.” On the one side is the temple and at a little distance from it, is the place where the bodies are consigned to fire which marks the beginning of another life in the form of a sapling. Semwal had come here in the form of one such body to be consigned to fire as per the customs.

Once the body is cremated, its ash is put into the pit dug-up for the sapling. “We all are made of various elements and material and when the ash of the body is put into the pit it provides the sapling with minerals and salts which help in its growth,” Says Anil Joshi.
Joshi glances towards the cremation shed and then looks towards the temple of Shiva, the destroyer. Dr Anil Joshi begins his day at this very temple offering prayers to lord Shiva. But, at this place where lord Shiva is worshipped lots of creation is going on and the genesis lies in the desire to harmonize science and philosophy.

As Dr Joshi believes the malady lies in the very idea that science is different from philosophy. Things will only change when science and philosophy will co-exist, will go together. “We have to rise from the selfishness and think about community and HESCO is busy doing the same,”adds Joshi.
Life begins after death at HESCO Ashram
On the one side HESCO has emerged as the one leading a campaign to harmonize science and philosophy, and on the other it is working on the ground to improve the area around the ashram which houses HESCO. In conjunction with Forest Research Institute, HESCO has adopted the area of around 50 acres and has been busy tendering support to the environment which has borne fruit in the form of concept of System Recharge: Inclusive Growth which means to recharge degenerating ecosystem for inclusive delivery, rejuvenation of water body, soil surface, grass-herbs-forest cover, food chain, reducing human wild life conflict, invasion of wild life in village resources.

All this has been done with the community participation for it was affecting both the local population and the animals in the form of loss of habitat, man-wild animal conflicts and imbalance in the eco-system. This all required a sustained effort for water harvesting initiatives with creating the water storage structures like water holes, soil conservation, check dams, retaining walls, plantation and promotion of grasses for soil and water conservation and convergence of wild root stock into fruit plants.
The green cover around the ashram is testimony to the achievement which only sustained effort can achieve and can show that it is work which will result in solution, just preaching won’t work.

HESCO Ashram is busy not just with the campaign to change the area with balancing just the eco-system. It also is making efforts to make people living in the local areas to understand their own worth and is training the women to take up their own little work in the form of making Jam, jelly, pickle and bakery products.
Also, it has taken up the task of building small water mills which when attached alternators to produce electricity apart from grinding floor for the people in rural areas. This entire campaign is launched on the bank of a small river which a few years back had dried. HESCO has every element to sustain life in harmony with nature where everyone will have everything to lead a happy life.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017