Behind the Scene
Planting Out of His Own Pocket
‘‘THERE are needs in every family. I am a poor man. I am an artist. My income is meager. I cannot provide for my family well. Nevertheless, I find that I simply have to plant trees occasionally. Trees are my best friend.” This is how Jahir described his passion for planting trees.
Jahir is the son of late Keyamuddin of Bamonnagar village under Jhenidah sadar upazila. Every day he plants trees with his hard earned money in each institution of Jhenidah as well as by the side of road. He dreams that one day Bangladesh will be green all over. Natural life will flourish.
Jahir is an artist by profession. His full name is Md. Jahir Raihan and he is the son of Keyamuddin. Jahir is the youngest of 4 brothers and 2 sisters. He could not continue his studies due to extreme poverty. He got the chance to study for one day in class one and for two months in class two. Later, Jahir went out to earn his livelihood due to his father's poverty. Though Jahir has no formal education, he learnt his trade of art in five months. He had to give up any hopes of study. Nevertheless, Jahir continues to plant trees at institutions with his own money.
Jahir told me that he writes different advertisement on the wall as well as working as a painter. He earns about Tk 140/150 per day. He does not have money-wasting habits such as smoking. He plants trees and pays for them right out of his own pocket. In spite of his financial struggles, he feels a compulsion to plant trees. He has decided that he will do this for as long as he lives. In the meantime he has planted more than 300 hundred trees in 70 institutions including fruit and medicinal trees. Of them, 60 are in Jhenidah KC College premises. Besides, he has planted trees in the BTV relay center, Primary Teachers Training Center, Fire Service Office, Ganna College, M.A Khalek College, Raku primary school and many other places. The passers-by take rest under the shade of the trees planted by Jahir. He not only plants trees but also makes sitting arrangements out of brick around the tree so that the passers-by can sit and rest. He intends to plant trees on every road.
Jahir says he also plants on behalf of the handicapped who cannot do it themselves. He said that if everybody plants one tree each, Bangladesh will soon be full of trees. He added that he plants trees not for name and fame, but for his country which he loves very much.
Jahir says, “Nobody will remember me after my death. I am not a famous person.” He nevertheless wants his legacy, he will live on with his trees. Jharu Mondal, a farmer of Kumrabaria village said, “Jahir is a very good man. Whenever I see him he holds a tree in his hand. Many of us call him gachh pagal Jahir.”
Md. Nazer Ali, a teacher of Dhopabila Primary School, said, “Jahir does all kind of work, not just painting. He has filled our school complex with greenery.” He added that in spite of all this, Jahir never displayed any pride.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008