In an attempt to spread environmental awareness, an Odisha school teacher asked for an unusual present from his would-be father-in-law. The 32-year-old demanded 1,001 tree saplings as a token of gift to the couple. He says it was his childhood dream to have a “green wedding”.
On June 21, Sarojkanta Biswal of coastal Kendrapara village in Odisha received 1,001 tree saplings from his bride’s father. Earlier, Sarojkanta, who teaches science at Jagannath Vidyapith school in the village, startled his would-be father-in-law by refusing to take dowry. After which the father insisted him to at least accept something, as it is a custom in their society. After which, Biswal made his unusual request of tree saplings to his would-be father-in-law.
“I had promised myself that I would never take dowry. We are taught as a child that dowry is ethically wrong. I am just following what I was taught by my teachers.” said Biswal while talking to The Logical Indian.
“I am against any kind of dowry but my father-in-law insisted on it, so I asked him to give me 1,001 saplings of fruit-bearing trees,” he added.
The bride’s father soon accepted Biswal’s astonishing demand. A day before the marriage possession he sent tree saplings, which Biswal carried in a small van the next day.
Biswal and his wife, Rashmi, who is also a teacher, distributed some 700 mango and bakul saplings among the villagers.
To make it an all “green wedding”, the family avoided bursting firecrackers and DJ music during the time of marriage procession.
Biswal is also an active member of ‘Vikas Parishad,’ an organisation that aims to preserve the environment. “We encourage people to plant trees, our motto is “Gachha Ti Pai Saathi Tiye” which means there should be one friend for every tree. I have been spreading the message of the need to plant trees and save the planet from global warming and climate change,” said newly-wedded Biswal.
He also says that he has specially chosen the fruit-bearing trees, as it would incline the people to take care of the saplings.
Rashmi, a school teacher in Cuttack hails from Belana, 60 km away from Kendrapara village, is happy about his husband’s way of accepting the dowry. She says that if everyone follows his example then, the people can save the environment.
After the marriage, Biswal’s family hosted a reception in honour of the new bride. The family distributed over 300 saplings that they had got as “dowry”. To keep the function environment- friendly, the family in their invitation card requested the villagers to not get any plastic articles.
Biswal is now a happy man, he feels his wedding can be an example for other people. He adds that the government should encourage people to take such steps.
“I am extremely proud of my son-in-law. He has shown that environment can be saved by deed, not mere words,” said Maheswar Paital, his father-in-law.