The Sunday Guardian – The real estate boom has jeopardised NCR forests


43 seconds:Mangar Bani an ancient forest under threat

On the occasion of Earth Day 2013 we bring to you an interesting video. In this video the entire story of Mangar Bani has been told using Motion Graphics that have been designed by our team. Please tell us how you find it.

100 trees felled in Mangar Bani

100 trees felled in Mangar Bani

NEW DELHI: There is some fresh evidence of around 100 of trees having been cut in and around Mangar Bani in the Aravalis even as the ministry of environment and forest has asked the Haryana chief secretary to identify it and other such areas that are deemed forests.

Green activists who took photographs of the freshly cut tree stumps, which have not yet started sprouting shoots, said that photos show tyre tracks, suggesting a large scale operation. “Only thicker and older trees are targeted for their trunks. The branches are mostly left behind, suggesting this is not subsistence cutting by villagers for firewood, but a commercially oriented operation,” Sarvadaman Oberoi of Mission Gurgaon Development said.

Activists who have been opposing the diversion of a portion of Mangar Bani, a sacred grove, for a mega tourist complex said this development has exposed how government agencies in Haryana have failed to protect areas which fall in restricted zones notified under sections 4 & 5 of Punjab Land Preservation Act. Area covered by these notifications cannot be utilized for any non-forest activity.

A large portion of Aravalis in this region fall in ‘gair mumkin pahar’ or common hilly land category. Green activists said that clearing of trees and removal of vegetation is more prevalent in these portions since there is high speculation of government allowing real estate and related activities.

The issue of non-forest use of forest land in Mangar, Kot and Roz-ka-Gujjar is already pending before National Green Tribunal.

(This report was carried by The Times of India on April 7, 2013)

World Environment Day 2013


Some geologists and archeologists are ready to label modern times as the Anthropocene Epoch, the Era of Man, for the tremendous impact mankind has had on the planet.

The question is, if mankind merits its own epoch, when did it start? Some argue for the Industrial Revolution, which led to the revolutionary release of trapped carbon, gases and other materials into the atmosphere and environment we are now experiencing. Others argue that the epoch might have begun over 11,000 years ago – when mankind began radically altering landscapes and environments through farming.

One of our defining characteristics as humans, what makes us ‘modern’, is our attempt to control our food supply through agriculture, as opposed to hunting and gathering what is available at a given time and place.

We have become extremely skilled at producing food. What we haven’t mastered is distribution, food production that doesn’t cause more environmental damage…

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India’s green mission caught in funds’ crunch (June 5 is World Environment Day)


ndia‘s ambitious plans to fight climate change by enhancing the forest cover at a cost of Rs. 46,000 crore by 2020 have been stuck with no funds available since it was cleared by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change in 2011.

The Green India Mission, one of eight such under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), had aimed to increase the forest cover by five million hectares and improve the quality of forests on another five million hectares.

“The Green India Mission has stopped as there are no funds coming. At the time of the mission’s announcement, it was decided that funds will come from a number of ministries and the Planning Commission,” V. Rajagopalan, secretary, environment ministry, told IANS.

“About Rs.2,000 crore was to come under NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) from the rural development ministry while the Planning Commission was also to give…

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WED 2013: Happy World Environment Day

Happy world environment day


WED 2013 - Raxa Collective

On June 5, we’ll celebrate World Environment Day. This year UNEP focuses on the theme Food waste/Food Loss. At Raxa Collective we’ll be carrying out actions and sharing experience and ideas. Come and join us with your ideas and tips to preserve foods, preserve resources and preserve our planet.

Here is a video which explains how we save the food we produce at our restaurant All Spice at Cardamom County from wastage. Our process includes a dedicated team, talented suppliers, our farm animals and organic garden and a local pig farm. It also explains how we give back.

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Indian man single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest


A small gesture can make a big difference. Never underestimate the power of “one”. Just look at this amazing Indian man, for instance; who single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest. I think this is an amazing story:

Indian man single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

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1.6 Million Hectares of Protected Forest in Aceh Could be Lost

mangarbani extends its solidarity to this cause

Rethinking Philanthropy (Lisa Genasci)

One of the world’s most important and largest-remaining stretches of protected forests could be lost within the month to mining, logging and plantation companies that want to reclassify the land.

If a new spatial planning goes ahead, the governor and parliament of Aceh province in Indonesia would hand over forest vital to an estimated 4 million people as watershed protection and critical to food security and livelihoods.

The forest being proposed for re-zoning is part of the protected Leuser ecosystem, which is one of the richest expanses of tropical rain forest  in Southeast Asia and a global repository of biodiversity.

Action NOW (sign the petition with link below) is urgent ahead of expected approval by the Aceh provincial parliament, where it   significant support.  Following that vote, the plan must then be approved by national government in Jakarta and a Forestry Ministry spokesman there has been quoted in press reports saying it could…

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Trees of Transformation – a video book

If Mangar Bani survives …


Trees of Transformation is the first in a series of wake up storybooks about the people who are taking a stand for Nature in the midst of corporate giants. One of those people is Alana Lea, who became a voice for the Atlantic Forest in Brazil where she was born –– now 93% gone.

Discover what she learned as a social entrepreneur, on a mission of organic reforestation, facing international non-profit greenwash. You’ll meet the people who inspire her, and deepen her determination to find solutions, as well as what gives her hope. This is the story of a Mother turned environmental advocate, inviting you to discover, innovate, partner and find solutions with her, creating the future we all want for our children.


iTunes Trees of Transformation

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Ethiopia enlists help of forest communities to reverse deforestation

Mangar Bani needs a similar solution which includes the aspirations of Gujjar community


The Ethiopian government recently realized that just creating bans on cutting down trees is not an effective way of stopping deforestation and is actually creating zero change.  The government instead decided to turn to a strategy based on enlisting the help of forest communities. The woodlands are under a great deal of pressure, jungles are becoming extinct, and tropical and mature forests are being damaged by the lumber and paper trades. Through our negligence, more than half of what used to be viable rich land became swept off of its resources.

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Voices of the Village

This video wall brings to you the voices from the Mangar Village. The villagers speak about their concerns over the conflict between conservation and development.

Mangar Bani: Photo slideshow

Here is a look at some of the snapshots taken at the sacred forest of Mangar Bani and the adjoining Mangar village. This would give you an insight into the place as well as the people there. 


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Tell us what you feel about this online documentary

People of Mangar Bani voice their views

People of Mangar Bani interacted with our team members on various issues. Here are few of them speaking in this “Live Wall” .


Politics of Mangar Bani

<h1>The politics of Mangar Bani</h1>
Mangar Bani, is the last surviving forest grove of Delhi NCR. Surrounded by the picturesque Aravalis, it serves as the last water recharge zone for the entire area comprising of Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon majorly. Locals who used to be miners earlier have lost their livelihood after mining was stopped in the area.

The apparent politics of the place is a heady mixture of locals who want high rises and sky scrapers to come up so that new means of livelihood can be found and locals who want to conserve and protect the forests and the Aravalis at any cost.

Providing an expert opinion are an environmentalist and a research fellow from TERI. Hear them to understand what the politics of the place pertains to.

Map of Mangar Bani

Here is a map of Mangar Village including the Mangar Bani grove .

The map shows the location of the temple dedicated to Gudariya Baba which is located a little away from the village in the grove.

The cluster of residences in Mangar Village is shown separately in the map.

This map is put up to provide geographical location of the village and does not indicate the boundaries of the village as per the official records of the governm

A Timeline of policies related to Mangar Bani

The issue of Mangar Bani has seen various developments over the last few years. Many policy decisions have affected it over the years. This timeline is a work in progress to document all the relevant policy papers.

Mangar Policy

The real issue of Mangar Bani

The National Capital Region of India is notorious for its alarming pollution levels. Amidst all this reckless development lies the Mangar Bani forest grove on the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway, a place that can truly be called Mother Nature’s blessing to mankind!

However, if Mangar Bani is privatized and real estate development is allowed here, the entire ecosystem will die and with it, the tradition of conservation that has been kept alive for hundreds of years will die too.

Here is a look at the real issue of Mangar Bani.

Discovering the legend of Gudariya Baba

The locals of Mangar Bani believe in the legend of ‘Gudariya Baba’, who they believe protects the sacred forest grove.

He first appeared almost five centuries ago as a young boy who was just wearing a loin cloth (known as ‘gudari’ in Hindi) and hence, he is referred to as Gudariya Baba.

According to the legend, he used to  meditate in a cave inside the forest and he vanished in that cave itself. The local villagers believe that if the people subject the forest to any harm, they will face the wrath of nature.

A Timeline of media coverage of Mangar Bani

An interactive Timeline showing the media coverage of the Mangar Bani Issue.


Your contributions to this interactive Timeline is welcome . You are invited to post information about the coverage you will like us include in this Timeline in the comment section and we will update it.

Mangar Bani: Academic Poster


Save Mangar Bani, Delhi’s last sacred forest grove


The National Capital Region of India which includes Delhi along with regions of neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, is notorious for its alarming pollution levels.

 Mangar Bani forest grove on the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway can be considered a miracle, the fact that it is located amidst the reckless development in this region.

Bani means forest and Mangar is the name of the community and therefore, the forest is owned by the local Gujjar community.

The sacred forest grove is protected by the local cult of ‘Gudariya Baba’, a local mystic who is believed to have vanished in a cave in Mangar Bani.

The local villagers believe that if the people subject the forest to any harm, they will face the wrath of nature.

The local vegetation comprises of Dhau trees that can survive in the harsh climatic conditions through millions of years of evolution and in fact there is no other forest in Haryana that has a tree cover of Dhau trees.

 Sunil, the secretary of the Gram Vikas Samiti, a local development committee managed to get signatures from almost 450 villagers and stopped a tender that was issued for cutting the trees in the sacred forest.

These forests are located at the edge of the Aravalis, India’s oldest mountain range. They are considered to be the last stretch of unfragmanted habitat for wildlife in this area.

They boast of a rich flora and fauna. Recently, the Black Eagle that was earlier spotted a few decades ago, was seen at the Mangar Bani forests.

However, how long will this place, possibly the last stretch of virgin forests in and around Delhi, be able to stay away from human intervention?

Despite being against various acts like the Forest Conservation Act, Revenue Act etc the entire area of Manga Bani got privatized and villagers were forced to sell their share of the land.

The area was broken into 1acre plots by the Haryana revenue authority. The Draft Development planfor Mangar village that was passed in the year 2011 allows for real estate activities to take place inside this sacred forest.

At present, there is a stay on the Draft Development Plan but illegal mining still continues to take place in the adjacent Aravali hills that affects the ground water level of the region drastically.

Whether or not the forest is able to survive waits to be seen. However, if Mangar Bani is privatized and real estate development is allowed here, the entire ecosystem will die and with it, the tradition of conservation that has been kept alive for hundreds of years will die too.

Mangar Bani: #savemangarbani on Twitter

Here are some of our tweets and the kind efforts of people on the social networking site Twitter:


See your own forest conservation story here

MapSaving our forests is the need of the hour today! The number of man-made disasters is increasing every day and it is only in our hands to save our planet before it is too late.

Through this blog, we, as students of journalism, are trying our best to promote this cause ans save India’s capital from the menace of pollution and deforestation.

In an interesting interactive, we have come up with a map where in you can see how different movements of forest conservation have taken place through out the world. Click on the balloon in the map and you can read about the story!

What’s more is that you can even contribute and share your stories on this map! so, start exploring and share your stories with us!

Google Map

Related articles

Mangarbani and Social media

As we are trying to create awareness about the Mangar Bani forests, one of our greatest tools are social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Constant updates are being made on these sites and besides relevant information, interesting anecdotes from our stay in the Mangar village are also being shared. Please go ahead and visit these pages to know more.

Your suggestions are more than welcome.

People are sending their suggestions to us on Facebook and actively sharing the content on Twitter as well:

‘The Lost Forest’, a short film by filmmaker Ishani K Dutta travels through the shady paths of Mangar Bani and reveals a sad truth — the forest could soon be the site of new highrises and gated colonies. Watch it to discover more about Mangar Bani’s fascinating wildlife, a forest deity named Gudariya Baba and some age-old cures and curses. Image:

Ishani Dutta

Remember the large, old sycamore tree that Juli loves in the 2010 film Flipped? Have you had a similar experience? Share with us on our interactive.. Coming soon!


On Twitter, our hashtag is: #savemangarbani

You can search this hashtag and gather more information as well.