Blog Archives

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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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 governmhttps://mangarbani.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=203&action=editent.

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

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.

Timeline

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


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Save Mangar Bani, Delhi’s last sacred forest grove


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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: http://www.ecoearthcare.com/

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!

flipped-2010

On Twitter, our hashtag is: #savemangarbani

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

In Pics: Mangar Bani: Our experience

Stay at Mangar Bani: Our experience


In order to cover the story, four of our group members visited the sacred grove of Mangar Bani and stayed there for three days. Though we had our apprehensions but only once we reached there did we realise how crucial it was for covering our story.

Day 1: After travelling fro almost 2 hours, we reached the Mangar village but decided to meet the Sarpanch (village head) first. The office of the Sarpanch (it was more of a makeshift office) was at the highway itself, at a distance from the village and the forests. After interviewing the Sarpanch, we had a quick bite at a roadside dhaba itself and left for the village. The Sarpanch was kind enough to allow us to stay at his outhouse.

What was fascinating was that in the month of April, we did not require any fan, forget an AC! The weather at the Mangar village was so cool and breezy that it was actually difficult for us to believe that we are actually in Haryana, a state that is extremely hot during summers! It then struck us that maintaining a green cover is extremely important as it drastically impacts the local weather and Delhi’s temperature has risen over the years largely due to mindless deforestation.

The local gujjars at the village have their dinner at 5 in the evening and sleep early as they get up around 3 am in the morning. We had to sleep early as well since there was no electricity.

Day 2: We met the president of the Gram Vikas Samiti on the second day and interviewed him. Later, we met people from an NGO named Sukarya. By then, it was almost afternoon and we had not had a morsel of food! We came across a ration shop (luckily) and bought packets of maggie from there (there was nothing else). We cooked this maggie on a makeshift chulha (stove) our self and tried to satiate our hunger.

We met a local there called Gajraj who consented to take us inside the forest. We met another local, Munni Ram, whose family of 70-odd members stay in small huts within a huge courtyard.We had dinner at Munni Ram’s place.

Day 3: As per the plan, we met Gajraj and he took us inside the Mangar Bani forests. The sight was absolutely breathtaking and the very idea that something like this exists in the NCR region was in itself a marvelous idea, something rather tough to believe. However, certain areas in the forest have dried up too. Gajraj showed us the various dams that were built in the forest region, many of which have dried up. We later went to the famous temple of Gudriya Baba, who is the local legend at the forests. After completing our tour of the forests we visited the secretary of the Gram Vikas Samiti and later went to the Sona Gurgaon road to meet Chetan Agarwal , an expert on the Mangar Bani forests who has been researching on them since the last few years and is also an advisor the Environment Ministry.

Do check our next blog for interesting pictures from the forest as well as Mangar village.

Mangarbani: Delhi’s last sacred forest grove


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Environmentalists have often voiced their concern about the groundwater depletion in the NCR region. Mindless deforestation is aggravating this problem further. What can be described as possibly the last stretch of virgin forests in the NCR region, the Mangar Bani forests on the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway, also stand the risk of being uprooted.

The forests are marked by the divine presence of the five centuries old cult of Gudariya Baba. Locals believe that he attained enlightenment during his stay in the Mangar Bani forests and it is held that the place is in itself an old wise soul. Gudariya Baba’s teachings to his disciples included a warning that any harm by humans or even cattles shall invite the wrath of the wise soul.

According to a story published in Tehelka magazine: ‘Entertainment parks, like Gurgaon’s Kingdom of Dreams, could replace the stretch of the Aravalis along the Delhi border, which serves not only as a wildlife corridor but also as a groundwater recharge zone for the NCR.’

As students of journalism at AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, we are trying to bring the importance of these forests to the fore. Follow this space and check our updates to know more.

Your contributions are always welcome! Mail us at mangarbani@gmail.com.