Monday, May 12, 2008

Trees Vs Foundation Stones

Many defence campuses date to pre-independence times, like the one in Sulur, near Coimbatore. Such self-contained residence-cum-office complexes are pretty green oases in cities and elsewhere. I have seen that the IISc campus is a welcome 2 degrees cooler than the areas outside its peripheral boundary. Traffic is never dense, most staff cycle to work and children can really walk to school.
Yes, the campus is green. However, at every turn, the presence of a 'foundation stone' is at odds with the ambience. There are nearly as many such plaques as - hold your breath - the number of heads of organization(s) over the years, visiting VIP's and their spouses. Imagine the accumulated concrete and granite over the seven decades of the campus's existence. Understandably, the stones have been 'planted' to mark the inauguration of parks and sports courts, construction of building X and subway Y and achievement Z. You may even find two stones per landmark event (when the task was seen through by more than one person at the helm).
It's not too impractical, or idealistic, to dream of an even greener campus, is it? In the place of each stone, why not plant a sapling of a local tree variety? Within campuses also, but more so at the venues of much-tom-tom'ed public inaugurations by political, bureaucratic and industrial bigwigs.
A couple of years ago someone asked me to check out the presence of such a stone dating to 1982. I did, it was in place, albeit well-weathered. I hope to happily reply to such queries henceforth: 'Oh, yes, under that tree the local children attend regular evening classes'...


GVK said...

A 1982 stone would get vintage status before long, if it hasn't already. To add to your thoughts on its replacement with a tree, I would suggest they collect all such 'foundation stones', place them in a corner of the campus, and landscape the area into a commemorative corner.
Visiting VIPs in future, who would have to settle for trees, can have their names etched on a 'corner wall' in the park.

Swarna said...

I'll certainly float this idea in a suitable forum.

aneri_masi said...

This is an EXCELLENT idea!