Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Member of Parliament and erstwhile Union Minister for Environment and Forests made a two day visit to The Peepal Grove School, an Alternative Boarding School in India on the 28th and 29th of September.
A personality with multiple identities – environmentalist, animal welfare activist, ex-environment minister of India, wife of Late Shri. Sanjay Gandhi – her visit provided the students and teachers an opportunity to learn and question many things.
A student’s account of Maneka Gandhi’s interaction at PGS – An Alternative Boarding School in India
She began her first interaction session with a story of how our heart lies in a butterfly. The significance of the role played by creatures that are considered undesirable such as mosquito, cockroach, hippopotamus and vulture were also stressed upon.
Her interaction with us was dominated by stark facts and startling statistics which showed her genuine passion for all forms of life. Horrifying truths about the killing of the elephants in Kerala, poaching of tigers by shepherds and cultural and racial transformation due to the extinction of Dodos in Mauritius were exposed. A strong advocate of vegetarianism, she revealed that animals that are grown for meat need to be fed which implies that for every kilogram of meat we eat, we also consume eleven kilograms of plant food.
She also spoke about the nature of junk food and gave us all a shock when she said that a burger from McDonald’s if left untouched does not rot a bit for more than fourteen years! This tells us about the artificial ingredients that it contains. Her achievements in stopping cruelty toward bears by banning the usage of bears for street dance tricks and creating green parks to motivate villagers to keep their surroundings clean, among many others were fascinating.
The Infirmary at the Peepal Grove School inaugurated by Maneka Gandhi
After the interaction, Smt. Gandhi inaugurated the new infirmary in our Alternative Boarding School in India, campus, following which there was a Kalari demonstration by the students using sticks, swords, shields, spears, daggers and urumis along with bare hand fight techniques. Even after Smt. Maneka Gandhi left the school, the eco-fever lingers on the campus with the senior students surfing the internet for the longevity of burgers and juniors refusing milk as they hold their ground demanding details about the real nutrients in milk!