Meswak, a medicinal tree is disappearing fast from Haryana because of industrialisation and its medicinal value. Earlier its roots are used as local toothbrush and now are used for making toothpastes in industries. Its twisted stem and barks are the homes of many poisonous animals like gauhwera (poisonous lizard), snakes and goha, a huge lizard. Even biju (honey bedger) loves to live in them. Therefore, people in greed as well as in fear chopped this tree mercilessly. I want to plant this tree in my farm as it can be home for many species and most of the small birds love to eat its berries which are of different colours like pink, white, red and purple.

I searched various nurseries for this tree. And Alas! Most of them had never heard of such a tree though it is native tree of this region. Surprisingly I tried near about 100 nurseries both private as well as officially hold by government. I hunt for it not only in Haryana but also across the length and breadth of the country. I explored Google for it but all in vain. As this tree grows well by its seed dispersed by birds or by humans. There is no tree near my farm therefore, this method was not feasible.

When I told my mother about my problem that I was not able to find baby plant of Meswak tree. She asked about its local name. I told her it is also known as Peel, Pelu or Jaal and its botanical name is Salvadora persica. She recalled that when we used to travel by rail about 30 years back from Hisar to Rewari then on Jatusana Railway Station that fruits used to be sold by local vendors in leaf donas. She suggested that there must be a forest of this tree near that railway station and you might find some trees there but preferably go there in monsoon season, as baby plants will be easily available.

Following her guidance, I went to Aravalli hills situated close to Jatusana Railway Station. Gigantic rocks of all sizes and shapes were standing in pride ready to bathe in the sunshine peeping occasionally from the clouds. It was mesmerising to watch nature’s creation. I searched underneath Meswak trees that were growing here and there. Grass and weeds of same size and colour made it a tough job. Gladly I found two baby trees. Delicately I uprooted them to transplant them to a new safe and secure place.

 

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Chandrika Shubham Saini

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