ON KILLING A TREE
By– Gieve Patel
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. How does a tree grow up?
Ans:- A tree takes years together to grow to its full size. After sprouting out from the surface of the earth from a seed it grows gradually. Its root nurtures it by drawing nutrients from deep under the earth. Sunlight, air and water further nourish it. Out of its bark, tender green branches shoot out and leaves grow all over them. After a long span of time, the tree stands so strong and sturdy that it can survive even the wounds inflicted with a knife. In fact, chopping and hacking are not sufficient to kill it as the wounds get healed. Branches appear again even from the stump and in due course attain their original size. As long as the root of the tree remains intact under the earth, the tree keeps growing.
Q2. What relationship does the tree have with the earth?
Ans:- A tree has a deep relationship with the earth. It owes its very existence to the earth. The seed germinates in the womb of the earth and the baby plant sprouts out over the surface of the earth. The tree draws nutrients for it from the soil. It is the earth that gives it support to stand erect and protects it from falling. Giving a firm grip to its roots, the earth gives it ground to grow and assume a massive size. The earth keeps roots of the tree concealed, protecting it from exposure to the sunlight and the air which can prove to be very injurious for its existence. Thus, the earth helps a tree right from its birth to its survival. Even a chopped tree grows again out of the stump and gains the original, big size because the earth supports it.
Q3. What does the root of the tree look like when it is pulled out of the earth-cave? What happens to it when it is left exposed?
Ans:-The root of the tree is moist anti-white when it is pulled out of its hiding, the earth-cave. It is very tender and delicate as it has remained concealed for years together, away from sunlight and air. The root cannot tolerate the light and heat of the sun and the open air. When it is left exposed, it feels scorched and choked in the sun and the air. Initially, it starts changing its colour and becomes somewhat brown. Then it starts losing its tenderness. It becomes hard and its suppleness declines. Gradually, it withers away and becomes gnarled and twisted. Ultimately, life is completely drained out of it and it leads to the death of the whole tree. This is how exposure robs first the root and then the entire tree of its life.
Q4. What would happen if the tree is hacked and chopped?
Ans:-If the tree is hacked and chopped and left as such with the root of the tree neither dugout nor injured, the root will continue to provide nourishment to the stump of the tree. This stump will then be covered with tender twigs that will sprout out of its surface. If these twigs are not pruned or hacked or chopped, they will keep on growing and eventually, with the passage of time, the tree will grow up to its original size. The wounded bark of the tree will get healed and the tree will be as big as it was earlier. The threat to its life will be overcome and hacking or chopping will fail to kill the tree. The safe root will rescue and resuscitate the tree and help it to regain its lost glory.
Q5. Suppose you are a tree. Write a diary entry in about 150 words describing how you were hacked and chopped and your root was pulled out and how you are inching towards your end.
(Day and Date) (Time)
Dear Diary Today my heart is crying and I suffer due to the pain inflicted upon me by cruel men. Two days ago, I was enjoying the fresh air and warm sunlight when suddenly I felt a blow of an axe on my trunk. I noticed that a man was hitting me hard, giving one blow after another. My bark was wounded, the sap was oozing and my leaves and branches were falling off lifelessly. I could feel a sharp pain that I found hard to tolerate. When the man got tired, he left me for the night. I was relieved that he had not harmed my root. I was certain that my wound would heal and new branches would grow after some time. But the next day there came five people. The first chopped off big chunks from my trunk and then tied a rope firmly around me. They applied force to pull my root out of the earth. Now my strength gave way and my white, wet and sensitive root was hauled. My root has been left exposed to the sunlight and air. Its white colour is turning brown and it has started hardening and twisting. Slowly, it will wither away and I will die. I wish these ignorant people had realized that I was serving them selflessly with fresh oxygen and dense shade. Sadly, I have to say goodbye to this beautiful world because of the insensitivity of some people. Banyan
Q6. Trees are our lifeline. So they must not be killed. Write your suggestions on how trees can be protected.
Ans. Trees have great importance in our life. They teach us that life is made for others. They bear fruits for others and provide shelter to them. All creatures are equal in their eyes. Besides, trees take several years to become fully grown up. When they are full-grown, they enhance the beauty of nature. But we are recklessly cutting down trees for our selfish needs. We have to check this useless cutting of trees. We have to make strict rules and protect them. The government should also come forward in this regard. The forest should be declared protected areas and people must be encouraged to plant more trees. They should be made aware of how trees are valuable for human beings. On the other hand, we should organise ourselves in some groups or associations and prohibit people from cutting down trees. Moreover, everybody should develop a love for trees.
Q7. Write why people cut trees. Are there other alternatives to trees for them?
Ans. People have several requirements which can be fulfilled by trees. They get wood for fire and furniture from trees. They get various kinds of medicine and fruits. The tribal people are completely dependent on trees, but they never cut them. But the common people cut trees as they have no alternatives. But they should not cut down trees and spoil the beauty of nature. Moreover, they should discover other sources to fulfil their needs. They should be encouraged to use steel sheets in their doors and windows. The tribal people should be given every support to decrease their dependence on trees. They should be made responsible to protect trees in their areas and plant more trees. Besides people should be made aware of the environmental problems which are created after cutting down trees. We have to protect trees at any cost.
Q8. Describe the growth of a tree in detail with reference to the poem.
Ans. The poet, Gieve Patel describes how a tree grows in the first stanza of his poem “On Killing a Tree”. According to him, the tree grows slowly consuming the earth firmly. It absorbs sunlight, air and water from nature for years to make food with these nutrients. But a tree heals its wounds by hacking and chopping to rise miniature boughs into full size itself again. Thus, a tree grows slowly by absorbing years of sunlight, air and water.