Watching the Royals Die: The plight of the Chinar Tree in Kashmir

Watching the Royals Die - Cover PageGreater Kashmir, one of the main newspapers in Kashmir, published the article ‘Watching the Royals Die’ by Jaasindah Mir and Jan Haenraets about the plight of the endangered Chinar trees in Kashmir.

To view the full text as Pdf, go to this LINK (790 KB).

These royals are the Chinar trees, the booyn, of our Kashmiri land. The article reflects Jaasindah’s feelings as a local Kashmiri, together with thoughts and data that Jan gathered in Kashmir and about which he wrote in another article here on this site under ‘Save the Chinar: The Endangered Heritage of the Oriental Plane Trees of Kashmir‘.

The Chinar, the Oriental Plane tree (Platanus orientalis), was named the Royal Tree of Kashmir by the Mughals when they invaded the place. The Chinars existed in the valley much before the coming of the Mughals and the Mughals went on a further Chinar planting spree in the valley. The royal Chinar is a major part of the heritage of Kashmir.

The power of the mighty Chinar today stands in shambles. It is begging for attention; silently and yet very loud, struggling for survival. They are dying and we watch them die. If we keep on losing the trees at the current rate, in twenty years from now, the ancient and royal Chinar would only be known to the generations in legends and stories that we would be passing on to them. It would be history of the past.
A veteran Chinar tree at the bund along the Jhelum river in Srinagar, feeling the pressure of urban development (Photo: Jan Haenraets, 2015).
A veteran Chinar tree at the bund along the Jhelum river in Srinagar, feeling the pressure of urban development (Photo: Jan Haenraets, 2015).

The article on Watching the Royals, as published in Greater Kashmir on 20 October 2015,  can be found online under this LINK on Greater Kashmir. The online Pdf version of the newspaper edition can be found HERE (the article features on page 7).

Text by Jaasindah Mir and Jan Haenraets. Photographs by Jan Haenraets.

Jaasindah Mir is a student of Functional English at the Government College for Women, Srinagar, and author of the book The Escaped Moments

 Jan Haenraets is a Director of Atelier Anonymous Landscapes Inc., Vancouver, BC, Canada; and an Adviser to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Jammu & Kashmir Chapter

 Watching the Royals Die - Images Jan Haenraets

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