Delhiwale: Bamiyan boys

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When you hear the word Bamiyan, what do you see in your mind’s eye?

May be, the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

These were two monumental statues of Gautama Buddha, dating from the 6th century and carved into a sandstone cliff in the Bamiyan valley of Afghanistan. In 2001, both statues were destroyed by the Taliban government.

Cut to 2021. About a dozen young men are picnicking on the grass, hundreds of miles away from Bamiyan, in a park in central Delhi. They all are natives of that same Bamiyan region, and all have seen the Bamiyan Buddhas. “We have seen the place where the Buddhas used to be,” clarifies one of them.

Lots of Afghans have left their homeland for fear of violence, and many have found a home in Delhi—some lanes in Lajpat Nagar and Bhogal could be mistaken for mohallas in Kabul or Kandahar. These young men are some of them; they live in Malviya Nagar. They have been following the news of the Taliban’s looming comeback in Afghanistan. “We are tensed about our relatives and friends,” says one of the men.

Sitting in a semicircle, each person appears to be a living embodiment of his own village or town in Afghanistan. Being with them is like being transported into their land. The men gamely agree to reveal where they grew up in Afghanistan (which wasn’t necessarily the Bamiyan region), and what is their dream as they build a new life in Delhi.

Salman Rahmani, 20 years old, coming from Shibar village: “I want to be a doctor.”

Shams, 22, from Parwan province: “I want to marry… I want to marry a particular girl I have known for some time.”

Ahmadi, 20, from Kabul: “I have no ambition.”

Raees, 21, from Samangan province: “I want to be an engineer who works with cars.”

Khal Padshah, 30, from Turkman village: “I’m not young anymore, but I’m still single. My dream is to get married.”

Humayun Muhammadi, 25, from Kaloo village. “I want to be a motivational speaker.”

Niyaz Ali, 40, from Wazirabad district: “I have four sons, I have no dreams.”

Mustafa Azhar, 24, from Kaloo: “I’m a communist, so I want to be happy and see others happy.”

Ziauddian, 26, from Shibar: “I hope to be a football player.”


Chinar Trees: ‘The Silent Witnesses’ need environmental protection

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Posted on Jul 02, 2021 | Author Lubna Reshi

For centuries, Chinar trees have been silently witnessing the history of Kashmir. According to popular belief, the magnificent Chinar was introduced to Kashmir from Persia and later Mughals planted Chinar trees extensively across the valley.


“It was during Mughal era that it got its name. A person saw it’s leaves turned into crimson red and he thought it was fire, which made him shout “Chin-nar ast” meaning what a fire in Persian. From that day it got its name Chinar, “says Vidhyarthi Omprakash, retired IFS officer.

The oldest Chinar in Kashmir is said to be 600 years old and is located in the Budgam district of Kashmir, it has a total height of 14.78 metres.

While quoting a book of M S Wadoo, an eminent local forest officer, Saleem Beg, convener INTACH, says, “He attributes the significance and sacredness of Chinar to the Buddhist past of Kashmir. ‘The Buddhi tree (Booyn), planted in prayer centres, was worshipped and its trunk engraved with the figure of Mahatma Buddha in the same manner as the Buddhist Tree (Ficus Religiosa Linn of Bodhgaya – Bihar).


“Emperor Akbar, was so captivated by Chinars that he laid a garden of Chinars, Bagh-i-Naseem at the banks of Dal lake. It was Jehangir who put forth the concept of Char Chinar (planting of 4 Chinars on 4 corners of a garden/park in Dal Lake). During the reign of Shah-e-Jehan, the process of raising the tree by the help of epicormic branches growing around the Chinar tree was taken up on a large scale. His son Prince Dara Shikoh laid a garden at Bijbehara known as ‘Bagh-e-Dara Shikoh’ also called Badshahi Bagh. This garden has by far the largest number of Chinars in a Mughal garden,” Beg writes.


According to Botanist, Dr Anzar Ahmad Khuroo, who is working as an Assistant Professor at University of Kashmir, Chinar represents a tree of Kashmir’s natural heritage, both from historical and contemporary perspective.

“In the current scenario of COVID19 crisis, the world is grappling with twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity crisis as well.

He further said that every year on 5th June, World Environment Day is celebrated. This year, “United Nations started 2021-30 as Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and this initiative was kickstarted because it’s believed that across the globe nature is bleeding”.

Tree plantation is considered to be the main activity under this global initiative, and through trees, this initiative can be made successful by 2030, he adds.

Dr Anzar maintains that the value of trees is beyond market or material value.

“That’s why I want to emphasize that even if Chinar may not be seemingly economically important as compared to other timber trees, in a more ecological perspective the values of Chinar are countless.”

While talking about historical perspective, he says there is evidence that Chinar has been growing in Kashmir since quite earlier times. “It is not growing in the wild in Kashmir but wherever we have it, it has been cultivated according to my best experience.”

Regarding the history of Chinar, Dr Anzar says it’s still debatable from where it has been brought here. ‘It may be Western Asia, or the Middle East or some other region. Scientifically, it is known as Plantanus orientalis, which means Oriental that implies it has Orientalist roots which in other words implies Old World.

Recently, one more species from New World, Plantanus occidentalis has also been introduced in Kashmir but that’s not grown at many places.

Dr Anzar maintains throughout the world there are only two types of Plantanus which includes P. orientalis and P. occidentalis.


According to official data, Chinars once numbering more than 40000 are now on decline.

“Though there is no credible data available right now, it’s estimated range is said to be from 17000 to 34000,” says an official in the floriculture department.

Saleem beg also has written in one of his pieces that Jan Haenraets, former head of Scottish Gardens and an eminent expert on historic landscapes who worked in INTACH J&K for a long time on the garden project has lamented that “the dwindling numbers of Chinars are one of the sad and symptomatic stories of environmental and cultural heritage threats that exist in Kashmir, and illustrate the present state wide ignorance and apathy towards the values of centuries of traditions and coexistence of nature and place”.

“INTACH report of 2006 places the number of Chinars in Shalimar Bagh at about 100, out of which 52 Chinars were designated as old and mature, estimating their age to be from 150-400 years. It is this wealth that is gradually being lost. Then it was reported that six Chinars were uprooted in Shalimar due to strong winds. In 2012 this garden lost four Chinars for the same reason. INTACH, in the year 2016, carried out a condition assessment of Shalimar and reported to the State Government that ``one of the most serious issues faced by Shalimar is gradual drying of Chinar trees which has alarmingly caused some of them to collapse.”


Dr Anzar believes, there is still no scientific study about how old our Chinars are, “Yes, we know oldest chinar is located in Budgam but how old that is, is still a matter of future research.

“We have a scientific discipline called as dentrochronology through which we can determine the age of a tree through the stem of a tree. Through stems we bore some cores and through those cores we get evidences about the probable age of trees.

Once during a project with a team from Czech Republic, out of his own interest, Dr Anzar tried to study the age of Chinar trees.

“Though that project was a different one, we tried to figure out the age of Chinar trees but we were unsuccessful in the attempt since Chinars are hollow from inside and we couldn’t get the cores from the stem.”


There is a separate department of floriculture department which oversees the overall development of Chinars, headed by Chinar Development Officer.

According to Tariq al Habib, CDO, they have developed the nurseries pan Kashmir wherein they distribute saplings and cutting of Chinar trees to increase their population.

“We have distributed 65000 Chinar saplings so far in this year and for next year we are readying some 40000 saplings for distribution in different districts of Kashmir.”

He further said that so far no such initiative has been carried out in district Doda but now they have distributed 750 saplings over there which are already four to five feet tall.

Though Dr Anzar says that the government keeps on carrying out plantation drives but the land available in the Valley is limited to plant these on a mass scale.

“The question remains where to plant it, because in Kashmir land available is very scarce. If somebody has land would that person prefer to plant a Chinar – which according to me is a complex issue.”


“People plant trees for commercial purposes, for example if somebody plants a poplar tree today, s/he knows that s/he would gain profit from it after 10-20 years but the case isn’t the same with Chinar.”

Chinar is not an economically viable tree, it gives you nothing, it’s an unprofitable venture and a person would think a thousand times before planting it, even after planting one, you need to get permission for cutting it.

“That’s why the government has taken a lead in it and has to take a lead in it,” he adds.


There have been many instances where Chinars have been massacred in the name of making roads and development.

“Recently Chinars were brutally uprooted in the Poloview area of Srinagar which shouldn’t have happened. We have to plan our roads in a way where we would divert the roads for a nearby Chinar but that’s not being done here.”

Tariq ul Habib said according to laid guidelines no construction work should be taken at a place nearby Chinar.

“There has to be a 40 feet demarcation at a place beholding Chinar where construction work has to be taken up.”

But Dr Anzar believes that’s nowhere employed in Kashmir.

“We have seen big campaigns carried out to save trees like one in Mumbai last year, an entire big project was put on halt for conserving trees but in Kashmir the scenario at administrative level is different.”

In 2017, at least 11 chinar trees were illegally chopped in Wahibugh village of Pulwama. And similar incidents were reported from Panthachowk, Poloview, Nowshehra, Four shore Road etc.


A tree doesn’t have an aesthetic value only but it provides precious ecosystem services as well - which includes non-marketable benefits we derive from the trees, Dr Anzar maintains.

Throughout the globe there is a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect which means the more you move towards the city core, you have relatively higher temperature as compared to hinterlands. In rural settings there are more trees while in cities there are fewer trees and more concrete.”

That’s where trees play a crucial ecological role, trees lessen this phenomenon, they create a micro environment and soothes the effects of heat.”

Dr Anzar says in Kashmir there is no better tree to lessen urban heat island effect than Chinar.

Besides that, there is one more aspect to it, he adds.

“Birds make nests on Chinars and act as scavengers, the more scavenging birds can do, the less the burden on municipal corporations.”

Chinar is considered to be the best habitat for the birds, even some preliminary studies conducted by the Botany Department at University of Kashmir, suggest the same.


Chinar is extremely important for carbon sequestration which is a process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

“Through this method there is a reduction of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change,” Dr Anzar says.

He says to combat the climate change crisis these trees are the best nature-based solutions. “The higher the number of Chinars, the more carbon dioxide would be sequestered.”

“Different trees have different abilities to sequester and in my observation Chinars possibly have the best abilities in doing so in comparison to other trees. So this can be a potential tree in mitigating the effects of global warming.”


Government is right now mulling to geo-tag all the Chinars of the valley.

“We have a project going on which will probably take off within a week where all the Chinar trees will have GPS tagging,” says Latief Ahmad Bhat, DFO SFRI.

He said that so far no exact data or census available regarding the number of Chinars, there is no inventory. “With this initiative we will have an exact figure of the number of Chinars we have right now.”

The purpose of this is to conserve and monitor the trees in Kashmir.

He also mentioned that besides this there is mass scale propagation and raising of Chinars taking place and supply is being done to all sister concern departments of forest department.

CBSE Class 12 History: Important MCQs With Answers (Published By CBSE)

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Check important MCQs for CBSE Class 12 History. These questions and answers are important for CBSE Class 12 History exam.

Get important MCQs for CBSE Class 12 History and prepare for CBSE Class 12 History exam. As we all are aware that term 1 of CBSE Class 12 academic session 2021-2022 will be assessed through multiple-choice questions. So, students must understand the variety and difficulty level of the questions that might be asked in the exam.

Read the following excerpt carefully and answer any three questions: (1+1+1=3)

On 5 April 1930, Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Dandi:

When I left Sabarmati with my companions for this seaside hamlet of Dandi, I was not certain in my mind that we would be allowed to reach this place. Even while I was at Sabarmati there was a rumour that I might be arrested. I had thought that the Government might perhaps let my party come as far as Dandi, but not me certainly. If someone says that this betrays imperfect faith on my part, I shall not deny the charge. That I have reached here is in no small measure due to the power of peace and non-violence: that power is universally felt. The Government may, if it wishes, congratulate itself on acting as it has done, for it could have arrested every one of us. In saying that it did not have the courage to arrest this army of peace, we praise it. It felt ashamed to arrest such an army. He is a civilised man who feels ashamed to do anything which his neighbours would disapprove. The Government deserves to be congratulated on not arresting us, even if it desisted only from fear of world opinion. Tomorrow we shall break the salt tax law. Whether the Government will tolerate that is a different question. It may not tolerate it, but it deserves congratulation for the patience and forbearance it has displayed in regard to this party. … What if I and all the eminent leaders in Gujarat and in the rest of the country are arrested? This movement is based on the faith that when a whole nation is roused and on the march no leader is necessary.

(a) The Dandi March started from:

(i) Delhi

(ii) Meerut

(iii) Ahmadabad

(iv) Bardoli

(b) Why was Gandhiji certain that he would not be allowed to reach Dandi?

(i) British might arrest him on the way.

(ii) British might impose the Rowlatt Act on him.

(iii) The British deport him back to South Africa.

(iv) All of the above

(c) Choose the correct option.

Assertion(A): Gandhi made Salt a symbol of Protest.

Reason(R): Salt was used by Hindus and Muslims, it was used by rich and poor and the rate of tax was very high on salt.

(i) Both A and R are correct and R is the correct explanation of A.

(ii) Both A and R are correct but R is not the correct explanation of A.

(iii) A is incorrect but R is correct.

(iv) R is incorrect but A is correct.

(d) Consider the following statements:

a) Gandhi declared on 5th April that on 6th April he will break the salt law

b) He chose 6th April, because on this day Poorna Swarajya resolution was passed.

Choose the correct option:

(i) Only (a) is correct

(ii) Only (b) is correct

(iii) Both (a) and (b) are correct.

(iv) Neither (a) nor (b) is correct


a) iii- The Dandi March started from the Sabarmati Ashram , Ahmadabad.( Sabarmati Ashram mentioned in the passage. It was located in Ahmedabad. Inference Based)

b) i- Gandhiji was sure that the British will arrest him on the way to Dandi.( Mentioned in the passage)

c) i - Gandhiji deliberately chose salt as a symbol of protest because it was used by both Hindus and Muslims and by rich and poor. Therefore, both A and R are correct and R is the correct reason. (Critical thinking required HOT Question)

d) i- Only a is correct, b is incorrect because Poorna Swarajya Resolution was passed on the 31st of December 1929. (competency based- prior knowledge related to Dandi March required).

Question: Read the following excerpt carefully and answer any three questions: (1+1+1=3)

A prayer to Agni

Here are two verses from the Rigveda invoking Agni, the God of Fire:

Bring, O strong one, this sacrifice of ours to the Gods, O wise one, as a liberal giver. Bestow on us, O

priest, abundant food. Agni, obtain, by sacrificing, mighty wealth for us. Pro-cure, O Agni, for ever to him who pays to you (the gift of) nourishment the wonderful cow. May a son be ours, offspring that

continues our line …

Verses such as these were composed in a special kind of Sanskrit, known as Vedic Sanskrit. They were taught orally to men belonging to priestly families.

a) Vedic Sanskrit is considered to be important because

(i) It was the language of common people

(ii) The Vedic verses were written in Sanskrit

(iii) Sanskrit was not spoken by Brahmins

(iv) Sanskrit was the major language of South India

b) Why were sacrifices performed during the Vedic Period?

(i) For the birth of daughters

(ii) For the birth of sons

(iii) For spiritual satisfaction

(iv) For seeking the blessings of Buddha

c) Choose the correct option.

Assertion(A): Agni was the God of Fire in the Vedic tradition.

Reason(R): Therefore offerings were made to agni so that in form of smoke they would reach the Gods living in the sky and invoke their blessings

(i) Both A and R are correct and R is the correct explanation of A.

(ii) Both A and R are correct but R is not the correct explanation of A.

(iii) A is incorrect but R is correct.

(iv) R is incorrect but A is correct.

d) Consider the following statements:

a) Rig Veda consists of hymns in praise of Agni, Indra, Soma etc

b) Many of these hymns were chanted when sacrifices were performed. Choose the correct option:

(i) Only (a) is correct

(ii) Only (b) is correct.

(iii) Both (a) and (b) are correct.

(iv) Neither (a) nor (b) is correct


a) ii- Vedic hymns were created in Vedic Sanskrit (inference can be made from the passage)

b) ii- for the birth of sons (can be interpreted from the passage)

c) i - A is correct and R is the correct reason. Agni was considered to be the messenger God, hence offerings were made to Agni. (Critical thinking required- HOT Question)

d) iii- both a and b are correct (competency based - indirect connection with the passage. Needs conceptual clarity HOT Question)

More questions are given in the PDF of CBSE Class 12 History Question Bank (published by CBSE). You can download it from the link given below