Our Bureau Dharamshala
At the time when people are gasping for oxygen amid COVID pandemic, a 58 year old single mother of nine children (two biological and seven adopted from poor families), a European, seems to be an examples who was fighting with all odds to save green trees of this hill destination Mcleod Ganj.
People usually call her ‘Green Lady’. She is a sincere follower of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
Walking from one office to other, writing letters to various courts, visiting sites where trees are in danger or being cut are routine jobs of this lady.
Ghazala Abdullah, the activist, was born in Germany. She presently resides near Dalai Lama temple at Mcleodganj in a building known as ‘Tashi Khangsar’ (house of Tashi). Her visits to Mcleodganj had started in 1994 in love with Buddhism and Tibetan community.
It was in 2015 when two big Deodar trees were cut down near her house, her love for trees was sparked off and she started a campaign to save trees of this hill destination from construction boom.
Her efforts brought heavy penalties for violations, closure of about 100 hotels for months and courts also lambasted the slumber of local authorities. People of the area usually call her rather than contacting forest officials in case of illegal felling of trees.
“People keep coming to me in late night, in early hours of the day with informations on illegal felling. Recently I was on tour to Kerala and I got a call that 15 trees were cut down near Chamunda temple” said Ghazala.
Threatening, low finances and lack of facilities to move from one place to other are usual challenges for this woman.
Ghazala says that she also knows some senior politicians and powerful persons who have killed green deodar trees. “I kept moving from one office to other but nobody listened. Finally I wrote to high court that brought everyone into action” she added.
The only thing that hurts her is that authorities have not taken action against any big hotelier or person due to this few people blame her for acting against poor only. “I have written against powerful persons also but authorities failed to act, this is not my fault. It makes me cry when people cut green trees here” she said.
Teaching foreign languages is her pass-time and source of little earnings. Ghazala has visited various countries of the world including Tibet.