Tender Coconut Seller & ‘Tree Protector’ Janardana Sherigar Stabbed & Seriously Injured
Mangaluru: All you daily or occasionally customers of the tender coconut seller who has his cart under the huge peepal tree in front of Jyothi Talkies/near the Balmatta Government Women College, if you are all wondering, “why the tender coconut cart is standing there without the seller for the last two days?”- the answer for that is, the seller of tender coconuts was stabbed during an argument between him and another elderly man on Monday noontime, and since he was seriously injured in the attack, he has been hospitalized. The coconut seller whom we are talking about is Janardhan Sherigar, and recently Team Mangalorean had done an article on him as to how he does pooja to the peepal tree (under which he does his business) everyday morning, in order to save the tree from the axe of tree cutters.
Every morning begins with a ride on my two-wheeler around the main parts of the City between 6 am- 8 am, where I capture a bunch of civic problems on my camera for my reporting. And my day also starts with sipping a delicious tender coconut, and I only buy from two street vendors- if I take Bunts hostel road – Jyothi Circle to Hampankatta, I buy the tender coconut from the tender coconut seller who has cart under a peepal tree; and if I take Bunts hostel-PVS Circle, I buy the tender coconut from the vendor near Lady Goschen Hospital- and this is my daily routine for the last many years. On Monday, 22 March around 7 am I had bought two tender coconuts as a parcel from Sherigar, and this morning (23 March) I heard that he was stabbed around noon on Monday, during an argument over money issues.
As per eye witness, it is learnt that there was an argument around noontime on Monday, 22 March, and while the argument went from bad to worse, the other person might have grabbed the knife used by Sherigar to slice the tender coconut, and stabbed him, resulting in serious injuries, and since then he has been hospitalized. And since yesterday afternoon, Sherigar’s cart with a few tender coconuts and a folded shade umbrella has been lying unattended by no one. A sad story indeed.
Cart with few tender coconuts remains Unattended for two days
It should be noted that Satyanarayana Janardana Sherigar who sells tender coconuts at the said location, hailing from Kadri, just a few blocks from where I reside, being a god-fearing man, daily goes to Kadri Shree Manjunath Temple, before he starts his petty business of selling tender coconuts. His cart is located right below a huge peepal tree which was saved by environmentalists from the hands of tree fellers, during the road widening of Jyoth-Bunts Hostel Road. Road widening and building of flyovers have to happen in every city, but this comes at the cost of losing green cover. The fast disappearing green cover in Mangaluru compelled Sashidhar Shetty, the Founder of the National Environment Care Foundation (NECF), that something should be done to save trees rather than cut them when there is road widening or any other city development, where trees come in the way.
By forming NECF and with help of volunteers, Shetty has brought awareness about tree plantation, saving trees and a clean and green environment. He has also raised his voice and even held protests to save trees and save nature. And for that matter, on 19 March 2020 NECF members in order to save a tree located on the Bunts Hostel Road, in the premises of Women’s College, opposite Jyothi talkies gathered near the tree and did a short pooja, and also affixed signs (in Kannada) stating that “If anyone tries to remove this sign or does any harm to this tree or cut it down, will be punished/cursed by God-Kadri Sri Manjunatha. Also when you pass by, do Namaskara to the tree, and you’ll have success in life”.
This unique idea was planned in order to save this tree from being chopped down, during the road widening work. So after this tree was saved, Janardhana Sherigar decided to offer pooja daily to the tree which has provided him shade and shelter, by placing a few flowers and an agarbatti before he starts selling tender coconuts, and by doing this expresses his gratitude to nature/tree that has provided him shelter besides preserving his religious faith. After coming to know that the tree was connected with a Daiva in Kadri, he started offering pooja to this tree in March 2020, and prior to selling his tender coconuts, he does namaskara to the tree.
During an interaction with Sherigar on 15 January 2021, he had said, “I have been selling tender coconuts at this spot for the last ten years, and this tree has given me shade and comfort. I come here by 6 am and continue with my business till 7 pm or so. Earlier I used to sell over 100 tender coconuts, but the sales have come down due to the pandemic. But I am happy with the money I make and the blessings from Daiva. It’s sad to note that many trees which give shade and oxygen to people are cut down during road widening etc, and I am glad that the environmentalists saved this tree, and I hope it will remain here forever”.
Now that Team Mangalorean has learnt that he is still in serious condition with the wounds in the assault, let us join in wishing him a speedy recovery, for a man who is very much dedicated to Saving of Trees, especially the Peepal Tree in front of Jyothi Talkies.