December 2017

Lost His Brother But Got The Purpose of His Life

Lost His Brother, But Got The Purpose of His Life

This is the story of Chandan Kumar, Sub-Inspector with Bihar Police, who is known more as a staunch environmentalist and physical training evangelist than anything else in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. He believes in ‘Karma’ and ‘making things happen’ than ‘waiting for others to do’ and ‘waiting things to happen’.

What inspires a person to do something good for someone or for the society; a monetary or emotional consideration probably or may be, he wants to do the right thing and whatever he is doing is the right thing to do. 

Dasrath Manjhi, The Mountain Main, carved a road in the mountain because his wife Smt. Falguni Devi died in absence of medical facility at opportune time due to bad road and that mountain made the road bad. There was the emotional consideration to do so, but he continued doing so for twenty two long years, which means he thought he is doing the right thing and he made doing this right thing his life. There may be few other examples as well. One of them is of Chandan Kumar, a resident of Vaishali District of Bihar.   

Chandan Kumar, while cremating his elder brother, mentor, guide, father figure and Indian Air Force personnel Mr. Sanjay Kumar, felt that planting tree was right thing to do when he saw people scurrying for tree shade to avoid overheated soil in the hot summer season. Since then, he has planted more than 5000 trees himself, and while working as Physical Training teacher with a school at Muzaffarpur, motivated many of his students to save money and plant trees. He has vowed to remain unmarried and work towards this cause.

Let us know more about him in detail.

Family and early childhood

Chandan Kumar is born to Shri Narendra Narayan Singh, Ex-Controller with Kanti Thermal Power, Muzaffarpur and Smt. Anusuya Devi, housewife and has one younger brother Kundan Kumar and one younger sister Vandana Kumari. But he has most special place in his heart for his elder brother Late Sanjay Kumar, who was proud soldier of Indian Air Force.

Childhood spent in his village Birpur Singhara, Mahua of Vaishali district, Bihar propped up his love for nature, especially trees. All the fun of climbing up on mango and guava trees made him fall in love with them. But he was not aware then that trees will become the passion of his life.

Chandan Kumar remembers himself as a naughty child and bundle of stupendous energy, who was disciplined by his elder brother Sanjay Kumar, not in the traditional Indian way of disciplining, but by directing his energy towards sports and physical training. Sanjay took him to cross country running in 1986, when he was probably six or seven year old. Though he couldn’t win this six kilometer race but the participation and completion of the race was enough to get him hooked to it and thus started his journey as sportsperson. He started participating in state level events couple of years after that.

Journey forward as a Physical Training Evangelist

It was around 2001-02, he was asked to train underprivileged children for a sports event at Muzaffarpur. He took it up as a challenge and toiled hard with them who were just between 10 to 14 years of age.  Some of his students, despite coming from poor family background and no amenities to support them as a sportsperson did well and won medals. This event and result inspired him to drop his own ambitions as a sportsman and become sports evangelist. He has trained hundreds of them, who are employed with different organizations, especially police and army. What makes him happy is that his efforts yielded positive results as his students joined different sphere of the society and working towards its better future.

From this point he understood that if he works on himself, he will get only one medal, but if he work on more and more students and train them, his medal tally can actually be more than one. So, he stopped expenditure on himself and started supporting and working on anyone and everyone who came to him seeking help. He has a strong belief that like ‘sun’ nourishes this planet ‘earth’ with its warmth and light, physical fitness nourishes human mind, body and soul. According to him, nothing can replace the physical fitness aspect of life.

His work led him to teach more students as he joined as Physical training teacher with government school in village Rajepur Lakhna, Sahebganj block of Muzaffarpur district. Though he was surrounded by the students in his school, quest for teaching physical fitness didn’t stop there. Every morning and in the evening, before going to school and after coming back from school, he made a habit to visit stadium to help children of Ambedkar Nagar, largest slum near Muzaffarpur stadium. While their energy had infectious impact on him, their plight of poverty and associated bad habits like drugs, gambling and fight bothered a lot. He made a conscious effort to interact with them and become Sanjay Kumar for them. As his elder brother guided his energy towards a better and purposeful life, he started guiding these children, not only with his physical presence but financial involvement as well. He used to spend his own money, even if small it was, to buy clothes, chocolates, shoes, medicines etc for these children to keep them motivated towards sports and disciplined life. This way, he changed the lives of many.

What turned his focus towards trees?  

In 2005, Chandan lost his mentor, guide, philosopher and elder brother Sanjay Kumar, who was working with Indian Air Force. Standing in the cremation ground, he saw other people who were there to cremate their relatives, scurrying for cover to protect their feet from overheated soil due extreme temperature of the hot summer. This gave him the purpose of his life, though not immediately. In order to impart knowledge of physical fitness, he had been taking students to the field, where trees played a key role in giving respite to the tired souls. He had read somewhere that tree’s canopy can act like parasol and block out up to 90% sun’s radiation. Moreover, the shade of tree can reduce our physiologically equivalent temperature by between 7 to 15%, depending upon our latitude. Trees can also cool down buildings- especially when planted to the east or west- as their shade prevent solar radiation from penetrating windows or heating up external walls. Armed with these learnings, he went on with vigor. As the time progressed, trees started becoming kind of fixation for him and he started taking matter in his own hand, by not waiting for others, especially government to take the lead in planting trees. He started planting trees at the places where he could tend it. As his personal efforts were constrained by his desired availability at different places, he started motivating others to plant trees. To make it more meaningful and special, he tied it to the events of people around him, like birthday or marriage anniversary or any such event. Not only he motivate others to do so, he goes extra mile to plant trees at the special event of other’s life, if they request him to do so, by spending from his own pocket. In order to make it a mass movement, he planned a program and started propagating it through his students. He gave this movement a name ‘Gullak Yojna’.

Gullak Yojna 

Gullak, as most of us Indians know that it is a piggy bank made out mud clay and looks like earthen pot. Making earthen pots were bread and butter of ‘Kumhar’ community in India. For some of them, it is still the bread and butter, but metal piggy banks have taken their place. Gullak, like piggy banks were used to instill the value of thrift and frugality among children in rural areas and small towns in India. But urbanization and consumerism changed the habit 360 degree and habit of thrift and frugality became alien to today’s children.

With this movement, he envisions to bring back old habit of frugality, which will not only have positive impact on children but revive the livelihood of ‘Kumhar’ community. But how is all this connected to environment and what is salient features of ‘Gullak Yojna’? They are as follows:

  • Everyone should own a Gullak. As mentioned this will create livelihood of one who makes it.
  • Everyone should save just one rupee every day. This will encourage the habit of thrift and frugality among people.
  • With the savings of just one rupee per day, a person will be able to save at least Rs.365/- per annum, which will sufficient to buy and plant more than one tree. This will not only protect the ozone layer of the earth’s stratosphere, it will have cooling effect on planet earth by blocking out sun’s radiation, limiting the use of air conditioners, which in turn will limit the use of electricity, which are mostly generated through fossil fuel. This way, in an average lifespan of 70 years, one individual can plant at least 70 or more trees. If you multiply it with the number of people in this country, then you can very well imagine the kind of greenery which can be created.
  • The amount of money saved and the trees planted can create multiple earning opportunities, further boosting the economy.
  • Moreover, just one rupee saved every day by every Indian can save and plough back more than Rs.360 Billion in the economy.

Let us acknowledge, propagate and give a helping hand

These are small talk, small money and small effort, but if we pivot it at one place, it becomes huge. One man has taken the pledge, one man has given his life to the cause of making this planet earth in general and our country in particular a beautiful place to live in, let us contribute our effort towards his cause. After all, this is matter of our life, our happiness. Let us commit to give healthy and happy environment to our future generations. Let them remember us as someone who really cared.


You can reach out to him at + 91 9973658390 and and be a part of his wonderful journey.

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