By Pinak Pani Datta:

Its 21st century, a fast-growing digital era. Today our morning breaks with SMS beeps and tweets. We are more familiar to the twitter world than the natural tweets. But can you imagine the world where there are no birds singing songs, no natural music? Do you remember when did you hear a sparrow chitter last time? Probably no, no one does. It’s a small and useless bird- that’s what we think, don’t we?

In the last few decades, the population of sparrows has witnessed a sharp decline. The birds which could be found everywhere are hard to spot now. This is the result of various nature-tampering activities of the humankind like deforestation, establishment of mobile towers, use of unhealthy pesticides, tampering with the food chain, and finally various forms of pollution.

Well, one man thought with a different perspective. Mohammed E. Dilawar, a nature conservationist with a difference could think beyond tigers and rhinos. He could see urban wildlife extinction and he decided to bring back the house sparrow into the urban landscape again.

But six years ago, when Dilawar expressed his concern about this, nobody took him seriously. “When I spoke to people about it, they laughed at me.” He then started the Nature Forever Society (NFS) and pledged to restore the urban flora and fauna which generally goes unnoticed as forests remain the centre of attraction.

This year, after getting thousands of feedbacks from various parts of the country, the NFS in association with the Burhani Foundation (India) has decided to go live. They started the project Save Our Sparrow (SOS), an initiative in which they distributed 52,000 bird feeders across the world on a non-profit basis.

This effort to save the nature and the environment has been sent to Guinness Book of World Records as well as Limca Book of Records. The Limca citation says, “As the world celebrated World Sparrow Day, Indian Postal Department released a stamp of the house sparrow along with the rock pigeon on March 20, 2010. Nashik-based Mohammed Dilawar, who initiated the movement in India, was in the forefront of the activities in Delhi.”

But, these birds, being an indicator of environmental health, need to be saved before they can be seen only in books or on the internet. In nearly 260 cities and townships across the country – in states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal- free bird feeders and installation manuals were distributed to individuals, schools and various institutes.

Alarmed by their decline, a lot of NGOs and individuals have volunteered to the cause of the common house sparrows, currently facing a major threat from human developmental activities. If you are one who liked the chattering sound of the sparrows in your childhood, then it’s your time to pay for the opera you enjoyed. Visit www.worldsparrowday.org and join in the campaign.

Let’s hope to see a better world tomorrow.

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