A cornucopia of energy in ceaseless marathon.
Krishna Sehrawat with fascinating moral fibre romances every single moment of his life with whatever he does. A hockey champion in college and a badminton player, a keen Indian Forest Services personnel had an intense affair with his profession and family; thrills in his retirement life with a daily round of golf, summer swimming, meeting friends and relatives, travelling and meditating to keep himself balanced and in joy. His motto is to respect self and others in equal proportion.
An ebullient man with a spark in his eyes and an endless list of to do things lives an effusive life. This power packed man is contagious. Beware!
You are known as a kind, spiritual and a very rational person with a remarkable caliber to resolve the most intricate issues. Curious Hounds is curious to know if these attributes propelled you for IFS or you imbibed them with experience?
Thank you so much for qualifying me with heaps of distinctive attributes. (smiles diffidently) Well, most of them came with exposure, training and experience. A soft, kind, compassionate and a warm heart has been an integral part of me but honestly, it is Shri Mataji, who, through Sahajayoga meditation, has taken me to unimaginable heights. It has positively empowered me with astounding capabilities to have sailed through my tough career with a balanced attitude and approach in life.
You credit Shri Mataji and Sahajayoga for your success. Please elaborate on this.
(Nostalgically), “I must have some extremely good karma’s to my credit that in 1977, during my posting in Dehradun, I came in contact with Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, and had an unbelievable divine experience. I felt as if a block of ice had melted in my head travelling through my entire nervous system soaking me in an amazing bliss. I was speechless, immersed in an inexplicable joy. This was through self-realization, which is kundalini awakening known as Sahajayoga meditation, created by Shri Mataji. In this meditation, after accomplishing self-realization, one feels the divine power sweeping over the body in the form of cool vibrations, the degree varying in each human being. Thus, an inner transformation takes place by which one becomes integrated and balanced. I kept thanking Shri Mataji profusely from the core of my heart. There on, meditation became an integral part of my life. It only requires surrender and the rest is taken care of by Her. In Sahajayoga, vibrations are the key factor. If vibrations are there yog is there. No vibrations no yog. Once the vibrations flow through the body, you are connected with all pervading power. Then, there is no turbulence that you can’t get through. Shri Mataji is very kind. She is loving and compassionate. Following this meditation, life changed exceptionally.
Phenomenal! your positive vibrations are contagious.
How was your initial experience in your cadre state Odisha with an additional responsibility of Wildlife?
Of course, in the beginning I was homesick, but as I got engaged in my work, there was no looking back. Initially, I was given the charge of a ‘Range’
which is a small forest area. After a year and a half
I was promoted as a DFO and was given the charge of a territorial division which happened to be the largest division of Odisha covering an area of 12916 sq. kms. It was a magnificent forest full of Wildlife. With Tigers, Elephants, Bison’s, Sloth Bears and variety of Deer’s like Chitals, Sambhars, Barking Deers and many; it was a feast to the eyes. It had plenty of minor forest produce covering seeds, flowers, fruits, kernels, leaves, bark and many medicinal plants. I had a very meaningful and full of learning period managing the splendour of vast forest with 15 lakh people residing in and around the area. The experience was unique mingling and working with the tribal clan, understanding their contribution in protecting the forests and their symbiotic relationship with it. They had tremendous faith in me as an outsider to take unbiased decisions in regard to saving the forests. It was five long venturesome years there.
Forest and wild life means isolation from the city life. How did you cope with professional and family life challenges?
Nice question. (laughs) Yes, it was quite challenging during my early training period, but once I was promoted and was deployed at the headquarters, which was in a town, all essential facilities of education, health and entertainment were adequately available. The forest area was set about 5 kms away from my residence. Hence, there was never a conflict between my duty as a forest officer and my responsibilities towards my family.
In this whole scenario, my wife played a major role in keeping the family intact with her matchless courage and spirit. She had to often stay alone with our two small children on account of my night patrols. Our temperament easily adapted to any situation. Even adjusting was a kind of excitement. I must say, it was a thrilling life.
What were the major hurdles in your profession? How did you handle the conflicts?
See, when you take charge of a new post, the existing staff and the officers are the biggest hurdles. They have an uncompromising approach and want you to follow their advice and guidelines. But the system expects change and improvement that can give relief. The current structure, however, deliberates the efforts creating complication and doubting the capabilities. They are continuously in a process to generate one problem after the other. Fortunately, as I said earlier, the divine grace helped me combat the situations, and I succeeded in my efforts to improve the delivery system instilling values in the staff.
What are your views on Forest Conservation?
In my opinion Forest Conservation is conservation of life on earth. Forest is food, forest is water, forest is breath. All this is necessary for sustaining our life. Forest Conservation is must for checking global warming and climate change.
You held significant positions in Ministry of Environment and Forests; the entire North India and Union Territories of Delhi and Chandigarh were under your jurisdiction. How close has it brought you to nature?
Most certainly, with my natural love for nature, my tenure too, provided me appropriate circumstances to work in an environment that I had zest for. I was ever involved with nature, so much that I never felt a separate entity. My posting at Chandigarh was a catalyst in bringing me closer to nature.
Here, as a Head of Northern Regional Office of MOEF, my main task was to deal with the proposals of various user agencies requiring diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes. Both government and non-government agencies used to apply for forest land for their projects. The projects were related to roads, railways, transmission lines, mining, irrigation, hydro-electric projects, industries, buildings, petrol pumps and many other areas that required passing through forest land. To take a final decision I needed to visit the forest areas for inspection, and in most cases, interior of bigger forest region was involved. I have stretched through all of Himachal, J & K, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Haryana and Delhi. I have walked through the Aravali area of Haryana and Delhi while approving some of their proposals related to transmission lines of Metro lines. For giving clearance to bigger hydel projects in HP, I visited interior areas of Lahaul & Spiti. Once, for an Army Proposal I had to reach Kaaza, which is at Tibet border of Himachal from Chandigarh. Since the path was not in right condition I had to take a rough route from Shimla to Kinnaur, Kaaza, Manali and then back to Chandigarh which took around a week’s time. The long detour brought me closer to sheer natural beauty. The excitement was immeasurable. I also visited interior forest areas of Pithorgarh in Uttrakhand for clearing a road project of ITBP. We had to use the services of Helicopter for reaching the required area.
I must say the stunning views of rivers, wild life and majestic mountains and enchanting scenic views are simply a magical treasure. One is under a spell.
How does your enriched experience help you to spend your retirement life?
I am content and a happy man with no regrets at all. (laughs heartily) I served well and have fulfilled all my family responsibilities. My children are well settled. This gratifying feeling helps me to live and lead a graceful life, enjoying daily round of golf. My regular meditation keeps me grounded and in balance. I love every moment of my life.
What advice would you like to give to the current Forest officers and to the government?
Million-dollar question. Foresters hold a huge responsibility. They are the main custodians of wood and wild life. At every cost they must protect and conserve the forests, save the only habitat of wild life, save the planet from global warming and climate change. They should not yield to the vested interests of the greedy forces and short sighted government. There is a tremendous human and cattle pressure on our forests. Lot of pressure in the name of so called ‘development’ too prevails. The forest officers must strike a balance in conservation and development.
To the government, I would suggest and request to refrain from destroying nature in the name of development. Avoid the mad race of allocating diversion. Let there be a thorough and a proper study of Environment prior to starting any project. This is nation’s important natural heritage. Any hasty decision can soar environmental problems leading to ecological imbalance. And this is happening rapidly causing extinction of wild life. Development must be sustainable and not just a formation of hurried network of roads in the hilly region getting washed away down the planes anytime during rains. This cannot choke the cities, destroy the national park and wild life sanctuaries in the name of road development and transmission lines. The Government should rise from the petty party politics and act honestly in preserving the forests wild life and nature.
Deforestation is a serious issue and it needs immediate attention.
Thank you so much for detailing us about your affinity for nature, your concern about deforestation and above all letting the Curious Hounds sneak into your buoyant life.
I thank Curious Hounds for having me open my heart and wish them great success.