Seen that movie Swades, where Shah Rukh Khan quits NASA to bring electricity to a small village in India? Well, this is the story of a real “Swades guy”. Meet Sreehari Ambuluri, who grew up in the village of Yerraballi in Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. An engineer by profession, Sreehari quit his job in Sweden to return to India and bring prosperity to his own village.

A Real-life Swades Story

One of his first steps is to green his village. Sreehari contacted Mr. Murugesan from L&T, Chennai for saplings from the GreenHands nursery the company runs on their premises. Since April 2009, L&T’s Manapakkam campus in Chennai has been raising saplings as part of their CSR, and has produced and distributed over 500,000 saplings.

Sreehari took 600 saplings from the nursery. But that was the easy part. Planting and caring for 600 saplings is quite a job. However, there is no force greater than a group of people coming together for a good cause. Thanks to A.V. Krishna Reddy, Sreehari’s uncle, a respected member of the village, many villagers were inspired to join Sreehari in his efforts.

A Real-life Swades Story

They decided to plant all the saplings on one day. Early that morning, they began with the temple pujari presenting two saplings to the village representative. Pits were dug with the help of a pole digging machine attached to a tractor (PTO hydraulic). The villagers offered their support in planting saplings, fetching water and also committed to nurture these saplings – a perfect example of a community-driven event!

A Real-life Swades Story

Mr. Ramana, CSR head of L&T, shares: ”The villagers are keen to start a nursery. I told them to identify a piece of 60×40 land close to the village, collect milk packets and seeds and start off in a simple manner. They can get kids and villagers to spend time there. They were surprised that we were doing this at L&T. We told them we learnt this from Isha at their nursery.”

A Real-life Swades Story

Thanks to the joint efforts of all these people, 600 saplings found a new home. Kudos to Sreehari, the villagers of Yerraballi, and the L&T team.

Sreehari would like to thank Raveendra Ambulooru, Rajesh Kovuru, Pratap Naidu, Sundeep Kovuru, Krishna Chaitanya, Rajendra Kancharla, Babu Chowdary and Narendra Kancharla, who played a big role in making the event happen.

Editor’s Note: Find out more about how you can be a part of reviving India’s ecology and environment at projectgreenhands.org