A Tree For Kiran

At the end of last year, I created my first zine and today I thought I would share a digital version of it on the blog. The illustrated zine tells the true story of an extraordinary man who turned his grief into something life changing for the people around him. This is A Tree For Kiran…

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This is Shyam Sunder Paliwal, the chief of an Indian Village called Piplantri. When his daughter Kiran tragically died at the age of just 16, Shyam planted a tree in her honour. This kickstarted a cultural revolution which changed the lives of the women of Piplantri forever.

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For many years, parents had been killing female babies in the village of Piplantri. However, after Kiran’s death, Shyam declared that the birth of a women should not be seen as a burden. From then on, every female birth would be celebrated with the planting of a tree.

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Since then, hundreds of trees have been planted. Whenever a girl is born, the parents take an oath, vowing that their daughter will receive the same care and education as any male child. On the 15th of August every year, the villagers celebrate the festival of Rhaki by tying ribbon around the trees as a symbol of love.

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Shyam’s efforts didn’t stop there. Having been advised by a doctor that his wife’s chronic back pain could be cured using aloe vera plants, he set about growing his own crop. After discovering that aloe vera was also useful as termite deterrent, Shyam began planting more and more.

The crop quickly grew into a luscious field which Shyam realised could act as a livelihood for the Piplantri women. They soon established a thriving business selling aloe vera gel, juice and pickle. The money they earnt, finally gifted women of Piplantri their independance.

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Every evening, Shyam is seen driving through Piplantri on his motorbike, going to see his beloved daughter’s tree. When asked what the source of his boundless energy is, he simply replies...

“Whatever I do is for my daughter’s memory”.


I hope you enjoyed this wee e-zine. Maybe one day I will release it as a proper little printed book but for now I am happy it exists in some form for people to read. I loved every step of creating the zine from writing the text to adapting my style to sympathise with the sensitive subject matter. I will definitely be writing and illustrating more stories soon and will be sure to share them when I do. Until then, I have a whole new design portfolio which I’d love for you to have a look at.