Beginning was made after getting motivated from ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma, to do something for society rather than for oneself. Thus on 18th of June 2007, Google group ‘Indiantreepix‘ was created. Being a member of similar groups on birds, butterflies etc. I contacted a lot of members to join the group. Despite my initial reservations lot of persons joined. Prominent among them being Dr. Satish Phadke, Sh. Mahadeswara Swamy and Dr. Neil Soares. There were lot of failures as well. But there were more positives.
My initial work included posting lot of trees and identifying them along with helping others in identifications and validations. But it kept on changing every now & then as per the requirements of the group. I always tried to take up such works, which many were not willing to take up.
Though the discussions and members kept on increasing, more constructive change came when we decided to make a database of these discussions in Excel sheet and distributing it among the members.
With all this came in new breed of experts like Dr. G. Singh, Dr. Vijayasankar Raman, Sh. Dinesh Valke, Sh. Tabish Qureshi, Sh. Shrikant Ingalhalikar, Sh. Tanay Bose, Dr. Balkar Singh etc. who had different ideas of making of eflora of India. They not only contributed heavily with their taxonomic expertise but guided us at every stage in the making of eflora of India. In view of such development our group was renamed as efloraofindia to reflect its growing importance.
Journey was not without potholes and bumps, but these were handled well by our group of contributing moderators (persons who accepted higher responsibility of managing the group). With all these developments, I shifted my role away from any such works which others members and moderators could undertake. My role of a compiler of the database continue to be time intensive with increasing uploads and discussions. At times we had 2000 posts and more than 5000 messages in a month.
It’s said ideas are very scarce and can be generated only by a few gifted ones. Sh. Dinesh Valke is a store house of these and comes up with them in no time whenever there is a need for one in a difficult situation at efloraofindia. It is his foresight that he created efloraofindia, a google website with the same name on 2nd of Oct 2010 and gifted it to the managing team to populate the same with contents. To start with it was meant for putting the posting guidelines. And rest is history.
We thought to put our database on this website so that all our discussions and uploads are easily searchable and available to a wider set of users all over the world. It took me one and a half year of all my spare time in just dumping the data from the database on to the website along with my regular activities on the group. It took another one year to be up to date by putting all subsequent discussions on the web site. It required extra long hours every day for two and a half years. It continues like that since then. In fact I have to forgo all my regular trekking activities along with regular local photography and exploration trips. I avoided any such activities which may result in my falling back on my regular work on efloraofindia. By now my life revolved around it and I continued to enjoy the work so that all the hard work put in by its members does not go waste.
A new idea which came to my mind and which I tried to implement is to involve more and more expert taxonomists, who did not want to active members. When ever any discussion went without proper identification, I tried to forward it to such experts along with our members in a systematic way. This approach paid heavy dividend as we were able to crack very difficult ids. Even members who did not find suitable time to go through all the posts, responded positively to such resurfacing work. Name of such humble and extra ordinary taxonomists can be seen at our website under About Us. I have no words to thank them but would like to say that but for you we would not have been what we are today. It is all because of such persons that we have faith and trust in our civilisation. Every drop from you makes us count to form an ocean.
As its popularity increased, need was felt to make it more and more accurate. Thus a concept was genera pages was started by me. All the species found under a genera in India were collated from diverse sources available on net and compiled. Lot of them have keys of species along with other relevant details. Based on this and further discussions on the group, all the species pages under such genera were updated. Dr. D.S. Rawat, one of the foremost taxonomist and a great story teller, helped me with this on the website. Work is still unfinished and may take a few more years. More and more information is also being added on the site from creative common licence sources with full credits.
Our group is much different from others as it is much more constructive, has a goal of making of efloraofindia and believes in the multi-disciplinary approach to do this. It grown from strength to strength and will continue to do so under the leadership of its managing group.
For me life is not the same as it was before this group was started. Now it has a purpose, a purpose to bring all the taxonomists of India on a single platform along with all the lovers of our plants for discussions in a harmonious manner. It may just be a sapling, but one day it will grow to be a big tree providing shadow to the countless travellers.