Updated: May 21, 2021 7:04:29 pm
Noted environmentalist and Chipko movement pioneer Sunderlal Bahuguna died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh on Friday after battling Covid-19 for several days. He was 94. He breathed his last at 12.05 pm, AIIMS Director Ravikant said.
Bahuguna, an eco-activist, spent his life persuading and educating the villagers to protest against the destruction of the forests and Himalayan mountains. It was his endeavor that saw then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi banning the cutting of tress. Bahuguna is best remembered for the slogan “ecology is the permanent economy”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his grief over Bahuguna’s demise saying, “it is a “monumental loss” for our nation, and he manifested our centuries-old ethos of living in harmony with nature.”
Paying tributes, Modi tweeted, “Passing away of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna Ji is a monumental loss for our nation. He manifested our centuries-old ethos of living in harmony with nature. His simplicity and spirit of compassion will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with his family and many admirers. Om Shanti.”
Passing away of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna Ji is a monumental loss for our nation. He manifested our centuries old ethos of living in harmony with nature. His simplicity and spirit of compassion will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with his family and many admirers. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 21, 2021
The Chipko Movement had gained traction under Bahuguna.
The Chipko movement was a non-violent agitation in 1973 that was aimed at protection and conservation of trees, but, perhaps, it is best remembered for the collective mobilisation of women for the cause of preserving forests, which also brought about a change in attitude regarding their own status in society. The uprising against the felling of trees and maintaining the ecological balance originated in Uttar Pradesh’s Chamoli district (now Uttarakhand) in 1973 and in no time spilled onto other states in north India. The name of the movement ‘chipko’ comes from the word ’embrace’, as the villagers hugged the trees and encirled them to prevent being hacked.
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