Notable Garwali Environmentalist and Chipko movement pioneer Sunderlal Bahuguna died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIMS) here on Friday after battling Covid-19 for several days. He was 94.
Who was Sundar Lal Bahuguna?
Sunderlal Bahuguna was born in the village Maroda near Tehri, Uttarakhand on 9 January 1927.
Earlier he protested against untouchability and lateron he started organising local women against the liquor drive from year 1965-1970.
He was an Indian eco-activist and Gandhian peace worker, who has been one of the leaders of the Chipko movement, fighting for the preservation of forests in the Himalayas.
Sunderlal Bahuguna was also a leader in the movement to oppose the Tehri dam project and in defending India’s rivers, and has also worked for women’s rights and rights of the poor. In the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, his work for change has always been done through peaceful resistance and other nonviolent methods.
Why Chipko Movement?
To understand the need of Chipko Movement then, Firstly you have to know about the causes- that led to the Chipko Movement!
The Chipko movement was a forest conservation movement where people embraced the trees to prevent them from being cut.
In modern India, it began in 1973 in Uttarakhand (then in Uttar Pradesh) and went on to become a rallying point for many future environmental movements all over the world. It created a precedent for starting of nonviolent protest in India and its success meant that the world immediately took notice of this non-violent movement, which was to inspire in time many such eco-groups by helping to slow down the rapid deforestation, expose vested interests, increase ecological awareness, and demonstrate the viability of people power.
Above all, it stirred up the existing civil society in India, which began to address the issues of tribal and marginalized people.The chipko aandolan is a movement that practised methods of Satyagraha where both male and female activists from Uttarakhand played vital roles, including Gaura Devi, Suraksha Devi,Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi and Chandi Prasad Bhatt.
In this movement local tribes and women chain themselves to trees so that loggers could not cut down the forests. These actions slowed down the destruction, but more importantly they brought the deforestation to the public’s attention.
In 1981 to 1983 Sunderlal Bahuguna led a 5000 kilometer march across the Himalayas ending with a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who then passed legislation to protect some areas of the Himalayan forests from clear-cutting.
Sundar Lal, apart from Chipko Movement
Sunderlal Bahuguna was also a leader in the movement to oppose the Tehri dam project and in defending India’s rivers, and has also worked for women’s rights and rights of the poor. One of the appreciated thing about Sundarlal Bahuguna was that his work for change has always been done through peaceful resistance and other nonviolent methods.
The Chipko Movement received the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, also referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize,for its dedication to the conservation, restoration and ecologically-sound use of India’s natural resources.
Today, Sundarlal Bahuguna is no more between and nor his type of activists but there is a greater need of afforestation movements like Chipko Movement amid the concrete jungles as the forests are gradually becoming endangered and this is a serious threat to the mankind and nature.
A heartful tribute to the vrikshmitra, Sundarlal Bahuguna.