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Green warrior Sunder Lal Bahuguna of ‘Chipko Movement’ fame loses battle to Covid-19

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Mysuru: Environmentalist Sunder Lal Bahuguna succumed to Covid-19 at a hospital in Uttarakhand on Friday. He was 94.

Bahuguna an internationally acclaimed green warrior was undergoing treatment at AIIMs in Rishikesh in Uttarakhand for the past 10 days.

Bahuguna fought for the preservation of forests in the Himalayas and was known for spearheading Chipko movement in the 1970s and anti-Tehri Dam movement in 1980s.

Chipko means ’embrace’ or ‘tree huggers’ and this vast movement has been a decentralised one with many leaders, usually village women, who have worked to protect the environment. Often they would 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 Bahuguna led a 5000 kilometers 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.

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. The Chipko Movement received the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, also referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize.

He was awarded Padma Shri in 1981 and Padma Vibhushan in 2009.

– Team Mysoorunews

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