Who is Sunderlal Bahuguna and Why Chipko Movement is the Greatest Environmental Movement in India?

Sunderlal Bahuguna Chipko Movement

Sunderlal Bahuguna- whose 5000 kilometers walk from 1981-1983 to meet Indira Gandhi has led to the passage of one of India’s Legislation protecting some parts of Himalayas- is no more. Sunderlal Bahuguna was admitted to AIIMs, Uttarakhand after being tested positive for COVID19. The father of Chipko Movement/Chipko Andolan and one of India’s notorious environmentalists, Sundarlal Bahuguna had passed away on May 21st, 2021 due to COVID-related illness.

Who is Sundarlal Bahuguna?

Sundarlal Bahuguna is a well-known environmentalist who is more famous among school children as the first volunteer and man of action behind the Chipko Movement. Chipko movement was in many ways the beginning of environmental consciousness and environmental movements in India. NCERT has made sure that every kid knows about the Chipko Movement and the man behind it by including it in the school textbooks.

Born in Tehri, Uttarakhand, he is a very vocal and strong opponent of big projects that were destroying the sensitive eco-system of the Himalayas. He also involved in protests against liquor sales and contributed to women’s empowerment in his region.

“Ecology for a permanent economy,” this famous quote by him during his Chipko Movement days is probably one of the first slogans calling for Sustainable Development. He had led the movement against the Tehri Dam project which threatened the local ecosystem which brought him into the limelight.

Why Chipko Movement is the Greatest Environmental Movement in India?

Some things are great, simply by virtue of their contribution to something that was non-existent before them. Like a transistor, because the invention of a transistor is a great thing, greater than the invention of supercomputers. Chipko movement in the same way is India’s first environmental movement that was started in 1973, Uttarakhand. The word Chipko from Hindi literally translates into a hug, which is why the Chipko movement is also known as the Hug tree movement. People of the Himalayas came together in 1973, for the first time in the country, for the cause of protecting the environment. As a deterrent to stop the officials from cutting down the trees, people hugged the trees as a non-violent form of protest.

The Second Wave of COVID19 has been devastating with millions of life thrown out of order and thousands of people passing away every day. It is everyone’s responsibility and basic human decency to at least wear a mask and not put the lives of others at risk. We recommend everyone to stay calm and patient and we are hopeful of getting out of this, together.

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