Sunder Lal Bahuguna, amongst India’s best known and most respected environmentlists, who passed away on May 21,2021 lived most of his 94 years of life as a gentle activist, leading the world-acclaimed ‘Chipko Movement’ – a forceful resistance to unabated tree-felling in the Himalayas. Launched in 1973, the Chipko Movement drew thousands, pre-dominantly women and college students, who would hug the trees , tieing them ‘Rakhis’ to shoo away large scale tree felling that had led to deforestation in Uttarakhand state.
Bahuguna was ”the man who taught Indians to hug trees to protect the environment”, wrote BBC. A movement that began in Chamoli district in undivided Uttar Pradesh became so forceful that it resulted in a 15-year ban on commercial felling of trees in the region (now Uttarakhand). He also fought against construction of the Tehri Dam, the tallest in the country.
Amul , known for most apt advertisements, capturing the public emotional paid tributes to the simple man from the hills, who sadly fell to coronavirus at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rishikesh. ” We will always chipko to your beliefs”.