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Sunderlal Bahuguna

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Sunderlal Bahuguna
Sunderlal Bahuguna at New Tehri cropped.jpg
Born 9 January 1927 (age 90)
Maroda village, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand[1]
Occupation activist, Gandhian, environmentalist
Spouse(s) Vimla Bahuguna
Children 3
Sunderlal Bahuguna (born 9 January 1927)[2] is a noted Garhwali environmentalist,
Chipko movement leader and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of Non-
violence and Satyagraha. This idea of chipko movement was of his wife and the
action was taken by him. For years he has been fighting for the preservation of
forests in the Himalayas, first as a member of the Chipko movement in the 1970s,
and later spearheaded the Anti-Tehri Dam movement starting 1980s, to early 2004.[3]
He was one of the early environmentalists of India,[4] and later he and people
associated with the Chipko movement later started taking up environmental issues,
like against large dams.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, on 26
January 2009.[2]

Contents [hide]
1 Early life
2 Chipko movement
3 Anti Tehri Dam protests
4 Awards
5 Books written
6 References
7 External links
Early life[edit]
Sunderlal Bahuguna was born in village Maroda near Tehri, Uttarakhand on 9 January
1927. He claimed in a function arranged at Kolkata, that his ancestors bearing
surname Bandopadhyaya, migrated from Bengal to Tehri, some 800 years ago.[5] Early
on, he fought against untouchability and later started organising hill women in his
anti-liquor drive from 1965 to 1970.[6] He started social activities at the age of
thirteen, under the guidance of Shri Dev Suman, who was a nationalist spreading
message of non-violence[7] and he was with Congress party of Uttar Pradesh (India)
at the time of Independence.[8] Bahuguna also mobilised people against colonial
rule before 1947.[9] He adopted Gandhian principles in his life and married his
wife Vimla with the condition that they would live among rural people and establish
ashram in village.[9] Inspired by Gandhi, he walked through Himalayan forests and
hills, covering more than 4,700 kilometres by foot and observed the damage done by
mega developmental projects on fragile eco-system of Himalaya and subsequent
degradation of social life in villages.[9]

Chipko movement[edit]
Chipko movement was started in 1973 spontaneously in [Uttar Pradesh], in an effort
to save trees and forests from felling by forest contractors.[10] In Hindi, Chipko
literally means stick and people started sticking to trees when it was being cut.
Chipko movement later inspired Appiko Movement in Karnataka. One of Sunderlal
Bahuguna's notable contributions to that cause, and to environmentalism in general,
was his creation of the Chipko's slogan Ecology is permanent economy. Sunderlal
Bahuguna helped bring the movement to prominence through about 5,000-kilometer
trans-Himalaya march[9] undertaken from 1981 to 1983, travelling from village to
village, gathering support for the movement. He had an appointment with the then
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and that meeting is credited with resulting in
Ms. Gandhi's subsequent 15-year ban on felling of green trees in 1980.[3] He was
also closely associated with Gaura Devi, one of the pioneers of the movement.

Anti Tehri Dam protests[edit]

A protest message against Tehri dam, which was steered by Sundarlal Bahuguna for
years. It says We don't want the dam. The dam is the mountain's destruction.
He has remained behind the anti-Tehri Dam protests for decades, he used the
Satyagraha methods, and repeatedly went on hunger strikes at the banks of
Bhagirathi as a mark of his protest.[11] In 1995, he called off a 45-day-long fast
following an assurance from the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao of the
appointment of a review committee on the ecological impacts of the dam, thereafter
he went on another long fast another fast which lasted for 74 days at Gandhi
Samadhi, Raj Ghat,[12] during the tenure of Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, he
gave personal undertaking of project review. However, despite a court case which
ran in the Supreme Court for over a decade, work resumed at the Tehri dam in 2001,
following which he was arrested on 20 April 2001.

Eventually, the dam reservoir started filling up in 2004, and on 31 July 2004 he
was finally evacuated to a new accommodation at Koti, a little hillock, along the
Bhagirathi where he lives today, continues his environment work.[3]

Sunderlal Bahuguna has been a passionate defender of the Himalayan people, working
for temperance, the plight of the hill people (especially working women). He has
also struggled to defend India's rivers.[13][14]

Awards[edit]
1981 Padma Shri by the government of India, but he refused
1987 Right Livelihood Award (Chipko Movement)[10]
1986 Jamnalal Bajaj Award for constructive work.[15]
1989 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Sciences was conferred by IIT Roorkee
2009 Padma Vibhushan
Books written[edit]
India's Environment Myth & Reality with Vandana Shiva, Medha Patkar[16]
Environmental Crisis and Humans at Risk Priorities for action with Rajiv
K.Sinha[16]
Bhu Prayog Men Buniyadi Parivartan Ki Or (Hindi)[16]
Dharti Ki Pukar (Hindi)[16]
References[edit]
Jump up ^ Bahugunabetterworldheroes.com.
^ Jump up to a b Padma Vishushan awardees Govt. of India Portal.
^ Jump up to a b c Bahuguna, the sentinel of Himalayas by Harihar Swarup, The
Tribune, 8 July 2007.
Jump up ^ Sunderlal Bahuguna, a pioneer of India's environmental movement... New
York Times, 12 April 1992.
Jump up ^ Banerjee, Sudeshna (13 March 2011). Bengali Bahuguna. The Telegraph,
Calcutta. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
Jump up ^ Sunderlal Bahuguna culturopedia.com.
Jump up ^ Pallavi Takur, Vikas Arora, Sheetal Khanka, (2010). Chipko Movement (1st
ed.). New Delhi Global Vision Pub. House. p. 131. ISBN 9788182202887.
Jump up ^ Shiva, Vandana (1990). Staying alive women, ecology, and development.
London Zed Books. p. 70. ISBN 9780862328238.
^ Jump up to a b c d Goldsmith, Katherine. A Gentle Warrior. Resurgence &
Ecologist. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
^ Jump up to a b Chipko Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Right
Livelihood Award Official website.
Jump up ^ Big Dam on Source of the Ganges Proceeds Despite Earthquake Fear New York
Times, 18 September 1990.
Jump up ^ If the Himalayas die, this country is nowhere. An Interview with
Sunderlal Bahuguna with Anuradha Dutt (1996 Rediff Article).
Uttarakhand.prayaga.org. Retrieved on 1 May 2012.
Jump up ^ 'My fight is to save the Himalayas' Frontline, Volume 21 Issue 17,
1427 Aug 2004.
Jump up ^ Bahuguna uttarakhand.prayaga.org
Jump up ^ Jamnalal Bajaj Awards Archive. Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation.
^ Jump up to a b c d Sunderlal Bahuguna. Retrieved 8 October 2012. first1= missing
last1= in Authors list (help)
External links[edit]
An essay by Katherine Goldsmith
If the Himalayas die, this country is nowhere
Sundarlal_Bahuguna Videos
[show] v t e
Padma Vibhushan award recipients
[show] v t e
Jamnalal Bajaj Award winners
Categories 1927 birthsLiving peopleActivists from UttarakhandPeople from
TehriGandhiansIndian environmentalistsNonviolence advocatesRight Livelihood Award
laureatesRecipients of the Padma Vibhushan
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