Published: 27th June 2021
#ThrowbackToday: The Satyagrahas, strifes and hunger strikes of late Sunderlal Bahuguna
In today's #TBT, we recall the contributions of Sunderlal Bahuguna to the environment which often placed him in the crosshairs of many prime ministers. This is the story behind one of the fasts
COVID-19 swallowed many legends and one of the most eminent personalities to surrender to it recently, on May 21, 2021 to be exact, was Sunderlal Bahuguna.
Vimla Bahuguna, Sunderlal Bahuguna's wife, came up with the idea of the famous Chipko Movement, the forest conservation movement wherein people hugged trees to save them from being felled. Best known as one of the first environmentalists of India, his biggest contribution has been towards the anti-Tehri Dam movement. When Satyagrah did not cut it, the defender of the Himalayan people went on a hunger strike. The first one went on for about 45 days and Bahuguna broke it on June 27, 1995, only after assurances from the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao that the latter would appoint a committee to review the ecological effects of the dam. Then came another hunger strike, this time a longer one for about 74 days, and another assurance from the next Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. The dam went on to be constructed anyway, but in no way, did it dim the light that Bahuguna, who hails from Uttarakhand, had shown so bright.
What's one very interesting fact about him is that in the year 1980, his one meeting with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi led to her issuing a 15-year ban on cutting green trees.