By ML Verma
Shimla, May 22
After the demise of Sunder Lal Bahuguna we have lost a Gandhian, an environment crusader, an activist, a journalist and true mentors of the society. At the age of 94yrs Mr Bahuguna took last breath at AIIMS hospital at Rishikesh on Friday.
This correspondent was fortunate enough to meet him once while attending a media briefing at Shimla Press club seven years ago. The short affable meeting of SLB left indelible remarks of his pure heart, honest and upright mission not only on me but on all who had joined his rare ambience at the time when he had proved his mettle after emerging as victorious in various movements.
Ms Vimla had also come to Shimla with him and also delivered a short message of the save tree campaign as the couple was strictly opposed to relentless building of thermal and hydro power and cement plant and other mega projects.
He impressed all of us with his simple logic of how nature works to make us happy and making this land worth living. Saintly figure Bahuguna also impressed all media persons by how he communicated with nature and his lifelong conservation efforts motivated him about evolution or how human civilization works.
Bahuguna said in his soft and tender voice that why we should plant trees, He said that it give us Life, Shelter, Food, Fooder and After all happiness.
” If we would plant trees it should be broad leaved so that it would give us Oxygen and take more Carbon dioxide, If we would plant tree it would give us Food and quench our hunger, provide us shelter as it would give us Wood and timber for our house, If we would plant tree it would give fodder to our cattle which would also give us Milk and its products, if we plant it would give flowers which in turn would generate honey and with it there would be sweetness in the society. There is a lot of bitterness and unhappiness among the people It could be eliminated with growing flowers of various types which would bring happiness in our lives.” Such
robust logic displayed the eternal connection of SLB with the mother nature.
We should plant trees for oxygen and fruit trees, he continued ” food grain we eat today was not our real food. His lifelong study of nature and experience how food grain replace four staple food also touchwood, Mr Bahuguna shared his experience that he used to call the food grain or cereal as women’s food. He elaborated that in the millennia ago in days men had to strive hard to his existence or feed its clan or family. They often ventured for hunting animals far away from their shelters, often for days or even weeks before they could find their hunt.
Meanwhile the women in their home could not wait for three to four days till they returned with food therefore the females devised their own way of making food out of grass seeds. With time they started gathering good quality grass seeds of refined quality and started growing near their home to use it for emergency food to feed their children and them.
With this they learn to cultivate these various seeds of grass which become today’s food grain” Mr Bahuguna narrated this story in a very convincing manner leaving his indelible mark of his divine and loving personality with
the very first meeting.
Mr Bahuguna who was pioneer of Chipko movement latter joined number of other pro environment derive or movements like reducing the height of Tehri dam and Narmada bachao etc also showed his keenness in organic cultivation.
He often insisted farmers to not use too much fertilizer to take high or good yields. He used to compare heavy Use of fertiliser like injecting lactating mothers to have more milk.
At this juncture when his home state UP( Now Uttrakhand) is facing one after another unending man made disaster or wreaking of environment havoc taking heavy tolls of lives and property his teaching is quite
relevant today and we needed to follow his ethos, logics and alternate.
While introducing Bahuguna also shared his own youth days and narrated how he became an environmentalist after leaving the vocation of journalism.
“I used to work as a reporter for the News Agency UNI for many years. “ He said that he was impressed by the Mahatma Gandhi in his life and followed his ideal by simple living and high thinking.
This is the end of an epoch where we lost a great son of this soil who worked relentlessly to save it by dedicating his entire life renouncing his entire pleasure of life for this cause.
The services rendered by the SLB left many of us to be the custodian of the preservation of nature and continue for the conservation of the environment. There are many followers of SLB including his wife Ms Vimla who accompanied him till his last movement.
Let us pledge to continue his mission to continue to learn from his great teaching, ideals and his education. The true tribute to this son of earth would be to our commitment that Gandhian non violent the movement to save the environment would not cease with his demise