07 May, 2021

“When Has Rural People’s Voice Ever Been Heard?”

The legendary environmentalist and Chipko visionary on the recent floods in Uttarakhand

“When Has Rural People’s Voice Ever Been Heard?”

In the more than eight decades of his existence, legendary environmentalist and Chipko visionary Sunderlal Bahuguna has never been witness to the kind of devastation that Uttarakhand has seen recently. In an interview, he explains why the government can no longer ignore the environmental concerns of the locals.

Tell us about your escape. We heard that you had to be carried away from the rising waters?

I have never seen so much rainfall at a stretch and the rivers near where I stay in such great spate and fury. The place where I stay, not very far from Dehradun, is next to two rivers and the waters kept increasing and entered my room. That’s when others carried me away to safety. The level went as high as the shoulders soon after.

With this kind of devastation, do you ever feel the Chipko Movement has been rendered a futile exercise?

Unfortunately, the government still really hasn’t understood the movement. It really was a people’s movement and...

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