We have grown up listening to the fact that India is as diverse in terms of landforms and biodiversity as it is in terms of it’s culture and population. All the folklores and intriguing stories that we have grown up listening about the thick cover of forests, greenery and rivers that made India a biodiversity hotspot are nowhere to be seen today.
One thesis that I can come up with is the ‘knowing-doing gap’. Knowing that nature needs help is the easy part. Actually putting in efforts to do something about it is an entirely different story. How many of us live the principles we espouse? Enter the ‘knowing-doing gap’.
Well a sigh of relief is that these people have managed to bridge the gap between knowledge and action :
1) Sundarlal Bahuguna
In the year 1973, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, was born the legendary ‘Chipko Movement’ that fortunately is one such environmental movement which has gained it’s place in educative books of growing children. The main objective of this movement was to protect the trees on the Himalayan slopes from the axes of
contractors of the forest.
Mr Bahuguna, was the main driving force who educated the villagers of the area regarding how crucial trees were to the environment and to all humankind. There was active participation of villagers especially women who either tied a sacred thread around the trees I that area or hugged the trees in order to stop the axe bearers from cutting it, hence the name ‘Chipko Movement’ or ‘Hug the tree movement.’
This became a turning point in the history of eco-development struggles across the nation and also world over.
2) Jadav Payeng
Also known as the ‘forest man of India’, Jadav Payeng belonged to the state of
Assam. As his name goes, his contribution as an environmentalist was the creation of a 550 hectare long man-made forest, all by himself.
He spent 30 years of his life trying to revive the forest cover of Mauli Reserve, near river Brahmaputra which was facing extensive soil erosion due largescale deforestation. He started the restoration process by planting bamboo trees and other plant species, which currently encompasses 1360 hectares of land area with flourishing wildlife.
3) Salim Ali
Salim Ali, often referred to as the ‘bird man of India’ has been conducting extensive
surveys all across India and is a reputed ornithologist. He has played a significant role in creating the Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
For nature enthusiasts, his autobiography ‘Fall of a sparrow’ is considered awe-inspiring. He has devoted 50 years of his life as an environmentalist, serving for mother nature.
4) Medha Patkar
She is credited with playing an instrumental role in ‘Narmada Bachao Aandolan’. She leads the life of an environmentalist and has dedicated her life to protecting the livelihood of several families which were displaced during the construction of the
To add a feather of her glory, she has been given the ‘Right to livelihood reward’. She is one of the renowned Indian environmentalist.
5) Rajendra Singh
He is credited for working relentlessly towards efficient water management and
harvesting techniques and is therefore famous as the ‘Waterman of India’. He has
worked to rejuvenate and revive water bodies and has been critical in the
government’s handling of the matter. He has worked towards bringing national
attention towards this crisis.
He revived water bodies in states like Karnataka, Rajasthan and MP by constructing water structures and aquifers. His work has been highly appreciated and has led him to win the prestigious Magsaysay award in 2001 and Stockholm water prize in 2015.
Help Niswarth – The Selfless reach more people and help the communities around India by donating an amount and contributing with a selfless gesture. We continue to strive for a better society and an earth-centric world.
The above mentioned names are just a few, among many who have devoted their
lives to make India rich in terms of natural resources again.
The relentless efforts put in by these eminent personalities deserve more attention and recognition not just nationally but world over.
They have been a source of inspiration to thousands of young minds to lead a more sustainable life which is not limited merely to textbook reading but manifests itself in the real world.